Sunbeds & Safety – Helpful Tips That Will Make The Experience As Safe As Possible

Sunbeds are arguably one of the most popular ways of tanning that are available on the market right now because of their natural and long-lasting results.

a woman with a nice dark tan from a sunbed

But as any person that has used a sunbed knows, before you use any sort of sunbed you should implement the appropriate safety steps. This is because sunbeds use concentrated UV rays, which as we all know, could have potentially dangerous results if misused.

However, once you know how to safely use a sunbed it’s a straightforward process that will be easy to remember whenever you’re ready to use them.

Don’t Overuse

Experts recommend that you use sunbeds no more than twice a week. This will allow you to build a nice gradual tan, while also protecting your skin.

a womans chest that has been burnt by spending to much time on a sunbed

Now, this should not be done in consecutive days as your skin needs at least 48 hours to replenish and begin to build up any melanin you have previously tanned for.

Not only will this protect your skin, but it will also result in a better looking tan as overuse can often lead to dry skin, that makes tans appear blotchy.

Once you have reached the colour that you desire, you shouldn’t continue to use the bed twice a week as this will make you darker and potentially damage your skin further.

Once a week is the perfect amount for maintenance and will cause far less damage. Overuse also applies to the amount of time that you’re in the sunbed.

It’s advised that you don’t spend more than ten minutes in a sunbed, no matter what your skin tone is, but there are different time recommendations depending on your skin type.

Know Your Skin Type

If you are someone who falls under the category of having very fair skin, hair, and a number of freckles on your skin then you are especially prone to skin damage.

a pale skinned arm with freckles

Reaching a darker complexion is going to be a far more gradual process and should not be pushed due to the risk of burning.

Keep your tanning sessions incredibly low, at around no more than two minutes for your first couple. This may feel like a tedious process, but if you exceed this you will only damage your skin and also ruin the look of your results by burning.

Once you have a good base tan, you can start to up your time by a couple of minutes, as you’ll have more layers of protection.

If you’re someone who is slightly less susceptible to burns and has skin that’s not too pale, you’ll be able to tan for a little longer.

Again, it’s not recommended that you spend more than five minutes on the bed when you start tanning initially as your fresh skin could easily burn.

As previously stated, after you have built a base tan then you can up your minutes, but remember to keep it below that ten-minute marker.

If you’re someone with a much richer tone, you will not be as susceptible to burning so it would be easy to think that you could use the sunbed for as long as you want.

However, this is not the case. You should still keep tanning below the 10-minute mark as though you may not easily burn, sunbeds can cause a lot of damage that you can’t see.

Overexposure to UV rays has direct links to cancer so you want to make sure that you’re taking care of your skin.

If you have darker skin you also tan much faster, so you don’t need to be in the sunbeds for that long and you could probably see a nice gradual build with one session a week.

Protect Your Eyes

If you go to a tanning salon it is almost certain that you will be given some black goggles to wear while using the beds.

sunbed goggles

These are used to protect your eyes when you tan as your eyelid skin is thinner than most skin on your body and will not protect your eyes, which are obviously extremely valuable, yet extremely sensitive.

A lot of people are not aware of the importance of these goggles and think just closing their eyes will suffice, it doesn’t.

If you plan on getting into tanning it would be worth buying your own goggles. This means that if you’re tanning at home you will have them on hand to protect your eyes.

Having your own pair will also help you avoid any awkward interactions at tanning salons as sometimes you have to rent or buy a pair while you’re there.

If you do use a sunbed and feel any eye irritation or dryness, you can acquire any hydrating eye drops from any local pharmacy.

Hygiene and Safety

Something that can be easily forgotten is how important using sunbeds hygienically is for your health.

If you are someone who regularly attends a local salon, you may notice that you are provided with a number of cleaning products to use before and after you use a bed.

a freshly cleaned sunbed

This is because dozens of people throughout the day will be using the exact same sunbed and with all those people come plenty of germs and bacteria.

The heat of a sunbed also makes it the perfect climate for bacteria to thrive, so make sure that you make use of any cleaning equipment provided to ensure that you avoid any illnesses.

If you have a sunbed at home, make sure that you regularly clean it. Not only will this protect you, but it will help maintain the condition of your sunbed.

Protect Yourself

When it comes to using a sunbed, everyone has their own method on how to achieve an even, all body tan.

The most popular method is to use the sunbeds naked, resulting in no tan lines and a more even finish. What you may not know is that if you choose to use this method you should take some extra protective measures.

Any more sensitive skin that is now revealed should be covered in a thick layer of sun cream in order to protect them as your ‘sensitive parts’ have thinner layers of skin, much like your eyelids, and so are more susceptible to burns and damage.

Lips are what are most neglected by people who use sunbeds. A vital step to take before getting into a sunbed is applying lip balm containing SPF, this will prevent any drying or cracking of your lips.

It’s not only your sensitive parts that you should cover, but you should also make sure that you have an even layer of sun cream all over your body. It doesn’t necessarily need to be of a high SPF due to the short period of time that you will be exposed to the UV Rays.

However, it is still important that you have a layer of protection as this can prevent any damage from exposure.

A number of sun creams on the market right now also include ingredients that actually help boost your tan, so not only will you be protecting your body, but you will be improving any results.

Remove Any Product

Before you get onto a sunbed, make sure that you have removed any makeup or cosmetic products. There are several reasons for doing this.

First of all, wearing any cosmetic layer will drastically change how your tan will appear as it works as a layer between yourself and the UV rays, this may cause blotches or unevenness.

a woman removing her makeup

Not only will wearing makeup affect you aesthetically, but it can also be a health risk. Some products may react with the UV rays and cause a number of ailments.

This is especially the case if you are wearing any eye products as it could cause photosensitivity.

The reaction may also cause rashes or an allergic reaction, so it’s best just to take any measures you need to in order to avoid it.

Think About Any Medication You’re On

Another aspect of tanning that not a lot of people are aware of is how medication may affect your skin when tanning.

This is not the case for all medications, but if you’re taking any it would be worth looking it up before using a bed.

This is an important step because some medications can make your skin more sensitive to UV light, which can lead to severe burning.

If your medication does make your skin more sensitive to UV, this does not necessarily mean that you can’t use the sunbeds, it just means that you will have to decrease your time on the beds.


The aftercare steps that you take after using a sunbed are arguably just as important as any steps that you take before using the bed.

Make sure that you use a strong aftersun for a few days after exposure. This is because being exposed to UV rays at such a concentration can lead to skin drying which can cause irritation and also ageing.

aftersun being applied on a woman's shoulder

Using an aftersun along with some heavy-duty moisturiser will help prevent any long term damage, and also make the appearance of your tan look far better.

Final Thoughts

Remember to pay attention to these tips before you start tanning. Tanning may be a fun and exciting activity but if misused can lead to some nasty adverse effects, so if you take these small steps you can only better your tanning experience.

You can learn lots more about sunbeds by visiting our section all about this topic.

Disclaimer: It is best to not use sunbeds at all as they are proven to cause damage to your skin and health.

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