Can you use tanning lotions in sunbeds?

When you visit a tanning salon, you won't get any sun. But you should still use tanning lotion in sunbeds, because they benefit both your skin and your tan.

Magnification, Moisture, Maintenance

According to the American Tanning Institute, lotions are essential for a healthy tan because they provide critical moisture to skin before and after tanning. Sunless tanning products have concentrated oils that magnify the ultraviolet light on your skin. Sunbed use can dehydrate your skin, and tanning lotions contain moisturising ingredients such as vitamin E, natural oils and minerals. Tanning lotion also helps you maintain your tan by keeping the top layer of skin from flaking and peeling.

Before You Buy

Tanning bed lotions come in many forms, so consult with a professional indoor tanning specialist before you select a lotion to use in the sunbed.

When to Apply

According to the American Tanning Institute, the best time to apply lotions is just before you start the process. After you're done, continue to moisturise using a tan-extending lotion or a deep-tissue daily moisturiser.


The most effective tanning lotions for use in sunbeds contain at least some of these ingredients: essential oils, natural butters, hemp seed oil, natural botanical extracts, Liposomial Tyrosine complexes, riboflavin and copper.


Outdated, discontinued or damaged products can cause a streaky, off-colour tan or irritate your skin. Check the expiration date on the product, and be wary of buying deeply discounted items online. It's your skin, so don't cut corners.

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About the Author

Megan E. Baldwin has written for several online and glossy publications, including The Feast, Refinery29 and Currently working as a fashion copywriter, she has also covered retail entrepreneurship, beauty and design.. Baldwin holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and American studies.