Guide to: Sunbed Lamps

sunbed lampsHow do sunbed lamps work?

Inside all sunbeds are UV emitting lamps – the long bluish coloured tubes. Each lamp contains inert gasses, a small amount of mercury and a phosphorus coating. When electricity is added to the lamp, the inert gasses ignite and the mercury looses its stability, releasing energy in the form of ultraviolet light. The amount of UV light that the lamp emits depends on the phosphorus coating, which can be manipulated in a number of ways. This ultraviolet light mimics the same UV light found in the suns rays, causing the skin to tan and produce Vitamin D. The tan is a result of the UV rays stimulating cells in the lower skin layers – known as melanocytes. When exposed to UV light, these melanocytes produce melanin, a brownish pigment that protects your skin from burning by making it darker.


Other than exposing yourself to the suns rays, indoor tanning is one of the most natural ways to introduce more vitamin D to your body. Unfortunately, without supplements, many of our diets do not contain all the vitamin D that our body requires.


How long do sunbed lamps last?

The total amount of hours you may get from a sunbed lamp ranges between 1000 and 2000 hours. However the effectiveness of a sunbed lamp decreases over time. The first 50 hours are generally the strongest. During this period the lamps emit stronger UV rays, causing the body to tan faster. It is therefore extremely important that tanners reduce the length of their sessions when the sunbed lamps are new. After the first 50 hours have passed, the effectiveness of the lamp will stabilise until around 500 hours. It is at this point that the lamp may drop to around 50% effectiveness. Therefore most salons and sunbed owners replace their lamps at this point. If you chose to keep the lamps longer you may have to increase the amount of time you spend tanning to maintain the same results. Alternatively you could purchase a UV reader so that you can measure the effectiveness of the lamps and chose yourself when to replace them.


When to replace sunbed lamps?

Because the effectiveness of a lamp varies with its usage, it is advised that you replace all of the lamps at the same time. If you replace one or two here and there, you may end up burning a stripe on to yourself or your customer. This is because the lamps you replaced with brand new ones will have a stronger UV output then those that have not been replaced.

Stay prepared – Unfortunately sunbed lamps may occasionally burn out unexpectedly – most often at the most inconvenient times. It is therefore important to always have a few spare lamps ready, just in case.

How to determine what sunbed lamps you need?

A good starting point are the lamps already in the sunbed. On the end of most lamps is a printed label detailing the manufacturer and the specification. Then, if you would like a quote or have any more questions, please feel free to call one of our experts on freephone: 0808 108 7778.