Do you want to keep that summer tan all year long? You can do it with indoor tanning lotion and a little time in a tanning bed.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of orange skin after using fake tan lotion. We’re not going there today. Instead, we’ve selected the best indoor tanning lotions to keep your skin healthy and looking naturally bronzed.
What is indoor tanning lotion?
First, let’s talk about the differences between tanning lotion, self-tanners, and sunblock.
Sunblock is what you’ll want to apply before you spend the day out in the sunshine. It keeps harmful ultraviolet rays from damaging your skin. You can still tan slowly while wearing sunblock if the SPF factor isn’t too high.
A self-tanner, or fake tan in a bottle, is a lotion that colors your skin temporarily. This is the product that led to all the jokes about orange skin. If you don’t do a good job of applying it, you’ll have streaks. Some skin tones look better than others with a fake tan. This kind of skin coloring lasts for three to five days at best, then has to be reapplied.
Finally, there’s indoor tanning lotion. This is what we’ll discuss today. Apply this before an indoor tanning session and it speeds up how fast you tan. It can make you tan darker and faster than you could normally achieve by laying out in the sunshine.
What’s in an indoor tanning lotion?
Tanning lotions moisturize your skin to keep it supple and healthy. They don’t block ultraviolet rays so they aren’t good to wear if you want to be out in the sunshine for hours. But they can help avoid a sunburn from the UVA rays you’ll absorb in a tanning bed.
Some tanning lotions increase blood flow to the surface of your skin to help in the production of melanin. Melanin is the skin pigment that makes you look tanned. These kinds of creams are called “tingle lotions” because some people sense tingling after applying them. Some indoor tanning lotions also create a pleasant cooling sensation on your skin while you tan.
Bronzer is another common component of some indoor tanning lotions. It gives a light surface color to your skin, and sometimes a bit of shimmer or glitter, but it washes off in the shower, or after a few days.
Many indoor tanning lotions have silicone as a base because it doesn’t create an oily film on the acrylic screen of a tanning bed. Silicone is helpful to your skin because it seals in moisture.
So now that you have some idea of what an indoor tanning lotion is all about, let’s take a look at the top five.
The 5 best indoor tanning lotions
We researched top indoor tanning lotions with the best features and lots of happy users. Now we’ll review the five best ones here for you.
Millenium Tanning New Solid Black Bronzer Tanning Bed Lotion
Millenium Tanning’s Solid Black is wildly popular among tanning aficionados. It has a silicone-based bronzer that darkens your skin tone before you even lay down in the tanning bed. It’s also packed full of moisturizers to keep your skin healthy during the tanning process.
The list of ingredients reads like an introduction to a herbology textbook. It has walnut seed oil, sunflower seed oil, pecan seed oil, even hemp oil. (Yes, that’s derived from cannabis sativa but it doesn’t have THC to make you high.)
The inclusion of tyrosine is supposed to increase the production of melanin to darken your skin. Meanwhile, Vitamin E (in the form of tocopherol), chamomile, and willow bark help soothe your skin during and after tanning.
Lots of users say that Solid Black doesn’t cause streaking and works just as advertised. It has a pleasant scent and goes on smooth and creamy. The only downside is that it contains parabens.
Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion
The Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion can be used for both indoor and outdoor tanning. It’s one of the top selling tanning lotions on the market.
It contains Vitamin A to hasten the tanning process and Vitamin E to moisturize your skin. It doesn’t add artificial color to your skin as it is not a bronzer. In fact, it may take you a couple of tanning sessions to see a big difference in your skin color with this tanning accelerator.
On the other hand, it’s gentler and more natural than some of the other lotions available. It has a pleasant scent and doesn’t make skin feel super greasy.
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion’s goal to is help you get a golden tan without fading the colors in your tattoos. Use it for a tanning bed or outdoor in the sunshine. It does not contain bronzer so it may take a couple of sessions to see results.
This lotion contains tyrosine and a special melanin formula to speed up skin pigmentation. The coconut oil and cocoa butter add a nice scent. They help keep dryness at bay without making you feel greasy. Ed Hardy also says this lotion diminishes cellulite and makes skin firmer.
Designer Skin Body Bronzer, Ruby
We mentioned lotions that tingle and cool your skin while you tan. The Designer Skin Body Bronzer, Ruby formula, does exactly that. It’s also a 19x bronzer so you’ll already have color before you lay down in the tanning bed.
Ruby uses capsaicin from chili peppers to increase blood flow to your skin and give you a tingly sensation. At the same time, the licorice extract cools your skin while you tan. Many users rave about the incredible sensory experience of tanning with this lotion as well as the deep tan they have after using it.
Ruby goes on smooth with the help of silicone and smells pleasantly fruity. Be careful if you are new to tanning. Experienced tanners say this lotion is powerful. You may notice your skin turns reddish after you apply it before you tan. That’s the capsaicin working.
Hempz HYPOALLERGENIC DARK TAN Maximizer
Even if you have sensitive skin, you may enjoy tanning with Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer. It’s 100% Vegan and doesn’t contain parabens, gluten, nuts, or THC. There is no scent and no artificial color.
This lotion uses hemp seed oil to speed up tanning while keeping skin soft and pliable. It also contains mango seed butter for increased hydration and oatmeal for soothing any irritation.
There’s no bronzer in this lotion so it may take a few sessions to see your skin reach a natural deep color.
Safe tanning indoors
If you’re new to indoor tanning, take it slow. Start with just a few minutes each visit. Indoor tanning can cause cancer just like too much sunshine outside. Follow the advice of the tanning salon staff and go easy on your skin. Protect your eyes, too. You’ll thank yourself in years to come.
Choose the best lotion for your skin. Start with a gentle one like the Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer to see how you react. Keep yourself hydrated inside and out by drinking plenty of water.
While you wait for your new indoor tanning lotion to arrive
Check out our reviews of the best skin care products. You may also enjoy our discussion of the best diffusers for essential oils.
We hope this review helped you find the best indoor tanning lotion for you. You’ll be ready for that swimsuit in no time at all now.
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