Sure, a few tanning bed sessions can help you achieve an even, golden glow, but how can you ensure that you’re getting the best tan possible?
Here, we’ll explain just that. Read on to discover our top five sunbed tanning tips:
1. Prepare your skin.
2. Avoid sunburns.
3. Protect delicate skin.
4. Give your tan time to develop.
5. Help your tan last as long as possible.
Ready to get the beautiful tan you’ve been wanting? Let’s go.
1. Prepare Your Skin
Before your first tanning session, keep this mantra in mind: Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.
Why? Simply put: your skin naturally accumulates dead skin cells on its surface.
So, even if you’re using the strongest tanning bed on the market, the UV rays will struggle to penetrate through that layer of dead skin. In the end, this results in a patchy, uneven tan.
To avoid the dreaded pale splotches, be sure to regularly exfoliate, especially right before your tanning sessions.
For this, you can use a variety of exfoliators. Here are some of our favorite options:
● Sea sponges.
● Konjac sponges.
● Exfoliating mitts.
Just be sure to steer clear of over-exfoliation. The rougher the exfoliant, the easier it will be to exfoliate too deeply, which is why gentle sea or konjac sponges are a fantastic choice.
If you choose to go with a scrub, remember to avoid choosing one which contains any oils — those oils can damage tanning beds’ acrylic sheets, leading to less efficient tanning as well as costly acrylic replacements.
Finally, always moisturize with an oil-free lotion before tanning. This will keep your skin looking supple and prevent it from drying out under the UV rays.
2. Avoid Sunburns
Sunburns are dreaded by sunbed users for a reason. Sunburns can cause plenty of unsightly symptoms, including:
In addition to being aesthetically displeasing, sunburns can also result in physical discomfort. These are some of the symptoms you may experience, organized from mild to severe:
Since UVB rays are responsible for most sunburns, seek out tanning beds that primarily emit UVA rays.
Also, remember to stay conscious of your skin tone: if your skin is very fair or light, you’re liable to burn more easily. To address that issue, people with fair skin should keep their tanning sessions short and frequent rather than long and infrequent.
If you do end up with a sunburn from your tanning bed, we recommend following these tips:
● Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
● Take cool showers or baths to prevent additional discomfort.
● Use a lotion that contains soothing aloe vera and/or numbing lidocaine.
● Use a creamy, unscented moisturizer to help keep your skin from drying out and peeling.
● Apply an anti-itch cream to take care of the itching.
3. Protect Delicate Skin
Even if you tan easily and don’t typically need to worry about burns, you should always be mindful of areas of skin that are more susceptible to damage than others. These include:
● The skin around your eyes.
● Your lips.
● Any paler areas which are normally not exposed to the sun.
To prevent those areas from being damaged, always:
● Wear protective eyewear. This will not only protect the delicate skin around your eyes but prevent serious eye damage. If you’re worried about tan lines, purchase a set of strapless tanning goggles, and reposition your goggles every couple of minutes.
● Apply lip balm. Be sure you’re using a balm with an SPF of at least 15. When it comes to your lips’ hyper-sensitive skin, the more SPF, the better.
● Cover paler areas. These areas may include your face, or any areas normally covered by a swimsuit. You can cover them with a towel, piece of clothing or swimsuit. If you’re concerned about tan lines, try exposing those areas for no more than a couple minutes at a time during each session.
● Use a low-SPF sunscreen. It might seem counterintuitive, but using a low-SPF sunscreen can reduce your risk of burning and excessive damage. Start off with an SPF of 15 or 20, then try working your way down to a lower SPF.
4. Give Your Tan Time to Develop
It’s been a couple of hours since your tanning session, but you’re not seeing any results, and your skin still looks pale as can be. Should you hop right back into the tanning bed? Absolutely not.
Tans take time to develop, even in the case of people with naturally darker skin. From a few hours to a couple of days, your unique skin type will determine how quickly your tan shows up.
That’s why it’s almost universally recommended that indoor tanners wait at least 24 hours between sessions. If you’re new to tanning, wait 48 hours so you can learn how quickly your skin will respond to the UV rays.
Taking time between sessions has other benefits, too — you’ll have a lower risk of burning, and also minimize the amount of UV damage your skin incurs.
5. Help Your Tan Last as Long as Possible
Once you’ve achieved the tan you want, you’ll want to make it last as long as possible. Doing so will not only help you maintain your glow but also allow you to cut down on your tanning sessions and avoid too much skin damage.
How can you be sure that your tan doesn’t fade in a flash? Here are our top tips:
● Moisturize. Since dry skin tends to flake off faster, hydration is essential for a long-lasting tan. Be sure to use an ultra-moisturizing cream for both your body and face and stay away from extra-hot showers that can dry out the skin.
● Exfoliate. Exfoliation isn’t just important for pre-tan prep — it can also help your tan last longer after the fact. That’s because dead skin cells can dull your tan, and also cause it to fade unevenly. So, remember to gently exfoliate about once every week.
● Use a sunless tanner. Sunless tanners have come a long way over the years. With a self-tanning lotion, spray or mousse, you can get a darker, more even tan, sans streaks or blotches. As with indoor tanning, always exfoliate before applying the sunless tanner.
Armed with these tips and a high-quality home tanning bed, you’ll be able to get a glowing tan without ever relying on a salon again.
If you’re looking for even more ways to get the glow you’re looking for, take a look at our previous articles on everything tanning beds:
● History of the Tanning Bed in Under 5 Minutes
● The Unconventional Guide to Tanning Beds
● The Future of the Tanning Bed: 3 Predictions
● Tanning Beds 101: The Essential Guide
● A Beginner’s Guide to Tanning Beds
● Top Five Tanning Bed Safety Tips