How To Use Tanning Lotion 101
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How To Use Tanning Lotion 101

Find the perfect tanning lotion for you.

How To Use Tanning Lotion 101
Jordan Mahan

More often than not, clients come into a tanning salon and ask the question, “What should I get?” They want a natural but dark tan, you know, like the kind the models on the beach have. Well your first priority shouldn’t be which bed you're using, but what lotion you're using. Lotion does several things other than moisturize your skin, and that's what I'm here to tell you.

First for the basics. What do lotions do?


Duh! First and foremost, lotions keep your skin from drying out. Dry skin exfoliates and replenishes faster. This means your top layer of skin sheds faster along with your tan.

Take advantage of time in a tanning bed

I bet you didn’t know that without a lotion, it takes seven minutes before your skin starts the tanning process. Most people start out at around five minutes, so I’ll let you do the math on how much time you're wasting by not using a lotion. With a lotion the process starts almost immediately at around the 30 second area.


Have you ever gotten out of a tanning bed, smelling like burnt skin, even if you didn’t burn? Lotions are made to cancel out that smell. Many lotions even copy your favorite perfumes.

Now on to some more advanced stuff. Most salons carry three main types of tanning lotions.


Maximizers, intensifiers and accelerators are all the same thing. They are colorless lotions that go on your skin before you tan. These lotions are perfect for those who are fair skinned that get very light tans. These lotions are also great for people who are just starting out. Maximizers allow you to get your own natural base tan without the help of a bronzer.


Bronzers are the next level up in the tanning world. They are for people who have been tanning long enough to achieve their base tan, but they still want to be darker. Bronzers have cosmetics in them that causes you to have an instant color, as well as ingredients that help you build up to that darker color while looking natural.


Finally, we have tingle lotions. These lotions are not for the light hearted, and should only be used by experienced tanners. Tingle lotions do just what the name implies: they make your skin tingle. And I'm going to be honest, by tingle it really means burn. You will experience a sensation that you are burning but fear not, because you are not in fact burning as long as you are tanning an amount of time your skin is used to. Tingle lotions cause the blood vessels in your body to open up which allows the UV rays to penetrate your skin and give you your deepest darkest tan. Using this lotion will make you really dark really fast, and make your tan last longer than it normally would.

Finally, we have the ingredients, which I am sure all of you have looked at.


The first ingredient in tanning lotions will be either aloe or water depending on the price of it. Aloe is a great first ingredient to choose because it is going to do a better job moisturizing your skin. Remember your tan only lasts as long as your skin does, and dry skin doesn’t last very long.

Anti-aging, toning and firming

These ingredients provide skin benefits such as, anti-aging. This tightens and tones your skin! Who wouldn’t want to look like they’ve been working out when all they have really done is lay in a tanning bed?

Melanin Production

This ingredient stimulates melanin production. Melanin is the pigment in your skin that causes you to tan. Without it, you will be completely pale and unable to tan.

CC Crème

This is color correcting, which ensures that your lotion will not streak and it will go on evenly.

Tattoo Fade Protection (ink drink)

Yes! You can tan without harming your expensive tattoos, just find a lotion that has this on the label.

These are just a few of the wonderful ingredients that many tanning lotions have. And I guarantee the person working the counter can tell you about each lotion they own, as well as help you find one that works well for you.

So there is just one more thing to look at: price. Yes, there are tanning lotions well over $100 and then there are some that are $20, but what is the difference? The quality of your lotion will directly reflect how much you pay for it. All of the ingredients I listed above are going to be in lotions that are a little pricier, but lotions last for quite a while, and they greatly enhance your tanning results.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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