Fair skin is highly coveted because it makes you attractive. Many beauty seekers consider a tanned skin fashionable. Since the 1920s, many countries have seen a rise in the number of people interested in getting their skins tanned. There are several tanning beds and mechanisms available. You need the best tanning lotion irrespective of the method you decide to apply in tanning your skin. There are two main types of tanning. They consist of outdoor tanning and the famous indoor tanning.

Many people prefer indoor tanning due to many benefits associated with the practice.

Indoor tanning is highly preferred because it is a convenient option as opposed to outdoor tanning treatments. Indoor tanning also offers you great control over the process.

There are several things you need to know about indoor tanning and the best tanning lotion you need to apply so that your indoor tanning experience can run smoothly.

10 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions

How Does Indoor Tanning Work?

The process works by mimicking the aspects of the rays of the sun to transform the skin. Use of tanning beds exposes users to special bulbs which emit ultraviolet radiation. The radiation activates the skin melanin hence making it darker.

Tanning beds were invented back in the 1920s and they have gained popularity due to the great effects they have on the skin for those looking for ways they can enhance their beauty. Outdoor tanning is performed during summer. The use of tanning beds allows the process to go on even if it is during winter. People of all ages can carry out the tanning process, but it is highly preferred in people between ages 16 to 25.

Reasons why you should consider indoor tanning

It is good practice to be protected from the rays of the sun. A question which will pop up when about to carry out the tanning process is whether the practice is safe. There are some drawbacks, but the benefits of indoor tanning outweigh them.

Benefits you enjoy after you decide to carry out indoor tanning include the following:

  • Tanning bed light increases vitamin D in your body
  • UV rays lead to improved mental health
  • Tanning will make you look better which will make you happy
  • A base turn reduces chances of getting burned when exposed to the sun
  • Drying effect brought about by UV rays reduces the appearance of acne

You can as well enjoy the benefits when tanning outdoors, but it is not always the case. It is better to consider indoor tanning for the best results and many benefits.

What is an Indoor Tanning Lotion?

It is a product which is applied on the skin through massage before you start the tanning process in a tanning bed. The main reason for applying the product is to accelerate the tanning process. It also plays a role in moisturizing the skin during the process. The working of the tanning lotion varies from one brand to the other.

Ingredients used in the tanning lotion include the following: Melanin, L-Tyrosine, Tea tree oil, Copper, Green tea

Why can’t I replace the tanning lotion with sunblock?

You may consider using a sunscreen instead of the tanning lotion. It is a wrong move because you need to let the UV rays reach the skin for the tanning effect. If there are sensitive areas you wish to stop the rays from touching, then you can apply a sunblock.

You can as well use an indoor tanning lotion which has low SPF sunscreen to block the rays from reaching sensitive parts of your body. If you consider using a regular sunscreen, you can still achieve the tan but you need to spend more time on the tanning bed. Most tanning salons prohibit the use of sunscreen and tanning lotion mixed with SPF because they can build on the beds leading to making them less effective.

Benefits of Using Indoor Tanning Lotions

The benefits can vary based on the brand of the lotion you decide to purchase.

Some of the general benefits you will enjoy after buying a given tanning lotion include the following:

Moisturized SkinFaster ResultsIncreased LongevitySofter SkinOdor Elimination
Rays on the tanning bed tend to dry the skin. An indoor lotion plays a great role in locking moisture. The locking of moisture in your skin makes the skin look healthy and at the same time improving your tan.
Indoor lotions are designed to increase the rate of your tan. You tend to spend less time on the tanning beds upon applying the indoor tanning lotions.
A moisturized skin tends to hold the tan deeper. Remember a deep tan will hold longer.
Indoor tanning lotions provide nutrients to the skin which have softening effects. Careful selection of vitamins in the tanning lotion leads to enhancing your tan.
Bacterial dwells on the sin. An indoor tan will make it heat up leading to strange odors. Antibacterial properties in many lotions will eliminate it making you stay in a pleasant environment as you tan.

Just like any other product, a tanning lotion can react to your body. It is necessary to try a patch on your body and see the results before you decide to apply it on full body.

Types of Indoor Tanning Lotions

There are several combinations of tanning bed lotions which can lead to confusion when trying to figure out the best which you can apply.

Here are some of the common types available in the market:

1 - Pre-Tanning Lotion

It is applied in the morning to exfoliate, moisturize and smoothens the skin. You should apply it at least one hour before you head to the tanning bed so that it can soak into your skin.

1 - Indoor Tanning Lotion

It is applied before you get into the tanning bed. The lotion should be applied evenly through use of an applicator which will help you reach hard to reach parts of your body. Instructions on the bottle should guide you on the number of products you need to apply.

1 - After Tanning Lotion

It is applied after you are done with the tanning process. The lotion focuses on hydrating the skin and minimizing peeling and flaking. The lotion is also helpful in keeping your skin healthy. Tanning lotion with Aloe Vera is the best because it helps in drawing out the heat.

Skin Type and the Right Tanning Process

The type of skin you have determines your indoor tanning process. Tanning salons have a classification where you will be placed under one of the categories. There are a total of six classifications. The classification helps the experts to know the period of time you need to be in the tanning bed and the period you will take before you can have another tanning session.

The classification also determines the choice of your tanning lotion:

Skin Type OneSkin Type TwoSkin Type ThreeSkin Type FourSkin Type FiveSkin Type Six
The skin type is hard to tan and it tends to burn. It is highly sensitive to UV rays. Many tanning salons will not accept you to access their services due to safety reasons.
It burns easily but you can have a light tan. Due to its high sensitivity, indoor tanning is the best option for the skin. The process should be done gradually to achieve a light tan.
It is an average skin and can tan well under the right conditions. With the right approach, it can achieve a moderate tan.
It is tolerant to UV rays and it does not burn easily hence it can be tanned both indoors as well as outdoors.
The skin is highly tolerant to UV rays. It is available on people with dark features and dark skins. Dark tan can be achieved and the skin burns only under extreme conditions.
It is highly tolerant to UV rays and it is naturally dark. Tanning offers minimal change to the color of the skin. People with the skin type tan for other reasons apart from changing their color.

Best Indoor Tanning Lotions Reviews

#1 Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion

Having a tattoo is something which will create a sense of identity. Even if you decide to tan, you will still need to protect the tattoo. You can achieve the perfect protection of your tattoo colors as you tan upon application of the tanning lotion. The lotion is designed by Ed Hardy and it is highly effective in helping you protect your tattoos.

Apart from making the tattoo stay safe, it has a pleasant smell which will make you comfortable inside the tanning bed as well as walking outdoors. It is effective in darkening the skin without bronzers. The effects achieved upon application of the lotion are rare in most indoor tanning lotions. Great agents in the lotion help in firming the skin. Other benefits of the lotion include prevention of aging signs and reducing the appearance of cellulite.

#2 Millenium Tanning Insanely Black Ultra Dark Tanning Lotion

The lotion aids in making you achieve a deep tan within a short period. People at different levels can apply the lotion. If you are among those in the beginner stage, accelerator or even maximize, you will find the lotion highly effective.
The presence of silicone emollient softens the skin while making it attractive and youthful.

The presence of bronzer in the lotion makes it highly effective after addition of a base tan. After a single use, you will notice a big difference due to the effects of the tanning lotion. Apply it carefully to avoid streaking.

#3 Australian Gold Jwoww Black Bronzer Dark Tanning Lotion

The lotion is designed for those who would like to have dark tan within a short period. It is a product which is suitable for serious tanners. For those who would like to add just a slight color, the lotion may not be the best option. Apart from making the skin darker, it is highly effective in hydrating the skin. It blends easily with other products making it an economical lotion.

#4 Designer Skin BombShell, 100XXBronzer

The lotion offers the most tingle effect than any other lotions in the market. Incredible tanning results are assured due to the ingredient used in the lotion. The lotion is full of ingredients which nourish the skin.

The smell will stay on your body for some time after tanning making you smell good as you head home from the tanning salon. Some people apply it to break their plateau after they discover they are not getting any darker.


If you are among those who prefer lotions which have great scents, the lotion is among the best you can try. It comes in a coconut cream scent which is long lasting. It will transform your tanning bed to a nice smelling space.

Apart from the remarkable smell, it boasts of anti-aging nutrients and oils. The silicone used makes your skin stay soft and supple. There are no DHA and parabens making the lotion ideal for tanners with sensitive skin.

#6 Designer Skin Body Bronzer

It keeps things natural while at the same time assuring you great results. There are no DHA, paraben, and erythrulose making it the safest lotion you can try. Use of Shea butter makes your skin stay soft after the tanning process. The light scent fades quickly which will make you leave the salon without any strange smell. People with sensitive skin can apply it without any worry.

#7 Devoted Creations

It is among new tanning lotions in the market. Use of parabens and DHA makes it achieve great results. The color of your skin will be even and the results will be remarkable.

It is formulated to help in reducing cellulite and wrinkles. If you suffer from stretch marks, having the lotion in your tanning session will make you achieve great improvements. The lotion is not greasy on the skin hence making you feel good upon application. No streaking of color making the lotion stands out. The scent is strong but not too much.

#8 Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer

Beautiful packing of the lotion makes it stand out. It has bronzer which is a bit weak when compared to other lotions. It is ideal for those who would like to have subtle change. There are no greasy effects or stickiness.

Some of the benefits of the lotion include fighting aging signs, impurities on the skin and free radical making you look younger. The lotion also plays part in reducing the damage which can be caused by tanning. Your skin will stay luminous and noticeable upon application of the lotion. Sandalwood scent will make you enjoy the tanning session. You can even wear the scent throughout the day after the tanning session.

#9 Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion

It is among the most popular tanning lotions across the world. Oils from native Australian plants deliver instant tan upon application. The tan becomes more pronounced over time. The cocoa smell may make you prefer a shower after the tanning process.

Most of the ingredients are naturally making it ideal for people with sensitive skin. Minimal alcohol makes it not suitable for dry skin. It is widely available in shops near you.

#10 Supre Cherry Bomb Red Hot Dark Accelerator Tanning Lotion

It is a tingle tanning lotion which is gentle during the introduction. The heat of the tingle will not burn but it is highly effective in speeding up your tanning process. Cherry vanilla smell makes the lotion fun. It produces redness which can last for about an hour.

If you will prefer a less tingle effect, you can as well mix the lotion with another one which is non-tingle and achieve great tanning effects.

Tips to Get the Perfect Indoor Tan

After you know your skin type, it is necessary to locate the best professionals who will guide you on the right tanning session. You should stick to a schedule so that you can gradually improve your tan and avoid safety issues.

Even after achieving your desired color, you should visit the salon every 48 hours so that you can be cleared by the staff and get a recommendation from your doctor. When you are tanning, you should pay attention to the feeling of your skin. If there is a tingling effect due to the lotion and a prickling effects as you tan, then you need to leave the tanning bed and check on your skin. You may require skin burn treatments immediately.

Avoid wearing jewelry in the tanning booth. The jewelry can make you have uneven tan lines which are unpleasant. The jewelry may as well become too hot and burn you depending on the material used.

Remove all eyeglass or contact lenses to avoid development of odd lines. UV rays may damage the contact lenses which can lead to damaging your eyes.

Wear protective eyewear while on the tanning beds. You can access them free of charge in most tanning salons.

Avoid makeup and perfumes before tanning sessions. They can make the skin more sensitive to light which can lead to burns, blotches, rashes, uneven tanning lines and skin blemishes.

Exfoliate the skin prior to tanning. It helps in removing dead skin cells hence allowing the UV rays to darken the healthy skin.

Avoid the chin touching the chest because it can create a white spot on your neck. Arms and legs should be apart during each session.

Can Indoor Tanning Cause Cancer?

Too much exposure to the sun can pose a risk of skin cancer. There is no proof of tanning beds and boots causing cancer. It should be done correctly to avoid the risks. You should follow the guidelines to avoid cases where you can develop complications.

Too much exposure to the UV rays can lead to the development of wrinkles, dark spots, rashes among other blemishes. The tanning salon you choose should have highly qualified professionals to reduce the risks.

What if You Can’t Tan?

If you have type one and two skin, you may not be able to tan. Those with type two skin can tan under strict adherence to set guidelines. If it is impossible to tan due to your skin type, then you can consider fake bakes which can improve your skin condition.

If you have type two skin then you need to tan while applying a tanning lotion with low-grade SPF which prevents burning. Most tanning salons will not have it in stock because it can build up on the tanning beds making them less effective. You can buy it elsewhere and bring to the salon.

Best Indoor Tanning Lotions for Fair and Sensitive Skin

Lotions for Type One Skin

Lotions for Type Two Skin

Fair skin falls under type one and two. They are very sensitive and require lotions which target sensitive skin.

Recommended Indoor Tanning Accessories

After you have located the best indoor tanning lotion, you should as well consider indoor tanning accessories. They will make you achieve great results.

Some of the accessories you need include:

ExfoliatorsTowelsEyewearApplicatorsCapsChapStickNail SaversNipple Covers
It is necessary for preparing your skin. Some of the things you can apply include brushes, loofas, scrubs and black sugar among others.
You need a separate towel to avoid staining your regular towel during the tanning process.
It helps in protecting your eyes as you tan. The UV rays may be harmful to the naked eyes.
They help you in applying the lotion in hard to reach areas such as the back.
The UV light can end up drying your hair hence you need to protect it.
You need to protect the skin on your lips because it is thin and highly sensitive. A chapstick can help in protecting it.
Nails are prone to damage from UV rays. You need to protect them during the session.
You may not prefer your nipples darkening, to prevent the darkening you need nipple covers.

Choosing the Right Type of Tanning Bed

Most salons have staff who will guide you in choosing the right tanning bed. There are several factors you need to consider but the experts are in a better position to guide you.

Some of the factors you need to take into consideration include the following:

UVA or UVB BulbsOpen or ClosedBed or Booth
UVA have bulbs which are gentle than UVB. You need UVA for a light tan.
If you suffer from claustrophobia but you are determined to tan, then considering an open bed is the right idea. Closed beds tend to feel confining.
If you do not want to touch the surface of the bed, then a tanning booth will be ideal. You just stand in booth design enclosure while the door closes to get the tan.

How to Tan Outdoors

The process of tanning outdoors is similar to indoor tanning but outdoors you apply the natural UV rays from the sun.

Some of the steps you can take and tan outdoors include the following:

  • Exfoliate the skin to reveal healthy skin to be tanned by the sun
  • Wear a sunscreen to prevent burns as you tan on the sun. The sunscreen should be of 50 SPF.
  • Tan for less than 15 minutes for the first days
  • Have same exposure on your back and front to achieve an even tan
  • Tan when trays from the sun are the strongest to achieve a deep tan.