What Do You Wear In a Tanning Bed?

woman in bikini in tanning bed

If you are new to using tanning beds, or if you have been using them for years and are wondering if you’re doing it right, the question of what do you wear in a tanning bed is an important one to answer.

I often get asked, ‘do you wear clothes in a tanning bed?’ You absolutely can if you would like to, but covered parts of your body won’t be exposed to the UV rays and therefore won’t tan. So, it kind of defeats the purpose unless you are a fan of tanning lines.

The most important thing to wear when using a tanning bed is eye protection. The eyes are very sensitive to UV light and closing your eyes is not enough. So, tanning goggles or disposable UV eye stickers are essential.

After that, it is totally up to you what you wear on a sunbed. Take into consideration whether or not you want to have tan lines and how you want them to look whilst choosing. If you want to avoid tan lines altogether, going nude is the best option.

Let’s have a look at your options and go into more detail on what options you should opt in more detail below.

What to Bring to a Tanning Salon

Before you decide what to wear on a tanning bed, you should first consider what other things you need to bring with you.

Most salons offer UV protection stickers for your eyes as well as a variety of tanning enhancing and accelerating lotions to use on the sunbeds.

If you prefer to use your own tanning goggles and lotions, make sure to bring these along, as well as the things you plan to wear whilst using the tanning bed.

We will have a more detailed look at protecting your eyes and what to wear below.

Eye Protection

Eye protection is a non-negotiable must. The high concentration of UV rays that tanning beds emit mean that your eyelids are not enough to protect your eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds us about the dangers of too much UV light for our eyes, saying that excess exposure can increase the risk of issues such as eye cancer, cataracts, sunburnt eyes etc.

You have a choice of goggles or disposable eye protection stickers.

If you plan to visit sunbeds regularly it is a good idea to invest in a pair of UV protection goggles like these. They are designed to cover a minimal part of your face to reduce unwanted tan lines. Owning a pair of goggles that you use every visit is also less wasteful and better for the environment.

If you are really worried about tan lines, or only plan to take a couple of trips to the tanning beds, most salon offer UV protection stickers to place over your eyes. They will feel a bit strange at first but are not uncomfortable and you will be able to see through them!

Whichever option you choose, don’t ever use a tanning bed without the appropriate eye protection.

What to Wear on Your Face in a Tanning Bed

Apart from the goggles, is not essential to cover your face whilst using a tanning bed.

If you have particularly sensitive skin on your face that is highly prone to burning, you might choose to cover your face with a towel or a light piece of clothing.

Most people, however, choose to leave their face uncovered and just wear eye protecting goggles or stickers, to get the same bronzed and healthy glow on their face, too.

It’s important to mention that if you are wearing makeup it may offer some protection and could lead to the skin on the tan not tanning properly. For more on this check our article – can you tan with makeup on.

Wearing a Swimsuit/Bikini

One clothing option when using a tanning bed is to wear a swimsuit or bikini. It will leave tan lines, but it is likely that the whiter parts under the swimsuit won’t be on show when you’re out and about, anyway.

A swimsuit will provide protection for sensitive areas of your body like the nipples, to avoid over-exposure to UV rays.

Another reason that people like wearing swimsuits whilst using tanning beds is their ability to keep the body cool. The material is designed to wick away sweat and dry very quickly, so can be the most comfortable to wear on a sunbed.

When choosing the swimsuit, just make sure that it doesn’t cover parts of your body that you want to be tanned. The best option is the swimsuit you wear most often, because then when you are wearing it out and about on the beach or by a pool, the tan lines will be hidden underneath.

If you are worried about tan lines around your chest and shoulders, you can go for a strapless bikini top. This is a great option if you often wear clothing that exposes your shoulders.

Wearing Underwear

A highly convenient option to wear whilst using a tanning bed is your underwear. This will mean that you don’t have to carry a swimsuit with you and can hop straight on after taking off your other clothes.

Underwear should provide protection for sensitive areas of your body like the nipples, to avoid over-exposure to UV rays, just like a swimsuit will. Most underwear doesn’t have the ability to wick away sweat, however. Keep in mind not all underwear will offer 100% protection, for example lacey underwear may only offer partial protection so keep that in mind when choosing.

Just like when choosing a swimsuit/bikini, think carefully about what areas of your body you want to be tanned when choosing the underwear that is right. This will be a completely personal choice – some people love the look of tan lines, and others want to avoid them as much as possible.

On the whole, underwear is a great choice if you make a last-minute decision to visit a sunbed, and don’t feel comfortable going in nude.

Using a Tanning Bed Nude

The best way to avoid tan lines altogether is to wear nothing whilst using a tanning bed. It is absolutely an option, but there are a few things to take into consideration, as listed below.

First, double check that your tanning salon allows it. In the vast majority of cases, there will be no problem, but it is still worth confirming this with your salon.

On that note, if you are visiting a new salon for the first time, ask them about their hygiene procedures. Professional and trustworthy salons follow rigorous cleaning routines, with total disinfection after each client. This is obviously important if people are using the tanning beds naked.

If you are unsure about their answer when you ask about hygiene or read some bad reviews online related to this issue, maybe find a different salon before you use tanning beds nude.

Once you have found the right salon (or if you have a personal tanning bed to use at home) the last thing to think about it whether any areas of your body need protecting from intense UV rays.

Aside from the eyes, nipples are another very sensitive part of the body and so are prone to burning. There are nipple patties like these available to buy which you can place over your nipples to protect them whilst using a tanning bed. Think about other sensitive and intimate areas of your body and consider covering them too.

Apart from this, using a tanning bed naked is great – if you are comfortable with doing so – for avoiding tan lines.

What to Wear After Using a Tanning Bed

I also get asked about what to wear after using a tanning bed. The short answer is, just something comfortable.

Loose fitting clothing is preferable because it helps to avoid rubbing, chafing and sweating. Your skin will be in recovery mode, so it is best to give it some air.

Also consider that you will probably wear some form of lotion whilst using a tanning bed, so if there aren’t showers at the tanning salon, don’t choose clothes that can’t get a bit sticky.

Once you have had a tepid shower, make sure to apply lots of cooling, moisturizing lotion to re-hydrate your skin following the intense UV exposure.

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