Fargo woman makes UV-free tanning her missionFARGO – Chrissy Koland tanned indoors until she was diagnosed with skin cancer. Now she’s using her experience to help others avoid the same fate through an airbrush tanning business.
By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM
What: Healthy Glow Mobile Airbrush Tanning
Owner: Chrissy Koland
Contact: (701) 388-4025 or
FARGO – Chrissy Koland tanned indoors until she was diagnosed with skin cancer.
Now she’s using her experience to help others avoid the same fate through an airbrush tanning business.
The 32-year-old Fargo woman’s indoor-tanning habit began when she got a part-time job at a tanning salon at age 16.
She started tanning three days a week, then four days a week, then almost every day.
“That lasted about 12 years,” she says.
When she became a salon manager, she used tanning for a workday boost.
“You do kind of get addicted,” she says. “You get hooked on it.”
By the time she was 30, Koland started noticing changes in her skin: red and itchy spots, changes in pigment and elasticity.
“I knew I was doing some damage,” she says.
Koland’s turning point came when her dermatologist told her she had basal cell carcinoma.
“It’s the most common type of skin cancer, but it can be disfiguring,” she says.
Her doctor removed the ink-dot-sized spot and a dime-sized amount of surrounding tissue.
“It didn’t look like anything weird. It was just a little red spot,” she says.
Now she’s adamant about self-checks and six-month checks.
“I’m at a much more increased risk of getting melanoma,” she says.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has labeled UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources as a “known carcinogen,” or cancer-causing agent.
The incident was an eye-opener for the lifelong tanner.
“You don’t think about it until it happens to you,” she says.
Koland opened Healthy Glow Mobile Airbrush Tanning in 2008.
She runs the salon out of her home in south Fargo, where she lives with her husband and three kids.
“I wanted to stay in the tanning industry, but I wanted to find a healthier way to do it,” she says.
Spring and summer are her busiest times of year, with proms, bachelorette parties, weddings and vacations.
She had more than 30 appointments scheduled for a recent Friday.
“They’ll be in and out in 15 minutes,” she says. “It’s very quick.”
Koland promises an “orange-free guarantee” for her spray tans.
The solution she uses contains bronzer and FDA-approved DHA.
She’s made it her mission to educate her clients – especially teens and young adults – about the dangers of UV tanning.
“It comes up naturally in conversation in nine out of 10 customers,” she says.
Skin cancer printouts and fact sheets are posted on the wall of the Healthy Glow tanning room.
“You hear tanning’s bad for you, but it makes you look better and feel better, so you ignore the warnings,” she says.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590