Sun tanning presents a variety of problems. For one, it is only an option during certain parts of the year, when the weather is warm enough to lay outside. You also have to do a lot of work to tan correctly, as the sun can only touch some of your skin at any given time, and environmental factors (such as shadows, moisture, etc.) can affect that sun exposure. UV rays also fluctuate and burning in the sun is a constant risk.
That is why many people turn to tanning beds instead. Tanning beds offer far greater control over the entire tanning experience. You can get your entire body at once and you know exactly how much “sun” you are getting in the tanning bed in order to accurately gauge your UV exposure.
But tanning beds are dangerous – possibly more dangerous than laying out in the sun, at least in terms of time and risk. They pump your body with UV rays in ways that not even the sun can manage. There is no way to tan safely, including in tanning beds. But here are some ways that you can stay safer during your time in a tanning salon.
Ways to Stay Safer
- Gradually Increase Time
Your first step is to always start slowly. You never want to rush your tan. That means that if you have light skin and this is your first time tanning, you may only want to be in the tanning booth for 4 minutes at maximum. This slow start reduces burning, and will start to give you a base tan which you can use to gradually increase the time you spend in the booth.
- Give Yourself Some Rest
Don’t use the tanning booth every day. Your skin does not cool down in a matter of hours. It takes at least 48 hours for your skin to cool from your last tanning booth experience. If you go back again too soon, you risk serious burning and discomfort.
- Don’t Use “High Powered” Tanners
You are already soaking your body in UV rays. Don’t try to use the high powered machines that have recently been produced. They are only rushing your tanning process, which is going to cause serious damage to your skin.
- Cover Your Eyes
Your eyes should always be covered. The UV rays provided by the tanning booths can seriously damage your eyes. If you go to a tanning salon, they will most likely provide you with goggles on their own, but if you tan in a hotel tanning salon or a gym tanning booth, make sure you have complete eye protection for both UVA and UVB rays.
- Moisturize Afterward
It may not prevent skin cancer, but moisturizing afterward can prevent short term skin damage. If you spend more than 5 minutes in a tanning booth, much of the moisture in your skin evaporates. Keep your skin moisturized after you have completed your tan.