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Pleasantville Tanning Salon Promotes Healthy Practices

Zuma Beach Tanning & Spa owner is adamant about tanning safely.

If you want to come out of a tanning bed looking like Snooki or Pauly D, Pleasantville's is not the place for you.

Kimberly Scialdone, who has owned the salon at its two Bedford Road locations for almost seven years, said proper tanning—when done safely—can actually be beneficial for your health.

"A lot of people see tanning as a bad thing," said the Yorktown area resident. "I'm from the generation of putting baby oil on and laying on the beach for three hours, so I've done my damage. That's the wrong way to do it."

Instead, "Moderation and going in a [tanning] bed for a couple of minutes and getting UVs in a controlled environment is the healthy way," she explained.

Scialdone tells her clients that UV rays are necessary for the body's production of Vitamin D, which she said can help prevent cancer.

"There are 100 things you need Vitamin D for," she said. "Everyone is running away from the sun, but you need some sunlight."

A few minutes of UV rays in a tanning bed has also been used as a light therapy treatment for medical conditions, such as depression or psoriasis, according to Scialdone.

While she has encountered plenty of skeptics during her time at the salon, Scialdone also seen those who want bake in the beds for too long.

"There's some people that just don't want to hear it, they will fight me on it," she said. "I have turned people away. That's not the way I run my business."

In fact, first time customers are often offered a free session, as Scialdone refuses to let newcomers enter tanning beds for the "full time." She said average sessions in the beds last from seven to 15 minutes.

"They have to listen to my instructions and not go the full time," she explained, "and this way they don't feel like I'm taking their money."

She will also tell customers—"They are not going to get tan the first time. That is not the right thing. The tanning process is slow and steady."

People with lower Vitamin D levels may consider moderate tanning, said Scialdone, who said she has also learned people with darker-colored skin are often more deficient.

"This is bizarre because there is no one with darker skin in my salon, she revealed. "To see someone of darker skin in a tanning salon, you would look at them twice, but they really should be in here."

And despite plenty of negative press about the dangers of tanning, as well as the 10 percent tanning tax President Barack Obama signed off on in 2010, Scialdone said she is focusing on getting the word out about the benefits of UV light and Vitamin D.

To attract customers, she regularly has "$5 Tan Tuesdays" and works with her employees, often local students, to educate customers before they get in the beds.

"I'm not in the business of burning people," Scialdone said. "It's my reputation."

Coming up this month, Scialdone is planning a special event for the community, where she will share literature and tips about safe tanning and its benefits.

In addition to hoping she can "stay open" and "be successful," Scialdone's goal is to "help people have a more positive thinking about tanning."

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