Can I Use Cocoa Butter Under Tingle Lotions in Tanning Beds?

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Cocoa butter is a naturally derived ingredient used in many outdoor tanning lotions. It is known for its hypoallergenic and moisturising properties.

Tingle lotion, on the other hand, is used for indoor tanning, and is specially formulated to increase blood flow to skin's surface, resulting in the "tingling" sensation that signals the lotion is working quickly to deepen your skin tone. You may be tempted to use both cocoa butter and tingling lotion together when indoor tanning: however, this is not recommended.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is a natural ingredient derived from the cocoa bean that is used in the formulation of some commercial moisturisers and tanning lotions. Because it is an extracted oil, you should not use cocoa butter before using a tanning bed, even if you put it on underneath indoor tanning lotion. Tanning beds are coated in acrylic, which oils of any kind can ruin. Only use cocoa butter and lotions containing cocoa butter for general moisturising and when tanning outdoors. Like baby oil, cocoa butter acts to attract the sun's rays and increase their heat on your skin's surface to give you a deeper tan.

Indoor Tanning Lotion

Tingle lotion is a common name for the most widely available indoor tanning lotion. When applied topically, tingle lotion increases the circulation of blood to the skin, resulting in a gentle but noticeable "tingling" feeling and slight reddening of the skin's surface. The increased blood circulation increases your skin cells' oxygenation rate, which speeds up the development of your tan so you can spend less time in the tanning bed to get the same effect. When preparing to use a tanning bed, choose a tanning lotion that is specifically formulated for use while indoor tanning. Make sure the formula of your tingle lotion is oil-free.

Other Indoor Tanning Lotions

Indoor tanning lotions may contain other active ingredients designed to speed up the effect of the tanning bed's ultraviolet bulbs on your skin. L-Tyrosine, an amino acid found in many dairy products, as well as melanin, tea oil and copper can all work to accelerate your tan. Fragrance is commonly included in the formulation of indoor tanning lotions, and the heat of the tanning bed works to release the aroma, creating a pleasant experience while enclosed in the tanning bed.

Health and Safety Risks

Using a tanning bed increases your risk of developing skin cancer just as much as -- if not more than -- spending time outdoors in the sun without protection. According to the World Health Organization's study of sunbeds, spending 10 minutes in a tanning bed is equivalent to spending 10 minutes in the midday Mediterranean sunshine. For your long-term health and safety, use tanning beds sparingly. Consider using sunless tanners instead. High-quality sunless tanning lotions impart a natural-looking tan with the help of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a glycerine-derived, non-toxic chemical that interacts with amino acids to turn skin cells brown.