Tanning Bed Tips for Beginners

Must Know Tanning Bed Tips For Beginners Before Your Salon Visit

Swimsuit season is now fully upon us and many people are looking to impart a nice sun-kissed glow before baring their legs in a sundress or shorts or prior to heading for a week at the beach.

If you’re looking to get impeccably bronzed before being out in the sun, what options do you have?

One smart bet to consider is indoor tanning on a tanning bed.

There’s a slight learning curve with tanning beds, though. To this end, we’ve compiled a carefully curated list of tanning bed tips for beginners and we’ll get straight down to business!

Before you climb onto the tanning bed for your bronzing session, there are several things you need to do to prepare yourself and your skin so you’ll benefit from an optimal experience.

Prep Before Your Tan

tanning bed tips to get dark fast

Failing to think through these elements and skipping these steps will result in a less than stellar outcome. It could even be dangerous for you.

We’ll double down now at the considerations you need to make as well at the actions you need to take before you think about making your tanning salon appointment.

Skin Type

In order to best protect your skin and your health, you first need to know what your skin type is.

Different people have varying tolerances to sunlight and UV rays due to the differing levels of melanin in their bodies.

Melanin is the pigment in your skin that’s affected by UV rays. When UV rays penetrate your skin and “activate” your melanin, the result is a darker skin tone.

There are 6 skin types and you need to determine which is yours front and center…

  • Type I: People with type one skin tend to be very fair and they struggle to tan without burning.

  • Type II: People with type two skin can achieve a tan but it develops slowly and usually after a sunburn.

  • Type III: People with type three skin tend to get sunburned when overexposed but they can quite easily tan.

  • Type IV: People with type four skin can readily achieve a tan and will rarely burn under the sun.

  • Type V: People with type five skin tend to have naturally tan skin tones and they tan with ease while seldom burning in the sunlight.

  • Type VI: People with type six skin almost never sunburn thanks to their naturally dark brown or black skin. Their skin can darken when exposed to intense UV rays.

Knowing your skin type before you tan can help you to do so safely and help you to achieve your tanning goals!

So, how about those goals then?

Tanning Goals

Being clear about your end goal for tanning can help you build a tanning routine as well as determine the most effective bed for your purposes.

For instance, if your goal is to get a deep and exotic tan but you’re starting out with fair skin, you should know in advance it will take time to safely build up to the level of tan you’re hankering after.

On the other hand, if you are fair and simply hoping to get a simple sun-kissed bronze, you still need to start slow but it won’t take anywhere near as long to reach your end goal.

Be sure to speak about your goals with your tanning salon associates as they can often give sound advice on a tanning routine optimized to help you achieve your target.

Prep Your Skin

If you want to ensure you get a quality tan, you first need to be certain your skin is properly prepared for your tanning session.

UV rays can’t penetrate skin if it’s dried out or dirty. Before you go tanning, shower thoroughly and exfoliate, too. Carefully shave as well if necessary. You want to be sure that there’s nothing but tanning lotion between your skin and those tanning bed light bulbs.

Remove any makeup or other lotions and fragrances you’re wearing and you’re ready to roll.

Your Tanning Session

Now you’re all set to start tanning…

Or are you?

Time to make a few last-minute choices so you can get the tan of your dreams!

What to Wear

Many people prefer to wear a bathing suit or underwear on the tanning bed while others prefer to go au naturel while tanning.

What you wear on the tanning bed will affect the results you get from your tan.

Obviously, if you wear a bathing suit, you’ll get tan lines from the suit. This might not be a problem if this is the bathing suit you intend to wear to the beach or the pool throughout the summer, but if the suit you want to wear has different straps or is cut differently, your tan lines might look a bit silly. 

If you choose to tan in the nude, please be respectful to the people tanning after you and be sure you are clean and that you clean the area after you’re done. Also, you should consider covering your most sensitive areas since these will burn much quicker than skin routinely exposed to the sun.

Protection

In addition to what you wear on your body, you should consider other things that need to be protected as well…

The UV rays emitted by the bulbs in tanning beds can cause damage to your eyesight so always wear eye protection when you are on the tanning bed. Most tanning salons offer tanning goggles but feel free to buy your own.

You should also wear lip balm that comes SPF-rated. Lips burn easily and this can be acutely painful.

If you have manicured nails, you might want to consider wearing nail covers so you don’t cause your manicure to fade while you are tanning.

Tanning Lotions

Tanning will likely make your skin dry so using a moisturizer is crucial. Also, using lotions formulated specifically for use in tanning beds can help you achieve your tan more rapidly as well as ensuring the tan sticks around longer.

There are plenty of tanning lotions to choose from and it can sometimes be tricky to know which one to get.

First, be sure the lotion you choose is made specifically for use with tanning beds. Also, be sure there is no SPF rating on your tanning lotion or it will block the UV rays from penetrating your skin.

Different categories of tanning lotions can help you to achieve different goals in tanning. With amino acids, bronzing tanning lotions encourage your skin to produce more melanin so you achieve your tan quicker. Bronzing lotions also contain bronzers in them that give your skin a little bit of color right away.

When you have more experience with tanning beds, you can look at tanning lotions known as tingle lotions. These lotions can make your skin tingle slightly, hence the name. Using these lotions will speed up the tanning process.

When applying your tanning lotion, make sure that application is even. Take your time and it will be worth it. Rush this step and you’ll regret it!

How Long Should You Tan For?

While tanning with a tanning bed tends to be safer than prolonged exposure to natural sunlight, you still need to be mindful of safe tanning time limits.

Be aware of your skin type and don’t spend longer than necessary in the tanning bed. Most tanning beds have preset time limits on them and you should not exceed these limits. They are in place for your safety so respect timing.

If you breach these limits, you risk getting sunburned. This is not only painful but will damage your skin.

When you are first starting to tan on a tanning bed, start slowly. Shoot for only a few minutes per session a couple times a week. As you build a tan, you can increase the amount of time you spend under the tanning bed.

Perfect Positioning

When you are in the tanning bed, you will want to position yourself in a way that lets as much skin as possible be exposed to the lights.

Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent. If you leave your legs flat, you might not get a tan where your thighs meet your rear end.

Don’t let your arms touch your sides, and don’t rest your hand on your stomach. To ensure you don’t end up with an uneven tan or white underarms, lie with your arms raised above your head. When you flip over mid-session, be sure to raise your arms above your head again.

Some people recommend spending a minute or two lying on each side as well, to promote an even tan on your entire body.

After Tanning

Now that the timer has finished and your tanning bed session is over, what do you do next?

Skin Care

Tanning dries out your skin even though you hopefully used a tanning lotion before you got into the tanning bed.

Be sure you moisturize your skin again once you are through with the bed. Also, drink plenty of water to replenish what you lost through sweating in the tanning bed.

Clean The Tanning Bed

Even if you are squeaky clean when you climb in the bed, the warm environment will attract bacteria. Over time, these bacteria can result in rashes, itchiness and infections.

Whether you are tanning in a salon or using a personal tanning bed in your home, you need to be sure to clean the bed after each use.

Other Information

Here are some more things you should know about tanning beds before you begin using them.

Types Of Tanning Beds

There are several different types of tanning beds to choose from. Some are feature-rich while others are much more basic. There will be differences in bulb counts as well. This plays a role in your resulting tan.

Different tanning salons will offer different beds for use with some having upscale beds and others providing much simpler models.

Basic tanning beds will get the job done with no frills while elite tanning beds will make the experience more comfortable with features such as music, fans and pillows.

Check the bulb count of the tanning bed you are considering but remember that a higher bulb count doesn’t necessarily equate to a shorter time on the tanning bed. It can, however, help you tan more evenly!

Some tanning bulbs will emit more UVA rays than UVB. This can be beneficial since the UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin to activate the melanin response. This results in a more thorough tan.

Typical tanning beds will have you lying down to tan but there are stand up tanning beds, too.

How Often Should You Tan?

There are a few variables that will determine how often you should tan but you should never have more than one tanning session in a single day regardless.

When you soak up the UV lights in the tanning bed, you’re doing more than getting a tan. As the rays penetrate your skin and darken your melanin, they are also causing some damage. Your skin needs a chance to heal this damage so that it doesn’t become a major problem.

When you are new to tanning, you need to start slowly and build up your time on the bed as well as how often you get in the tanning bed. To begin with, you should only go tanning 2 or 3 times a week and you should only spend a few minutes tanning each time.

As your skin builds a tolerance to the tanning bed by developing a base tan, you can start to spend a little longer in the bed. Increase your tanning time by 2 minutes a week to help you reach your target skin tone.

Don’t forget, even once you’re a tanning bed pro, you should never tan more than once in a 24-hour period.

Tanning Bed Risks and Benefits

There is a great deal of debate as to whether or not there are risks associated with the use of tanning beds.

On one side, you have experts claiming that using tanning beds could lead to cancer and other ailments, while experts on the other side are saying that tanning beds are perfectly safe and provide many benefits to users.

Before you choose to use a tanning bed, you should at least be aware of potential risks associated with them.

Risks

  • Some studies have shown tanning bed use can increase the risk of skin cancer
  • Wrinkles and other signs of premature aging are a possibility
  • Damage to the eyes is not unheard of if they are left unprotected
  • Problems with the immune system can develop

Benefits

  • Vitamin D boost is welcome
  • Useful for helping skin issues like eczema and psoriasis
  • Tanning beds can help alleviate depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
  • Quick and simple way to get a tan without hitting the beach
  • Relaxing way to spend some downtime away from distractions

Final Word

Well, by now you should be fully equipped to get the best and safest tan for your skin type and requirements.

Don’t forget to bookmark our site for all your sun-related needs and come back soon since we’ve got plenty more impartial product reviews and detailed how-to guides coming your way.

Now hit that tanning bed in style!

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