Tanning Bed Lotions: Can You Use Them Outside?

Tanning Bed Lotions: Can You Use Them Outside? In a nutshell, It is possible to use indoor tanning lotion outside, but it is not recommended as it can increase the risk of sunburn and skin damage. Outdoor tanning products are specifically formulated to provide the right balance of color and sun protection.

It’s best to use a product specifically designed for outdoor use with at least SPF 15 and broad-spectrum protection. It’s important to also protect your skin from the sun by wearing a hat, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing.

Can You Use Tanning Bed Lotion Outside?

Tanning lotions are specially formulated to enhance the tanning process, but many people wonder whether they can use them outside of a tanning bed. The short answer is yes, you can use tanning bed lotions outside, but there are some things to consider before doing so.

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What is Tanning Bed Lotion?

Tanning bed lotions are designed to be used in indoor tanning beds. They contain a variety of ingredients, such as bronzer and accelerators, that work together to speed up the tanning process and improve the color of your skin. Some indoor tanning lotions also contain hydrating ingredients and skin-nourishing elements that help maintain skin moisture and health.

Why Use Tanning Bed Lotion Outside?

There are a few reasons why you might want to use tanning bed lotion outside. One of the main reasons is that it can help you achieve a deeper, more even tan. Tanning bed lotions contain ingredients that can speed up the tanning process, so if you’re looking to get a deep tan quickly, using a tanning bed lotion outside might be a good option. Additionally, tanning bed lotions often contain moisturizers and other skin-nourishing ingredients that can help keep your skin hydrated and healthy, even in the sun.

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The Risks of Using Indoor Tanning Lotion Outside

It is important to note that using indoor tanning lotions outside can be risky. The FDA has warned that tanning beds and lamps can cause skin cancer, and the same risks apply to using indoor tanning lotions outside.

Indoor tanning exposes the skin to UV rays, which can damage the DNA in skin cells. This damage can lead to mutations in the cells that can eventually lead to skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people who use tanning beds are 74% more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The use of indoor tanning lotions can also increase the risk of skin cancer. These lotions are formulated to increase the production of melanin in the skin, which can provide a deeper, darker tan. However, this increase in melanin production can also increase the risk of skin damage from UV rays.

In addition to the risk of skin cancer, using indoor tanning lotions outside can also lead to premature skin aging. UV rays can break down collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.

The FDA has issued a warning about the potential hazards of tanning beds and lamps and has classified them as “carcinogenic to humans”. They have advised individuals to avoid using them. Additionally, the FDA has implemented regulations for tanning beds and lamps, which include cautionary statements regarding the threat of skin cancer and other skin harm.

Keep in mind that indoor tanning lotions can help achieve a deeper, darker tan. However, they are not intended for outdoor use and may not offer the same level of protection as outdoor tanning lotions. It’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with using indoor tanning lotions outside and to protect your skin from UV rays by using sunscreens.

How to Use Tanning Bed Lotion Outside

If you use a tanning bed lotion outside, it’s essential to use it correctly. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with clean, dry skin. Before applying the lotion, make sure your skin is clean and dry.
  • Apply the lotion evenly. When applying the lotion, cover all areas of your skin evenly.
  • Use sun protection. Even if you’re using a tanning bed lotion, it’s still important to use sun protection. Be sure to apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before going outside.
tanning bed lotions: can you use them outside?

Differences between Indoor and Outdoor Tanning Lotion

When comparing indoor and outdoor tanning lotions, the main difference is the type of ingredients they contain. Indoor tanning lotions typically have higher levels of DHA (dihydroxyacetone) and tyrosine. These ingredients react with the amino acids in the skin to produce a darkening effect. This is why indoor tanning lotions are more effective in producing a deeper, darker tan.

On the other hand, outdoor tanning lotions contain ingredients such as SPF and natural oils that protect the skin from UV rays while also providing a subtle tan. These ingredients are designed to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, while also promoting a gradual tan.

The use of DHA and Tyrosine in indoor tanning lotion can also cause skin irritation, redness, and itching. Furthermore, as mentioned before, indoor tanning lotions do not contain sunscreen, so it is important to use sunscreen separately or in combination with indoor tanning lotions when exposed to the sun’s UV rays.


In summary, using tanning bed lotion outside can be beneficial for achieving a deeper, more even tan and keeping your skin healthy. However, it’s essential to use the lotion correctly and consistently for sun protection. If you’re considering using tanning lotion outside, talk to a dermatologist or other skin care professional to determine whether it’s right for you.

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