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8 Tips for Safe and Effective Tanning Bed Use

Tanning beds are a popular way to achieve a sun-kissed glow, especially during the colder months when natural sunlight is scarce. However, improper use of tanning beds can lead to skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer. To ensure a safe and effective tanning experience, here are 8 tips for tanning bed use.

Tip #1: Prepare your skin by exfoliating and moisturizing before your tanning session. This will help achieve an even tan and prevent dryness and flakiness.

Tip #2: Always wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the UV rays emitted by tanning beds. Failure to do so can cause eye damage and vision problems.

Tip #3: Start with short tanning sessions and gradually increase the time as your skin becomes more accustomed to the UV exposure. Overexposure to UV rays can cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Understanding Tanning Beds

How Tanning Beds Work

Tanning beds are devices used to simulate the effects of the sun’s UV rays on the skin. They work by emitting UV radiation, which penetrates the skin and activates the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. This process is called melanogenesis and it’s what causes the skin to tan.

Tanning beds use two types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB. UVA is responsible for the immediate tanning effect, while UVB is responsible for the delayed tanning effect. Tanning beds emit mostly UVA radiation, which is less damaging to the skin than UVB radiation. However, prolonged exposure to UVA radiation can still cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Types of Tanning Beds

There are two main types of tanning beds: traditional and high-pressure. Traditional tanning beds use fluorescent bulbs to emit UV radiation, while high-pressure tanning beds use quartz bulbs that emit a higher concentration of UV radiation.

Traditional tanning beds are less expensive and more widely available, but they require longer exposure times to achieve the desired tan. High-pressure tanning beds, on the other hand, are more expensive and harder to find, but they require shorter exposure times and can produce a deeper, longer-lasting tan.

It’s important to note that both types of tanning beds carry risks and should be used with caution. The FDA recommends that people under the age of 18 should not use tanning beds, and that everyone should limit their exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds and other sources.

Preparation for Tanning Bed Use

Before using a tanning bed, it is important to prepare your skin properly. This can help maximize your results and minimize any potential damage. Here are two important steps to take before using a tanning bed:

Skin Exfoliation

Exfoliating your skin before using a tanning bed can help remove dead skin cells and create a smooth surface for an even tan. This can also help prevent patches or streaks of uneven color. It is recommended to exfoliate at least 24 hours before tanning to allow your skin time to recover.

There are several methods of exfoliation, including:

  • Body scrubs
  • Dry brushing
  • Exfoliating gloves
  • Chemical exfoliants (such as alpha-hydroxy acids)

It is important to choose a method that works best for your skin type and to avoid over-exfoliating, which can cause irritation or damage.

Proper Hydration

Drinking plenty of water before and after tanning can help keep your skin hydrated and healthy. This can also help prevent dryness and peeling, which can be a common side effect of tanning. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and avoid alcohol or caffeine, which can dehydrate the skin.

In addition to drinking water, it is also important to moisturize your skin regularly. This can help keep your skin soft and supple, which can improve the appearance and longevity of your tan. Choose a moisturizer that is designed for tanning or contains ingredients such as aloe vera or cocoa butter.

By following these simple steps, you can prepare your skin for tanning bed use and achieve a healthy, glowing tan.

Maintenance of Tanning Beds


Regular cleaning of tanning beds is essential to ensure the longevity of the equipment and to maintain a hygienic environment for the user. It is recommended to clean the tanning bed after every use. To clean the tanning bed, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the tanning bed and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Remove any debris from the bed surface.
  3. Use a disinfectant spray to clean the bed surface thoroughly. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the disinfectant spray.
  4. Wipe down the bed surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess disinfectant.

Regular Inspection

Regular inspection of the tanning bed is necessary to detect any potential issues and to ensure the safety of the user. It is recommended to inspect the tanning bed at least once a month. To inspect the tanning bed, follow these steps:

  1. Check the power cord for any signs of damage, such as fraying or cracking. Replace the power cord if it is damaged.
  2. Inspect the bulbs for any signs of damage or wear. Replace any bulbs that are not working or have reached their recommended lifespan.
  3. Check the acrylic shields for any cracks or damage. Replace any shields that are damaged.
  4. Inspect the ventilation system to ensure that it is working properly. Clean or replace the filters as needed.

By following these maintenance tips, users can ensure that their tanning bed operates safely and efficiently.

Expert Tips for Optimal Results

When it comes to using tanning beds, there are a few things that can help ensure you get the best results possible. Here are some expert tips to keep in mind:

1. Start Slowly

If you’re new to tanning beds, it’s important to start slowly. Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the time as you build up a base tan. This will help you avoid burning and minimize your risk of skin damage.

2. Use a Quality Tanning Lotion

Using a quality tanning lotion can help you achieve a deeper, longer-lasting tan. Look for a lotion that contains moisturizers and skin-nourishing ingredients to help keep your skin healthy.

3. Protect Your Eyes

Tanning beds emit UV rays that can damage your eyes. Be sure to wear protective goggles while tanning to keep your eyes safe.

4. Exfoliate Before Tanning

Exfoliating your skin before tanning can help ensure an even, streak-free tan. Use a gentle exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells and prepare your skin for tanning.

5. Moisturize After Tanning

After tanning, be sure to moisturize your skin to help maintain your tan and keep your skin healthy. Look for a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or other soothing ingredients to help soothe any redness or irritation.

6. Don’t Overdo It

While it can be tempting to spend hours in the tanning bed, it’s important to remember that overexposure to UV rays can be dangerous. Follow the recommended tanning times and don’t exceed them.

7. Take Breaks

Taking breaks between tanning sessions can help prevent overexposure and give your skin time to recover. Aim to take at least a day or two off between tanning sessions.

8. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, especially on days when you plan to tan.

By following these expert tips, you can help ensure that you get the best possible results from your tanning bed sessions.


In conclusion, tanning beds can be a convenient and effective way to achieve a golden glow. However, it is important to use them safely and responsibly to avoid negative side effects. By following the eight tips outlined in this article, users can maximize the benefits of tanning beds while minimizing the risks.

Regular maintenance of tanning beds is crucial to ensure that they are functioning properly and emitting the appropriate amount of UV radiation. It is also important to monitor tanning time and frequency to avoid overexposure. Users should always wear protective eyewear and avoid using tanning beds if they are taking certain medications or have certain medical conditions.

Proper skincare before and after tanning can help to prevent skin damage and maintain a healthy glow. Users should also be aware of the risks of skin cancer associated with tanning bed use and take necessary precautions, such as regular skin checks and avoiding excessive exposure.

Overall, tanning beds can be a safe and effective way to achieve a sun-kissed look, but it is important to use them responsibly and with caution. By following the tips outlined in this article, users can enjoy the benefits of tanning beds while minimizing the risks.

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