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How To Choose The Best Tanning Bed Lotions

By Ciara McNamara

Despite warnings about the risks, people continue to flock to tanning beds. Tanning bed lotions are a necessary accessory, whether you are a regular tanner or just trying to get a good base tan before the summer holiday season or for a vacation. Lotions come in a variety of formulas for every skin type. Cooling lotions help keep the skin cool in the bed. After tan lotions extend your tan and can help shorten the time you need to spend in a bed to maintain your tan.

Benefits of Using Tanning Bed Lotions

Lotions help regulate the amount of UVA and UVB rays that are absorbed into your skin. Your skin absorbs more rays in less time. This allows you to limit your exposure to the rays and still get the tan you want. Moisturizing lotions add moisture to your skin. This helps prevent some of the drying effects of beds. Since moisturized skin tans faster, you will achieve your desired color faster and your tan will last longer.

You should use the best lotion that you can afford in the bed. The type of tanning bed you are using and your skin type help determine which lotion is best. Light, medium or dark skin tones require different lotions. Using a lotion intended for experienced tanners on fair skin can be disastrous. The salon owner can help you choose the right lotion for your skin type.

Products for indoor tanning come in lotion, cr"me, gel or oil forms. As long as the product is right for your skin type and the bed you will be using, the rest is a matter of preference. The preparation isn't as important as the ingredients, so learn to read the labels.

Ingredients in Tanning Bed Lotions

The best products contain natural ingredients to stimulate your tan and nourish your skin. Look for as many natural botanicals, plant extracts and vitamins as possible. Each has a different purpose.

Amino Acids

Just about all lotion or cr"me products contain amino acids. They stimulate the production of melanin in your skin. The action of the amino acids produces the tanning effects. The most commonly used amino acid is tyrosine.


The moisturizers in lotions help reduce the drying effect the UVB rays in the bed have on your skin. Look for rich, natural moisturizers, like aloe or hempseed oil. These are in both suntan lotions and after tan formulas.


Antioxidants help prevent the fine lines and wrinkles that result from UV exposure during tanning. Vitamin E and grapefruit extract are common antioxidants found in lotions.

A Safer Alternative to Tanning

People are becoming concerned with the safety of tanning, either in a bed or in the sunshine. UV exposure during tanning has been linked to skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. The only safe alternative to getting the color you want is a fake tan. There are pills that are said to give you a tan, but there is controversy over their effectiveness. The best way to get a completely safe tan is a sunless tanning spray (

You can apply a sunless tanner at home, or you could go to a spa or salon for spray on tanning. In the salon, you stand inside the booth and the tanner is applied with either spray nozzles built into the booth or with a hand held airbrush unit by a technician. Mystic Tan and Sunshower are common brands for booth tanning.

About The Author

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