5 Best Tanning Lamps – Complete Guide To What They Are And How They Work

Tanning lamps are an excellent addition to any home. In this article, you will find all of the information you need about it including the best devices, safety considerations, how they work, and more.
Medically reviewed by Mahshid Moghei.

Do you like tanning in autumn or winter? You’ve probably heard about people who get a tan in autumn, even though the days are getting shorter, the sun is setting earlier and it’s getting colder outside. Is this possible? 

There are tanning lamps that emit UVB/UVA light. They are designed for people who want to get a tan all year round.

In this article, we’ll talk about tanning lamps, how they work, and the science behind them. We will also consider devices that are worth your money.

Nature Bright SunTouch Device
Nature Bright SunTouch Device

Winner category: Best 2-in-1 device (light & fresh air)

– Soothing lamp therapy;
– Comes with a built-in negative ionizer that emits ions that improve your overall well-being.

What are tanning lamps?

Tanning lamps are high-intensity light sources that emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can be used to tan skin.

UV radiation is an electromagnetic radiation in the UVC, UVB, and UVA range. It has a wavelength shorter than visible light but longer than X-rays

It is divided into three bands according to the response it induces in the skin: UVA (315-400 nm), UVB (280-315 nm), and UVC (< 280 nm).

When compared to natural sunlight, these lamps offer either comparable or superior cosmetic tanning results. 

How do tanning lamps work?

Tanning lamps produce UVA and UVB radiation which supplies the skin with UV energy required to make melanin. When exposed to UV radiation, melanin causes the skin to darken (tan).

There are two types of tanning lamps: UVA and UVB. Both UVA and UVB tanning lamps produce the UV radiation that produces a tan in humans, however, each type emits a different range of UV radiation.

UVB and UVA
The depth of penetration of UVB and UVA rays into the skin

UVB has a higher energy level than UVA and it is the radiation that produces the actual tan on your skin. It also stimulates vitamin D production in the body by converting cholecalciferol (D3) into pre-vitamin D3, which then turns into vitamin D under the influence of sunlight. UVB tanning lamps emit radiation between 290 and 320 nm.

For more information about the impact of UVB on the body, read our article.

UVA is less energetic than UVB, but it can penetrate deeper into the skin. It does not cause burning of the skin like UVB rays do, however, it may contribute to photoaging of the skin (wrinkles) and also acts as a trigger for melanoma formation. UVA tanning lamps emit radiation between 315 and 400 nm.

Best tanning lamps

Beurer IL50 Lamp 

Beurer IL50 Lamp is a device for tanning that acts as a UV lamp, emitting the same rays that come from the sun.

Considering its large size, the Beurer IL50 lamp is designed for many different uses and users. One of these is the stimulation of blood circulation and muscle relaxation. This product would be suitable for people who want to tan and relax muscles, such as athletes.

Beurer IL50 Lamp is also a good option if we consider its ease of use and controls. It has a timer that allows setting the time you need to use the lamp. And due to its wide base, it will stand properly without falling or rocking.

Sperti Fiji Tanning Lamp

Sperti Fiji Tanning Lamp is a device used to provide UV rays for indoor tanning.

The lamp emits UVA and UVB light, which increases the production of melanin, making the skin darker within 2 weeks. It will also result in an improved skin tone, texture, and appearance.

There are a few precautions to consider when using this tanning lamp. First, it should not be used by pregnant women or those under the age of 18. Second, it should always be used while wearing protective eyewear to protect the eyes from UV rays and damage. Lastly, looking at direct sunlight should be avoided as it can permanently damage the eyes.

Nature Bright SunTouch Device

Nature Bright SunTouch Device
Nature Bright SunTouch Device

Winner category: Best 2-in-1 device (light & fresh air)

Nature Bright SunTouch is a multifunctional device. Manufacturers claim that the lamp has miraculous properties that will help you get a tan and make you happier and more energized. Infrared rays help to improve blood circulation and metabolism.

One of the greatest features of this lamp is the soothing lamp therapy. The 2-in-1 therapy combines light & fresh air to help you balance your body clock naturally. Fresh air in the lamp works as follows: it brings natural smells to your room. Each time you turn on the lamp, an ionization process starts. This process spreads a pleasant scent through your room to lift your spirits.

It helps you get a good night’s sleep and feel refreshed. Also, it can be used as a bright light therapy product, which is an effective treatment for all forms of depression. 

The device has a timer for 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes, so you can choose the perfect session duration for you.

Body Red Light Device

Body Red Light is a tanning device that uses red light technology, which has many benefits. It helps with repairing tissues and reducing inflammation. This means that in addition to tanning, this lamp can help increase your overall well-being in the long term.

The device is lightweight and easy to move, unlike other devices. It also comes with a hanger, so you can just place it in a convenient place and enjoy it when you want.

The set also includes a pair of goggles for eye protection, which is a major advantage.

For more information on exposure to red light, scientific research, and the best devices, read our article.

M260 UVB Lamp

M260 UVB Lamp is a tanning device with short wave UV radiation. When in use, it produces a light spectrum that resembles daylight and causes skin tanning without exposure to the sun. It is also an excellent choice for people looking for a source of vitamin D.

The lamp emits intense light that can be harmful if overused. But due to the built-in timer, you don’t need to worry about it. We also recommend starting sessions with only a few seconds at first and then adding 15 seconds every day. This will let you know how much your skin can handle the UV light without getting burned.

Another great feature of this lamp is that it includes comfortable glasses with a UVB filter to protect your eyes.

The science behind tanning lamps

Tanning lamps have become increasingly popular in recent decades, despite evidence of an increased risk of melanoma and possibly non-melanoma skin cancer.

These lamps have been shown to work effectively, therefore, you can get a noticeable tan even after 15 minutes of using the device. 

In addition, after a week of using UV lamps, it is possible to get the same tanning result as if you were on month-long vacation in the sun, and your tan will last much longer (even during the winter).

Tanning lamp
Tanning lamp results (before / after)

Besides tanning, these devices also provide additional benefits for your health. Using UVB tanning lamps promotes vitamin D production and improves mood. In addition, lamps that use red light for tanning also have a positive effect on the skin, reducing inflammation and even pain.

There is research to support these benefits. For example, a study [1] involving 19 patients with fibromyalgia (a disease characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by weakness, sleep, memory, and mood disorders which are caused by vitamin D deficiency) was conducted to determine the effectiveness of UVB light on this patient population. They were exposed to radiation for two weeks. After measuring mood variables in patients with fibromyalgia, the results showed that the use of 6 UV light sessions had a positive effect on well-being, relaxation, and pain reduction.

Another study [2] looked at the symptoms of depression and vitamin D deficiency and how UV radiation could help these symptoms. In total, 114 patients were screened for depressive symptoms and vitamin D deficiency. Those participants who had severe vitamin D deficiency and experienced clinically significant depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to either 12 weeks of a light irradiation program or a placebo group. The study showed that the group which was exposed to radiation had a significant increase in vitamin D levels and on average, was no longer deficient in vitamin D, while in the placebo group the patients’ condition continued to worsen.

For more information on how UVB increases vitamin D, read our article.

There have also been several studies [3] in which women (a total of 106,368) with initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were exposed to UVB radiation for several years to reduce pain. The results showed that the risk of developing RA decreased by 21% with the use of UVB radiation. These results suggest that UVB exposure is associated with increased vitamin D levels and a lower chance of developing RA.

These results suggest that UV-B exposure

Another study [4] shows the clinical effects of red light in patients with acute neck pain with radiculopathy. 60 patients underwent a course of 15 treatments over three weeks with an active or inactivated laser as a placebo treatment. Patients reported significant changes in arm pain intensity and neck extension.

The last study we will focus on [5] confirms the effectiveness of light therapy in patients with chronic neck pain. 820 patients were randomly divided into two groups: the first — treatment with red light, the second — placebo for 22 weeks. The results confirmed that the group which received light therapy reported a reduction in pain intensity while maintaining pain relief, in contrast to the second group. Side effects from red light were mild and did not differ from placebo side effects.

Hence, it can be concluded that tanning lamps that use UVB or red light, help to improve general health condition, fight depression, increase vitamin D production, and also reduce pain in addition to creating a tan.

How to safely use a tanning lamp

  1. During the tanning session, users should never look directly at the lamps because they can cause damage to the eyes as well as increase the risk of developing cataracts. 
  2. After completing the session, users should wait for 7 to 10 minutes before exiting, so the ultraviolet radiation can dissipate.
  3. Users should not look at their skin while tanning unless they are wearing protective eyewear. 
  4. In addition, users should never wear contact lenses while tanning with UV equipment because of possible eye damage from direct exposure to UVA rays from lamps or indirect exposure to UVC and UVB rays from lamp reflection.
  5. Users should not use tanning lamps after recent eye surgery such as cataract or Lasik because they can damage the eyes without the person knowing it due to lowered pain sensation in the eye after surgery.
  6. Do not use your tanning lamp if the cord is damaged, frayed, or broken in any way — buy a new one immediately.
  7. Use common sense regarding your exposure time — don’t overdo it. You can always increase your time, but you can burn yourself if you stay under the lamp for too long.
  8. Use your tanning lamp with at least 16-18 feet of space between it and flammable materials such as curtains or walls.
tanning lamp

Summary

In today’s busy life, it’s difficult to find time to go to the tanning salon whenever we want. And even if we had time, it could be very expensive.

Fortunately, thanks to technology, you can always get a tanning lamp and “sunbathe” from the comfort of your home.

Be sure to read the instructions for using the lamp and take the necessary precautions.

FAQ:

🤔 How do tanning lamps work?

When applied to the skin, UV light causes melanin production in the skin’s pigment cells (melanocytes), leading to a deep brown or black color. This is called “tanning.” The amount of exposure time required for tanning varies with each person, but generally, it takes between 10 to 15 minutes per session.

📌 How much ultraviolet light does a tanning lamp produce?

A typical home tanning lamp produces roughly the same amount of UVB as the mid-day sun during the summer (when skin can burn). However, most home tanning lamps also produce some UVA.

🧐 How often should you tan with a tanning lamp?

This is a common question with many answers, depending on your skin type, hair color, eye color, and how dark you wish to become. In the beginning, try 5 to 10 minutes daily for three days, then increase the tanning sessions up to 15-30 minutes five days a week.

☀ Can you get vitamin D from a lamp?

Yes, UVB is required for the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin and this can be achieved with a tanning lamp.

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