Tanning beds offer such a great alternative to sitting out in the hot sun, possibly on the sticky beach sand or next to a pool hoping the weather doesn’t turn any time soon. However, to tan, you need to be exposed to UV rays, and these usually come from the hot sun.
Tanning beds emit the same UV rays as the sun does, usually more concentrated on your skin, but does this mean that tanning beds are uncomfortable to lay in?
Are tanning beds hot? There is no clear answer as to whether or not the tanning bed will be hot, as there are a few factors that determine this. The type of tanning bed you are using, the treatment you are having done, as well as the condition of the tanning beds.
Generally, a tanning bed should not get so hot that you feel uncomfortable, and it should not burn your skin. If you are considering trying out a tanning bed for the first time, keep reading to find out whether they get hot, and what you should expect!
How Hot Do Tanning Beds Get?
It is natural to be nervous about how hot a tanning bed might get, especially if it is your first time. We all know that tanning in the sun leads to becoming hot and sweaty, so it would be safe to assume the same in a tanning bed.
However, this isn’t completely true, as it is not heat from the sun that tans your skin, but rather the UV rays, which are replicated by the special light bulbs in the tanning bed. These will heat up during your tanning session, but not so much that it becomes uncomfortable.
It is important to note that there are a few factors that determine how hot a tanning bed might get, so have a look through the below to know what to expect:
Age Of The Tanning Bed
Older tanning beds do tend to get warmer than newer ones, and it has taken some time for tanning beds to get to a point where heat is not generated as much, but you still get the optimal amount of UV exposure.
More modern tanning beds reach a temperature of around 80°F, and this can sometimes reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the age of the machine.
This is a comfortable temperature to tan at, and it will not cause you to feel discomfort as you tan.
Tanning beds feature fans that help circulate airflow, which is so important to reducing the amount of heat and stuffy air you experience when tanning.
If the tanning bed has a proper, functioning ventilation system, then you should not experience much heat at all. Some even emit cool air, which further helps you feel cooler in the tanning bed
The Intensity Of The Tanning bed
Tanning beds range in intensity, with some emitting lower levels of UV light for you to tan for a longer period, and others offering higher levels of UV rays for quicker tanning sessions.
The intensity of the tanning bed does have some effect on how hot it gets in the actual bed, but it is not so intense that you might burn or feel too hot.
Does Skin Type Affect How Warm A Tanning Bed Feels?
Knowing your skin type is so important when using a tanning bed, as it helps you determine the type of tanning bed to use, and how long you need to spend in the tanning bed.
The different skin types all burn or tan differently, and those with fair skin might feel their skin becoming warm much quicker than those with darker skin.
Skin types 1 and 2, and sometimes even skin type 3, burn easily, and this means that it is risky using a tanning bed. When using a tanning bed with these skin types, you need to limit your exposure and only spend 1 to 3 minutes in the tanning bed for the first few sessions.
You might notice that your skin feels warm or uncomfortable even before the tanning session is up, and if this happens, then you should end the tanning session straight away. This is a sign that your skin is starting to burn, and you need to give it a break.
Skin types from 4 and up can handle tanning beds for longer periods, but also need to be aware of how their skin feels, and if it begins to feel uncomfortably warm, they should end the tanning session.
Can I Shower Straight After A Tanning Bed?
You will likely feel somewhat warm and sweaty after spending some time in a tanning bed, and you might want to jump into a shower straight after your tanning session, but this isn’t necessarily the best idea.
When your skin is exposed to UV rays, it produces more melanin, which is what darkens the skin. This starts happening in the tanning bed, but the process carries on after your tanning session as well.
Jumping into the shower too soon after the tanning bed session could interrupt this process somewhat and not allow your tan to develop as dark or as evenly as you would hope.
You should wait for 2 hours to shower after tanning in a tanning bed, as this gives your tan enough time to develop uninterrupted. However, if you are not using tanning accelerators or lotions (which we highly recommend you do) then you can shower 20 minutes after your session.
It is actually better to shower before your tanning session, as this will open up your pores and prepare your skin to tan evenly. You could also gently exfoliate your skin before tanning, and moisturize once you have hopped out of the shower.
Do Tanning Beds Get Hot Enough To Burn Your Skin?
A tanning bed should never get hot enough to burn your skin on contact, and if this is the case, you should get out of the tanning bed straight away and call the technician for help.
Tanning beds can lead to sunburn on the skin, but it should never be a burn caused by actual contact, and hopefully, this is not something you would experience in a tanning bed.
You might feel warm and sweaty after your tanning session, and maybe even when in the actual bed, but it should never feel so hot that you cannot place your skin against the tanning bed.
If you do feel as though the tanning bed is too hot on your skin, it might be too high intensity and you might need to look for a lower-intensity tanning bed or use self-tanner or spray tans instead.
Will I Still Tan In A Cold Tanning Bed?
You might be surprised to find that your tanning bed is actually cold, and you could be worried that this means that you won’t actually end up tanning.
There is no need to worry, as the temperature of the tanning bed has nothing to do with how well you tan. The heat from the sun is not what tans your skin, it is instead the UV rays that do not carry much heat.
Therefore, you will tan just the same in a cold tanning bed as you would in a hot one. You are more likely to experience a cold tanning bed if you are one of the first customers to use the bed during the day, and the sunbed hasn’t had the time to heat up yet.
Tanning beds can be slightly warm and they might cause you to break a sweat near the end of your tanning session, but they should never be so hot that you are uncomfortable.
If you are going to try out a tanning bed for the first time, don’t be too worried about how hot it might get, as it should not be so dramatic. You could also book to go early in the morning when the tanning beds are at their coolest.
If you are nervous about using a tanning bed, it is worth chatting to the technician at the salon, who will be able to answer your questions more accurately and help you with any concerns you may have!
Here are a few more questions and answers on the topic:
What should you wear in a tanning bed?
What you wear in a tanning bed is completely up to you and what you feel comfortable with, as well as the tan lines you don’t mind developing.
Some people tan in a bikini, and others tan in a thong or completely naked. Just make sure that you are protecting the most sensitive areas of your skin, which are susceptible to burning. We also have an article for tan-through swimwear if you don’t want to be completely bare.
How long is 5 minutes in a tanning bed equivalent to?
5 minutes in a tanning bed is similar to around one hour out in the sun. This shows how intense the UV bulbs in a tanning bed can be, and why you should be so careful with restricting the amount of time you spend in a tanning bed.