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Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed – Which Is Best?

Are you trying to decide between a spray tan and a tanning bed for getting that deep bronze tan?

I’m going to share a comparison between a spray tan vs tanning bed, so you can decide which method of sunless tanning is best for you, and your skin.

If you’d like to find out more, keep on reading to find out all about these fake tanning methods…

Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed - Which Is Best?

What Exactly Is A Spray Tan?

A spray tan is a sunless tanning method that allows you to get a natural-looking tan without exposure to harmful UV rays.

It’s a fantastic alternative for people who don’t want to tan naturally, either for health reasons or personal preference.

The process of getting a spray tan involves having a solution misted all over your body, which then reacts with the top layer of your skin to create a tanned appearance.

The active ingredient in spray tans is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar that interacts with the amino acids in your skin to produce a temporary color change.

When you go to a tanning salon to get a spray tan, the technician will guide you through a few simple steps to help you achieve the best results.

First, they’ll help you choose the right shade of spray tan solution based on your skin tone and desired level of tan.

Next, they’ll prep your skin by applying a barrier cream to areas like your elbows, knees, and ankles to avoid uneven color.

Finally, the technician will spray the solution evenly across your body using a specialized applicator, ensuring every inch of your skin is covered.

Spray tanning works by gradually darkening your skin in the hours following your appointment – typically reaching its peak color within 24 hours.

The color usually lasts for about a week, depending on how well you care for your skin.

Some factors such as your skin’s natural exfoliation process, activities like swimming, and using certain skincare products can affect the longevity of your spray tan.

Remember, a spray tan provides no protection from the sun, so be sure to apply sunscreen whenever necessary to keep your skin safe and healthy.

What Are The Benefits Of A Spray Tan?

A spray tan is a great option if you’re looking for a healthy, glowing skin without the risks associated with UV exposure from tanning beds.

A spray tan provides an even tan that is customized for your skin tone. The professional spray tanners will apply the solution evenly, ensuring a natural-looking, bronzed glow that enhances your complexion. No more streaks or uneven patches from tanning beds!

Another advantage of spray tanning is that it’s quick and efficient. In less than 30 minutes, you can walk out of the salon with a golden glow that would take weeks to achieve through regular sun exposure or multiple tanning bed sessions.

This makes it a convenient choice for those with busy schedules or upcoming events.

When it comes to the health of your skin, a spray tan is a much safer option compared to tanning beds.

As you are avoiding the harmful UV rays, you reduce the risk of skin damage, cause premature aging, and even skin cancer – like you get with sun tanning. So, you can enjoy your bronzed look guilt-free.

As well as being a healthier option, spray tans tend to be more forgiving on fair skin that might easily burn under the UV rays of a tanning bed.

With the right spray tan solution, you’ll achieve the desired golden glow without the risk of sunburn or skin irritation.

How To Maintain Your Spray Tan For The Best Results?

How To Maintain Your Spray Tan For The Best Results?

To maintain your spray tan and achieve the best results, it’s essential to follow some simple guidelines.

Exfoliating your skin is essential. Aim to do this every day for the three days before your spray tan appointment.

Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells and prepare the skin for a more even tan application.

Imagine your skin like a wall, and a spray tan like paint. A smoother surface will result in a better application, and your tan will last longer.

When it comes to moisturizing, do so daily after your spray tan. Hydrated skin helps maintain the tan and prevents excess flaking of dead skin cells.

Focus on using a gentle moisturizer without harsh chemicals or exfoliants, as these might strip the tan faster.

Avoid certain hair removal methods like waxing or using depilatory creams after your spray tan as they can remove the upper layer of the skin, stripping your tan in the process.

Keep your showers and baths lukewarm and quick. Hot water can cause your pores to open and the tan to fade more rapidly.

After showering, gently pat yourself dry with a towel rather than rubbing vigorously, which could remove the tan unevenly.

Lastly, avoid tight clothing, heavy sweating, swimming or exposure to chlorinated water, as these can contribute to your tan fading more rapidly.

What Is A Tanning Bed?

A tanning bed, also known as a sunbed, is a device designed for indoor tanning. It’s a popular method for achieving a sun-kissed look without having to spend hours under the sun, to get that tan.

In a tanning bed, you’ll lie down on a specially designed bed that emits ultraviolet (UV) light.

This UV light exposure stimulates your skin’s production of melanin, which is responsible for your skin’s tan color.

Tanning beds come in various types and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to provide a controlled environment for UV light exposure.

The intensity and duration of a tanning session can be adjusted to your preference, making it possible for you to customize your tanning experience.

Most indoor tanning beds offer a mix of UVA and UVB light sources, which mimic the natural UV light you’d be exposed to outdoors.

It’s essential to wear the appropriate eye protection when using a sun beds to avoid any potential damage to your eyes.

Following a proper tanning schedule and not overexposing yourself to UV light is vital, to minimize the risk of skin damage and sunburns.

As a beginner, you may start with sessions as short as 6 minutes twice a week, gradually increasing the duration as your skin adapts to the UV light exposure.

One of the advantages of indoor tanning beds is the convenience they offer. Whether it’s sunny or rainy outside, you can still get that coveted tan in a climate-controlled environment.

When you’re using a tanning bed, you can obtain your desired level of tan faster than natural sunbathing, especially if you have limited time or opportunities for outdoor tanning.

However, you should be aware of the potential risks associated with tanning beds. Prolonged UV light exposure is linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Tanning Bed?

Tanning beds can be an attractive option for those who want a quick tanning fix.

When you need a tan in a short amount of time, tanning beds can provide a faster solution compared to sunbathing outside.

In just a few sessions, you’ll notice a difference in your complexion, giving you that sun-kissed look you desire.

Another benefit of using a tanning bed is that it may help with vitamin D deficiency. As you’re probably aware, your body produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight.

Tanning beds emit ultraviolet (UV) light, which can also stimulate the production of vitamin D.

However, be cautious with this approach because tanning beds mainly emit UVA rays, which are not as effective in boosting vitamin D levels as the UVB rays from natural sunlight.

While tanning beds do offer specific benefits, you need to use them responsibly and in moderation.

Overexposure to UV rays can potentially cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin diseases. It’s essential to follow safety guidelines and listen to your body to avoid potentially harmful side effects.

How Long Does A Tanning Bed Tan Last?

How Long Does A Tanning Bed Tan Last?

When you decide to get a tan through a tanning bed, you might wonder how long the beautiful glow will last on your skin.

Typically, a tanning bed tan may last around 7 to 10 days, depending on various factors like your skin type, the number of sessions, and the aftercare you follow.

As your skin naturally exfoliates, the outer layer containing the tanned skin cells will gradually fade away.

This is because the tanned skin cells are actually dead skin cells that have been harmed by the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the tanning bed.

Over time, your body will slough off these cells and replace them with new, healthy ones.

It’s worth noting that the intensity of your tan can also influence how long it will last.

A darker tan might stay visible for a longer period, while a lighter tan could fade more quickly. But remember, going for too dark of a tan in a single session may cause harm to your skin due to excessive UV exposure.

To maintain the tan for as long as possible, make sure you:

  • Moisturize your skin daily to prevent excessive dryness and flaking.
  • Avoid activities that cause excessive friction or rubbing on your skin, such as using harsh scrubs or frequently changing clothes.
  • Gradually build up the intensity of your tan by increasing the number of tanning bed sessions or the duration of each session over time.

What Are The Downsides Of Tanning Beds?

Tanning beds might seem like a quick and convenient solution for achieving that golden glow, but they come with numerous downsides that can have lasting impacts on your health and skin.

Tanning beds expose your skin to harmful UVA rays, which can lead to premature aging.

This means that over time, using a tanning bed could cause your skin to develop wrinkles, fine lines, and even sagging earlier than it naturally would.

These changes can make you appear older than you actually are, and they’re not worth the temporary tan you achieve through tanning beds.

Sunburn is another common issue associated with tanning beds. While these beds might give you a tan, they can also cause your skin to burn, leading to redness, pain, and even long-term skin damage.

Plus, repeated UV exposure can result in DNA damage, which could potentially increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Using tanning beds can exacerbate existing skin conditions and increase skin sensitivity.

If you already have skin issues or allergies, the added UV exposure could trigger flare-ups, making your skin look and feel worse.

Some individuals may even experience allergic reactions to the products used in tanning beds or the materials of the actual bed itself.

Which Lasts Longer – Spray Tan or Tanning Bed Tans?

Spray Tan – A spray tan can last anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending on your skin type, the shade of tan, and aftercare.

A light tan will fade away quickly, whereas a darker shade might stay for much longer. Remember, always prepare your skin by exfoliating and shaving 24 hours before your appointment.

Tanning Bed – Tanning bed tans might take more time to develop but can also last longer.

A tanning bed session stimulates the production of melanin in your skin, which is your body’s natural pigment, due to the UV tanning process within the tanning booth.

This makes the tan appear more natural and can last up to two weeks with proper maintenance and care.

Although, be aware, that if you stop tanning, your tan will gradually fade as your skin cells renew.

  • Spray Tan: 5 – 10 days
  • Tanning Bed: Up to 2 weeks

Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed - Which One Is Best?

Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed – Which One Is Best?

When it comes to achieving that sun-kissed glow, you have two main tanning methods to choose from: spray tans and tanning beds, to give you a healthy tan.

Each has its pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Spray tans are a quick and easy way to get a beautiful tan. Most sessions last just 15-20 minutes, and you can see the results almost immediately.

Since they don’t involve exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, they’re a safe alternative for those who are concerned about sun damage.

Plus, spray tans are a great option for people with fair skin, who might otherwise burn easily.

Whereas, tanning beds expose your skin to UV rays to darken your skin. While they offer longer-lasting results than spray tans, they also come with some risks.

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots, not to mention an increased risk of skin cancer.

To determine which one is best for you, consider the following:

  • Time commitment: If you’re short on time, a spray tan might be the better option, as it’s a quicker process.
  • Skin type: If you have fair skin or burn easily, a spray tan is a safer alternative.
  • Maintenance: Tanning beds typically require more frequent sessions to maintain your desired color, while spray tans can be touched up less often.
  • Health concerns: If you’re worried about the potential risks associated with UV exposure, stick with spray tans.



When deciding between a spray tan and a tanning bed, there are various factors to consider.

Spray tans provide an even, quick-fix tan without any UV exposure and can last up to 10 days with proper aftercare.

However, they don’t provide any protection from the sun and can be expensive in the long run.

Tanning beds offer longer-lasting results but involve risks due to their UV light exposure.

Whether you choose a spray tan or a tanning bed will depend on your personal needs, preferences, lifestyle, and budget.

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