Tanning Process Tips

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How does using a tanning bed differ from tanning outdoors?

Tanning Beds Vs. Outdoor Tanning

The process of tanning in a tanning bed and tanning outdoors under the real sun is basically the same. The main difference is that a tanning bed will filter out UVC rays, which are generally believed to be the most harmful rays. Also, you can control how much sun you are getting when in a tanning booth whereas the strength and amount of ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun varies from day to day. Tanning booth salons also regulate how much time you are allowed to spend in the booth.

How does the tanning process work?

Tips for the Tanning Process

If you want to know how tanning works in a salon or home tanning bed, here are some tanning tips:

  • The tanning process works by Ultraviolet light acting as a catalyst to stimulate the production of melanin in the skin. The skin's outer layer, or epidermis, determines how much melanin your body will produce, depending on you skin type. When the skin is exposed to UV light, the melanin oxidizes (darkens), which is your body's way of protecting itself from UV overexposure.
  • Problems with tanning occur when the skin is overexposed to UV rays and the body cannot produce enough melanin to protect the skin.
  • To avoid overexposure, body tanning should be done gradually, with help from professionals in the tanning industry who know just how to help you get a safe tan.
  • Your tanning salon or retailer can provide a tanning 'plan' designed for your skin type.
  • There are products on the market, like tan accelerator, that can help you get a darker tan.
  • Exfoliate your skin before tanning to get rid of any dead or rough skin.
  • Always follow advice from your product manufacturer and do not exceed recommended tanning times.

Why aren't I getting any darker?

Reaching a Tanning Plateau

After using a tanning bed a number of times, you may notice that your skin doesn't seem to be getting any darker. This is known as a tanning plateau. Your skin reaches a tanning plateau because there is a limit as to how much melanin your skin will produce, especially because tanning bed salons regulate how much time you are allowed to lie in a bed. If you're unhappy with the plateau you've reached, you can try using a tanning lotion with an accelerator ingredient in it to deepen your tan even more.

What should I do to tan my face?

More Tanning Tips for the Tanning Process: Your Face

  • For facial tanning in salon or residential tanning beds, be sure to get information about your skin type from a professional to find the best way to approach the tanning process for your particular complexion.
  • Facial tanning can give you a healthy looking glow, but be aware of the effects of tanning beds and take precautions. You may need a much higher SPF product for your face, especially if you are: fair-skinned, prone to freckling, aging, if you have moles, or if you have had many burns from a history of tanning outdoors. Reapply sunscreen often to avoid burns.
  • Use moisturizer. Many tanning bed lotions have Vitamin E and tyrosine that help prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Don't forget the 'after tan' facial moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day.
  • If your tanning bed has a facial tanning option, only use it for a short amount of time during your first several sessions and gradually increase the time as you go.
  • Don't forget your lips - use SPF lip balm when tanning.
  • Always wear tanning goggles to protect your eyes from UV damage.
  • You have the potential to get a great, healthy looking tan, but always follow advice from professionals and protect your skin with SPF products and moisturizers.
Why does my tan fade?

Fading Tans

Your tan will begin to fade if you don't work to maintain it. One of the main causes of a fading tan is exfoliating. Your tan occurs in the upper layer of your skin known as the epidermis, and the epidermis naturally replaces itself about every 28 days. If you don't maintain your tan once you have a base, you will notice that it begins to fade after a couple of weeks. One you build your base tan, you should be able to maintain it by using a tanning bed one or two times a week.


How Long the Tanning Process Will Take

Tanning is the skin's natural defense mechanism and protection against burning due to exposure to ultraviolet light. Tanning beds are designed to concentrate levels of UVA light, in conjunction with UVB light. Exposure to this light on the skin's outermost layers stimulates the production of melanin, and the more melanin that is produced, the darker skin will turn. Tanning beds filter out UVC light, the most harmful type.

How long will it take for me to tan?

How Long the Tanning Process Will Take

The tanning process may take a while and should not be rushed due to the possibility of burning. When tanning in a tanning bed, you should always follow the guidelines for length of time you should be in the bed. After your first time tanning, you may not notice any difference in your skin's coloring. This is normal and it may take up to 48 hours for melanogenisis to begin. Each time you use a tanning bed, you can increase the length of time you spend tanning, but many businesses will not let you tan for more than 30 minutes in a bed, depending on the type of bed and strength of the lights. You should never tan more than once in a 24 hour time period, and it is generally recommended that you allow 48 hours to pass in between sessions in a tanning bed.

Is it good to burn before I tan?

Burning Before Tanning

Some people believe that it is normal, and even necessary, that your skin burns before it tans. This is not true. Unlike a tan, a burn will actually damage your skin. When tanning in a tanning bed, you should take extra care to go slowly and not believe the myth that your burn will turn into a tan. Though your burn may fade at the same time you are beginning to tan, this doesn't mean your burn is turning into a tan. Burning can cause drying, sunspots, and premature aging and should be avoided at all costs.

What is causing white spots to appear on my body after tanning?

White Spots Caused by Tanning

The white spots you may see on your skin after using a tanning bed can be caused by several different things. They are usually caused by a microscopic fungus of the scalp. This fungus is easily treatable with creams or shampoos, but you should avoid tanning beds until you have gotten rid of the spots. Another cause of white spots is when areas of your skin are not producing enough melanin and therefore, your skin isn't tanning. Also, certain medications, including birth control pills, may cause uneven pigmentation of the skin when exposed to UV light. White spots can also be caused by your body's pressure points, which are inhibited from getting enough blood flow to the epidermis.

How do people with dark skin tan differently than people with light skin?

Tanning with Darker Skin vs. Tanning with Pale Skin

People with naturally darker skin are generally better adapted to being out in the sun or in a tanning bed longer than people with pale skin are. Dark skin is caused by a continuous production of melanin even without exposure to the sun. People with darker skin can still get sunburn from spending too much time in a tanning bed, but not as easily as those with pale skin. The melanin already in the dark skin will protect it better than light skin will be protected.

Why does my skin smell after using a tanning bed?

The After Tan Smell

You may notice a certain smell on your skin after you're finished tanning in a tanning bed. This after-tan smell is actually the skin's naturally occurring bacteria that react to intense UV light exposure. The smell usually fades after you shower. However, if you want to avoid the smell all together, there are different types of lotions and accelerators that you can buy and put on your skin in order to eliminate this odor.


Tanning with Tattoos

If you have a tattoo, you should know that exposure to UV rays may fade the ink in your tattoo. One possible solution is to apply a very strong sun block over your tattoo with a q-tip before you tan. However, people using this method have reported mixed results.

You may need to make a choice between your tattoo and a tan. You will need to touch up your tattoo after spending too much time in the sun.

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