Tanning Bed Questions

Guide to Preparing for Tanning Bed Session (Before & After)

Written by: Anastasija

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Your tanning session doesn’t begin when you step inside the sunbed. In fact, there is a lot of preparation involved when it comes to making the most of your tanning bed sessions. Thankfully, this article is here to help you out. Here is everything you need to know about preparing for a tanning bed session and how you can extend the life of your tan.

Believe it or not, achieving a quality tan doesn’t just start with stepping inside the tanning bed. In fact, there are some steps for you to take when it comes to preparing for a tanning bed session. Doing some prep before your tanning bed session is important because it can improve the appearance and extend the life of your tan. Skincare is one of the most essential parts of enhancing your tan. Read on to learn more about the best ways to pamper and nourish your skin while you work on your tan.

ExfoliationGently exfoliate the skin using a scrub or loofah to remove dead skin cells.
HydrationMoisturize the skin thoroughly to ensure it is well-hydrated before tanning.
Makeup RemovalRemove all makeup, including foundation and eye makeup, before tanning.
Eye ProtectionWear protective eyewear, such as goggles or stickers, to shield the eyes.
Check Tanning BedEnsure the tanning bed is clean and in proper working condition.
Table 1: Pre-Tanning Bed Session Preparation

Should You Shower Before a Tanning Bed Session?


When you’re preparing your skin for a tanning bed session, it is a good idea to shower, shave, and exfoliate a day or two before your session. Exfoliating is important because it removes dead skin cells and helps to give you a more even result and a tan that will last longer. One of my favorite products for exfoliating my body before a tanning session is the Shea Sugar Scrub from Tree Hut. These sugar scrubs will leave your skin feeling smooth and refreshed. Not to mention, they smell amazing!

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On the day of your session, you will want to shower about 1 hour before your session. Showering before your tanning bed session will help to remove any dirt or makeup products from your skin that might obstruct your tan.

Also read: Should You Exfoliate Every Day? (Based On Skin Type)

Should You Shave Before a Tanning Bed Session?

shaving photo by Anastasija ThirstyForTan

Shaving before your tanning bed session is an excellent way to prep your skin and ensure an even and long-lasting tan. The best way to do this is to shave a day or two before your tanning bed session. If you shave earlier than this, your hair will begin to grow back which can result in an uneven tan. However, if you shave too close to your tanning bed session, your skin will be delicate and sensitive. This can result in over-exposure to the UV rays which can be harmful to your skin.

Should You Use Any Lotion Before a Tanning Bed Session?

Applying lotion before your tanning bed session is a great way to extend and intensify the results of your tan. There are plenty of different options for tanning bed lotions to choose from, so you can choose one that suits your needs and desires for your tan.

An accelerator tanning lotion is a perfect option for anyone who is new to tanning beds. These hydrating lotions primarily focus on nourishing your skin while it adjusts to the tanning process. They also will help you achieve an even tan that looks as natural as possible.


If you’re looking for a high-end accelerator tanning lotion, try out Onyx Magnifique Sunbed Dark Tanning Lotion. This bronzing accelerator lotion will help you achieve an effortless tan that is buildable and long-lasting. It features a jasmine scent that will leave you feeling fresh before, during, and after your tanning bed session. With premium ingredients and a non-sticky formula, this is the perfect luxury suntan lotion.

Onyx Magnifique Sunbed Dark Tanning Lotion Bronzing Accelerator - Dark Tan Result - Push-Up Complex Coffee Blend - Lightweight Formula
  • Powerful amounts of bronzing ingredients with a tan accelerating blend of Sesame Oil, Tamanu Oil, and Walnut Extract enhance the desired color of your tan
  • Breakthrough Push-Up Complex, combined with the cellulite-fighting power of Coffee and Yerba Mate, helps achieve skin firming and youthful appearance

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For a more affordable option, try the Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion from Australian Gold. Throughout the years, this tried and true classic has become a favorite for tanning enthusiasts all over the world. This is a great option when it comes to achieving a deeper and darker tan that won’t break the bank. Applying the lotion before your tanning bed session will intensify your results and make them last longer. With nourishing ingredients and a refreshing coco dreams fragrance, it’s easy to see why this product is so well-loved by tanning bed users everywhere.

Australian Gold Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion, 2020 Formula, 8 Fluid Ounce, Classic Cocoa Dreams, Classic Cocoa Dreams, 8 Fl Oz
2,596 Reviews
Australian Gold Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion, 2020 Formula, 8 Fluid Ounce, Classic Cocoa Dreams, Classic Cocoa Dreams, 8 Fl Oz
  • ACHIEVE A DEEPER, DARKER TAN - This dark tanning accelerator lotion helps intensify your golden glow & lets you achieve a darker color payoff; Blends effortlessly with the skin, imparting a beautiful sun-kissed look out on the beach or on a sun bed
  • AUSTRALIAN NATURALS - A rich blend of Kakadu Plum extract with highest content of Vitamin C, and Tea Tree Oil, a powerful antioxidant, fights off free radicals and gently cleanses your skin leaving it healthy and smooth

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If you have tattoos and love to tan, you’re in luck! The Tanning Paradise Black Coconut Love Tanning Lotion features a formula that will protect your tattoos and make them pop. With age-defying ingredients that will nourish your skin and help you build a natural tan, this is an amazing option for people who love to tan.

Tanning Paradise Black Coconut Love Tanning Lotion | Coconut Oil | Age-Defying | Tattoo Protecting Formula | Ultra Hydrating Dark Tanning Lotion, 13.5oz
  • ✅ Dark tanning activators deliver golden results without the use of DHA or bronzing agents.
  • ✅ Multiple Tan Intensifier + Melanin Stimulators - Stimulate and increase melanin formation to accelerate the tanning process.

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Also read: How Long Does a Suntan Last? (With Products To Prolong It)

Aftercare for Your Tan

Aftercare is another essential part of achieving the perfect tan. Aside from helping you maintain the quality of your tan, aftercare techniques can help you extend the life of your tan. Here are some tips to help you take care of your tan after you leave the tanning salon.

MoisturizeApply a moisturizer immediately after tanning to replenish the skin’s moisture.
Avoid ShoweringWait at least 2-4 hours before taking a shower to allow the tan to develop.
Avoid SweatingMinimize physical activity and avoid sweating for a few hours after tanning.
Clothing SelectionOpt for loose-fitting and dark-colored clothing to prevent tan transfer.
Long-Term HydrationMaintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Table 2: Post-Tanning Bed Session Care

What Type of Clothes Should you Wear After a Tanning Bed Session?

During your tanning bed session, it is customary to wear something that won’t leave you with any obvious lines. This can include underwear, a bathing suit, or a thong. Most people opt to go nude in the tanning bed because that will eliminate the possibility of tan lines. However, you should wear whatever you feel most comfortable in.

Tanning Bed

After your tanning bed session, you will probably find it most comfortable to wear something lightweight and loose-fitting. Shorts and a tank-top are a great option during the summertime. If you’re using a tanning bed during the winter months, you might want to wear something warmer such as sweatpants and a jacket.

If you’re opting for tanning bed sessions, the clothing you wear after your session usually won’t make much of a difference in your end result. However, if you are using a tanning lotion that has bronzers or enhancers in it, you will want to be careful with the clothing you choose to wear after your tanning bed session. This is because bronzer or self-tanner can rub off and stain your clothes. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose loose clothing that is a darker color. To be safe, it’s a good idea to choose something that you won’t mind getting a bit of self-tanner on, just in case.

How Long Should You Wait to Shower After a Tanning Bed Session?

If you’re not sure about when or if you should shower after using the tanning bed, you’re not alone. In fact, many tanning bed users have the same question when it comes to showering after you tan. To answer the question, it is perfectly fine to shower after your tanning bed session. However, it is best to wait about 3-4 hours to shower after spending some time in the tanning bed. This is important for a few different reasons.

First, if you are using a bronzer to enhance your tan, then it will take a few hours for it to take full effect. If you shower too soon after using a bronzer, your tan can even become streaky in certain areas. However, waiting 3-4 hours will allow your bronzer to set in so you can achieve the best results.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to wait a few hours before showering so that you can see how the UV rays impact your skin before you step into the shower. Sometimes, over-exposure to the tanning bed can cause your skin to dry out and feel a bit rough. If that happens you will want to use a hydrating body wash and make sure to moisturize after you’re done with your shower.

If you’re looking for a body wash that is designed to enhance and extend your tan, look no further than the California Tan Sunless Body Wash. This formula is an amazing solution when it comes to protecting and perfecting your bronze. It contains soothing and nourishing ingredients that can help you make the most of your tans, such as aloe vera, honey, and banana extract.

California Tan Sunless Body Wash, 6 Ounce | Extend & Protect Sunless Tan | Long-Lasting Bronze Glow
  • Protect and perfect bronze color
  • Free: Sulfate Free and Paraben Free

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One thing to keep in mind is that you should never exfoliate immediately after a tanning bed session. While tanning can have some great benefits, your skin will be especially susceptible to damage after a tanning bed session. For that reason, using an exfoliator or scrub immediately after tanning can damage it even further. If you want to use an exfoliator after tanning, it is best not to use it for at least 24 hours after a tanning bed session.

Also read: The Legality of Tanning Beds in The U.S. & Around The Globe

Should You Use Any Lotions to Extend Your Tan?

If you’re looking to make the most of your tan after using the tanning bed, there are some products that can help you out. In fact, some after-tan lotions can even help you to enhance your tan results. This will leave you with a natural-looking, long-lasting tan.

The most important aspect of maintaining your tan is using products that will moisturize and nourish your skin. If your skin is prone to dryness after your tanning bed session, this can lead to cracking and peeling, leaving you with an undesirable result. That’s why it’s so important to care for your skin after spending time in a tanning bed, especially if you are a beginner.

When it comes to nourishing your skin after a tanning bed session, one incredible option is the b.tan After Sun Lotion. The formula for this lotion has everything you need to replenish and hydrate your skin after catching some sun rays, including aloe vera, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. You can even use this product after a day on the beach or to soothe a sunburn. As a bonus, it’s vegan and cruelty-free!

Another great option for enhancing and extending your tan is the Jergens Natural Glow Tan Extender. This tan-extending daily moisturizer can be used in place of your regular moisturizer after a tanning bed session. Its formula is designed to preserve your bronze and keep it looking fresh and natural for up to 7 days. It is especially hydrating, so you won’t need to worry about your skin cracking or peeling

Also read: Wondering if “Tanning Beds Whiten Your Teeth?” (Explained)

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

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