How to Operate a Sunbed

Written by diana prince
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How to Operate a Sunbed
You can achieve a natural looking glow year-round by tanning in a sunbed. (tanned girl sitting in the sun image by Melissa Schalke from

A sunbed, or tanning bed, allows you to maintain a year-round tan, regardless of the weather outside. A sunbed produces ultraviolet rays which mimic the UV rays produced by the sun, and not only enhance your appearance, but can increase vitamin levels for persons suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and related diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Whether you work in a salon or have a sunbed at home, you should have a complete understanding of how to properly operate a sunbed before using it.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Lift the lid on the tanning bed and push it open. Most tanning beds have lids which open to about a 90-degree angle, to ensure you have more than enough room to comfortably get inside.

  2. 2

    Set the timer. Most sunbed models feature an automatic timer, so you can set it with an extra five minutes on top of the regular time. This ensures that you have enough time to get inside the bed and prepare yourself before it turns on. The timer should be a knob you can turn to set; most display increments of 5 minutes. Some sunbed models feature a digital display into which you must type the time.

  3. 3

    Sit down on the tanning bed and close the lid as you lie down straight. You can lie on your front or back; because your skin is pressing down on the bottom of the sunbed and not the top, this part of your body often gets more tanned. You may want to flip over halfway through your tanning session for the most even results.

  4. 4

    Wait for the sunbed to turn on, and remain in the sunbed until the timer sounds and the sunbed turns on.

Tips and warnings

  • It is best to keep an alternate timer when tanning in a sunbed. In the event the main timer were to function improperly, you would still be alerted when the specified amount of time was up.
  • Just as with exposure to sunlight, spending too much time in a sunbed can be dangerous. Limit tanning time to 1 to 2 hours a week.
  • Always wear proper eye protection when tanning in a sunbed -- most salons provide goggles. The skin on the eyelids is very thin, and just closing your eyes while tanning is not enough to protect your delicate eyes from the harsh UV rays.

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