I really enjoy tanning outside.
It's not always practical however. Outdoor tanning takes up a lot of time and moreover is only possible in nice summer
weather (unless you live in a tropical paradise). Indoor tanning, the topic of today's article, is an amazing invention.
It allows you to keep you golden tan year round, all while saving you time in today's hectic world. We all know the
benefits of tanning and indoor
tanning allows you to experience these benefits year round.
Tanning Beds Vs. Spray on Tans
There are two main ways to tan indoors: Regular tanning beds that use bulbs to emulate the sun's natural UV A and UV B rays and spray
on tans. The picture to the right is a lay down tanning bed. As you can see, the bed is on and the bulbs are glowing. This is the most popular
form of indoor tanning by far. The benefit of this type of tanning is you get a "real" tan. Your tan is the same as if you
went outside and will not wash off in the shower or bath. There are two popular forms of spray on tans. The most popular is the
world famous Mystic Tan and an up and coming alternative is the airbrush
tan which someone will actually spray on your skin. Both of these spray
on tans work the same. You get sprayed with a substance that darkens your skin. After you let it sit a few hours, the substance sticks to
your skin and will keep you nice and tan for up to a week or so. I personally prefer the regular tanning bed experience because it does
not involve placing "barrier cream" on my toes and fingers and having to wait around for hours feeling dirty before I can take
a shower and feel clean again. Regular tanning beds are just so much easier in my opinion. One thing that I have done a few times
is follow up a regular tanning session with a Mystic tan to get added tan before an important event.
©iStockphoto.com – Dreef
Types of Tanning Beds
Let's discuss regular tanning beds in more detail. There are a few different flavors. The first choice you need to make is lay down
versus stand up. The image to the right shows a sample stand up tanning bed. The benefit of the stand up variety is you get a more even
tan around your whole body since your skin is not pressed against any plexiglass. You get a nice even tan all around. The downside of the
stand up tan is you need to, well, stand up. Tanning is supposed to be relaxing and I don't really enjoy standing up the whole
time. The main benefit of the lay down tanning bed is you get to lay down and sleep during your session. Also, there are ways to avoid
an uneven tan. The most important pointer is to make sure to shift your weight every few minutes. If you stay in the exact same position
the whole time, you will get some lines on your body, although they are not really a big deal at all. If you move, you will avoid this
issue altogether. Also, you can always flip over onto your stomach one time and then your back the next session to make sure both sides
get an intense tan. The next choice is the power of your bed. There are really two options: high powered and low powered. In my experience,
high powered is always the way to go because high powered also means high quality High powered beds are the ones made with the best
components and are least likely to give you a sunburn if used correctly.
©iStockphoto.com – alfonso76
Tanning Salon Safety Tips
Your skin is a very important, don't abuse it. The easiest thing to do when you first start tanning is to get carried away. Don't do it,
take your time. There is no rush and you will get a nice tan if you follow a slow paced program. Most tanning beds have the instructions
printed on the side. Follow the instructions to the letter. The first few weeks, you may only go in the bed for 2 minutes a session. I know,
it's no fun paying $10-$20 dollars to only go in the bed for 2 minutes but this is so much better than getting a burn. Once you are up to the
full time (usually after 8-10 weeks), you will be so happy you took your time. My experience with tanning too long too soon: You will look
just fine when you leave the salon. You will even look fine a few hours later. However, later in the evening you will get really red. It's
not fun at all and then you regret going too long but it's too late. If this does happen to you, don't freak out. It happens to most tanners.
Just make sure to learn from your mistake and apply moisturizer all over your body until the redness goes away. Your second important safety
tip: Always wear eye protection. Most salons these days provide eye protection complimentary. Keep it on at all times. As an added precaution,
keep your eyes closed while wearing the goggles for maximum protection. My third tip: The sanitizers used on beds may cause a skin reaction.
One time I got redness not from the tan but from the sanitizer used on the bed. How did I know? I asked the salon owner and he said they
recently started testing a new sanitizer. Upon hearing my problem, he immediately went back to the old solution. Also, my skin irritation went
away after a few hours. The moral? Find a salon you like and stick with it. You will minimize the risk of this type of thing by sticking
with what you know.
Should I Wear A Swimsuit?
My personal preference is yes. You are inches away from very high powered bulbs. Certain areas of your body are not meant to be
exposed to sun and it's not worth the risk. Nobody wants tan lines and it's easy to minimize them. Instead of wearing a swimsuit you
could cover sensitive areas with a small towel. Or, you could get an extremely minimal swimsuit like the ones sold at
Should I Use Lotion?
Lotion is always a great idea because it will keep your skin moisturized and maximize your tan. It actually grabs hold of the UV rays so
they have more impact on your skin. The only downside of the lotion is you leave the salon a little greasy. The key here is to experiment
with some of the smaller sample size bottles that your salon will have at the front desk for a small fee. Find the one that works best for
you. Also, always remember there is a difference between indoor and outdoor lotions. For indoor purposes, make sure to use an indoor tanning
When Should I Use Sunless?
I believe in what I like to call the "tanning lifecycle". You can't stay tan all the time forever. It's not healthy for your skin.
Rather, your tanning lifecycle will have peaks and valleys. If you are giving your body a rest from the UV rays but still want to be tan,
this is the perfect time to take advantage of sunless tanning. Also, if you are concerned about UV exposure and have fair skin, sunless
may be the best bet for you. My motto: Sunless tanning is most definitely better than no tanning.
I hope this guide has helped out the beginners out there. Remember, tanning is fun. Don't be shy and give it a shot. Make sure to read the
rest of the articles on this site so you can become a pro.