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Can You Still Use Sunbeds When Taking Tanning Pills?

Updated February 21, 2017

With all the new methods of tanning, two popular artificial tanning products include tanning pills and tanning sunbeds. With the growing popularity of these two products, one may question whether it is possible to use a sunbed and take tanning pills at the same time without fear of interaction.

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Tanning Pills

One of the newest methods of achieving a tan can be accomplished by regularly taking a pill. Tanning pills most often consist of the color additive canthaxanthin. Canthaxanthin is deposited into the fat layers beneath the skin, which tints the skin to an orange or brownish pigment that takes effect after being exposed 25 to 30 minutes of sunlight.


Sunbeds consist of fluorescent light bulbs that produce ultraviolet rays that are also found in natural sunlight. Usually being exposed to 10 minutes of sunbed use is equal to 10 minutes of Mediterranean summer sun. Sunbeds emit ultraviolet B rays (UVB) and filter out ultraviolet A rays (UVA), which could help to prevent some forms of skin cancer.

Concurrent Usage

There is no evidence to prove that you should not use tanning pills and sunbeds simultaneously. In fact, some tanning bed manufacturers recommend the use of tanning pills in conjunction with sunbeds to promote quicker tanning results.


Although sunbeds and tanning pills are increasingly popular, they are not without risk. Risks associated with sunbed use include eye damage, especially without protective eyewear. Also, skin cancer is possible as sunbeds filter out ultraviolet A rays (UVA), but they still cannot prevent specific types of skin cancer, along with skin aging. Tanning pills are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Overuse of tanning pills may lead to liver damage because of the high levels of canthaxanthin. One reported side effect of tanning pills is deposition of crystals in the eye.


A healthy tan can easily be achieved using precautions. Some advice to take into account when tanning is using a sun block with a high level of SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Limiting the use of a sunbed can also decrease some of the major risks such as skin cancer or skin aging. Choose a tanning pill that contains organic ingredients as opposed to artificial chemicals that may eventually cause health related problems. Limit the time you are actually directly exposed to any type of sunlight, artificial or natural, to help prevent skin damaging or skin aging.

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About the Author

Stephanie Daniels

Stephanie Daniels is a freelance writer residing in Louisa, Kentucky. Daniels focuses on parenting, children, gardening and home-decor articles. She was the manager of Home Decor for Home Depot for 4 years. Daniels has written for many online publications and enjoys ghostwriting.

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