Can You Use Tanning Bed Lotion Outside? (indoor tanning)

woman using tanning oil outside

If you have bought some tanning bed lotion before and now want to use it outside. You might be asking yourself the question can you use tanning bed lotion outside?

Yes you can use tanning bed lotion outside. Though it’s important to mention here that tanning bed lotion does not offer any sun protection usually. Therefore, you should try and be careful and not expose yourself for too long in the sun.

Below we will get into this in more detail along with advice if you do decide to use tanning bed lotion outside.

Understanding Tanning Bed Lotion

Before we talk directly about if you should use tanning bed lotion outside it’s important we first explain how it works and why that’s important.

When you use tanning bed lotion as you might know it speeds up the tanning process. How it basically works is the lotion helps attract more of the light to the skin therefore speeding up the tanning process.

When you are using this lotion on a tanning bed it’s very controlled. Meaning the tanning bulbs are set to a certain level, and you will be using it for a set amount of time.

Our point here is that everything is under control and it’s much less likely you will overexpose yourself to the UV rays this way. The same can’t be said when tanning outside which we will cover more in the next section below.

It’s also worth mentioning tanning bed lotion when compared with regular tanning lotion is often made up with relatively similar ingredients so both of them have a similar affect. The only notable difference is some outdoor tanning lotions come with SPF included which is not typical for tanning bed lotions.

What to Consider When Using Tanning Bed Lotion Outside

When you are using tanning bed lotion outside the main difference when compared with tanning beds is it’s uncontrolled. Typically, you wouldn’t have a set amount of time to sit in the sun and you mightn’t even consider the strength of the UV rays which play a very important factor.

If you go out in the midday sun for a long time especially when using the lotion, the chance your skin might burn or become irritated is much more likely.

Therefore, we want to give some advice oh how to use the lotion outside safely below.

Our Advice

Our first piece of advice when using tanning lotion outside is to start slow. What we mean by this is keep your time tanning in the sun limited especially if you aren’t sure how your skin might react with the sun.

If you have more fair skin, you will want to start with a shorter tanning time than someone with more tanned skin.

If you are someone with more fair skin we suggest starting out with a 15-minute session. This way you can see how your skin reacts with the lotion and the sun without much concern of any skin irritation, burns etc. If you have more a little more toned skin you can opt for a bit longer – 20-25 minutes. The same reasoning applies here.

We suggest not to go tanning the following day and see how your skin fairs, if you notice no irritation you can opt to go tanning 2 days later. Again, you should stick with the same amount of time and again see how your skin fairs.

If you notice no problems and a tanning developing you can then increase the time spent in the sun, 5 minutes more for someone pale and 10 minutes more for someone more tanned. We recommend a maximum time for tanning with tanning bed lotion at 30 minutes if you have more fair skin and 60 minutes if you have more tanned skin.

The second and important part of this formula is choosing what time to tan. Instead of choosing what time to tan we suggest you instead look at the UV index for where you live.

The point of a UV index is to see the strength of the UV rays. If they are too high it wouldn’t be safe to tan outside at all, though if it’s too low the chance of tanning is almost zero. If you are closer to the equator it’s likely your UV rays will be stronger and depending on season.

UV index starts at 0 and rises all the way up to over 11, higher is stronger. What we suggest for your first tanning session is going to tan when this index level is around 1-3. These levels are quite low and relatively safe to tan without much worry of burning. Depending on your location and season it may be in the morning to get these levels or in the afternoon.

After 3-5 sessions without any negative effects, you can then allow yourself to tan up to the UV index of 5. Anything over 5 we suggest not to tan outside especially with tanning oil because the chance of burning or irritating the skin is much more likely. For more on this check our article – what UV index is best for tanning outside.

A Note on SPF

Because most tanning bed lotions never use SPF you should always err on the side of caution when using them outside to lower the chance of any skin irritation.

Therefore, in our advice we suggest you start slow and safely when using them outside. We want to highlight the importance of how much time you spend in the sun along with the strength of the sun rays too (UV index).

Related Questions

What Does Tanning Lotion Do Outdoors?

Tanning lotion when used outdoors simply speeds up and amplifies the effect of the UV rays and sun on the skin. It does so by attracting more light to the skin which speeds up the tanning process.

What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Tanning Lotion?

Typically, both indoor and outdoor tanning lotions have a similar makeup of ingredients. The only difference you may sometimes see is that SPF is included in some outdoor tanning lotions whereas for indoor lotions this is not usually the case.

How Do You Speed Up Tanning Outside?

The best way to speed up tanning outside is to use a tanning lotion. This way you can and should choose a time when the UV rays are not too strong. Also, it’s important to not spend too much time in the sun when doing so because of how the lotion speeds up the tanning process.

Some people think to speed up the tanning process it’s better to tan when the sun rays are strongest, but this is highly recommended against because the chance of burning is much more likely.

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