Tanning: Should I use a sunbed?

Tanning: Should I use a sunbed?

Sun beds are in the media a lot nowadays, and not all for the right reasons.
Many claim that it could double your risk of skin cancer as well as developing other skin diseases.

Many of us love to have a healthy, bronzed glow especially just before a holiday, but just how safe are sun beds and should we be avoiding them all together?

In this article we take a look at what they are, when to avoid using sun beds and how to prepare your skin for using one. Read more on should I use sunbeds…

What is a sunbed?

Tanning beds basically imitate the sun. The sun emits three kinds of UV rays (the ones that make you tan): UVA, UVB, UVC

Tanning lamps use the best ration of UVB and UVA rays to provide optimal tanning results, with a lowered risk of overexposure.

What do I need to know about sunbeds?

Whether you are new to using sunbeds, a tan worshipper or somebody who has fair skin, it’s important to know as much as you can about sun beds in order to protect your skin.

Don’t exceed the recommended times. Sessions should be very short – maximum 5 minutes

If you have an ‘olive’ complexion, you can extend this time, but it is best not to stay on a sunbed beyond 15 minutes to minimise long term damage to your complexion and health.

SEE ALSO: Tanning different skin types and tones

Your ability to tan is affected by the levels of melanin in your skin. A person with more melanin will find it easier to tan and will also be less at risk of any potential side effects of using sunbeds. Although it is still essential for anyone using a sunbed to use protective measures to look after their skin.

Don’t visit the salon for a sunbed too often

The frequency of the sessions should be limited to 3 times a week (maximum). Once you have achieved the depth of tan you desire, be sure to cut down on your visits. Visit the tanning salon often enough to just maintain your tan.

The staff at the salon should be able to advise you on how to tan safely and effectively based on your skin type. Overexposure to UV can actually cause depletion of melanin levels and make it more difficult to tan in future sessions.

Tip: trying to rush a tan will only increase the risk of premature ageing. If done without cream, it can lead to severe burning.

Who can’t use a sunbed?

• Men or women under 18

• If you have a medical condition that becomes worse in sunlight

• If you have fair or sensitive skin that burns easily and does not tan in sunlight

• If you have a large number of freckles or moles

• If you have or have had skin cancer

• If you have a history of sunburn especially in childhood

• If you are pregnant – whilst there is no evidence to suggest that UV tanning equipment can cause damage. A doctor should be consulted before use

Preparation for sunbed tanning


Take a shower the day before your appointment and use an exfoliating body scrub to remove any dead skin. Flakes of dead skin can hinder tanning and may result in blotches.


It’s vital you apply a deep hydrating lotion to your entire body a few minutes after your shower. The best tans always occur on clean and moisturised skin.

RECOMMENDED: Organic Whipped Shea Butter from GerlindeNaturals

When you are at the tanning salon

Always make sure to bring a pair of protective, indoor-tanning glasses with you, or ask the salon receptionist to bring you a pair. The ultraviolet light used in tanning can cause major damage to your eyes if not protected properly. Closing your eyes is not enough.

Protect your lips with a lip balm that blocks UV light; lips cannot product melanin, leaving them at risk of overexposure.

When you are on the sunbed

A big mistake people make when using sunbeds is that they lie still. Lying flat with your arms at your sides and your legs straight creates an uneven tan. You need to move around to make sure the tan covers your every curve.

Try changing your position ever 30 to 90 seconds, depending on the length of your session. Lie with your arms raised above your head and/or your knees slightly bent. Spend part of your time on the bed with your head and body shifted slightly to the left, and then slightly to the right.


Once you have finished your sunbed, you need to keep your skin moisturised to help develop the colour.

One short tanning session usually doesn’t have noticeable results. It will take a handful of short sessions to build up your base tan and start to show a deeper colour.

Going on a sunbed should be taken with caution

Tawny Willoughby has recently shared a graphic selfie to warn on skin cancer.

This young mother suffering from skin cancer has been praised for her bravery after sharing a shocking photo of her treatment as a star warning to sunbed users. Tawny even had her own tanning bed in her house, which she used almost every day.

“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here you go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like” she wrote on her Facebook page which was shared over 50,000 times.

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