Tanning Safety Tips

Read these 27 Tanning Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Tanning Beds tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Do I need to wear eye protection when tanning?

Eye Protection While Tanning

You should always wear goggles over your eyes when tanning in a tanning bed. The Food and Drug Administration make wearing eye protection mandatory and will ask to see your protection before allowing you in the bed.

The good news salons will offer, either for free or sale, various forms of eye protection. Tanning salons also often offer various designs so you can choose the type you want. Many people don't like wearing goggles with an elastic band because they cause tan lines. The goggles without an elastic are fine for when laying down in a bed, though some people are still bothered by the tan line that could appear across their noses. An option to remedy this is the globe shaped goggles, which are two separate cup shaped lenses that you place over your eyes, eliminating all chance of tan lines.

Beware of salons that claim their beds are so innovative that you don't need eye protection. Also, closing your eyes, wearing sunglasses, or placing cotton balls over your eyes should never be substituted for tanning bed eye protection.


Setting a Timer

If you own a salon and are purchasing a commercial tanning bed, try your best to buy one with the best automatic timer system possible. There are many innovative commercial tanning beds that have accurate and guaranteed timer systems. Also, as an employee at a tanning salon, make your best effort to pay attention to who is in each booth and at what time they entered.

Should I ask my doctor before using a tanning bed?

Medical Opinion Before Tanning

It is always a good idea to get a medical opinion from your doctor before using a tanning bed. There are many conditions that could be adversely affected by tanning, so you should make sure you are all clear to avoid some potential problems.

Conditions like lupus, diabetes, and herpes can worsen with the use of a tanning bed. Your doctor may also be able to give you advice on how often you should be tanning and for how long. However, it is likely that your doctor will recommend that you do not tan at all. Talking with him or her about potential problems that tanning can lead to is never a bad idea.

Many tanning salons will also make you sign a waiver stating that you know of the risks before you are allowed to use the tanning beds.


Maximum Exposure Times

Don't be fooled into thinking that tanning beds with longer maximum exposure times will allow you to get more tan. As a general rule, the higher the maximum exposure time, the lower the power of the tanning bed. So, if you want to save time when tanning, choose a tanning bed with a higher power and a lower maximum exposure time.

Do tanning beds need to be sanitized?

Sanitizing Tanning Beds

After a tanning bed has been used, it will most likely be covered with bacteria and sweat. You do not want to lie in the mess that another customer has left behind. Tanning bed salon employees will go into the room and sanitize the beds after each customer. They should also sterilize the beds first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.

However, even if the employees of the salon do sanitize the bed, they may not do a good job, or you may want the bed cleaned more thoroughly. This is why many salons also leave a bottle of sanitizer in each room with a bed. They should provide you with access to as many towels as you need. If you do not see any disinfectant in the room, you should ask the salon employees if you can use some. Wipe down the bed completely, before and after you use it.

If you are using eye protection that you are borrowing from the salon, you should also make certain that it has been sanitized.

What are some safety tips for tanning equipment?

Tanning Bed Safety

Are tanning beds safe? If you enjoy tanning salons, safety during the tanning process is probably something you've heard about. Tanning safety is important, so here is some advice from a tanning bed retailer:

  • Salons should keep you informed about wattage for each booth. If you are an experienced tanner, make sure that tanning bed lamps are equipped with new bulbs. New bulbs are stronger and can cause burns if you have fair skin.
  • Tanning booths should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. If you think your booth is not clean, find an attendant to deal with the problem. If you don't feel satisfied, contact your local health department.
  • Salons are required by law to offer eye protection. It's best to purchase your own goggles to avoid infectious diseases. Do not tan without goggles.
  • All tanning booths should be equipped with a safety power shut-off feature. Know where the switch is located before beginning your session.
  • If you begin to feel dizzy, weak, burned, or sick, stop tanning immediately.
  • If you have a facial tanner, tanning booth, or canopy tanning bed at home, remember that you are using an electrical appliance. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's warnings and safety recommendations for any home appliance.

What is a maximum exposure time?

Maximum Exposure Times

It's always important to follow the rules for maximum exposure time when you are tanning. If you are tanning at a salon, they will usually have regulations and will tell you the maximum amount of time you can stay in a bed. However, if you are tanning in your own bed, it is also very vital that you don't stay in it longer than you are instructed to. You can find maximum exposure time listed on the tanning bed itself.

What is good advice on tanning safety?

Tanning Bed Safety from the FDA

Are tanning beds safe for your skin? The safety of tanning beds depends on your willingness to take precautions. If you have any tanning bed safety concerns, read these tips from the United States Food and Drug Administration:

  • Indoor tanning salon safety is important. Burns from tanning bed lamps can lead to melanoma.
  • Wear goggles that fit securely. Be sure goggles are not broken or cracked.
  • Build your tan slowly, over time.
  • During your first tanning bed session, do not stay in for the whole session to avoid burns.
  • Only tan once per week for tanning bed safety. A tan or burn can take six to 48 hours to appear on your skin.

How can I stay as safe as possible when tanning?

Keep Up To Date on the Tanning Industry

You should always be on the lookout for new regulations, guidelines, and safety facts when you if you are using tanning beds. Staying up to date on the important issues is the only way to know what's going on and to make sure you are on top of things, reducing your level of danger.

Whether news has come out about a new type of eye protection or a new medication that causes photosensitivity, if you're paying attention to the industry, you will be informed. Since people in the medical field are constantly searching for evidence of the effects of tanning, news is often released.

Should I tan in the nude?

Tanning in the Nude

Indoor tanning allows for privacy. People tan in the nude to avoid tan lines. Your normally unexposed skin may be sensitive. These parts must acquire a tan slowly.

Cut down the exposure time on normally unexposed areas to 1/3 or less of the total time recommended by your tanning professional. When you can't see any tan lines on your body at all, it's safe to expose that skin the same length of time as the rest of your body.

Follow all tanning salon regulations, as some may not allow nude tanning.

How is indoor tanning regulated?

Indoor Tanning Regulation

The Food and Drug Administration and regulations in your State determine exposure times in a tanning bed. They determine an exposure schedule based on the intensity of each individual model of sunlamp and equipment.

Consult your tanning equipment manufacturer before deciding on an exposure time. They can help you take your skin type and tanning history into consideration. Most tanning regulation rules are designed for your safety. Keep this in mind when trying to determine your tanning time.

Will my medication be affected by tanning?

Medications that May Cause Complications When Tanning

There are many medications that can have negative reactions if you use a tanning bed while on them. The medications may cause photosensitivity, which means you will have an increased sensitivity to UV light. Medications that may induce photosensitivity include some birth controls, antihistamines, and many more.

You should be aware of what medications you are taking and whether or not they will be affected by a tanning bed. Salons should also post a list of medications that cause photosensitivity so that you can double check before getting into a tanning bed.

Is tanning safe?

Tanning Safety vs. Risk

Throughout history, people sought the golden glow of a suntan as a symbol of wealth, beauty, power, and knowledge. Over the past forty years, a debate has been brewing over the safety of tanning. They want to determine whether tanning outdoors or indoors using a tanning bed. Proponents of tanning say that, in moderation, tanning lends a sense of well-being and actually provides relief from certain health conditions. Detractors warn that tanning leads to skin cancer and, possibly, death.

The truth is that both sides are right. Done right, tanning, or exposing yourself to UV-A and UV-B light, can provide cosmetic benefits to most people and health benefits to some with specific health conditions. Done wrong, tanning can lead to skin damage ranging from sunburn to skin cancer. The key to tanning safely is knowing your skin type and controlling your exposure to UV-A and UV-B.

How long should I tan?

Tanning Session Duration

There is no set amount of time that a person should tan. When tanning indoors, the duration of your indoor tanning session depends on your skin type, how long you've been tanning, and the whether you are using a home tanning bed or tanning canopy, or a commercial tanning bed or booth.

To tan properly, you should set a tanning schedule with the help of the tanning salon attendant. If you are using a home tanning bed, you should follow the manufacturer's recommendations included in the owner's manual. If you are new to tanning, remember, less is best. Tanning time could be as little as five minutes for your first attempt.

Who shouldn't tan?

Who Shouldn't Tan

While this may seem like a silly question, the truth is that not everybody should tan. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration together with the American Academy of Dermatology have developed a skin type chart that includes six distinct skin types. The skin types are based on the degree of sun-sensitivity and skin tone. P

eople with skin types I and II are the lightest skinned, most sun-sensitive types. According to the FDA and AAD, these people should avoid outdoor tanning. Even indoor tanning, with its timed exposure in a controlled setting, is probably something that should be avoided for skin types I and II.

Anyone who continues to be exposed outdoors normally for work or play should consider that they probably don't need to spend extra time outdoors or in a tanning booth to tan.

Also, anyone taking medication should consult with their physician to see if tanning is okay. Some medications increase sun-sensitivity so that someone who would otherwise tan might receive a nasty burn. There are other medical conditions that put people at risk for developing complications from tanning. If you have any doubt, ask your doctor.

Can I tan while I'm pregnant?

Tanning While Pregnant

It is highly recommended that you stay away from tanning beds when you are pregnant. While the ultraviolet rays may not be any more harmful to you, they can be extremely harmful to your unborn baby.

First of all, raising your body temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit when pregnant can harm the unborn child. When pregnant, it is also not a good idea to lie on your back for long periods of time as this can decrease blood flow to the heart, which can also affect the baby.

When tanning, splotching on the skin that sometimes occurs while pregnant may worsen.

The bottom line is that you should stay away from tanning beds while pregnant.

Is indoor tanning safe if you have a known medical condition?

Tanning with a Known Medical Condition

Many people with certain medical conditions can tan indoors safely. However, it is not recommended for people with medical conditions that are affected by UV rays or sunlight.

If you have a known medical condition and wish to begin tanning using either a home tanning bed, tanning lamp, or at tanning salons, consult your doctor. Make sure that your condition or the medications are safe for being under the sun or UV rays. A doctor may even encourage getting regular sun or tanning in a tanning bed for some conditions.

Some medications for conditions may contain a photosensitizing agent. If this is the case, you should avoid sunlight or tanning.

Can tanning prevent sunburn?

Tanning Bed Lamps

The photobiology research community determines that most skin cancers are related to a strong pattern of intermittent exposure to ultraviolet light. Those people genetically predispose to skin cancer. It is not from exposure alone.

Heredity and a pattern of repeated sunburning is what causes skin cancer, not tanning. To prevent from burning yet to still enjoy the benefits of the sun, which everyone needs, indoor tanning offers a safe alternative. It is also good to tan as it helps the skin to prevent the risks of skin cancer. That kind of prevention is exactly what the indoor tanning industry is doing effectively. Safe exposure to UV rays through tanning bed lamps and indoor tanning beds avoid the intermittent exposure. Tanning beds allow you additional control to prevent sunburn!


When Not to Tan

You should not tan if you have any of the following conditions:

·If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, tanning may not be recommended. You may need to consult a doctor before being exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

·If you have tanned previously in less than 24 hours. Wait at least 24-48 hours before tanning again.

·If you are on certain types of medications, do not tan without talking to your doctor. Certain medicines are photosensitive and can cause you to burn or have unpredictable skin discolorations. Medication lists are available for you to review at each of our locations. If uncertain you should always ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Even when it is okay, it may be best to use tanning beds at a tanning salon. This helps regulate how much UV light you get.

Why is it important to develop a base tan?

Developing a Base Tan

Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its tanned appearance. Melanin is produced by melanocytes, cells that are found in the inner layer of skin called the dermis. The melanocytes' production of melanin is triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light. Too much exposure to ultraviolet light by the dermis could result in long-term skin damage.

That's where the melanin comes in. Gradual exposure to ultraviolet light results in progressive production of melanin. The melanin then acts as a filter by absorbing some of the ultraviolet light and preventing it from reaching the dermis. This prevents burning and longer-term skin damage that may not be apparent until years later.

Having a base tan helps the skin to prevent burning from additional exposure to the sun or UV rays. A good way to develop a base tan is to use an indoor tanning bed on a gradual exposure schedule.

How do I minimize risk when tanning?

Minimizing Tanning Risks

Tanning in a professional facility today minimizes risk of getting sunburns. This is because the government regulates commercial tanning salons in the United States and in most Canadian provinces.

In the United States, exposure times for every tanning session are derived from a schedule present on every piece of equipment that takes into account the tanner's skin type and the intensity of the equipment. An attendant is always available with knowledge about tanning and how to use the tanning bed.

Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the schedule also takes into account how long an individual has been tanning, increasing exposure times gradually to minimize the possibility of burning. That kind of control is impossible outdoors, where variables including seasonality, time of day, weather conditions, reflective surfaces and altitude. Those factors make outdoor tanning a random act and sunburn prevention more difficult.

To truly regulate a tan, short regular intervals in a tanning bed works best.

How can I make sure I am not in the tanning bed for too long?

Setting a Timer

You should always have a timer connected to your tanning bed in order to make sure the bed automatically shuts off when your tanning session is complete. It is also a good idea to have a back-up timer in case the first one malfunctions. If you are to fall asleep in the tanning bed, there could be catastrophic results if the bed does not shut off after the regulated amount of time.

If you are using a tanning bed at a salon, you should set your own personal alarm on a watch or a cell phone in case your bed does not turn off and the salon's employees do not realize you're still in there.

It is also smart for you to play some music or a book on tape in the background to deter you from completely falling asleep in the bed.

Is indoor tanning safe for people with lupus?

Tanning & Lupus

Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease. This means the body turns on itself, the same thing it is supposed to be protecting. There is no known cure for Lupus.

One of the conditions with Lupus is sensitivity to sunlight. If you know you have lupus, you should not use tanning beds or tan out in the sun. A tanning bed emits the same UV rays that the sun emits. If you have lupus, don't use a tanning bed unless you have permission from your doctor.

Always consult a doctor if you are unclear about whether you can or cannot tan.

What are photosensitizing agents?

Understanding Photosensitivity

Photosensitizing agents include anything that can increase your sensitivity to ultraviolet light. There are medications, allergies, diseases, creams, lotions, and other cosmetics that can act as a photosensitizing agent. Using any of these products that has a photosensitizing agent may hurt you or damage your skin in conjunction with UV light emitters. This could be from the sun or tanning beds.

Photosensitizing agents increase your risk of burning when exposed to ultraviolet light. If you are concerned that some of your medications could contain a photosensitizing agent, contact your doctor and avoid tanning or being out in the sun too long.

How do I determine my skin type?

Determining Skin Type

Knowing your skin type is the most important thing you can do to ensure a healthy tan. If you are visiting an indoor tanning salon, the salon attendant should be able to help you determine your skin type using a chart developed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration together with the American Academy of Dermatology.

The chart, which includes six categories, is simple to use and gives examples. If you don't have access to a tanning salon attendant, you can find the chart by visiting the American Academy of Dermatology's Web site (www.aad.org) and searching for skin type.

Who should tan?

Who Should Tan Delete

You should consider tanning if you spend most of your time indoors. It is best to get some sun two to three times a week if you can. Just the five minutes you spend in the sun going to and from your car is not enough.

If you find you are not getting enough sun, try visiting a tanning salon on a regular basis. Regular tanning bed sessions can make you feel better and look better. Getting UV rays on a regular basis gives you a healthy complexion and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your muscles and you nerves work like they should.

Risks of tanning?

Tanning Risks

Whether you tan at an indoor tanning salon using a commercial tanning bed or indoor tanning booth or you tan outside, there are risks that you should be aware of. Ultraviolet A (UV-A) light penetrates the deepest skin layers. Too much exposure may promote premature aging, including dry skin and wrinkles. Ultraviolet B (UV-B) light affects the outermost surfaces of the skin and is most responsible for generating a tan.

As with UV-A, UV-B to excess can result in skin damage -- sunburn. Due to environmental damage to the ozone layer, more and more UV-A and UV-B rays are penetrating the atmosphere and reaching the Earth's surface. This makes controlled outdoor exposure difficult. Home tanning beds and commercial tanning beds both emit UV-A and UV-B light in a more controlled fashion. People becoming educated about proper tanning techniques minimize the risks. By tanning you can further prevent sunburns and problems with the skin.

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Sheri Ann Richerson