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Are Spray Tans Safe? The Pros and Cons of Spray Tans and Sun Beds

Should you use a sunbed or try a spray tan instead? Find out what I what I discovered when I looked into the use of sunbeds and spray tans.

What You Need to Know About Sun Beds vs Spray Tans

What You Need to Know About Sun Beds vs Spray Tans

What You Need to Know About Sunbeds vs Spray Tans

Spray Tans vs Airbrush Tanning Systems

Spray tans are popular, and more of us than ever before are switching to spray tans. But, does that mean that they are safe? Spray tan saloons are popping up all over the place, and most of the time, it only takes you a few days to train to be a spray tan technician. With such as a sharp increase in popularity, does it mean that we are better off using spray tan treatments?

Are Sunbeds Harmless When You Only Go Once A Week?

Finding information about sunbeds vs spray tans on the Internet is relatively easy, but it made me wonder if anyone had ever compared the two. After a visit to a local spray tan saloon, I was surprised to discover how little the technician knew about the treatments, and the girls at the sunbed salon seemed to think sunbeds are harmless when you only go once a week. Is that true?

Sections in this article:

  • What You Need to Know About Sunbeds vs Spray Tans
  • Are Sunbeds Harmless When You Only Go Once A Week?
  • Do Sunbeds Really Work? Can Sunbeds Damage My Skin?
  • Why Do We Become Tanned?
  • Are Sunbeds Safe?
  • How Do Sunbeds Work?
  • Can You Get a Tan with A Spray Tan?
  • Can You Still Burn When You Have Had a Spray Tan?
  • Are Spray Tans Safe?

Dos sunbeds cause more skin cancers than natural tanning?

Dos sunbeds cause more skin cancers than natural tanning?

Do Sunbeds Really Work? Can Sunbeds Damage My Skin?

Yes, sunbeds really do work, and they will give you a tan. But, there is a major problem with sunbeds. Just like the sun, they give out dangerous ultraviolet rays (UV). The UV rays you receive in a sunbed session can damage your skin cells. The DNA in skin cells is affected by UV rays. Over time, the damage can lead to cancer.

Why Do We Become Tanned?

The UV rays in sunbeds stimulate melanin production which is produced by specific cells in the skin called Melanocytes. UV helps the cells to divide and create melanin which slowly rises to the surface. That is how you get your tan.

Spray tans vs. sun beds

Spray tans vs. sun beds

Are Sunbeds Safe?

Many of us presume sunbeds are safe as long as we don't burn, we assume we will not damage our skin. That is not true, but it was in fact what the girls at my local tanning salon told me. It is a staff sales pitch and many people still fall for it.

When you are on a sunbed, you can't always see the damage right away. Skin damage from sunbeds builds up gradually. If you notice you are going red, you have already damaged your skin, just like you would do if you sat in the sun for some time. Skin cells damaged by UV are more likely to mutate incorrectly, and this can lead to skin cancer or other skin conditions associated with sunbeds.

Are sun beds really bad for us?

Are sun beds really bad for us?

How Do Sunbeds Work?

Sunbeds give out two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB - and both can lead to skin cancer. Studies have shown an increased risk of cancer from all types of sunbeds. The risk can be double that of spending same length of time in the summer sun. A rather shocking statistic suntan salon owners leave out when they first speak to a new client. I was told that sunbeds are actually safer than spending time in the sun.

Protecting your skin in the sun is just as important as protecting your eyes.

Protecting your skin in the sun is just as important as protecting your eyes.

Can You Get a Tan with A Spray Tan?

Spray tans will give you "color" but not as a suntan which will last for weeks and weeks. Most spray tans last for about ten days to 2 weeks, and you would then have to revisit the salon for a "top up". However, if you have fair skin, a spray tan may offer you the perfect opportunity to enjoy that bronzed look during summer.

Can You Still Burn When You Have Had a Spray Tan?

Yes, you can still burn when you have had a spray tan even though the salon may be trying to tell you otherwise. Some brands say that you will not burn, but that is not true. Suntan protection only works if you use it on a daily basis. If you are planning a day on the beach, it is important to use your suntan lotion as normal and avoid the midday sun.

Some manufacturers' spray tans can offer some protection. I think they actually do, but you would need a natural spray tan. Last year I used a natural brand and I did notice my skin stayed much better hydrated during the summer. Also, I did not have any problems with burning even when I was out on my paddle board.


Are Spray Tans Safe?

Most spray tans are safe, however, it is best to use a natural brand. Some brands of spray tan contain parabens which are derivatives from the petrochemical industry. The problem with parabens is that they will stay on your skin, and and cause damage. Parabens look like little crystals and they can, in fact, intensify the sun's UV radiation. In the long term, they cause sunburn and are associated with skin damage, dry skin, and sunspots.

Before you go ahead with your spray tan or fake tan, it is certainly worth doing as much research into the brand as possible. Make sure it is a natural brand that is not going to damage your skin.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Annie Messeri