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Written By Chloe Taylor

Are Tanning Beds Worse for You Than the Sun?

tanning bed vs sun

Sun tanning is the most common and popular way of getting tan. But, nowadays there are several other options available that can help you get that natural dark tan.

Tanning beds are quite popular nowadays and you can easily get that glowing tan mostly during those cold winter days when the sun is not out.

My clients often ask me are tanning beds worse than the sun. so in this post, I will let you know the difference between both and what are the advantages and drawbacks of both ways of tanning.

What Factors Make Tanning Beds Different From the Sun?

As we all know the most natural form of getting tan is through sun tanning. The warm rays of the sun can be quite pleasant after going through those chilled winter months. The UV rays of the sun easily help us get that natural glowing tan.

On the other hand, tanning beds use fluorescent bulbs that emit UVA and UVB lights to make us tan. As both sun tanning and tanning beds are related to the UV rays so, both of them can damage and burn our skin if used for a longer period.

The research found that the UVA rays produced by the tanning beds are more harmful than the UV rays produced by the sun. They can cause severe damage to our skin and may also lead to skin cancer if overused.

Tanning salons often use tanning beds to help their clients achieve that dark, even tan easily. But, I suggest my clients not use tanning beds very frequently. You should also take proper protection and use tanning bed lotions before your tanning bed session to avoid any severe damage to your skin. To get information on some of the best tanning bed lotions you can check out my article on Best Indoor Tanning Bed Lotions

Places like new south wales, Australia and brazil have already banned the use of tanning beds. So, if compared then, tanning beds can be worse for you than the sun.

Uv Index Scale

Which is the Best and Safest UV Index for Tanning

Too much exposure to UV rays can cause severe damage. I will talk about the UV index and let you understand its purpose

Are Tanning Beds Worse Than the Sun?

Both the sun and tanning bed can cause severe damage to our skin and also lead to skin cancer if overused. However, some factors make tanning beds more dangerous than the sun.

Tanning beds is one of the easiest ways to get tan throughout the year. But, a Study found that the UVA rays produced while using tanning beds can burn your skin easily if not properly protected.

Tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. Previously it was believed that UVA rays are safer than UVB rays. However, the latest study has found UVA rays to be more harmful than both UV rays. Getting exposed to UVA rays frequently may cause melanoma (skin cancer) than UVB rays.

Being in this field for a few long years I have seen many people affected by skin cancer after frequent tanning bed sessions. The UVA rays produced by the tanning beds can also harm your eyes. I always suggest to my clients, to wear protective goggles while using tanning beds.

Beautiful Tanning Goggles

Where to Buy Tanning Goggles

I will share with you some valid reasons to have your own tanning goggles.

Most salon makes their clients aware of the harmful effects of using tanning beds and ways to protect themselves. However, if your tanning salon does not do the same then, you need to be very careful before going for your tanning bed session.

Excess exposure to UV rays can also lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. And these side effects can be seen more often in people using tanning beds than people who are getting tan in the sun.

Some salons claim that tanning beds promote vitamin D which is absorbed by your body while getting tan. However, this is not true as vitamin D is not produced by the tanning beds. The UVB produced can somewhat give you a feel of getting tan under sunlight.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Tanning Beds

Nowadays, tanning beds have become quite popular and they can help you get that dark, smooth, glowing tan even without spending long hours outdoors. However, using tanning beds has its own benefits and drawbacks. So, let us find out the pros and cons of using tanning beds.

Tanning Beds Advantages

  • You can tan at any time of the day and do not have to wait for the sun.
  • You can easily change sides while lying on a tanning bed to get that dark, even tan.
  • The UVB rays produced by the tanning beds can make you feel like tanning under the sun.
  • A tanning bed functions quite similarly to sunlight and can easily help you to overcome those cold winter months when the sun is not out.
  • It may not cause any damage or sunburn if used properly.

Tanning Beds Disadvantages

  • Overuse of tanning beds can lead to melanoma (skin cancer)
  • People with sensitive skin may experience itching, dizziness, and skin rashes.
  • The UV rays produced can be harmful to your eyes and may lead to diseases like conjunctivitis and keratitis.
  • Frequent use of tanning beds can cause premature aging, fine lines, dry skin, wrinkles, and age spots
  • People using tanning beds very often become addicted to them and often suffer from body dysmorphic disorder.
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet light can also weaken the immune system; thus, our body gets affected more easily by any disease.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sun Tanning

Sun tanning is the most natural way to get tan by lying or sitting in the sun. It is also referred to as sunbathing and can be beneficial for our health if done in a proper way. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of sun tanning you should know before going out for your next sun tanning session.

Sun Tanning Advantages

  • Spending time in the sun can boost your mood and make you feel calm as, staying in the sunlight release the hormone serotonin.
  • Vitamin D helps to fight diseases like flu, cancer, autoimmune diseases, muscle sclerosis, and heart disease. It also makes your bones strong and prevents arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Sunbathing regulates our circadian rhythm and thus, we start feeling drowsy when the sun sets.
  • Absorption of vitamin D protects your body from any infection associated with birth and preterm labor.

Sun Tanning Disadvantages

  • Spending excess time under the sun can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and other skin problems.
  • Overexposure to the sun can cause melanoma (skin cancer).

How Many Minutes in a Tanning Bed is Equal to the Sun?

Some of you may wonder how sun tanning and using a tanning bed are almost the same. So, let me tell you all that if, you spend 20 minutes in a tanning bed then, it is equivalent to spending nearly 2 hours in the sun without any protection.

Time in the Sun for Tanning [Min]

Time in SunBed for Tanning [Min]



















1 Hour


2 Hours


The result will be equal as tanning beds produce both UVA and UVB rays that make you tan faster. Although using tanning beds saves your time and makes you tan faster, it can burn your skin easily if overused.

Final Thought

Being a tanning professional I can say that sun tanning is much safer than using tanning beds. Although tanning beds help you get tan faster, overusing it can lead to severe skin damage and burn.

After reading this article you will understand that tanning beds are worse than the sun. So, if you are planning for your next tanning bed session then, make sure you take proper protection. Taking good care before and after using tanning beds is a must to keep your skin healthy.

Also, use good sunscreen with a higher SPF if you are planning to go out for tanning.

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Chloe Taylor

Hey there, I am Chloe Taylor, your trusted tanning expert. Dive into expert tips, product reviews, and skincare advice to unlock the secrets of a radiant tan. Also, join me in achieving that sun-kissed glow while safeguarding your skin, which can leave you feeling your best.

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