tanning myths

Tanning myths and how to debunk them

As we move into the tanning season, it’s a great time to refresh your tanning knowledge to help you combat some of the common tanning myths and misguided hacks. Not only will this help to care for clients best, but it also will help ensure the best tanning practices, glowing results and care for your equipment. Check out our list of the most common tanning myths and confusions we hear and how best to combat them!


"I don't need to use eye protection"

The truth

Eye protection must be worn during every tanning session to protect your vision. Did you know that eyes can be sunburnt? This is called Photokeratitis (a temporary corneal burn which causes tearing, pain and blurring for several days). What's more, some UV damage is irreversible! Long-term damage to eyes include Diminished Color Perception (sight will be dulled) and Reduced Night Vision for which there is no cure.
Myth: “Closing my eyes is enough to protect my vision whilst tanning”

Truth: Eyelids are a thin, delicate form of skin which only provide tanners with the equivalent of SPF 5. It is not enough to rely on keeping eyes closed throughout the session as this can still risk tanners’ vision being compromised. 

Although it is a salon’s responsibility to provide eye protection, it is your clients’ responsibility to wear this whilst tanning.


"Wearing goggles or eye protection will give me tan lines. I don't want to look like a panda"

The truth

Did you know the delicate eye area cannot tan? This skin does not contain the same amount of melanin as other areas of the face, meaning it is unable to gain the same colour as the rest of your complexion. This means wearing goggles won't leave you with a patchy tan, but will simply work to protect your vision.


"Tanning lotion is a gimmick"


Tanning lotions are designed to enhance your tan, soften skin, lengthen the life of your tan, care for tattoos, prevent you from smelling and combat the signs of ageing. They also work to kickstart the tanning process faster and ensure a more luxurious tanning session.
Tanning myth: “All tanning lotions are the same”

Truth: If all tanning lotions were the same, we would only stock one product! Different tanning lotions provide tanners with differing features, technologies and skincare, such as:

  • Bronzers (Immediate, Delayed or without) or natural tan-enhancing ingredients
  • Technologies (Oil absorption, tattoo technology…)
  • Added skincare ingredients

All of these added elements work to make each tanning lotion ideal for different clients. 

As a rule of thumb with New Sunshine (Australian Gold, JWOWW, Designer Skin & Swedish Beauty) lotions, the more a lotion costs, the more skincare added. The more skincare, the better a tanner’s skin condition. The better the skin condition, the deeper, and longer-lasting your tan shall be. Meaning different tanners with different requirements won’t all require the same lotion.

Myth: “High street moisturisers and oils do a better job than a tanning lotion”

Truth: This tanning myth has become more and more regular recently, especially with the rise of ‘tanning hacks’ covered on social media.

However, these products are not designed for tanning and contain preservatives and alcohols which can increase the risk of overexposure and burning, and also damage your equipment.


"I applied tanning lotion this morning, so I don’t need to apply it before my sunbed session this afternoon"


Did you know that tanners should apply their lotion within 10 minutes of their tanning session? Applying any earlier than this, and the lotion simply works as a premium moisturiser. It will work to nourish and care for skin, but tanners won't benefit from the tan enhancing ingredients which work to encourage natural tan development.


"Bronzers make me go orange"


There is a lot of confusion surrounding tanning lotion containing delayed bronzers. Unlike sunless products, the likelihood of going "orange" after UV tanning is very slim. Although some tanning lotions and sunless products use the same ingredients, the quantity of bronzer in tanning lotions is minimal; enough to encourage a gentle glow whilst your natural tan develops. Applying in a circular motion will help avoid this!
australian gold tanning tip tanning myth
Myth: “Using an accelerator will make me burn”

Truth: Although tanning lotions increase results, they do not heighten your risk of burning. The purpose of a lotion is to condition skin, for deeper, more even UV penetration for a faster tanning process. This doesn’t magnify UV.

The only way to burn is by exposing skin to UV for too long either by spending too long on a sunbed, or not apply SPF whilst outdoors. By following this tanning myth, you are just more likely to dry skin out whilst tanning.

Myth: “Tingle lotions burn my skin”

Truth: Although tingle lotions can leave skin hot and uncomfortable, this isn’t sunburn. Tingle lotions irritate the skin, encouraging increased blood flow, which helps speed up the natural tanning process, for deeper, faster results.

This is an intentional feeling with very clear results that can also help break through tanning plateaus, but the sizzling sensation isn’t for everyone, so we always recommend trying a test patch first before full body application.

Myth: “I don’t need a face lotion”

Truth: Facial tanning lotions are ideal for those with sensitive skin. Unlike body lotions, facial lotions aren’t highly fragranced, they are typically hypoallergenic, and less likely to break you out. Although a body lotion can be used on the face, in the same way, you have a separate moisturiser for your face and your body, tanning lotion should be used in the same way.

Tip: Start off by recommending a face lotion to establish its value before selling a body lotion.


I want a natural tan, not a fake tan


This is one of the biggest tanning myths we deal with; the misunderstanding surrounding bronzers. Using a lotion containing bronzers whilst you tan doesn't detract from your natural tan. Bronzers can provide an immediate boost whilst your natural tan develops, but it doesn't block or prevent your natural tan from developing, just helps with that immediate sunkiss, and breaking through tanning plateaus.
Australian gold apply tanning lotion within 10 minutes of your sunbed tanning myth
Myth: “Sunbeds are the same as sitting in the sun”

Truth: Unlike sunbathing, using a sunbed ensures a controlled UV environment. There are no variables outside of choosing how much time you spend tanning. Whereas the sun’s strength can be affected by:

  • Location
  • Time of day
  • Season
  • Air pollution and cloud cover
This makes it more difficult to track your UV exposure.
We always recommend applying SPF 10 – 20 minutes before sunbathing, and reapplying every two hours as a minimum. This frequency should be increased if swimming, sweating or towel drying. 
Myth: “Sunbeds are stronger than the sun”

Truth: Following the introduction of 0.3 regulations, sunbeds are now no stronger than the midday Mediterannean sun. 0.3 is now a British Standard that all tanning salons are expected to uphold to ensure a more relaxing experience for tanners with a lesser likelihood of burning. 

0.3 tanning also results in deeper, longer-lasting tans.

Myth: “You should use SPF on a sunbed”

Truth: As the UV is controlled on a sunbed, to ensure you don’t overexpose or burn, typically SPF is not recommended to be worn, as it ultimately means the time spent tanning is wasted.

However, there are certain times when SPF may be appropriate: tattoos, scars, hyperpigmentation, microdermabrasion and moles can all be protected with SPF.


"I was tanning for 15 minutes 2 years ago, so I want to start at 15 minutes today"


The more time you tan, the more you will be able to gradually build the minutes spent tanning without burning. If you take a tanning break, you will lose the time you have built up as your tan (and increased melanin) fades. After a break, tanners should return to a shorter tanning time and build up minutes again to avoid overexposure and burning.
Myth: “A hot sunbed will give me a better tan”

Truth: Did you know that heat doesn’t actually tan you? In fact, contrary to this taning myth, a hot sunbed doesn’t lead to better tan development whatsoever.

Instead, by turning the fans on whilst you tan, this will help enhance your tan results! A cooler bed helps to:

  • Avoid sweating
  • Avoid expelling tanning lotion you have applied
  • Oxygenate your melanin faster

Overall, this helps to encourage a longer-lasting natural tan that develops faster. This can also be helped further in a standup bed by moving about – this encourages faster blood circulation for increased tan results!

woman laying on Luxura Vegaz sunbed using sunbed eye protection
Myth: “Keeping my makeup and perfume on won’t affect how I tan”

Truth: Did you know that if you keep these products on whilst tanning you can risk increased breakouts and also turning green?! Although not so much a tanning myth than a poor tanning practice, this is still important to share with clients. 

Leaving cosmetics on your face during tanning can block UV and pores, for an uneven tan and increased likelihood of spots. Remove and replace with a facial tanning lotion for best results. 

If using a delayed bronzer, this can react with products on the skin, such as deodorants and perfumes. This can make the active tanning ingredients turn green, rather than bronze. This colour will stay on the skin until it sheds! Avoid this by cleansing before tanning!

Myth: “Rainbow tanning is a gimmick”

Truth: Rainbow tanning is the incorporation of blue, red, green and yellow tanning lamps within a sunbed. Although many people believe these to be just for aesthetic purposes, the Rainbow Tanning lamps stocked by Cyrano harness the power of different UV spectrums for an enhanced tanning experience. 

Blue light has antiseptic properties, which regenerates and vitalises skin. 

Red light has a longer wavelength which penetrates deep into the skin. This supports collagen and elastin production, to reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Green light relieves everyday stress, and rapid skin regeneration.

Just like natural sunlight, yellow light promotes vitamin D.