I would recommend using a high-quality lotion while tanning. However, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. The idea of using a lotion for tanning is that you will get a better, even tan compared to someone who doesn’t use any kind of lotion. Everyone wants their tan to be the best and lotion may be a key factor for tanning.

What Is Tanning:

Tanning is the darkening of the skin after it has been exposed to ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light can be natural light such as the sun or artificial light such as a tanning bed. It should be noted that everyone tans differently, some people don’t tan well or others burn easily. This is mainly caused by different skin types and your own genetics.

Tanning can be dangerous to your health and skin if you are not careful.

What Does Tanning Do To The Skin:

The main thing that tanning does to the skin is to darken it. The scientific thing that happens while tanning is that the cells of your skin are damaged by the ultraviolet light and produce melanin to help protect itself. This melanin absorbs the light on your skin and makes your skin darker.

If your skin didn’t produce melanin to help protect itself, the ultraviolet light would cause damage to your skin cells DNA.

What Do Lotions Do To The Skin:

Many different lotions are formulated to do different things to the skin. The main two lotions that you could use for tanning are:

Tanning Bed Lotion:

Tanning lotion is used while tanning and could help provide a darker, faster, and even tan. These are sometimes called tanning accelerators. Tanning lotion should be the only lotion you use if you are going to a tanning bed.

Other lotions can build up on the surfaces of the tanning bed and may damage them. A lot of oils seem to do that.

Tanning lotions also have a moisturizer in them as well. This works the same way as a regular lotion moisturizes the skin.


The price of tanning lotions seems to be all over the table. Some tanning lotions seem to be around $12 all the way up to $100. This price ranges fast and it’s best to know the right kind of bronzer lotion or you could end up wasting a lot of money.

The more expensive ones usually have better higher quality ingredients. However, that isn’t always the case, you need to find a brand that you can trust.


Tanning accelerators should only be used when you are going to be exposed to ultraviolet light. This includes outdoor tanning or tanning from a tanning bed. Apply the accelerator from the lower part of your body to the upper part of your body covering all areas. You can start at the upper part and work your way lower if you want.

Make sure that you cover your entire area and try not to miss any spots. These spots you miss can give you an uneven tan.


Tanning accelerator lotions can give a good and even tan when applied right. The tan itself may even last a little longer from the accelerator penetrating into the skin more. After tanning, it’s best to always moisturize your skin with a lotion to moisturize and help your skin recover from tanning.

Only use an accelerator before tanning and never use it as a lotion by itself.

Body Lotion:

Body lotion is a mixture of water, oils, and other ingredients such as vitamin E oil. This mixtures purpose is to mainly help moisturize the skin. However, some lotions will help calm the skin or help the skin after it has been damaged from too much ultraviolet light.


The price of body lotion may seem a little expensive at first but that is because of a few reasons. The main reason is the quality of the ingredients used in the lotion. After tanning, you want the best ingredients available to help your skin recover.

High-quality ingredients don’t come cheap. But, this is because the lotion should last a long time. You will end up using a small amount of lotion over your body and most come in very large bottles. Some lotions can last around a year depending on how much you use them.


The best time to apply lotion is right after tanning. This is because your skin is most vulnerable right after tanning. If you do a lot of tanning, it’s best to start applying body lotion a few days before you start tanning. This can make sure your skin is in perfect condition before tanning. Your skin could be dried out even if it doesn’t look or feel like it.

The right lotion has ingredients that are perfect for after tanning such as aloe vera, vitamin e, oatmeal, or more.

To apply, I recommend that you either start at your feet and work your way up or start at your shoulders and work your way down. It doesn’t matter where you start. Make sure that you cover your entire body with lotion, especially after tanning.

How much to use depends on the area you want to cover. It is best to start with a small amount and work your way up. You don’t want to use too much lotion since it will be a waste. More lotion doesn’t mean better results. See this guide on how much lotion you should use.


Body lotion is an excellent choice to use leading up to tanning and right after tanning. The price of the lotion is cheap compared to the amount you get. The right lotion will have ingredients that are healthy to the skin. You can’t go wrong with using lotion leading up to and after tanning.

Lotion After Tanning:

You do want to apply lotion after tanning. It doesn’t matter how you got you tan, either by direct sunlight or artificial light.

Tanning can be a lot for your skin to go through. It can cause dry skin. Having dry skin can lead to more problems with your skin. You want to provide the best for your skin after tanning since they could have been damaged to too much ultraviolet light.

Proving a body lotion after tanning can help with a few different things:

Provide Moisture:

A lotions job is to help the skin provide moisture. Lotion can help by creating a barrier over your skin that locks in moisture, providing ingredients to your skin to moisturize, and certain ingredients penetrate into your skin to provide a deeper moisturizer.

Help Sooth Skin:

Body lotion can be made of ingredients that will help soothe the skin. Not all body lotions are made with the same ingredients that could help the skin. Some lotions are made up of synthetic ingredients and alcohols or fragrances that could irritate the skin more.

A few examples of ingredients in lotion that could help soothe the skin are aloe vera, honey, and oatmeal. These are just a few of the many ingredients that could help your skin.

Feel Great To Apply:

Overall, I just love the feel of putting lotion on my skin. This is especially true after tanning. I can’t tell you why but it just feels refreshing for my skin.

Lotion Before Tanning:

Using a lotion right before tanning is totally up to you. Some people use a tanning accelerator to help with their tan. Other people have always use lotion before tanning and it’s just the way they do it. Some pro’s of using a lotion before tanning may include:

Outside Use:

A tanning accelerator can be used for outside tanning as well as indoors. It’s best to apply accelerator evenly to your body to get an even tan without streaks or marks. Most tanning accelerators are not going to have an SPF in them to protect you.

Better Overall Tan:

You may experience a better overall tan if you use a lotion before tanning. Many people say that using a tanning accelerator will give them a darker, deeper, and longer-lasting tan. This can be great for you tan. However, make sure not to overdo it.

Tanning Lotion Warning:

Many lotions may not be good for tanning beds. Some lotions have certain oils in them that could cause damage to the acrylics in the tanning bed. Some salons have a list of banned ingredients in tanning lotion that they will not allow since it may damage their equipment.