Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair?

tanning bed

When compared to getting a natural tan in the sun, tanning beds prove to be a much more convenient method. While sun lounging may take hours to give you a glowing tan, you can get that by only spending a very few minutes in the tanning bed. However, spending time affects not only your skin but also your hair.

So, can tanning beds lighten your hair? Yes, tanning beds can impact the color of your hair along with your skin. Read on to learn more about how tanning beds affect your hair and what you can do to protect your hair. 

What Causes Hair to Lighten in Tanning Beds?

Do tanning beds lighten your hair? Yes, because tanning beds have bulbs or lamps that emit artificial UV radiation to help darken your skin. While the UV rays turn the shade of your skin darker, the same can lighten your hair. The difference here is because of the varying nature of skin and hair.

The hair is made up of dead tissues, but your skin consists of layers of living tissue cells.  When your hair gets exposed to radiation, the shaft expands, breaking the pigment molecule present in it. Due to this process, the hair color can lighten.

Since the hair only consists of water, pigment, lipids, and structural proteins, they stay in the same color and state. They are replaced only when new hair grows. Your hair can change color because of sun exposure as well as by spending time in tanning beds.

On the other hand, as radiation reaches your skin, it can penetrate deeper through the layers. It reaches melanocytes that are present there to trigger the production of melanin, the chemical responsible for darkening your skin. The more the level of melanin in your skin, the darker your skin tone.

If you’re looking for a tanning method that doesn’t involve radiation, you can even consider spray tan. Check out our article – spray tan vs. tanning bed before you make your final choice! 

How to Protect Hair While Using Tanning Beds?

UV radiation can significantly alter the chemical composition of your hair, leading to color change. You can protect your hair from drying out and turning frizzy with the following tips:

Use Shower Cap:

If you’re heading for your tanning bed appointment, you must pull your hair up and tie them in a ponytail. Besides that, take a shower cap along with you or ask the technician at the tanning salon to give you one.

You must cover your hair with a tanning hair cap during the entire tanning process. It will not only help retain the moisture but also offer protection against UV radiation, thus preventing your hair from becoming brittle and light in color.     

Wear a Towel:

In case you don’t have a shower cap to cover your hair, you can use a towel. The thick material of the towel will prevent the radiation from getting in and affecting your hair. 

Apply Heat Protectant:

There are numerous quality hair protectants available in the market today. If you don’t want to cover up your hair in a cap or turban, you can opt for a heat protectant. Apply the product all over your hair before going into the tanning bed. You must begin by applying it on the scalp and roots and then move downwards towards the end.

We Recommend: HSI Professional Argan Oil Heat Protector 

Use Conditioner:

Another great way to protect hair from damage by UV radiation is by using a nourishing hair conditioner. Apply a leave-in conditioner before your appointment for a tanning bed salon, and it will prevent your hair from getting lighter in the shade. 

Related Questions:

Do Tanning Beds Lighten Blonde Hair?

Yes, tanning beds can affect blonde hair. It can cause damage to permed or color-treated hair and make them look dry and different. 

How Can I Lighten My Hair While Tanning?

If you aim to make the most of your tan and use it to lighten hair in a tanning bed, you can use lemon juice. Mix exactly 2 parts of lukewarm water with 1 part lemon juice and put it in a spray bottle. Wet your hair properly and spray this solution all over the hair that you want to lighten.

You can lounge in the sun or head for your tanning bed session. Exposure to radiation, along with lemon juice, will lighten the color of your hair. Rinse your hair thoroughly after and use a nourishing conditioner. 

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