Is indoor tanning the same as tanning outside in the sun?

When you tan at an indoor tanning facility, your skin produces a tan the same way it does when you lay out in the sun: through ultraviolet (UV) light. There is one important difference, though, when you are out in the sun, you cannot control the amount of UV light you are exposed to, because it is affected by changes in the atmosphere. Indoor tanning is one way to regulate the amount of UV light you are exposed to, because it is a controlled environment. You can gradually increase your exposure time to make sure you don't get a sunburn, which is harmful to the skin.

How do the beds and booths work?

Tanning beds and booths basically imitate the sun. The sun emits three kinds of UV rays (the ones that make you tan). UV-C has the shortest wavelength of the three, and is also the most harmful. The sun emits UV-C light, but then it's absorbed by the ozone layer and pollution. Tanning lamps filter out this type of UV light. UV-B, the middle wavelength, starts the tanning process, but overexposure can cause sunburn. UV-A has the longest wavelength, it completes the tanning process. Tanning lamps use the best ratio of UV-B and UV-A light to provide optimal tanning results, with a lowered risk of overexposure.

How often should I tan?

In order to build a tan, it is important to tan regularly. Don't let too much time go by between visits, or your tan will begin to fade. You can tan up to once every 24 hours, but it is generally recommended that you wait at least 48 hours in between each session to allow your tan to fully develop in between visits. You can build up your tan by going to an indoor tanning facility three to four times a week. Once you have a tan, you can maintain it by tanning two or three times a week.

How long does it take to get a tan?

Usually, you will begin to notice results after a few tanning sessions, but it may take a few weeks of regular tanning (at least three times a week) to get to the colour you are looking for. If you are developing a base tan before going on a trip, you would want to start tanning about three or four weeks before you go.

What should I wear?

It's totally up to you. (But long pants and sweaters aren't recommended for good results!) Some people choose to tan in their bathing suits or underwear, and others prefer a more "natural" approach. Since you are in a private room while tanning, you can wear whatever you like. The only thing required is that you do wear eye protection every time you tan, because eyes are unable to protect themselves from UV light, even when they are closed, and the light can cause temporary and permanent damage to them. Many different eye protection options are available at all tanning facilities. If you are tanning a previously unexposed part of your body, be sure to cover it up for part of your tanning time, so it can catch up safely with the rest of your tan.

When shouldn't I tan?

It is not recommended to tan, either outdoors or indoors, if you are taking photosensitizing medication. If you aren't sure, ask your doctor, or ask a tanning consultant at your tanning facility to see a list of these medications, which can greatly increase the risk of overexposure. You should also avoid tanning if you are pregnant, due to the heat, unless your doctor approves it.

Do I need to wear lotion when tanning indoors?

You don't need to wear an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) lotion when you tan indoors because these lotions, by nature, are designed to allow you to spend a longer time in the sun. For example, an SPF 8 would allow you to stay in the sun 8 times longer than you normally could. Since you are controlling your exposure time when tanning indoors, you don't need to use an SPF. You should also avoid using outdoor oils when you tan indoors. These oils will make the acrylic dirty and prevent you from tanning. However, there are products specifically designed for indoor tanning, that help moisturize the skin while helping you tan faster. These can be purchased at most tanning facilities and should be used to help you get the best result possible.