We are all familiar with the recommendation that you must absolutely use a tanning lotion when you are planning on using a sunbed. These contain ingredients that work to give you an even, glowing tan, while keeping your skin nourished and protected during the tanning process, preventing it from drying out.
However, what happens if you don’t have any tanning lotion, can you use regular lotion in a tanning bed? The answer is simple – no. You should not use regular lotions in your tanning bed session, as these regular lotions, even if they are outdoor tanning lotions, contain ingredients that can cause damage to the tanning beds. If this builds up over time, the beds will start to deteriorate and potentially break.
Most tanning salon owners will not allow you to set foot into a tanning bed if you are using regular tanning lotion.
Avoid Regular Lotion in a Tanning Bed
For those who do not know any better, regular tanning lotion might seem like a good choice when using a tanning bed. It helps you develop a deeper, darker tan in the sun, allowing you to have a bronzed glow, in less time than what is necessary.
There is such a wide range of tanning lotions available on the market, but you should only ever use tanning lotions that have been specifically formulated to be used in a tanning bed. These lotions are formulated with ingredients that protect both your skin and the tanning bed, from any damage.
Just like regular tanning lotions, sunbed lotions will help your skin develop a dark, golden glow, and keep it nourished when exposed to the damaging UV rays.
How To Choose The Right Sun Bed Tanning Lotion
Some salons do keep tanning lotions for clients to use in the sunbeds, but you should rather look into buying your own, to ensure it is the right type for your skin, and to save you some money over time. The tanning lotions the salon has will be more dependent on their choices, and they might not be suited to your skin.
Tanning bed lotions have less SPF protection compared to regular tanning lotions, as you will want to make the most of your session in the tanning bed. Using a heavy SPF cream will mean your skin will not tan as much as you would want it to.
You will also need to decide what type of tanning bed lotion you want to. Some are purely moisturizing, containing ingredients that deeply nourish the skin to protect it throughout the drying process of sun tanning, ensuring your tan stays deep and golden, rather than flaky and flat.
Other tanning bed lotions contain bronzers, which give your skin an instant tan, and this develops over a few hours. However, this is not permanent and will wash off when you shower.
The bronzing tanning lotions are good if you are planning on going out after your tanning bed session, but they give a false illusion of a tan, and you might be disappointed with the lighter color left on your skin once the bronzer washes off.
You are also able to choose between lotions and sprays, depending on which you find easier to apply to your skin. Both will contain similar ingredients to keep your skin nourished and moisturized and help your skin make the most of the tanning bed session.
If you’re still having trouble selecting the right tanning lotion for you, I highly recommend watching this video by Hannah Louise on YouTube. She’s an avid tanner and has first-hand knowledge of specific tanning lotions. Enjoy!
Using Tanning Bed Lotion Correctly
Once you have chosen the right tanning bed lotion for yourself, it will serve you well to know how to use it best. You really cannot just slather some tanning lotion onto your body as you get to the salon. It takes some preparation, and this preparation is important to ensure you get the best tan possible.
Preparing To Apply The Lotion
The first thing you need to do is take a shower and exfoliate your skin. This is the best way to cleanse your skin, removing any old lotions and products that could create a barrier to the UV rays, resulting in an uneven tan.
You might also want to shave while in the shower, as any hair follicles could catch the lotion, which will cause uneven tanning and blotches of bronzing.
At The Tanning Salon
You should bring the tanning lotion along to the salon with you so that you can apply it just before you get into the tanning bed. You should also bring along a loose-fitting set of clothing to wear after the tanning session, some that you don’t mind being ruined.
Many of the tanning bed lotions contain bronzers that are activated by the UV lights in the tanning bed, so these could stain your clothing after your tanning session is done.
Tie your hair back completely with an elastic band to keep it out of the way while you apply the tanning bed lotion. It is a good idea to wear a tanning mitt or gloves when applying the tanning lotion to your skin, especially if it contains a bronzer, as your hands will land up turning a darker shade than the rest of your body.
A towel is also a good item to have on hand, as you can wipe away the lotion from any areas you don’t want to tan, such as between your toes and at the bottom of your feet.
Apply as much lotion to your skin as recommended, as dry skin will not absorb the light from the tanning beds as well, or as evenly, as moisturized skin, so make sure you have a good amount of coverage.
Start off by applying the tanning bed lotion to your feet, and then work up towards your upper body, adding in more lotion as you go. Don’t go too light on the lotion, but you should also avoid having a white layer of lotion covering your whole body. Make sure it is rubbed in completely.
Once Your Session Has Ended
You have applied your lotion and spent your designated time in the tanning bed, but it isn’t quite over just yet. You will more than likely be spending more than one session in a tanning bed and will need to reapply the lotion each time you go. After a few sessions, you will become familiar with which areas need more or less lotion.
It is recommended that you should only use a tanning bed 2-3 times a week. The tanning bed lotion will help protect your skin as much as possible, but tanning more than this is dangerous, and your skin will not be able to recover after each session.
You will still need to shower and exfoliate before each tanning bed session, repeating the process to ensure your skin is as gorgeous as possible.
Look into purchasing a tan extender to use along with your tanning bed lotion. These are applied after tanning and contain ingredients that help keep your tan dark and glowing for longer. They deliver deep moisturization to the skin which does help the tan stick around for longer and helps it fade more evenly as well.
Be sure to care for your skin and only spend as much time as necessary in the tanning bed, this is the only way to ensure that the tanning bed lotion will protect and nourish your skin as much as it can.
Can I get a tan in a tanning bed without tanning lotion?
Yes, you can actually get a tan in a tanning bed without lotion, just as you can get a tan in the sun without tanning lotion. However, dry skin reflects UV light, and you will not be making the most out of your tanning session.
The tanning lotion will also help keep your skin moisturized and nourished while in the tanning bed, which works to ensure your tan is golden brown, instead of dry and red.
How long before tanning should I apply tanning bed lotion?
It is best to apply the tanning bed lotion at the salon, to avoid messing your clothes, but you should give yourself enough time to apply the lotion 20-30 minutes before your tanning bed session.
This allows the lotion to penetrate deep into the skin, giving it the best nourishment and protection possible.
Is tanning in a tanning bed the same as tanning in the sun?
The simple answer is yes. Both are dangerous and expose your skin to UVA and UVB rays, which do create a tan, but which do damage the skin.
20 minutes in a tanning bed is the same as around 1-2 hours in the sun on a hot beach. This is why limited time is needed in a tanning bed.
Only Use Tanning Bed Lotions
It is important to remember that you cannot, and should not, use regular lotions when going into a tanning bed. Not only will the salon owner be upset as the ingredients in regular tanners can damage their machines, but the regular lotions will not offer up the same benefits and protection as tanning bed lotions will.
Find the tanning bed lotion that is right for you, and you will notice the difference during your next tanning bed session.