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Tanning Bed Lotions - A Basic Guide

Updated on April 7, 2010

Indoor tanning is one of the best ways to stay nice and dark throughout the long winter season.  Commercial tanning salons are a plenty so doing so is fairly easy.  You've probably seen these establishments in your town.  They usually have funny names like Fabutan or Quicktan and basically consist of a bunch of sun tanning beds in multiple rooms.  Users pay the establishment a bit of money(around $40) to rent these beds for 20 minutes or so.  You can't just jump into one of these sunbeds without protection though.  Users must wear special eye protection and also cover their entire body's with a tanning bed lotion.

A Typical Tanning Bed Lotion
A Typical Tanning Bed Lotion

Now this article isn't about the health risks associated with this practice.  I know that there is very damning evidence supporting the fact that indoor tanning causes skin cancer.  If you're thinking about tanning, make sure you do a lot of research before hitting the sunbed.  There is a ton of great info online about both the risks and benefits associated with tanning.  Talk to your doctor as well.  Chances are he or she can shed some light on this practice.

What To Look For In A Tanning Bed Lotion

There are a ton of different tanning bed lotions on the market. They're available at the tanning salons mentioned above and online as well.  As with many things, you can often find better deals if you source out what you're looking for on the Internet.  Check out Amazon for a full selection of tanning lotions including Swedish Beauty, Hemporer, Brown Sugar and Designer Luminary.

All these products are quite similar though.  Here's what you can expect as far as ingredients are concerned when it comes to a typical indoor tanning lotion.


Tyrosine is a type of amino acid found in pretty much every tanning lotion on the market.  If you can recall from biology class, an amino acid is responsible for stimulating production of various substances.  In the case of tyrosine, it helps to bring melanin that's deep in the skin to the surface.  This is the stuff that's responsible for the browning effect we all love.

Vitamin E

This is another ingredient that makes up indoor tanning lotions.  It's an antioxidant and helps to prevent wrinkles.  Because rapid aging and wrinkling is sometimes a result of exposure to UV rays, vitamin E is a must if you're looking for a good tanning lotion.


Copper you say!?  This isn't necessarily found in all the lotions out there.  It is becoming more popular though.  Testing results don't really support it but copper is supposed to help provide more of an even tan.  If you have problems with blotching inconsistent tans, you may want to source out a tanning bed lotion that has a bit of copper in it.


This is an absolute must.  In fact, I've never seen a tanning lotion that doesn't have a moisturizing element in it.  Obviously, this ingredient serves to keep the skin from drying up.  There is nothing worse for your skin than tanning when you're dry.  A moisturizer helps to prevent skin from cracking under the heat of the tanning bed lamps.  It also helps the lotion go on smoothly and easily.


Depending on your specific needs, a tanning lotion can contain a number of different ingredients.  For example, there are specific lotions for people with fair skin, dark skin, sensitive skin etc.  Bronzers are also available if you want to be extra dark.  The only way to find a lotion that works for you is to try a few different ones.  It won't be long before you've got the perfect one!


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