Tanning products - 3 Ways to Indoor Tan

You can get a tan in three different ways indoors. Each one works on a different pane but gives you almost the same result. Read about them and decide which one suits you.

1.Tanning beds / booths

The equipment in tanning beds carries special lamps that emit UV rays, the same that the sun does. It is these UV rays that cause skin to produce the colored pigment melanin which gives you the 'tanned' look. UV rays consists of 95% UVA and 5% UVB rays. Each of them has a specific role in the formation of dark colored melanin. Tanning equipment generates these rays in the right proportion, with an accuracy factor of less than 3%.

Small home tanning beds usually have 100 watt lamps while those at salons may be as high as 200 watts. Tanning beds don't produce tans as deep-rooted as direct sunlight does. They are used for a maximum period of 20 minutes and give you the same bronzed look. Furthermore, the radiation is well controlled and well proportioned in its constituents and is therefore safer than direct sunlight.

Do read the tips on how to use tanning beds and what precautions must be taken for a safe session. You should not be tanning indoors if you have a family history of melanoma.

2. Sunless tanning sprays and lotions

Most of these sunless tanning products contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone) as the active ingredient. The tan in this method is not caused by melanin nor does it need any radiation. The tan is caused by a chemical reaction between DHA and the amino acid lying in dead skin cells of the epidermis. As you can imagine, this is a very safe method of tanning. Since the skin sheds off dead cells often, the tan won't last for more than 3 days.

The US Food and Drugs Administration allows DHA to be applied to the skin externally, but forbids internal use through inhaling or ingesting.

Since these products do not usually contain sun protection, be sure to apply a good sunscreen before going outdoors.

3. Fake / temporary bronzers

These bronzers are the safest tanning option. Although not the 'real thing', they give a decent looking tan. They come in powders, sprays, gels, lotions and moisturizers. All you have to do is apply one of these products on the skin. As with other lotions or creams, they can be easily removed when you bathe.

Bronzers are best when you need a 'one-day' fix. Be sure not to apply them under the clothes; they might rub off onto them.

Lastly, do not ever use the tanning pills that contain canthaxanthin. The FDA has not approved it. When consumed, canthaxanthin deposits throughout the body including the retina and turns into an orange-yellow color. Eyes and the digestive system may be harmed.