A Guide to Buying a Home Tanning Bed
If you like to look like you just returned from a tropical vacation all year long, but are tired of paying for a membership at the local tanning salon, buying a home tanning bed will make it easy to keep the golden glow you love.
Though generally considered a luxury purchase, if you are already spending significant money for regular visits to a tanning salon, along with the cost of gas to drive there and back, you may very well end up saving money by purchasing your own sun tanning bed.
How Does a Home Tanning Bed Work?
Tanning beds use fluorescent bulbs to bombard the skin with UV rays. These bulbs produce around 95 percent UVA rays, which penetrate the skin deeply and stimulate melanin production. The remaining 5 percent are UVB rays, which do not penetrate the skin as deeply, but have a higher capacity to cause sunburn. Both types of ultraviolet light stimulate tanning, and both cause skin damage.
The typical home tanning bed has 16 to 32 100-watt bulbs, sufficient to promote a golden tan within several uses. Tanning beds usually have a 15 to 30 minute timer for each session.
Note: Do not use a tanning bed if you are taking medications that increase sensitivity to UV rays or if your skin is burned or irritated.
Do You Want an Even Tan?
A traditional, full tanning bed lets you stretch out under the lights and relax while tanning. Lights on the top and bottom of the unit tan you evenly on your front and back at the same time. Full beds are usually between 6 and 7 feet long and 2 to 3 feet wide, so you must have quite a bit of space to fit the device in your room.
- Buying Suggestion: The Solar Storm 24S has 12 high-output bulbs on the top and bottom for a quick, golden tan. There are six high-output lamps for your face and six for your arms to give extra tanning power to these areas. The tanning bed is 30 percent larger than most other home tanners are, so it’s suitable for tall or large users. You’ll tan evenly with the tunnel design.
Is Your Space Limited?
If you don’t have room for a regular tanning bed, a tanning canopy sets up for your tanning session and easily stores away until the next time. These devices have a flexible stand that lets you position the tanner over you while you recline, or vertically while you stand up. Either way, the lights are only coming at you from one direction; so for an even tan, you will need to turn over halfway through the session.
- Buying Suggestion: The Sunquest 2000S Tanning Canopy has 10 super-efficient lamps with high-output UV rays for quick, even tanning. You can adjust the tanner to whatever angle is most comfortable, making it suitable for a tall or large user. Once you are golden tan, simply store the device in a closet or against the wall.
Do You Just Want to Tan Your Face?
If you just want a little healthy color on your face, a small tanning lamp will give you a bit of color in just minutes per day. These lamps only have a few UV bulbs, so tan very gradually, but you still need to wear eye protection while using a facial tanning device.
- Buying Suggestion: The CalSun Facial Tanning Lamp has four UV lamps and a 30-minute timer for each session. Just set it on the bathroom counter or table and relax in front of the light. Within several sessions, your face will have a light golden tan, and you’ll also feel the benefits of light therapy. Safety goggles are included with the Calsun Facial Lamp.
What Are the Risks of Tanning?
Though many people associate a tan with health, in fact, the opposite is true. Tanning is a result of damage to skin cells. Along with sunburn, excessive exposure to UV rays can cause:
- Premature aging
- Leather texture to the skin
- Skin cancer, including melanoma
- Actinic keratosis, a premalignant skin growth
- Eye damage, including cataracts
- Immune system suppression
For the Safest Tan:
- Always wear eye protection while tanning
- Limit your exposure to brief sessions no more than 30 minutes in length (15 minutes is recommended)
- Don’t use your tanning bed every day
- Wait at least 48 hours between tanning sessions
A home tanning bed gives you convenience and privacy while building up your tan. If you love the golden glow of summer and want it to last all year long, you can cut out the hassle of driving to the local tanning salon and paying for a membership by creating your own tanning salon at home. Just be sure to follow the recommended safety instructions, and you will soon be happily tan.