Are Tanning Beds Safe? | How to Tan Safely | with Dr. Sandra Lee

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How to Tan Safely

Three Methods:

Do you want a sun-kissed glow but don't want to increase your likelihood of getting wrinkles or cancer? The truth is, no tanning is "safe," as all tanning is associated with skin damage and linked with increased risk of skin cancer. You can tan more safely by practicing certain rules. However, it's best to use tanning products like lotions or sprays instead. Even better, avoid tanning your skin altogether.


Using Tan Beds More Safely

  1. Cover your eyes with goggles.Goggles are provided in tanning beds for a reason. You need to protect your eyes from the rays you're exposing your body to, and the goggles will provide that protection. They should fit snugly over your eyes.
    • Make sure you use goggles specifically designed for tanning beds or lamps.
  2. Begin slowly.With tanning, it's best to do a short session, particularly the first time. If you go too long, you can burn. Also, shorter sessions are better in the long run. They can help you build up a tan, but they won't leave you burned.
    • Remember, no amount of tanning is safe. Starting slowly may reduce your chances of burning. However, you'll still have the damaging effects of the tan.
  3. Limit your tanning time according to your skin type.That is, skin is classified in six general categories, according to how fair or dark a person is. Recommendations for how long you should tan are based on your skin type. However, no matter what type of skin you have, tanning still causes damage to your skin.
    • If you have type one or two skin, you shouldn't use tanning beds at all. Type one is someone who always burns, has blue or green eyes, and has light hair. Type two is someone who burns most of the time, has blue or brown eyes, and has light hair.
    • The other four skin types range from people who sometimes burn with brown hair and brown eyes to people with very dark skin. The tanning saloon should be able to tell you how long you should tan for your skin type.
  4. Maintain a tan by going only once a week.If you've built up a tan, then you should reduce your sessions to a single session a week. You'll still maintain your tan, but you're keeping your exposure as low as possible, though any exposure puts you at risk for skin cancer.
  5. Skip tanning completely if you're under 18.When you're under 18, you're much more susceptible to burning than older adults. Therefore, kids and teenagers should never use tanning beds to gain a tan.

Using Fake Tan Products

  1. Try a professional spray.One option for safe tanning is getting a professional to spray it on you. They bonus of this type of spray is that they can spray it more evenly than you can at home.
    • Be careful not to breathe the spray product in or get it in your eyes.
  2. Use a tanning lotion at home.Start by showering and exfoliating your skin with a washcloth, which helps create a more even tan. Dry your skin off, and then apply the lotion section by section on your body.
    • Rub your lotion in using circles. Also, after you do each body part, wash your hands so they don't become overly stained. You can also use gloves.
    • Run a slightly wet towel over your joints. Your joints tend to absorb more of the product, which can make them look darker if you don't wipe them off.
    • Let the product dry, as you don't want to stain clothes.
  3. Use sprays or lotions instead of tanning pills.Tanning pills are taken orally. They usually have canthaxanthin in them, which is what provides the color. However, these are dangerous to take, as they can lead to liver damage. They may also cause you to break out in hives or give you vision problems.

Avoiding UVA and UVB Exposure

  1. Protect your skin from getting a base tan.According to this myth, if you get a base tan, it prevents you from getting a sunburn. Having a tan doesn't protect your skin; you can still get a sunburn. Plus, any tanning is dangerous, since it damages your skin and increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
  2. Understand tanning beds aren't safer.You may think heading to a tanning bed is a safe option for tanning. However, the truth is that tanning beds produce UVA rays (and sometimes UVB rays), just like the sun.Though the sun produces other rays, including UVB rays, opting for a tanning bed isn't going to save you from developing skin cancers later in life.
  3. Keep sun lamps out of your home.Sun lamps are another option that many people consider safer than tanning in the sun. However, they produce harmful rays, just as tanning beds and the sun do. Plus, because you can use them everyday in your home (even in the winter), you may be tempted to use them more often than other options; that will lead to increased skin damage.
  4. Protect yourself when you go outside.Harmful rays can damage your skin over time, so you should try to protect your skin instead of tanning. Put on a sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) before you go out. Also, try to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. You can also cover up using long sleeves and provide shade for yourself with an umbrella.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I use any type of tanning lotion, or is a specific brand best?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    There is very little difference between different brands of tanning lotion, and you will likely see the same results no matter which brand you choose.
  • Question
    Can one still tan using a sunscreen?
    Community Answer
    Yes. Using sun screen is the healthiest way to tan without worrying about sun damage. Use at least SPF 10 for a gradual, but noticeable, tan.
  • Question
    I heard that eating tomatoes and carrots can make you naturally tan, is this true?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, eating carrots and tomatoes will make you a natural tan.
  • Question
    Is it best to moisturize before going in the tanning bed or after?
    Community Answer
    Actually both. Moisturizing before helps the rays from doing damage. Moisturizing after helps your skin to stay soft.
  • Question
    What SPF number should I use in Africa?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It depends on where in Africa you are, your skin type and how much of a base tan you already have.
  • Question
    How long am supposed to stay on one side and turn to the other?
    Community Answer
    You should stay on one side at least an hour and alternate every hour. Be careful to not overdo it.
  • Question
    What makes you tan faster?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use sunscreen with a low SPF, such as SPF 10 or SPF 15, and head outside for a few hours, preferably between 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its strongest. Remember to reapply the sunscreen often. For more information, read How to Get Get Tanned Fast.
  • Question
    How can I get a darker tan?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
  • Question
    Can I still get a tan with SPF 30?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can still get a tan with SPF 30, but it will take longer than with SPF 15. For example, if you put on SPF 15 on one arm and SPF 30 on the other, the first arm will be darker by the end of the day.
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Quick Summary

To tan safely, try a professional spray tan or a home tanning lotion, both of which are safe for your skin. Although a tanning bed exposes you to harmful UVA rays, you can take some safety precautions, like using goggles over your eyes and limiting the amount of time you spend in the tanning bed. Finally, instead of tanning, focus on protecting your skin by putting on a SPF 30 or higher sunscreen before going outside, staying out of the sun between 10am and 4pm, and covering up with long sleeves or an umbrella.

Did this summary help you?
  • If you are going to tan, make sure you see a dermatologist once a year to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer.
  • While you can get vitamin D by spending time in the sun, taking a supplement is a better, safer option.


  • You are at increased risk for skin damage when you are at higher altitudes or closer to the equator.

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Date: 01.12.2018, 08:19 / Views: 61555