Throughout much of human history, fair skin has been coveted. The reasons why are varied and incredibly complicated, tying into everything from colonialism to classism. However, tan skin is now considered fashionable, and this has been true in many countries since the 1920s. Because of this, you might be interested in darker skin for yourself, which means you need the best indoor tanning lotion for you.
Why indoor tanning? Mainly because it is more convenient than outdoor tanning in most cases and it gives you greater control over the process. So to help, let’s take a look at things you need to know before tanning indoors and some great indoor tanning lotions you can try.
- 1 How Does Indoor Tanning Work?
- 2 What Are Some Reasons to Consider Indoor Tanning?
- 3 What Is Indoor Tanning Lotion?
- 4 Why Can’t I Just Use Sunblock?
- 5 What Are the Benefits of Indoor Tanning Lotion?
- 6 Types of Indoor Tanning Lotions
- 7 How to Use Indoor Tanning Lotion
- 8 What Is Your Skin Type for Tanning?
- 9 Tips for Getting the Perfect Indoor Tan
- 10 Can Indoor Tanning Cause Cancer?
- 11 Top 10 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions Reviews 2017 – Comparison table
- 12 Best Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews
- 13 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions for Fair and Sensitive Skin
- 14 Up Your Tanning Game with Indoor Tanning Accessories
- 15 Choosing the Right Type of Tanning Bed
- 16 How to Tan Outdoors
- 17 Final Words
How Does Indoor Tanning Work?
Indoor tanning works by mimicking the aspects of the sun’s rays that tan skin. Tanning beds use special bulbs to emit ultraviolet radiation, which activates the melanin in the skin, darkening it over time. Tanning beds have been around since the 1920s, but they did not become popular until the 1970s; until then, tanning was mainly done outdoors during the summer months or in areas where the weather is warm all year round. Indoor tanning is practiced by individuals in all demographics, but it is most popular amongst women between the ages of 16 and 25.
What Are Some Reasons to Consider Indoor Tanning?
We often hear about protecting ourselves from the rays of the sun, so you might be wondering if indoor tanning is a good idea. While there are cons to anything you do, it is important to consider the benefits of indoor tanning. Among these benefits are:
- The lights in tanning beds increase vitamin D levels
- UV rays have been linked to improved mental health
- When you look better, you feel better
- Having a base tan makes it less likely you will burn when exposed to the sun
- The drying effect of UV lights can reduce severe acne
While these are all benefits you can experience from tanning outdoors as well, this is not possible in all cases.
What Is Indoor Tanning Lotion?
Indoor tanning lotion is a product you massage into the skin before using an indoor tanning bed or booth in order to accelerate the tanning process and moisturize the skin. The exact way the lotion works varies from product to product. Some of the ingredients commonly found in these lotions include:
- Tea tree oil
- Green tea
Indoor tanning lotions differ from outdoor tanning lotions in a few ways. First of all, they generally do not have SPF protection. Second of all, they use ingredients designed not to build up on or damage the surfaces of tanning beds. Because of this, it is vital that you use indoor tanning lotions when tanning indoors.
Why Can’t I Just Use Sunblock?
Technically, you can use sunblock when tanning indoors. However, that is counterintuitive. The UV rays blocked by sunblock are the same ones that help you tan. If you are concerned about more sensitive areas of your skin burning, you could use sunscreen only on these places. Another option is to use an indoor tanning lotion that has a low SPF sunscreen mixed into it. Finally, you could use regular sunscreen and just spend more time in the tanning bed. However, some tanning salons do not allow sunscreen or tanning lotions with SPF because they can build up on the beds.
What Are the Benefits of Indoor Tanning Lotion?
The exact benefits of using an indoor tanning lotion will vary depending on the lotion you purchase. However, there are some general benefits offered by most indoor tanning lotions when applied before tanning.
- Moisturized Skin: The rays used in tanning beds dry the skin, so an indoor tanning lotion will lock moisture in, keeping your skin healthy and improving your tan.
- Faster Results: Many indoor tanning lotions are designed to accelerate your tan.
- Increased Longevity: Moisturized skin and skin that has a deeper tan will hold color longer.
- Softer Skin: Indoor tanning lotions are designed to provide nutrients and vitamins that soften the skin.
- Odor Elimination: Because bacteria lives on our skin, tanning indoors will cause it to heat up; when this happens, an odor is produced, but the anti-bacterial properties of many lotions eliminates it.
However, as is the case with any product, it is possible you will have a bad reaction to your indoor tanning lotion. Be sure to patch test the product at least 24 hours before you intend to use it to tan so you know if it works safely for you.
Types of Indoor Tanning Lotions
Not every indoor tanning lotion is created equal. In fact, there are so many different types and combinations that shopping for the best indoor tanning lotion can feel pretty overwhelming. To simplify your shopping process, let’s go over the various types of tanning lotions you can purchase.
- Accelerators: Tanning lotions marked as accelerators are designed to help people just getting started with tanning develop their base tan.
- Maximizers: Tannins lotions marked as maximizers are for those who already have their base tan and want to deepen it.
- Tingle: Tingle lotions are usually also maximizer lotions; they contained chemicals that increase blood flow within the skin, allowing the skin to repair faster and tan faster.
- Body Blush: Lotions marked as body blush produce the same effect as tingle lotions but with a different sensation, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin.
- Bronzers: Bronzers are usually combined with either accelerators or maximizers. These are self-tanners that make the skin artificially darker while your actual skin darkens underneath.
- Anti-Aging: Anti-aging lotions can be accelerators or maximizers and can be combined with tingle, body blush, bronzers, and pretty much any other type of indoor tanning lotion. They have vitamins that fight signs of aging.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can be added to pretty much any other type of lotion to reduce puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
- Tattoo Protection: Exposure to UV rays will fade tattoos, causing them to look old and less vibrant. If you have tattoos, you will want to use a tanning lotion that protects them.
Because tanning lotions tend to come as combination products, it is easy to find a lotion that offers exactly what you need.
How to Use Indoor Tanning Lotion
While there are various steps needed to get the best results from indoor tanning, the most important is applying your lotion correctly. If you want to achieve the best results, there are three different lotions you will need, which should be applied as follows:
- Apply a pre-tanning lotion in the morning. This will exfoliate, smooth, and moisturize the skin. Try to apply this at least an hour before you are going to tan so it can soak into the skin properly
- Before getting into the tanning bed, apply an indoor tanning lotion. Make certain you apply this evenly, using applicators to access harder-to-reach spots on your back. Follow the instructions on the bottle in regards to how much to use and how long to wait before getting into the tanning bed or booth.
- Once done, use an after-tanning lotion. This lotion is focused on hydrating the skin to both minimize peeling and flaking and also keep your tan healthy and even. Lotions containing aloe vera are good for drawing out the heat at the end of the session.
What Is Your Skin Type for Tanning?
How you approach indoor tanning will depend on the type of skin you have. Most tanning salons will classify you as having one of six different skin types. Based on your skin type, they will recommend how often you tan and how long you tan for during each session, as well as the products you might want to use in addition to your indoor tanning lotion of choice. Below are the six different skin types.
- Skin Type One: This type of skin cannot tan, only burns, and is very sensitive to UV rays. Most salons will not allow people with this skin type to tan with them for their own safety.
- Skin Type Two: This type of skin burns easily but can also achieve a light tan. Because of this, indoor tanning is an option, but it should be done gradually and will achieve a light result.
- Skin Type Three: This type of skin is considered average. It can burn, but tans well under the right conditions and with the right approach, achieving a light to moderate tan.
- Skin Type Four: This type of skin is tolerant of UV rays, so it does not burn easily. It will tan quickly both indoors and outside, achieving a moderate tan.
- Skin Type Five: This type of skin is highly tolerant of UV rays and is present on those with dark skin and dark features. Burns only occur in extreme situations and a dark tan can be achieved.
- Skin Type Six: This type of skin is extremely tolerant of UV rays. It is naturally very dark, and because of this, tanning will result in minimal change to the color of the skin. People with this type of skin tan for reasons other than color.
Check this Quiz if you’re not sure your skin type.
Tips for Getting the Perfect Indoor Tan
Once you know the type of skin you have, you should be able to work with the professionals at the salon of your choice to determine your ideal tanning schedule. It is important to stick to this schedule in order to gradually increase your tan safely.
Once you have a base tan, you can speak with the professionals at your salon once again to find out about lengthening your sessions or increasing the frequency of your visits. Most of the time you will start out with five-minute sessions and reach a maximum of 15-minute sessions once you have fully developed your tan. However, you should always follow the guidelines put forth by the salon as they know their equipment best.
Even when your skin has achieved the color you want, you should not visit more often than every 48 hours unless you have cleared this with both the staff at the salon and your doctor. At the same time, you should not go much longer than this between sessions as your tan can begin to fade.
Pay attention to the way your skin feels when you are tanning. If you feel any prickling or stinging, especially if you are not using a tingle lotion, get out of the bed immediately and pay close attention to your skin after. You may need to treat your skin for burns.
Do not wear jewelry in the tanning bed or booth. First of all, it will cause you to have uneven tan lines, interfering with the look you are going for. Second of all, depending on the type of jewelry, it can become hot in the bed or booth and burn the skin.
Also important to remove are eyeglasses and contact lenses. Glasses may seem obvious because they will give you odd tan lines, but contacts are an even bigger problem. UV rays can damage both glasses and contacts, and damaged contacts can harm your eyes.
In addition to removing eyeglasses and contacts, you must also wear eye protection while in the tanning bed. Many salons provide these free of charge to clients, either cleaning them between users or offering disposable options. However, many tanners like to bring their own each session.
Skip the makeup and perfume before tanning. These tend to make your skin more sensitive to light and can produce burns, rashes, blotches, and uneven tanning. Go in with nothing on your skin besides lotion.
Always exfoliate your skin prior to tanning. This helps to remove dead skin cells and allows the UV rays to darken your healthiest skin. As a result, you get a longer-lasting tan.
Be sure to think about your position in the bed or booth. Do not allow your chin to touch your chest, as this will create a white spot on the neck. Move your arms and legs a bit during each session to make certain all parts of your skin are able to tan evenly.
Can Indoor Tanning Cause Cancer?
We all know that too much exposure to the sun can cause cancer, but not everyone knows about the risks posed by tanning beds and booths. In fact, many people believe that they are completely safe alternatives to the sun. However, the truth is that when used improperly, tanning beds and booths also pose risks.
UV rays, which are created by the sun and by tanning beds, can cause skin cancer, as well as other things such as wrinkles, rashes, and dark spots. The risk of damage is greatest when tanning is done by those under 18 and when you fail to follow the guidelines of the salon. However, there is always some risk involved.
Does this mean that you should never tan? Not necessarily. So long as you follow the guidelines, prepare your skin, and are mindful of your skins limits, you should be able to improve the color and tone of your skin safely.
Top 10 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions Reviews 2017 – Comparison table
|#1 Millenium Tanning Insanely Black Ultra Dark Bronzer Tanning Lotion|
|#2 Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion|
|#3 Australian Gold Jwoww Black Bronzer Dark Tanning Lotion|
|#4 Designer Skin BombShell, 100XXBronzer|
|#5 Brown Sugar BLACK CHOCOLATE COCONUT CREAM 200X Bronzer|
|#6 Designer Skin Body Bronzer, Naked Ambition||Anti-aging|
|#7 Devoted Creations WOKE UP LIKE THIS Bronzing Lotion||Skin-firming, anti-aging|
|#8 Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer||Skin-firming, anti-aging|
|#9 Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion|
|#10 Supre Cherry Bomb Red Hot Dark Accelerator Tanning Lotion|
Best Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews
#1 Millenium Tanning Insanely Black Ultra Dark Bronzer Tanning Lotion
If you are looking to get a deep tan in as little time as possible, this lotion is a great place to start. It is designed to be used by those just getting started, as well as those looking to reach the point that they can transition from accelerator to maximizer. It has silicone emollient to soften the skin while also making it appear more youthful.
Because it has bronzer in it, it tends to work best once you have a slight base tan already, as it will then deepen its appearance. Most users notice a difference after just one use. Be careful with the application to avoid streaking.
#2 Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
If you have tattoos, you know that they are part of your identity, and also a big investment. As such, you want to take the steps to protect them and prevent them from fading. The UV lights in tanning beds can easily damage tattoos, but this lotion from Ed Hardy is specifically designed to protect them.
In addition to keeping your tattoos looking great, it has an incredible smell that you won’t mind wearing once outside the salon. It also helps to darken your skin without bronzers, which is pretty rare for indoor tanning lotions. It also has agents that help to firm the skin, prevent signs of aging, and even reduces the appearance of cellulite.
#3 Australian Gold Jwoww Black Bronzer Dark Tanning Lotion
If you have ever caught an episode of Jersey Shore, you know that its stars are all about tanning. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that several of them have gotten into the tanning lotion business. This lotion from JWoww is great for those who want a deep, dark tan in a hurry. In general, this product is only used by serious tanners, so if you just want a little color, it might be best to try another product.
In addition to helping the skin darken, it also is incredible at hydration. It is designed to blend easily, so you do not need much product per session. The berry scent is quite nice and still smells good once tanning is complete.
Tingle lotions are one of those things that you either love or hate; there really is no in between. If you happen to love them and like the most tingle possible, this is the lotion for you. It offers the most tingle of any lotion on the market, and as such, it delivers incredible tanning results.
Because of the extreme tingle it offers, it is best for those who are experienced tanners and have used lotions with a bit less tingle in the past. It is full of ingredients that nourish the skin and the smell stays pleasant after tanning. Many tanners use it to break their plateau when they cannot seem to get any darker.
#5 Brown Sugar BLACK CHOCOLATE COCONUT CREAM 200X Bronzer
If you love tanning lotions that pack a powerful scent, this is one to try. Its coconut cream scent is very long lasting and will transform your tanning bed into an island oasis. In addition to its incredible smell, it also has anti-aging nutrients as well as oil and silicone to keep your skin soft and supple.
Part of the appeal of this lotion is what it doesn’t have. There is no DHA, and no parabens, making it great for those with sensitive skin or who just prefer to keep things a bit more natural. You need to be careful about washing your hands after application to prevent streaking.
#6 Designer Skin Body Bronzer, Naked Ambition
If you are looking for a lotion that keeps things pretty natural while still achieving results, this is the lotion to try. It skips DHA, erythrulose, and parabens and uses shea butter instead. The results come slower than with lotions using artificial ingredients, but it is highly effective nonetheless.
The scent is pretty light and fades as you tan, so it is not overpowering. Many people with sensitive skin rely on this lotion for their tanning needs. However, even if you do not have sensitive skin, it is a great choice.
#7 Devoted Creations WOKE UP LIKE THIS Bronzing Lotion
This bronzer and tanning lotion is fairly new to the market, but it has been amazing quite the loyal fanbase. It does use DHA and parabens to achieve its results, but those results are stellar. From the very first use, you will notice a difference and the color will be even.
The company claims that the formula reduces both cellulite and wrinkles, making it a great addition to your beauty routine. Users like that it isn’t greasy on the skin and that the color does not streak. Another big plus is the scent, which is noticeable but not overwhelming.
#8 Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer
Just owning this lotion feels special, thanks to its beautiful packaging and design. This lotion has bronzer in it that is not as powerful as those found in other lotions, making it ideal for those seeking a subtler change. It isn’t greasy or sticky, so you don’t need to hit the shower as soon as your session is over.
This lotion is designed to fight signs of aging and free radicals, helping to keep your skin looking younger longer, also combating the damage that can be caused by tanning. The stardust inside the lotion gives your skin a luminosity that is noticeable, but not obvious. The scent is sandalwood, which is rather subtle, and is good for wearing throughout the day.
#9 Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion
While this may not be our top choice, it is the top choice of many, so much so that it is one of the most popular tanning lotions worldwide. It uses oils from native Australian plants to deliver an instant tan that only becomes richer over time. Its scent is the typical cocoa smell that many tanning lotions have, so you may want to shower before heading to work or out with friends.
While it is not all natural, most of the ingredients are, which makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin to try out. It has minimal alcohol, so it does not dry the skin. Finally, it is widely available, so if you decide it is the lotion for you, you will never struggle to find it.
#10 Supre Cherry Bomb Red Hot Dark Accelerator Tanning Lotion
Do the tingle lotions interest you, but you worry about them being too much? This tingle lotion is designed to be a gentle introduction. It will speed up your tan but the heat of the tingle will not burn.
The cherry vanilla smell is fun, but also strong, so once again, you might want to have a shower before going out. The redness produced by the lotion tends to last for about an hour. If you are worried about the strength of the tingle or redness produced, you can mix it half and half with a non-tingle lotion.
What if You Can’t Tan?
People who believe they cannot tan are generally those with type one or type two skin. Those with type one skin are correct: they cannot tan, at least not naturally. Those with type two skin actually can tan with the correct approach. We will take a look at some options that work for both skin types.
If you have type one skin, you might think that your only option is to live with your skin the color that it is. If you are happy with your fair skin, then this is the way to go. But if you truly want to have a tanner complexion, you can use self-tanners, also known as fake-bakes. There are options you can do at home or you can go to a salon for a spray-on tan in a booth.
If you have type two skin, there are a few things to keep in mind when you tan. First, you can use an indoor tanning lotion with a low-grade SPF to help prevent burning. Most tanning salons will not sell this to you because it causes buildup on the beds, but you can always buy it elsewhere and bring it with you. This may make your tanning process a bit slower, but it is better to tan slowly than burn quickly.
When you first get started with tanning, take it easy. Your salon will recommend a schedule for you, and your first sessions only need to be about 2-5 minutes long. As you go, you increase your sessions by about 1-2 minutes, allowing your skin to acclimate to the exposure to UV rays. You also should not go more than 2-3 days a week for tanning sessions.
Best Indoor Tanning Lotions for Fair and Sensitive Skin
As noted above, there are two different types of fair skin: type one and type two. Because these two types are very different, they require different lotions. These types of skin also tend to be quite sensitive, so the best lotions for them should also target sensitive skin. Below are the top three lotions for each type of skin.
|Lotions for Type One Skin|
|Beauty by Earth Dye-Free Natural Sunless Self Tanner for Bronzer and Golden Tan||Fake Bake Flawless||St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse|
|One of the major concerns with self-tanners is the presence of DHA, which this product does not have. It also moisturizes and exfoliates.||This option does use DHA, which may or may not be a concern for you. It is known for providing an even color that does not rub off during the day.||If you are looking for a tan that will last several days after application, this is the lotion for you. Purchase in a kit with the mitt needed for even application.|
|Lotions for Type Two Skin|
|New Sunshine Designer Skin Belle||Australian Gold, CHEEKY BROWN Accelerator Dark Natural Bronzers||Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR|
|This lotion is an accelerator, which means it helps to establish a base tan. For those with type two skin, this may be all you need.||This is another accelerator, which allows you to establish a base tan or keep that as your tan. It also has bronzers for more color.||Yet another accelerator, this one is designed to get darker results than the other two, making it ideal for those seeking dramatic results.|
Up Your Tanning Game with Indoor Tanning Accessories
So now that you know all about indoor tanning lotion, you might feel like you are ready to go. But not so fast; now you need to look at indoor tanning accessories. These items range from helpful to vital to the tanning process, so do not try to go without. Let’s take a look at the items you need for your tanning sessions.
Exfoliators: Part of prepping your skin for tanning is exfoliating it properly. You can do this with scrubs, brushes, or loofas. For a skin scrub you can use on your entire body that also smells delectable, try Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Mask.
Towels: You won’t want to use your usual towels since the indoor tanning lotion can stain them. Instead, buy some cheap towels that are just for tanning. Kaufman Sales Terry Beach Towel – 4 Pc Pack is great for this and comes in awesome colors.
Eyewear: UV lights can damage your eyes, so protective eyewear is a must. You can use those provided by the salon or bring your own. EVO FLEX Sunnies Flexible Tanning Bed Goggles are a great buy, and you can also look for disposable stickers if you prefer something smaller for your bag.
Lotion Applicators: To get the best results from your indoor tanning lotion, you need to apply it evenly, even in those hard-to-reach spots. For this, you need to use a lotion applicator. The Remedy Roll a Lotion Applicator both applies lotion and gives you a light massage.
Hair Caps: UV lights can dry out your hair and cause hair color to fade. In order to preserve the health of your hair, you need to wear a cap while tanning. Any shower cap, such as HiCollie 2 Pack Fashionable Women Waterproof Shower Bath Cap, will do.
Chapstick: The skin on your lips is very thin and extremely prone to damage. To prevent fine lines from forming or your skin from peeling, use a chapstick with SPF protection, such as Banana Boat Spf#50 Sport Lip Balm.
Nail Savers: Also prone to damage from UV rays are your nails. This is even more of a concern if you get your nails done on a regular basis, as you want to protect that investment. To do so, wear nails savers during each session. NAIL SAVERS brand is the best.
Nipple Covers: In addition to being prone to burn, many women do not want the color of their nipples to darken. To protect them, use nipple covers when tanning, such as TANNING TIPS Silicone Nipple Covers.
Choosing the Right Type of Tanning Bed
At most tanning salons, the staff will be able to help you select the right tanning bed for you. This is very helpful as every bed is different, and they know their equipment best. However, if you want to make an educated decision, it isn’t too difficult. Below are the differences to consider when selecting a tanning bed to use or purchase.
UVA or UVB Bulbs: UVA bulbs are gentler than UVB bulbs. This means they are safer for the skin and allow you to get a light tan without worrying about accidentally going too dark. If, however, you want to get dark quickly, UVB is best.
Open or Closed: For those who suffer from claustrophobia but still want to tan, a more open bed is ideal. These do not tan as quickly, but they prevent you from feeling trapped. Closed beds are in close contact with you and can feel confining, but if this does not bother you, will get the best results.
Bed or Booth: Perhaps you do not want to be directly touching the surface of the bed. In this case, the booth-style beds may be better for you. With these, you enter them standing up and stand in the middle with the door closed, allowing the booth to evenly tan your body.
How to Tan Outdoors
Maybe you feel indoor tanning isn’t right for you. Or perhaps you want a balance between the two, tanning outdoors in the warmer months and indoors when it gets cold. The approach you take to tanning outdoors is really quite similar to the approach you take when tanning indoors. To safely tan outdoors, complete the following steps.
- Exfoliate your skin so that your healthy skin is the top layer that is tanned by the sun. Do this gently so your skin is not irritated or inflamed.
- Wear sunscreen with at least 50 SPF. It may lessen the tan you get, but it will also lessen the burns, which is far more important.
- Limit your time to just 10-15 minutes at first, then increase as you go. You want your skin to build up its tolerance to the sun.
- Spend the same amount of time on your front and your back. You want to get as even of a tan as possible.
- Tan when the rays of the sun are the strongest so you can pack more tanning into a shorter amount of time. Go lay out between 10 and 2.
If you are looking for a tan that will last, indoor tanning lotion are key. However, there are many factors you must consider when purchasing the best one for you. Be sure to weigh your options and use them safely when you visit the tanning salon.