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Tanning Bed Lotions

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The main purpose for using tanning bed lotions is to keep the skin moisturized during the tanning session. The ultraviolet (UV) light rays emitted from the tanning bed lamps dehydrate the skin just like a tanning session in the sunshine does. Most tanning bed lotions are almost the same as any other moisturizer, with a few exceptions, however, that pertain to the tanning process itself.

Some of the ingredients found in tanning bed lotions that promote the appearance of a tan include dihydroxyacetone (DHA), tyrosine, canthaxanthin, and erythrulose. These ingredients work in one way or another to either mimic or stimulate the production of melanin, the ingredient the body produces naturally to protect the skin from the dangers of the sun. Some tanning bed lotions even contain melanin.

Tanning bed lotions contain other ingredients, however, that work as moisturizers and soothing agents to minimize the irritation that might be caused by the tanning bed process. Two of the biggest differences between simple moisturizers and tanning bed lotions are less alcohol and a thicker consistency in the tanning bed lotions than in everyday moisturizers.

Tea oil and extracts, often green tea byproducts, are common ingredients in tanning bed lotions. The tannins from tea are known to sooth the skin after overexposure to the sun and have been used for this purpose for thousands of years.

Other oils, including lanolin, hempseed oil, jojoba, and aloe, are common ingredients in tanning bed lotions. These oils provide a protective barrier over the surface of the skin that minimizes the loss of water from the skin’s tissues, causing dryness and premature ageing.

Some tanning bed lotions list copper as an ingredient but don’t look for a “copper-toned” tan as a result. Copper is a mineral that is insoluble in water, oil, and alcohol so it cannot be absorbed as a pigment. Instead, it is probably included for its germicidal properties, allowing the tanning bed lotions that contain it to have a longer shelf life free from bacterial and fungal infestation.

All tanning bed lotions work only on the outermost surface of the skin. Melanin, produced in deeper layers of the skin actually protects the skin from the accumulating effects of exposure to UV light rays, be they from the sun or the tanning bed.

A tan that is gradually acquired by exposure to the sun is a protection mechanism that occurs naturally. A tan achieved in a tanning salon does not provide this natural protection and extreme caution is advised if prolonged exposure to the sun is anticipated.

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