How To Use A Tanning Bed – A Comprehensive Guide To Sunbed Tanning

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Regardless of the season, tanning beds are convenient for those seeking a bronzed complexion. 


However, beneath the appeal lies the importance of understanding the ins and outs of tanning bed usage to ensure safety and effectiveness. 


From comprehending the workings of these beds to embracing proper preparation, usage, and aftercare, this comprehensive guide delves into every aspect necessary for harnessing the benefits of sunbed tanning while mitigating potential risks.

Understanding Tanning Beds

Tanning beds, also known as sunbeds, emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which stimulates melanin production in the skin and results in a tan. 


Tanning beds emit two primary forms of UV radiation: UVA and UVB rays.

UVA Rays:

UVA rays permeate the deeper layers of the skin, eliciting immediate tanning outcomes.

These rays trigger the oxidation of existing melanin in the skin, leading to a darkening of the skin’s pigmentation. 

UVA rays are often associated with longer-lasting tans compared to UVB rays.

UVB Rays:

UVB rays predominantly impact the surface layers of the skin and are accountable for inducing sunburn.

These rays stimulate the production of new melanin in the skin, leading to a tan over time. UVB rays are associated with shorter-term tanning effects compared to UVA rays.

Tanning beds emit a controlled dose of UV radiation, allowing individuals to achieve a tan without prolonged exposure to natural sunlight. 

Adjustments to the intensity and duration of UV exposure within a tanning bed are customisable and tailored to suit individual skin types and desired tanning objectives

Types of Tanning Beds

Closeup of a laydown tanning bed


Low-pressure tanning beds typically emit a combination of UVA and UVB rays, providing a gradual tan over multiple sessions. 


High-pressure tanning beds primarily emit UVA rays, resulting in a quicker tan with fewer sessions. 


Stand-up tanning beds offer a vertical tanning experience, allowing for full-body exposure to UV radiation.


There are many sunbed models for stand-up and lay-down tanning beds, with Megasun P9 being the newest, most innovative model.

Benefits Of Tanning Beds

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Sunbeds, or tanning beds, offer several potential benefits for individuals seeking a sun-kissed glow. 


However, it’s essential to approach sunbed usage responsibly and be aware of potential risks. Here are some benefits associated with sunbeds:

1. Year-round Tanning

One of the primary benefits of sunbeds is the ability to maintain a tan year-round, regardless of weather conditions. This can particularly appeal to individuals living in regions with long winters or limited sun exposure.

2. Controlled Exposure

Sunbeds provide a controlled environment for UV exposure, allowing individuals to regulate the intensity and duration of their tanning sessions. This can be advantageous for those who prefer a gradual tan or have sensitive skin that may be more prone to sunburn.

3. Time-Efficiency

Sunbeds offer a more time-efficient option than sunbathing outdoors, which may require prolonged exposure to achieve a tan. Tanning sessions generally span between 10 to 20 minutes, varying according to individual skin type and desired tanning outcomes.

4. Convenience

Sunbeds are readily available at tanning salons and fitness centres, offering a convenient option for individuals seeking a quick tan. Additionally, stand-up tanning beds provide a vertical tanning experience, allowing for full-body exposure without lying down.

5. Vitamin D Synthesis

Controlled exposure to UV radiation from sunbeds can stimulate vitamin D production in the skin. Vitamin D is key for a range of bodily functions, encompassing bone health, immune system support, and mood regulation.

6. Skin Conditions

Some individuals may find that moderate exposure to UV radiation from sunbeds helps improve certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, or acne. Nonetheless, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using sunbeds.


While sunbeds offer these potential benefits, using them responsibly and in moderation is essential to minimise the risks associated with UV exposure. 


Overexposure to UV radiation from sunbeds can lead to skin damage, premature ageing, and an increased risk of skin cancer. 


Moreover, those with specific medical conditions or skin types might be at a higher risk of experiencing negative consequences from the use of sunbeds.


Hence, it’s recommended to seek advice from a healthcare provider before integrating sunbeds into your tanning routine.

Preparing For Your Tanning Session

Young woman exfoliating skin with brush

Preparing for a tanning session involves several essential steps to ensure safety and optimal results. Here’s how to prepare effectively:

Consultation with a Professional

Before your tanning session, schedule a consultation with a trained professional at the tanning salon. The professional will assess your skin type during this consultation and discuss your tanning goals.


Be prepared to provide information about any medications you’re taking, your skin conditions, and your history of sun exposure.


Considering your skin type and desired tanning outcomes, the specialist will suggest a suitable tanning bed as well as the ideal exposure duration and strength.


Take note of the recommended exposure time and avoid exceeding it during your tanning session to minimise the risk of overexposure and sunburn.

Pre-Tanning Skincare Routine

Begin your pre-tanning skincare routine at least 24 hours before your tanning session.


Begin your tanning session by gently exfoliating your skin to eliminate dead cells and promote a smooth and uniform tan.


Utilise a mild exfoliating scrub or a loofah to gently remove dead skin cells.


After exfoliating, moisturise your skin thoroughly to hydrate and prepare it for UV exposure. Opt for a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturiser that won’t clog your pores.


Avoid using skincare products containing oils, fragrances, or exfoliating ingredients (such as retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids) immediately before your tanning session, as they may increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV radiation.

Choosing Appropriate Tanning Accessories

Protecting your eyes is essential during a tanning session, so wear goggles specifically designed for indoor tanning. These goggles should provide adequate coverage to shield your eyes from UV radiation.


During your tanning session, apply a lip balm containing SPF to shield your lips from UV harm and keep them moisturised.


If you have sensitive areas on your skin, such as moles or tattoos, consider using protective stickers or patches to shield them from direct UV exposure. These stickers should be designed for indoor tanning and can help prevent uneven tanning or skin irritation.

Using the Tanning Bed Safely

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Using a tanning bed safely is essential to minimise the risk of skin damage and achieve optimal results. Here’s some advice on how to use a tanning bed safely:

Proper Positioning in the Tanning Bed

Before starting your tanning session, familiarise yourself with the layout of the tanning bed and how to adjust its settings.


Lie down evenly on the tanning bed, ensuring that all body parts are uniformly exposed to UV rays.


Steer clear of crossing your arms or legs to prevent uneven tan lines; opt instead to keep your limbs comfortably spread out and relaxed.

Wearing Protective Eyewear

Always wear protective eyewear for indoor tanning to shield your eyes from UV radiation.


Ensure that the goggles provide full coverage and fit snugly against your skin to prevent UV light from penetrating.


Keep your eyes closed or gently cover them with a towel during your tanning session to protect them from UV exposure further.

Understanding Exposure Time and Adjusting According to Your Skin Type

Seek advice from a qualified expert to ascertain the suitable duration of exposure based on your skin type and desired tanning objectives.


Start with a conservative exposure time, especially if you’re new to tanning or have fair skin. As your skin adjusts to UV radiation, gradually extend the exposure duration.


Be aware of your skin’s sensitivity and any signs of discomfort or irritation during the session. If you experience any discomfort, stop the session immediately and consult with the tanning salon staff.

Aftercare Tips

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Tanning aftercare is crucial for maintaining the health and longevity of your tan while keeping your skin nourished and protected. Here are some essential tips to consider:

Hydrating Your Skin Post-Tanning

After your tanning session, it’s essential to hydrate your skin to replenish moisture lost during exposure to UV radiation.


Apply a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturiser to your entire body, focusing on areas prone to dryness, such as your elbows, knees, and ankles.


Opt for moisturisers enriched with ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid, which can effectively soothe and hydrate the skin.


Drink plenty of water to hydrate your body from within. This will promote overall skin health and prolong the life of your tan.

Using Soothing Products to Alleviate Redness or Irritation

If you experience any redness, irritation, or discomfort after tanning, consider using soothing skincare products to alleviate these symptoms.


Aloe vera gel is renowned for its calming attributes and can alleviate redness and inflammation triggered by UV exposure. Administer a light layer of aloe vera gel to affected areas as necessary.


Avoid using harsh or fragranced products immediately after tanning, as they may further irritate the skin. Stick to gentle, hypoallergenic products to minimise the risk of sensitivity reactions.

Maintaining Your Tan with MoisturiSers and Gradual Tan Enhancers

To prolong the life of your tan and keep your skin looking radiant, incorporate moisturisers into your daily skincare routine.


Select moisturisers enriched with components such as shea butter, cocoa butter, or coconut oil, which aid in sealing in moisture and preserving the vibrancy of your tan.


Consider using tanning creams or self-tanning lotions to touch up your tan between tanning sessions. These products can help even your tan and extend its duration without additional UV exposure.


Regularly exfoliate your skin to eliminate dead cells and encourage an even tan fade. Utilise a mild exfoliating scrub to slough off dead skin, unveiling fresh and radiant skin underneath.

Start Tanning Today

And there you have it, everything you need to know about tanning. Should you have any further inquiries, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable specialists. Furthermore, if you are looking for a tanning salon in Southeast UK, visit The Sunshine Co. today!

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