Before, During & After Tanning
Indoor tanning is a way to get a tan without outdoor sun exposure. Approximately 10 percent of Americans visit an indoor tanning facility each year, according to the Indoor Tanning Association. Indoor tanning equipment, such as tanning booths and beds, emit ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun naturally emits 3 types of UV rays, which are: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. The UV-C rays are the shortest and the most harmful to your skin, while the UV-A rays are the longest and least harmful to your skin. To help protect your skin, tanning equipment only emits UV-A and UV-B rays. However, too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays, whether through indoor tanning equipment or naturally in the sun, can be harmful to your skin. Use these tips to get a good indoor tan and protect your skin.
Prepare your skin for indoor tanning.
Exfoliate your skin daily for 1 week before your first indoor tanning session. Using a body pouf with gentle soap, scrub the skin in a circular motion. You also may use a commercial exfoliating kit, available at most beauty outlets and drug stores. When you exfoliate, you are removing dead skin and creating a smooth surface for tanning.
Apply an indoor tanning lotion. Lotions designed specifically for indoor tanning will maximize your tanning efforts. Apply the lotion in circular strokes all over your body for even coverage. Do not use outdoor tanning lotions, which can damage indoor tanning beds.
Determine what to wear during tanning.
What garments you wear during tanning is personal preference. Some people prefer to wear bathing suits or undergarments, while others choose to wear no clothing. Check with the professionals at your tanning facility to determine if there are any clothing requirements for tanning bed use.
- Remove all jewelry before tanning. If you wear a watch or other jewelry, you will have white spots where the jewelry rested against your skin. For an even tan, remove all jewelry before indoor tanning.
- Remove eyeglasses and contact lenses prior to tanning. The heat generated from the tanning bed can damage contact and eyeglass lenses.
Protect your eyes from UV rays.
The U.S. FDA requires eye protection while utilizing an indoor tanning device. Most indoor tanning facilities provide eye protection free of charge, and all require that customers wear eye protection while tanning. Avoid looking at UV rays from the tanning equipment. Repeated exposure to indoor tanning UV rays could cause night blindness, retinal ulcers and blindness.
Avoid cosmetics and perfumes while tanning.
Many cosmetics and perfumes contain ingredients that make you sensitive to light. These photosensitive ingredients could result in rashes, blotching, burning sensations or uneven tanning. Wash off all cosmetics and perfumes before tanning.
Make small adjustments in your body position while you tan.
Don’t lay completely still in a tanning bed, but move your arms and legs slightly to maximize exposure to all parts of your body. Do not rest your chin against your chest while you are reclining. This will result in a white spot under your neck because your chin blocked the UV rays. For an even tan, lay your head back, allowing exposure to all parts of your face and neck.
Moisturize after an indoor tanning session.
Skin that is moisturized will retain a tan longer than dry skin. Apply a body lotion immediately after each indoor tanning session, and moisturize after every shower or bath. Choose a lotion based on your skin type. Select a deep-penetrating lotion for dry skin and a lightweight lotion for normal to oily skin.
Avoid showering immediately after a tanning session.
Wait at least 3 or 4 hours after tanning to allow the skin’s melanin to become fully stimulated.
Avoid items that can cause a tan to fade.
Every 30 days, the skin sheds its epidermis, which means your tanned skin fades naturally every 30 days. Hot water, indoor heating and harsh soaps increase the fading process. Keep a tan from fading by moisturizing the skin every day, using mild cleansing products, showering in warm water and increasing your daily water intake.