Get the most from your first time tanning.
Here you’ll find tanning bed tips for beginners.
You’ll learn how to use a tanning bed or booth.
Plus, you’ll discover how to prepare for your first visit to a tanning salon.
Not only will you find out the best way to tan, but you’ll get tips for after tanning, too.
Let’s start with how to get ready for tanning.
- Prepare for your first indoor tanning session
- Tricks that experienced tanners already know
- What to expect on your first visit to a tanning salon
- How to use a tanning bed
- How to tan darker
Prepare for your first indoor tanning session
Out of all the tanning bed tips and tricks I can give you, there are just three you really need to know.
First, exfoliate and shave before you tan.
Fresh, well-moisturized skin bronzes faster and better than dead, dry skin.
Second, you need tanning lotion.
It keeps your skin hydrated and protects it from premature aging, at least to some extent.
UV radiation, as you know, doesn’t just cause sunburn. It can also lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.
Third, while in the tanning bed, you’ll need to move to ensure that your whole body is evenly exposed. If that doesn’t sound comfortable for you, request a tanning booth to stand in instead.
Now, those are my top three tips for successful indoor tanning. But other tricks will make the experience more enjoyable. They may save you money, too.
Tricks that experienced tanners already know
At the salon, you can purchase tanning lotion, protective eyewear, and other accessories.
The eyewear is a must.
Unfortunately, some salons jack up the price because they know they’ve got you on the spot.
For just a few dollars ahead of time, you can come prepared with your own UV protective goggles.
Check out this inexpensive pair below.
Super Sunnies Evo Flexible Tanning Bed Goggles
Available in classic black, these soft and flexible goggles block out 99% of harmful UV rays.
Amazingly, they still allow you to see what you’re doing.
The special green lenses protect during high pressure and regular UV tanning. They are also suitable for red light treatments.
The slim design ensures that you don’t end up with raccoon eyes.
Next, there are many kinds of tanning lotion to choose from. You’ll be presented with choices like with or without bronzer, blush lotions, tinglers, cooling lotions, tanning accelerators, and so on.
If you’re new to tanning, the selection is overwhelming.
I’m sure the salon will offer recommendations, and I’d listen to what they have to say.
But if you prefer to spend less money and bring your own lotion, I have a couple suggestions for you.
For example, Coconut Kisses is one of the world’s most popular indoor tanning lotions.
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
Coconut Kisses doesn’t contain bronzer. It won’t stain your towel or clothing.
Without bronzer, it doesn’t give you instant color. But it will help you tan faster.
How does it work?
The formula uses proprietary tanning accelerators like the Quad Tyrosine Blend, Nouritan, and MelanoBronze. These encourage your skin to produce more melanin faster.
With more melanin, you tan darker.
Moreover, the ingredients help you retain your bronze for longer.
At the same time, the lotion protects tattoo ink from fading. Plus, the BodyFit additive makes your skin look firmer so that cellulite is less noticeable.
When you put it on, it has a light coconut and vanilla almond fragrance. It will leave your skin silky soft.
Advanced tanners also recognize that it’s essential to wait at least 24 to 48 hours between tanning sessions.
As you know, it takes a while for your color to darken after you’ve been out in the sun. The same is true when you tan indoors.
Furthermore, you need to allow your skin time to rest to avoid damaging it.
In between sessions, it helps to use a high-quality moisturizer. Try a tan extender lotion like the one below.
Australian Gold Moisture Lock Tan Extender Moisturizer Lotion
This daily lotion conditions your skin to protect your bronze.
Your tan will fade as your skin sheds. To slow down the process and enjoy the color for longer, you need to moisturize regularly.
This product has Vitamin E, panthenol, and aloe to keep your skin healthy.
While you won’t need to bring this particular lotion to the salon with you, remember to take your towel and a bottle of water.
Tanning is thirsty work.
What to expect on your first visit to a tanning salon
The first time you go tanning, they will give you a skin type survey.
It will ask you questions about your natural skin color, the color of your eyes and hair, if you have freckles, and if you’re able to tan.
Be honest because it’s your health we’re talking about here.
As much as they want to tan, some people just cannot. In that case, I’d recommend self-tanning as a safe alternative.
You can look just as attractive with a spray tan.
Once you’ve completed the skin type survey, the salon will inform you what type of setup they recommend.
For example, the majority of people have skin type III. This allows them to enjoy six to eight minutes in a level one or two tanning bed.
Just two visits are usually enough to achieve a golden tan. Then, you can maintain the color by tanning once or twice a week in the future.
Once your skin is darker, you may have access to higher-level beds and/or more extended visits.
Never allow yourself to burn.
Not only is sunburn uncomfortable, but it’s also an injury to your skin. Also bad, sunburn does not lead to a good tan.
Okay, everything’s settled, right? Nope.
The staff at the salon should also ask you about prescription medications and supplements. Some supplements, like St. John’s wort, and some medicines will make your skin more sensitive to UV light.
What’s more, you should also skip wearing perfume, deodorant, makeup, and topical treatments when you go tanning. Take a pass on essential oils, too. All of these may react with UV light and cause allergic reactions.
But there is one exception.
You need a lip balm. Specifically, you need sunscreen on your lips. Bring a tube like the one below with you.
Aquaphor Lip Protectant – Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Aquaphor’s lip balm keeps your lips from burning in the tanning bed.
It’s made without artificial fragrances and preservatives to keep it safe for sensitive skin.
Plus, it softens and heals chapped lips.
How to use a tanning bed
Let’s get down to the basics of using a tanning bed.
There are three different types: low, medium, and high pressure.
Low pressure and medium pressure emit UVB rays. They are similar to natural sunlight; therefore, they create a natural-looking bronze.
Unfortunately, if you burn easily, you should avoid UVB tanning beds. That’s because they are likely to give you a sunburn if you stay in them for too long (1).
The best choice might be to use a high-pressure tanning bed that emits more UVA than UVB.
They provide a long-lasting tan without as high of a risk of sunburn. Plus, UVA beds tan you quickly.
On the downside, UVA radiation is responsible for wrinkles and skin cancer. Be careful to not tan too frequently as the more exposure you have, the higher your risk.
I’m confident that the tanning salon employee can help you choose which type of tanning bed is best for you.
When you’re ready to get into the bed, make sure that sensitive areas are covered.
For example, put on a head covering to protect color-treated hair from fading. Don those goggles, too.
Apply lip balm and put sunscreen on tattoos.
Cover up acrylic nails, or they will turn yellow.
And if you’re not wearing a swimsuit, consider protecting private parts if they’ve never seen the sun before. They are likely to burn, and that will be very painful.
Make sure the timer is set and plug in your tunes.
Once you lay down, spread out your arms and legs. When you’re stretched out, more of your skin is exposed for even tanning.
Bend your knees slightly to prevent tan lines, but make sure your legs are not touching each other.
Depending on the bed’s design, you may need to flip over onto your stomach halfway through the session.
Finally, for the last couple of minutes, tan your sides by laying on one, then the other.
If all that shifting around seems like too much work, consider the tanning booth as a more convenient option.
You’ll stand inside the booth. All you need to do is spread your arms and legs. Just make sure your skin doesn’t press against any surfaces.
It’s a pleasant alternative for those who are claustrophobic or who have never tanned before.
Once you’ve developed a base tan, you’ll probably want to go darker. Let’s discuss how to deepen your tan.
How to tan darker
I admit it, tanning is addictive.
If you want to go as deep and dark as possible, you’re going to need a little help. Merely visiting the salon and using regular tanning lotion won’t cut it. You’ll hit a plateau and get stuck.
Break the plateau with the next lotion below. I’ll explain its secrets.
Millennium Tanning Paint It Black 50X
Millennium Tanning offers both this 50X bronzer tanning lotion as well as a 100X version.
The number indicates how dark the bronzer is.
This silicone emulsion lotion features Auto-Darkening Tan Technology. It has both cosmetic and long-lasting bronzers plus tanning accelerators.
In other words, your skin will darken from the moment you apply it.
That’s advantageous if you have naturally pale skin and want to look good in a swimsuit.
It’s also helpful if you want to break a plateau and develop a deeper tan.
Let me explain how it works.
The cosmetic bronzers, like caramel extract, have two functions. In the beginning, they help you see where you’ve applied the tanning lotion.
Then, they give you instant color. It will wash off when you shower, though.
The long-lasting bronzers are self-tanning ingredients like DHA (dihydroxyacetone). DHA takes a few hours to interact with the protein in your skin and darken its color.
In summary, you can apply this tanning lotion and look tanned even if you never set foot in a salon or step outdoors.
But wait, there’s more.
The fragrance here is Clean Cotton Blossom. This is important as it cancels out the typical after-tanning odor.
Moreover, the lotion is formulated to soothe and soften your skin. It’s packed with moisturizers and anti-aging ingredients.
Supre Snooki Ultra Dark Leg Bronzer W/ Hair Growth Inhibitors
Legs are a pain to tan.
Then, the fact that you have to remove hair regularly causes the skin to exfoliate faster and fades your tan more quickly.
The solution is to use this unique indoor tanning lotion that slows down hair growth.
It bronzes your skin while HyperDark Tanning technology speeds up melanin production. The lotion helps firm the skin, too.
Dark Addictions Tanning Lotion (Hemp Blush Bronzer)
I wasn’t going to tell you about tingle lotions as they are best left to experienced tanners. But you’re bound to hear about them and feel curious.
If you can’t resist the pull, try a blush lotion.
Tingle lotions dilate your blood vessels to improve circulation to the surface of the skin. In turn, this accelerates the tanning process.
They cause a burning or tingling, sensation that some people enjoy and others fear.
Meanwhile, this blush lotion provides the same function, but to a lesser degree.
It may turn your skin red, but it shouldn’t hurt.
Use it as you would a regular tanning lotion. It eliminates after tanning odor and keeps your skin moisturized. Be cautious putting it on your face if you have sensitive skin.
CannaSmack Ink Guard SPF 30 Tattoo Sunscreen
Before I wrap up, I have one more recommendation for you.
This stick sunscreen won’t just keep your tattoos from fading. It also can protect nipples if you tan in the nude.
Happily, it’s free of artificial dyes, fragrances, gluten, and parabens.
I hope you found plenty of answers today to your questions about indoor tanning.
Tanning can be such an enjoyable experience.
Like everything else in life, take it easy and take pleasure in the rewards. Soon, you’ll be bronzed and looking forward to your next session.
1. https://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Tanning-Bed by wikiHow Staff Editor and Co-authors, published April 17, 2020, accessed June 3, 2020