What Does Tanning Lotion Do?

What Does Tanning Lotion Do
Tanning makes skin dry. So, hydrate your skin with tanning lotion and sunscreen to give your tan a healthy look!

Since our skin needs moisture and nourishment daily, using a lotion is necessary. Lotions keep skin moisturized, soft, and healthy. Also, the water content in a lotion is relatively more. Again, tanning is the process of being darker and causes genetic damage to the outer layer of skin as a result of exposure to UV radiation. Now since tanning makes our skin dry, applying a tanning lotion becomes a must. Then, we can naturally grow the question in our mind: what does tanning lotion do?

A tanning lotion is a special type of lotion that will hydrate our skin to restore moisture to give a healthy look to the tan. There are a few tanning lotions that help us to get rid of burning and peeling along with unbalanced tan. Our skin can easily absorb UV rays from tanning beds inside with the help of using lotions like tanning lotions. We will be able to know from this article what a tanning lotion does to our skin!

What Does Tanning Lotion Do: Ingredients Explained

What does tanning lotion do ingredients explained

Tanning lotion has many important functions. The most important one is to help you with moisturizing and hydrating goodness. As a result, you will have a more even tan because this type of lotion boosts melanin production too! Some additional ingredients in the lotion will even help your skin more, from helping to minimize wrinkles and side effects of aging as there are some particular vitamins or ingredients that increase the firmness of the skin.

While choosing the perfect tanning lotion for you, you may be confused about which products will work best on your skin. Some of the ingredients are explained to help you choose your tanning lotion. Some of the useful ingredients in a tanning lotion are silicon, hemp seed oil, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin E, caffeine, and shimmer can offer that for you. But all of these are not related to tanning itself! Some tanning lotion most commonly includes the ingredient dihydroxyacetone or DHA, which is what you should be most looking out for.

DHA is mainly a sugar derivative that darkens the skin’s surface by reacting with the amino acids present, producing the tan that you are familiar with. Only the external layer is involved here causing the skin to get brown. For instantly enhancing the color, it is sometimes used in indoor tanning lotions. When you are tanning, quite often you will find that your tan is uneven in some places causing your tan to look streaky. That is where the DHA comes in tanning lotion comes in to help produce that even tan you are looking for. With both moisturization and DHA, what you get is an even tan with your skin nicely hydrated!

Although it is FDA-approved, no clear decision has been made regarding its skin penetration quality. Erythrulose is one DHA-free alternative that creates tan more slowly than DHA. The result of DHA on the skin won’t be instant. Tanning with DHA will take four to eight hours for browning. The browning may last for 72 hours. While DHA-free alternatives will take much more time. No evidence has been found regarding the lotion’s effects on the body. While one study shows that use of DHA is used in high concentrations in tanning lotions, no DNA damage would occur. Another study has found that the effect of DHA on the body due to the use of tanning lotions is not clear, although 11% of it is absorbed by the skin.

It is a common idea that once your skin has developed a tan from tanning lotion, this will protect your skin from the sun naturally. Normal tanning, on the other hand, results from the formation of melanin in the skin. Tanning lotion-produced melanoidins won’t similarly protect the skin. You must still apply sunscreen because it is believed that a fake tan only offers an SPF of 3, which is very less to provide visible protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Through the use of tanning lotions, you won’t have so many side effects. But the tan created from lotions will possibly not protect you from the sun. So, you must use a tanning lotion along with sunscreen.

Types of Tanning Lotion

Tanning lotion is a general term that has many different types that all do things a bit differently from each other. So let’s see the types of tanning lotions and what these tanning lotion do.

1. Bronzers

To improve the tan, smooth out uneven tanning, and enhance the tone of the tan, bronzers are frequently used in tanning products. It functions exceptionally. They work well for those who use to tan indoors, outside, or without UV exposure. Even though they are not permanent, regular application will encourage a nice tan with little or no exposure at all. There is a range of tanning products so you may select the one that works best for your skin type. Your tan will be long-lasting if the product contains more bronzers.


2. Accelerator and Maximizer Lotions

Your skin will be moisturized and tanned by the components in an accelerator lotion. This type of lotion contains no bronzers. It is because the lotion is white in color, and bronzers would darken your tan while it would naturally develop. Ingredients in it function in combination with your skin’s melanin. Only the color that your melanin creates will be visible to you.

You can tan faster as well as darker indoors than outside if you use an indoor tanning lotion. Accelerator and Maximizer Lotions will hydrate your skin to a great extent as they have more quantity of moisturizers in them. It is the best option for those who are new to indoor tanning. It will also protect your skin from burning, making the UV ray severe for tanning quickly. The only difference between an accelerator and a maximizer is that a high level of moisturizer is absent in maximizers while present in accelerators.

Accelerator and maximizer lotions

3. Tingle Lotions

The chemicals in tingle lotions, nicotinate, and benzyl, promote microcirculation and your skin’s blood flow while increasing cell oxygenation. You could notice tingling, reddening, and burning on the skin’s surface when using a tingle lotion. The popping of a capillary could happen if you apply a tingling lotion to your face. Tingle lotions are normally not advised for those who are tanning for the first time. People who frequently visit indoor tanning salons use tingle creams. The lotions boost the impact of UV radiation, create more melanin, and increase the outcome with a better, longer-lasting tan. Add an accelerator or bronzer to the lotion to decrease the tingling sensation. It will help you break through your tanning plateau, giving you a surprisingly dark tan.

Tingle lotions

4. Coolants

The opposite of tingles are lotions with coolants. You will experience a cooling sensation from coolants, which is refreshing. They help you chill up more quickly after completing a tanning session as well. For an excellent tanning experience, the coolants include energizing cooling chemicals that refresh and soothe the skin.


Pros and Cons of Tanning Lotion

While tanning lotions have their pros in tanning, there are also some drawbacks that it might have. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of tanning lotions.


  • Helps to hydrate the skin: Tanning generally makes your skin dry and blocks ultraviolet rays. A tanning lotion restores the lost moisture and gives an effective touch. As a result, the tan appears to be better and healthy too.
  • Helps to tan quickly: With the help of tanning lotions, UV rays are absorbed from the tanning beds inside. Lotions that have the ingredient called tyrosine will help to produce more melanin, which in turn creates an excellent tan.
  • Slows down burning: There are quite several tanning lotions that have been formulated to minimize burns, peeling, and irregular tanning. A limited time in the tanning beds leads to a lower possibility of burning.
  • Gives rejuvenated skin: Some ingredients in tanning lotions give you rejuvenated skin with a younger appearance. So, look for essential ingredients like vitamins, and other ingredients to increase firmness in your lotion.
  • Easy to use and comfortable: The lotions are easy to use having an application process like regular lotions. You might not feel easy and comfortable because of tanning beds. While to make the entire method acceptable, several tanning lotions will give you a little cool feeling.


  • Increases melanin production: Certain tanning lotions with oils absorb more UV rays, which in turn makes the tanning faster. Your body’s melanin production which is subject to tanning increases.
  • Fades away easily: Since water resistance capacity is not present in Indoor tanning lotions, so if you have sweating or jump in the water, then they fade away easily. Use specific lotions which are specially designed for that purpose only.
  • Increase chances of getting sunburned: You have a greater chance to get sunburned if you use a tanning lotion. While it can increase the chances to combat skin issues with time.
  • Not free from danger: The lotions are not free from danger. If you use any lotion that promotes absorption and doesn’t shield you from dangerous UV rays while spending time in the sun.

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Tips for Tanning Lotion

While you could use it as a regular lotion, it is a bit different from that. So here are some tips that might be helpful to you so that you can use a tanning lotion to get the perfect summer tan that you are looking for!

Tips for tanning lotion
  • Exfoliate before applying tanning lotion to remove dead cells and create a smooth surface, resulting in a more even tan.
  • Apply tanning lotion evenly, starting from the bottom and working up, using circular motions.
  • Wash hands immediately after applying tanning lotion to avoid discoloration and orange-tinted hands.
  • Give tanning lotion sufficient time to dry before getting dressed or lying on any surfaces to prevent staining.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before sun exposure to protect the skin from UV rays.


1. Will my skin get lighter after a tan?

Yes. As the skin will exfoliate your tan will naturally become lighter. Human skin rejuvenates millions of cells daily. Your skin will get back to its natural color as the tanned skin cells will be changed with untanned new skin cells.

2. Can I sleep with tanning lotion on?

A tanning lotion becomes dry very fast resulting in limited moisture throughout the entire night, changing into your bedding.

3. Can you wash your face after tanning lotion?

According to experts, if you want to maintain your skin’s oil balance, wait for a few hours after tanning before you go for a shower.

4. Do you put on tanning lotion before or after sunscreen?

Always put your sunscreen in the last step of your skincare routine. After applying a combo of tanning drops and moisturizers, protect your skin by introducing sunscreen.

5. What is the best tanning lotion for legs?

Millennium Tanning Solid Black 200X Tanning Lotion & Tan Extender Lotion. It is a combo that has both tanning lotion and after-sun lotion. The long-lasting product will help to nourish your skin.

Final Thoughts

Tanning lotions are an effective product to get tan without exposure to the sun. The lotions will hydrate your skin, and help you with even tan on your skin. There are many different types of tanning lotions like bronzers, accelerator and maximizer lotions, tingle lotions, and coolants which can be used very easily. A tanning lotion includes this ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, or DHA which is sugar that is used in sunless tanners for being able to darken the skin. The US Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) has allowed its usage in self-tanning products.

If you use tanning lotions, you will be able to minimize risks that come out due to exposure to the sun for a long period like wrinkles, saggy skin, and cancers. The lotions are safe if you use them in the right way at the right concentration. Ingredients like essential oils, vitamins, antioxidants, food extracts, etc in a tanning lotion greatly favor the skin. You must use a tanning lotion along with sunscreen rather than skipping it.

Key Points

  • Tanning lotion is a fluid-type skin lotion that is used to give you a quick, and uniform tan without exposure to the sun.
  • Select a tanning lotion that suits your skin type and desired outcome. There are different types available, such as Bronzers, Accelerator and Maximizer Lotions, Tingle Lotions, and Coolants.
  • A tanning lotion most commonly includes this ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. It is mainly a color pigment that darkens the skin’s surface by reacting with amino acids there.
  • A good number of lotions can help to minimize wrinkles and side effects of aging as there are some particular vitamins or ingredients that increase the firmness of the skin.
  • Tanning lotion has many important functions like moisturizing and hydrating to have a more even tan.

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