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How to Use a Tanning Bed Safely: Tips to Protect Your Skin and Health (2024)

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how to use a tanning bed safelyWho knew that lying in a tanning bed could feel like wrestling with a sunburn? But, then again, the risks can’t be ignored if you’re determined to bronze safely.

Taken together, this is why it’s so important to learn how to use tanning beds safely to protect your skin and your health. Correct bed type, monitoring your exposure times, and wearing protective gear all add up.

Check out our guide to ensure your chase for that golden glow doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket

Key Takeaways

  • Using tanning beds is like juggling fire: it’s risky and can lead to burns (skin damage).
  • Don’t treat your skin like a canvas for a masterpiece. Protect it from the sun’s harmful rays by using tanning beds safely.
  • Starting slow and steady with tanning sessions is like running a marathon: pace yourself to avoid getting burnt out (literally).
  • Sunless tanning options and vitamin D supplements are safer alternatives to tanning beds. Think of them as your tanning superheroes, protecting your skin while giving you a golden glow.

How to Use a Tanning Bed Safely?

For safe use of a tanning bed, choose a bed appropriate for your skin type, and be informed of the risks taken by radiation—both UVA and UVB.

Always wear confined goggles to completely cover your eyes and sensitive areas such as your lips and tattoos.

Begin with small exposures and increase them gradually; never go more than once a week. Keep track of any strange moles or changes to your skin; if you see something suspicious, head to your doctor’s office.

Consider alternatives such as sunless tanning to avoid the dangers altogether. You’ll be sure to pick up even more tips that make tanning not as much of a gamble with your health if you stick around

Preparing for Your First Tanning Session

Preparing for Your First Tanning Session
When preparing for your first tanning session, choose a tanning bed with appropriate UVA and UVB rays to match your skin type. Understanding the difference between these rays can help you minimize health risks

Choosing the Right Tanning Bed

Choosing the right tanning bed involves several factors. Look for various tanning bed types with adjustable bulb strength for skin care. Check the bed maintenance records, ensuring it’s sanitized. Choose a reputable location. Limit tanning frequency to reduce skin cancer risk. Always prioritize tanning safety to understand how to use a tanning bed safely

Understanding UVA and UVB Rays

Learn about UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply, cause massive skin damage, and increase the risk of melanoma. UVB rays primarily burn the skin but also are skin-related to skin cancer. Always wear protective gear, like fitting goggles, and practice sun protection. Be aware of the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

Wearing Protective Gear

Wearing Protective Gear
Wearing fitted goggles is essential to protect your eyes from the intense UVA rays emitted by tanning beds. Be sure to cover sensitive areas of your skin to prevent burns and long-term damage

Fitted Goggles for Eye Protection

Always wear fitted goggles for eye protection during indoor tanning. The plastic goggles provided are insufficient, potentially risking eye damage and ocular melanoma. UVA and UVB rays can severely affect your eyes, leading to serious health effects like cataracts. Prioritize your health by choosing high-quality goggles to shield your eyes from harmful rays and minimize skin damage

Covering Sensitive Areas

Before lying on a sunbed, protect the sensitive areas—lips, nipples, and tattoos—with protective clothes or stickers to minimize skin exposure. Deficient coverage increases risks for melanoma. Make sure you’re acting according to local legislation regarding tanning safety. Proper protection reduces damage to the skin and makes a tanning session much safer every time.

Setting Exposure Times

Setting Exposure Times
To start safely, begin with short tanning sessions to minimize skin damage. Gradually increase your exposure time while closely monitoring your skin’s reaction to avoid burning

Starting With Short Sessions

To start safely using a tanning bed, begin with short sessions to minimize initial skin damage.

  1. Duration of sessions: Limit sessions to 5-10 minutes.
  2. Starting time: Choose times when the tanning salon is less crowded.
  3. Interval between sessions: Wait at least 48 hours between sessions.
  4. Age restrictions: Follow guidelines, typically 18+ only

Gradually Increasing Exposure

Start with short sessions to avoid adverse skin reactions. Gradually increase tanning time by a few minutes each visit, respecting exposure limits. Monitor your skin closely for changes and heed these precautions to mitigate health risks and addictive behavior. Never exceed recommended times, as this can lead to serious consequences like premature aging and increased cancer risk

Minimizing Skin Damage

Minimizing Skin Damage
To minimize skin damage, avoid intense exposure by starting with shorter sessions and gradually increasing the time. Limit your tanning bed use to once a week to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging

Avoiding Intense Exposure

Avoid intense exposure during your tanning sessions. Start with short bursts and gradually increase your time as your skin adjusts. This helps minimize damage and protects your skin’s health. Remember, proper precautions are key – excessive exposure can lead to premature aging, skin cancer, and even a tanning addiction. Your skin’s safety should always come first

Limiting Weekly Use

You should limit your tanning times to once a week because going more often would cause damage to the skin. That limitation reduces health risks from frequent exposure, such as skin cancer and prematurely aged skin. Even if you’re craving that bronzed look—overexposure can hurt

Monitoring Your Skin

Monitoring Your Skin
Regularly check your skin for unusual moles or changes in existing ones. If you notice anything suspicious, report it to your doctor immediately to catch potential skin cancer early

Checking for Skin Cancer Signs

Check your skin regularly for signs of cancer. Be alert for asymmetrical appearance, size change, irregular borders, color variation, or an evolving mole. Early detection is key, so examine your skin monthly. Pay attention to new spots or changes in existing moles. If you notice anything unusual, make note of it for medical evaluation

Reporting Concerns to a Doctor

If you notice that any of your moles have changed or enlarged, or if you find new lumps or moles on your skin after using a tanning bed, discontinue use and contact your doctor.

The earlier the problem is detected and treated, the better. Follow the doctor’s instructions, realize the medical risks and consider alternative treatments to keep your fantastic tan without any damage to your health

Alternatives to Tanning Beds

Alternatives to Tanning Beds
If a sun-kissed look is desired, then try sunless tanning products such as lotions, sprays, or creams which leave a tanned look sans the UV exposures of tanning beds. Vitamin D supplements can safely meet nutritional requirements without taking a toll on the skin.

Sunless Tanning Options

If you’re looking to avoid the risks of indoor tanning, sunless tanning options offer a safer alternative. Try sunless tanning lotions, gels, or sprays that can provide a natural-looking glow without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays. Just be sure to:

  1. Apply evenly to avoid streaks.
  2. Exfoliate beforehand for best results.
  3. Reapply regularly to maintain your tan.

Sunless tanning is a great way to get a sun-kissed look while protecting your skin’s health

Vitamin D Supplements

Sunless tanning is a safer choice, but don’t forget about vitamin D. You can maintain healthy levels without UV exposure. Supplements, fortified foods, and diet are great sources. Here’s a quick comparison:

Source Pros
Supplements Easy to control dosage
Fortified Foods Convenient in daily diet
Oily Fish Natural source, nutritious
Dairy and Orange Juice Commonly fortified
Sunless Tanning Products No UV exposure, safe for skin

Maintaining proper vitamin D is essential for your health

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to use a tanning bed safely for the first time?

For your first tanning bed session, wear fitted goggles, start with short exposure times, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and limit use to once a week. Avoid intense exposure and always use the provided safety instructions

How do I protect my skin in a tanning bed?

Wear fitted goggles, limit exposure time, and start with short sessions. Gradually increase duration, always follow manufacturer guidelines, and never exceed once weekly use. Moisturize your skin before and after to prevent dryness

Is there a safe way to use sunbeds?

Imagine your skin as delicate parchment; using tanning beds safely is a mirage. There’s no truly safe way to use sunbeds; they increase skin cancer risks and cause premature aging. Stick to sunless tanning products instead

How long should you tan in a tanning bed for beginners?

For beginners, start with very short sessions, around 5-7 minutes. Limit your exposure to once a week initially, always use fitted goggles, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines closely to minimize risks

Can you get a tan on a tanning bed?

Yes, you can get a tan on a tanning bed. However, it’s crucial to understand that any tan signifies skin cell damage, increasing the risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and other health issues. Use sunless tanners instead

Would going to tanning bed help psoriasis?

One can’t use a tanning bed for psoriasis. Besides, though UV light is beneficial in the treatment of such diseases, tanning beds can increase the risk of having skin cancer or untimely aging. See a dermatologist for safe, controlled phototherapy treatment options specific to your condition.

Are tanning beds safe?

No, tanning beds aren’t safe. Despite popular myths, they increase skin cancer risks, including melanoma, and cause premature aging. Even one visit raises cancer risk. Instead, opt for sunless tanning products to achieve a safer glow

Should I use a shorter tanning bed?

A shorter tanning bed session doesn’t make tanning safe. There’s no such thing as safe tanning, not even for brief exposure. Very briefly, in sunbeds, you’d markedly increase your health risk for skin cancer, among other issues. You’re best not to use tanning beds at all but to use safer alternatives.

Can using a tanning bed cause eye cancer?

Yes, using a tanning bed can cause eye cancer, specifically ocular melanoma. Tanning beds emit UVA rays, which can deeply penetrate and damage the eyes even if you wear the plastic goggles provided by tanning salons

Does tanning bed use strengthen the immune system?

No, using a tanning bed doesn’t strengthen your immune system. On the contrary, it weakens it by causing skin damage and increasing the risk of skin cancers. It’s safer to avoid tanning beds altogether

How can tanning beds affect vitamin D levels?

Most tanning beds primarily produce UVA rays, and the contribution of these rays to the production of vitamin D is also very meager. The human body can acquire sufficient vitamin D from diet, supplements, or even the regular sunlight, and hence, there’s no rational point in using tanning beds, which are an unsafe alternative.

Are there safe alternatives to achieve a tan?

To achieve a tan safely, consider sunless options like lotions, gels, and sprays. These products provide a bronzed look without UV exposure, reducing your risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and other health issues

Can tanning bed use lead to premature skin aging?

Yes, using tanning beds leads to premature skin aging. They emit UVA rays, which damage collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles and leathery skin. Even brief exposure accelerates the aging process, making you appear older


Much like making the perfect cake, safe usage of the tanning bed is a combination of many careful steps. Be sure to choose the right bed and wear protective gear. Control your exposure times.

Reducing intense sessions and checking for skin changes will let you achieve a higher level of health support. Safe alternatives, like sunless tanning options and vitamin D supplements, are essential to remember.

Following these tips on how to use a tanning bed safely ensures that you place a high priority on your skin’s health

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.