Is Indoor Tanning Lotion Necessary?
January 30, 2012 6:15 PM   Subscribe

I go to a tanning salon in the winter a couple of times a week mostly to keep my Seasonal Affective Disorder controlled. I've noticed the parts of me that I can't reach to apply lotion (my back) tan just as much and at the same rate as the rest of me where I do apply lotion. I can't help but wonder if I'm wasting my money on the indoor tanning lotion because it sure isn't cheap!
posted by july1baby to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't understand what kind of "lotion" you're using. Is it a self-tanner, or something that is supposed to enhance tanning, or is it something that is supposed to mediate UVA and UVB rays?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:28 PM on January 30, 2012

I don't know about lotion v no lotion, but don't buy that stuff at the tanning salon! They sell it cheaper at wal-mart or Target!
posted by katypickle at 6:28 PM on January 30, 2012

My understanding is indoor tanning oil is just for moisturizing your skin. I'd try it without once and see how it works. I don't believe you actually tan more with the lotion, it is more just for your comfort. I'd suggest just using baby oil, but that may not be good for the tanning bed. In any case, you can probably buy it a lot cheaper from Amazon.
posted by cosmac at 6:48 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait, you're going to a tanning bed and applying stuff to try to get more of a tan? I agree with other people that you should be using high spf stuff, not tanning lotion, if you absolutely have to use a tanning bed -- those things are basically cancer infusers (see the stats above). Preferably, you should stop going, and find one of the other, more effective ways to treat SAD, but if its absolutely essential for your happiness, at least apply a ton of sunscreen first -- wearing clothes would be even better -- and then take Vitamin D pills.
posted by brainmouse at 7:11 PM on January 30, 2012

People - this is not a question about SAD treatment or cancer risk.

The lotion july1baby is buying at the tanning salon is supposed to be 'tan enhancing' if it's like what I've seen for sale.

I wouldn't bother buying it. Like cosmac suggested it's probably just moisturizer and oils and fragrance. I doubt it's somehow making the light hit you 'better' or more efficiently.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:30 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

My sister has worked at a tanning salon for years that is owned by a fellow teacher of hers (hey...public school teachers gotta eat!). She said the purpose of the lotion is to moisturize because dry skin wont tan as well and overall makes the tan look worse. So need to moisturize but no need to get the stuff at the salon.
posted by MultiFaceted at 9:20 PM on January 30, 2012

Dry skin tans just as well; it just doesn't look as glossy and pretty. Tan = skin cell damage. Has nothing to do with moisture.

OP, I feel you on the tanning feeling good during dreary winters, but that frequency is dangerous.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:39 PM on January 30, 2012

Occasional tanner here. I always thought you should apply lotion *after* tanning because tanning dries your skin, and having something on your skin when tanning prevents it from being as effective. Maybe? In any case, all the lotions at the tanning place seem like a total rip.

Sorry, that's not much of an answer, but at least I didn't chastise you for tanning!
posted by at 9:18 AM on February 3, 2012

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