Tanning Tips and Tricks




Tanning Beds Vs. Spray on Tans

  • Lay Down Tanning Bed
There are two main ways to tan indoors: Regular tanning beds that use bulbs to emulate the sun's natural UV A and UV B rays and spray on tans. The picture to the right is a lay down tanning bed. As you can see, the bed is on and the bulbs are glowing. This is the most popular form of indoor tanning by far. The benefit of this type of tanning is you get a "real" tan. Your tan is the same as if you went outside and will not wash off in the shower or bath. There are two popular forms of spray on tans. The most popular is the world famous Mystic Tan and an up and coming alternative is the airbrush tan which someone will actually spray on your skin. Both of these spray on tans work the same. You get sprayed with a substance that darkens your skin. After you let it sit a few hours, the substance sticks to your skin and will keep you nice and tan for up to a week or so. I personally prefer the regular tanning bed experience because it does not involve placing "barrier cream" on my toes and fingers and having to wait around for hours feeling dirty before I can take a shower and feel clean again. Regular tanning beds are just so much easier in my opinion. One thing that I have done a few times is follow up a regular tanning session with a Mystic tan to get added tan before an important event.

Stand Up Tanning Bed

Let's discuss regular tanning beds in more detail. There are a few different flavors. The first choice you need to make is lay down versus stand up. The image to the right shows a sample stand up tanning bed. The benefit of the stand up variety is you get a more even tan around your whole body since your skin is not pressed against any plexiglass. You get a nice even tan all around. The downside of the stand up tan is you need to, well, stand up. Tanning is supposed to be relaxing and I don't really enjoy standing up the whole time. The main benefit of the lay down tanning bed is you get to lay down and sleep during your session. Also, there are ways to avoid an uneven tan. The most important pointer is to make sure to shift your weight every few minutes. If you stay in the exact same position the whole time, you will get some lines on your body, although they are not really a big deal at all. If you move, you will avoid this issue altogether. Also, you can always flip over onto your stomach one time and then your back the next session to make sure both sides get an intense tan. The next choice is the power of your bed. There are really two options: high powered and low powered. In my experience, high powered is always the way to go because high powered also means high quality High powered beds are the ones made with the best components and are least likely to give you a sunburn if used correctly.

Tanning Salon Safety Tips

Your skin is a very important, don't abuse it. The easiest thing to do when you first start tanning is to get carried away. Don't do it, take your time. There is no rush and you will get a nice tan if you follow a slow paced program. Most tanning beds have the instructions printed on the side. Follow the instructions to the letter. The first few weeks, you may only go in the bed for 2 minutes a session. I know, it's no fun paying $10-$20 dollars to only go in the bed for 2 minutes but this is so much better than getting a burn. Once you are up to the full time (usually after 8-10 weeks), you will be so happy you took your time. My experience with tanning too long too soon: You will look just fine when you leave the salon. You will even look fine a few hours later. However, later in the evening you will get really red. It's not fun at all and then you regret going too long but it's too late. If this does happen to you, don't freak out. It happens to most tanners. Just make sure to learn from your mistake and apply moisturizer all over your body until the redness goes away. Your second important safety tip: Always wear eye protection. Most salons these days provide eye protection complimentary. Keep it on at all times. As an added precaution, keep your eyes closed while wearing the goggles for maximum protection. My third tip: The sanitizers used on beds may cause a skin reaction. One time I got redness not from the tan but from the sanitizer used on the bed. How did I know? I asked the salon owner and he said they recently started testing a new sanitizer. Upon hearing my problem, he immediately went back to the old solution. Also, my skin irritation went away after a few hours. The moral? Find a salon you like and stick with it. You will minimize the risk of this type of thing by sticking with what you know.

Should I Wear A Swimsuit?

My personal preference is yes. You are inches away from very high powered bulbs. Certain areas of your body are not meant to be exposed to sun and it's not worth the risk. Nobody wants tan lines and it's easy to minimize them. Instead of wearing a swimsuit you could cover sensitive areas with a small towel. Or, you could get an extremely minimal swimsuit like the ones sold at Skinz Wear.

Should I Use Lotion?

Lotion is always a great idea because it will keep your skin moisturized and maximize your tan. It actually grabs hold of the UV rays so they have more impact on your skin. The only downside of the lotion is you leave the salon a little greasy. The key here is to experiment with some of the smaller sample size bottles that your salon will have at the front desk for a small fee. Find the one that works best for you. Also, always remember there is a difference between indoor and outdoor lotions. For indoor purposes, make sure to use an indoor tanning lotion.

When Should I Use Sunless?

I believe in what I like to call the "tanning lifecycle". You can't stay tan all the time forever. It's not healthy for your skin. Rather, your tanning lifecycle will have peaks and valleys. If you are giving your body a rest from the UV rays but still want to be tan, this is the perfect time to take advantage of sunless tanning. Also, if you are concerned about UV exposure and have fair skin, sunless may be the best bet for you. My motto: Sunless tanning is most definitely better than no tanning.

I hope this guide has helped out the beginners out there. Remember, tanning is fun. Don't be shy and give it a shot. Make sure to read the rest of the articles on this site so you can become a pro.
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