Can I Tan in A Tanning Bed with Wet Hair? Yes and Here’s the Scoop

Having a gorgeous bronze glow year-round isn’t the only attraction of the tanning beds; there’s more than you expect. Struggling with depression? A tan may help eliminate the symptoms. Want acne-free and vibrant skin? The tan may be enough to kick those over-the-counter products off of your makeup toolkit. Furthermore, from improving your mood to helping you shed pounds, tanning may offer all that while you enjoy your body resting.

But what if getting all that costs you your hair health? What if you end up losing tons of hair every single day when you comb or take a shower? You Can never afford that. But the thing is: tanning in a tanning bed isn’t without its potential risks for your hair.

This is why we just listed some workable methods to ensure your hair is fully protected from the UV rays from tanning beds. Plus, you’ll get some dos and don’ts of how to tan in a tanning bed properly, and at the end, some most important questions answered that could save your skin and hair from the potential dangers of tanning beds.

But first things first:

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use The Tanning Bed With Wet & Uncovered Hair

Whether your hair is wet or dried, there is no point in tanning beds being any good for your hair.

For the most part, tanning in a tanning bed or booth harms your hair. The only way to prevent that damage is to protect your hair adequately before entering the bed. And this is something we’ll address later on as the primary focus of this article.

Hair Type Matters Though

Even if tanning beds don’t have any potential benefits to your hair but harm, that’s still not to say it happens to all hair. And often, it’s something in between – neither harmful nor suitable for some people! Let’s elaborate on it a bit more.

Interestingly, normal scalps have not yet been proven to be affected by UV-A and UV-B rays from tanning beds. Instead, some studies have shown that UV radiation can cause hair damage, especially hair loss, for only those suffering from androgenetic alopecia.

A study published by the University Hospital Center of Sart Tilman in Belgium indicates that men suffering from androgenetic alopecia experienced significant hair loss when they consistently exposed their scalp to UV rays and vice versa. The scientists in the study believe it’s the increased micro-inflammation that UV radiation exposure causes, which alopecia sufferers may be more sensitive to.

Another way tanning bed-induced radiation affects your hair is by impacting the hair protein. The UV-B rays are responsible for hair protein degradation, and UV-A radiation causes hair color to change. Also, radiation emitted by tanning beds gets absorbed in the hair’s photosensitive amino acids, and the resulting photochemical degradation produces free radicals.

Wet Hair is Especially Prone to Damage in Tanning Bed

Below are some risks and cons of using a tanning bed while your hair is wet.

Amplified Damage

Believe it or not, UV rays take an extra toll on wet hair than dry hair. You’re amplifying the amount of UV-induced hair damage and dryness.

The reason? Water tends to reflect UV rays onto your skin which, in turn, causes sunburn. Water on wet hair reflects those rays to your skin and scalp, making your scalp burnt and red.

Uneven Tanning

Wet hair, especially one dripping water, could give you patchy, spotted tanning. Water droplets falling onto your skin can affect the tanning lotion or the sunscreen you’ve used, causing those naked skin areas to get burnt and untanned compared to the rest.

Even if you don’t let water touch your skin during the tanning session, you are still on the safer side. You’re not supposed to shower post-tanning for at least 2-3 hours. This is because your body continues the tanning process a few hours after the session ends. Now, during this phase, you should arrange for water not to touch your skin.

Showering Can Affect the Too

Showering pre-tanning opens up your pores, further damaging your skin as it becomes sensitive to UV rays and heat from the tanning bed.

Now, at this point, is that all to say you’re not going to enjoy a tan ever just because of your hair? Nope. You need to be mindful of how frequently and for how long you’re visiting the tanning bed, along with arranging proper hair protection. And this is something that leads us to clear out:

How Frequently Can You Visit The Tan Bed?

To maintain your skin’s golden glow and the safety of your skin and hair, 2-3 sessions per week are the key. This directly translates to resting your body for a minimum of 24-48 hours before the next session. However, The European Standard advises not exceeding more than 60 sessions per annum for the greater good.

How Long Should a Beginner Spend in a Tanning Bed?

To newbies, it may seem like staying longer in the tanning bed will make you more tan. But in reality, staying in longer puts you at risk of burning your skin and hair. Your very first tanning session should last around 5-7 minutes, which you can expand as your body adapts to tanning effects over time. 

A survey of adolescent tanning bed users found that around 60% had burns due to frequent and prolonged exposure to indoor tanning beds/lamps. Experts conclude that 10 minutes in a tanning bed/booth is equal to 4 hours on the beach!

How To Protect Your Hair While Tanning: An Effective Yet Simple Guide

Doing so is pretty simple – cover your hair with anything available, and there you go. Actually, more straightforward than it seems to be. Instead, there’s more than a sheer covering of your hair. Learn a step-by-step guide to make tanning for your hair safer than ever!

Step No. 1: Apply Some UV Protective Conditioner

When you’re done with shaving, showering, and pre-tanning, the next thing you do is condition your hair. Well, it is a good practice, but preferring a special UV Protective Conditioner over an ordinary one can make a big difference. That’s not to say your favorite conditioner isn’t of any use from now on, but the only point is selecting a product according to the situation.

Step No. 2: Use Built-in UV Protection Spray

What confirms the effects of a UV conditioner is nothing but a UV Heat Protectant Spray. These sprays protect against thermal damage and have Weightless formulas infused with nourishing natural oils to keep your hair damage-free and nourished.

Step No. 3: Wear a Shower Cap

Sounds familiar? Yep, this is precisely what you put on when you don’t want – or feel like – getting your hair wet, especially on a cold winter morning or when you want to keep your hair dry when swimming. But this time, you’re going to wear it to protect your hair from an unseen, would-be enemy of your hair, i.e., UV rays of the tanning bed. Apart from the cap’s use in a tanning session, preserving one in your wardrobe can also offer many other hair care benefits. These include:

  • It allows the deep conditioner to penetrate the cuticle deeply by creating the perfect heated enclosed environment.
  • You never Wake up with an unruly bedhead if you’ve put the cap on before sleeping.
  • It helps keep your hair dry when swimming and prevents it from getting damaged, especially during sleep.

Step No. 4: Cover with a Towel

So, this single piece of cloth will have two different uses: Making your hair slightly damp pre-tanning and adding an extra protective layer above the shower cap. Though you can skip the former, the latter is a must-have for maximum hair protection. Also, the conventional towels you might have been using aren’t going to get the job done correctly. You need a unique microfiber towel wrap that helps you semi-dry your hair faster and helps reduce UV rays even better due to its durable fabric.

Step No. 5: Use a Bandana or Scarf

The gorgeous tan is just around the corner… just a step away!

Let’s wrap things up using a bandana or, possibly, a scarf.

A bandana is typically used as a large handkerchief and is sometimes tied around the head or neck. Tying any of the two clothes around your head ensures you’ve created a lifesaver shield against your hair.

Do’s and Don’ts when Using a Tanning Bed

You must grasp the dos and don’ts of using a tanning bed/booth to get the maximum out of each tanning session and eliminate risk factors. From your pre and post-tanning measures to what you have to do while having one, everything’s covered below.

Getting Ready for Tanning

  • Before doing anything else, you must confirm some critical things about yourself. Determine your skin type to choose suitable skin care products and the time for your sessions. If in the tanning salon, speak to your tanning expert about these things.
  • Taking a shower, exfoliating, and shaving the day before the tanning session will prepare your skin so that tanning effects will last longer. Also, don’t do so too early or close to the session. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells and allows the light to penetrate deeper into the skin for a beautiful bronze color.
  • Applying a non-oil moisturizer and drinking plenty of water pre and post-tanning yields better tanning results and adds longevity to it.
  • Consult your doctor to check your skin’s sensitivity levels and to get prescriptions for the possible side effects of tanning.
  • Avoid wearing any deodorant, essential oils, or perfumes, as these substances hinder tanning results by creating a barrier between UV rays and your skin.
  • Remove any jewelry, makeup, watches, or wristbands to avoid tan lines.

When Inside the Tanning Bed

  • Use lip balm, especially that with SPF, to better protect your lips.
  • Choose your comfort levels on your own. If you want to go bare, become extra conscious about the body parts that aren’t usually exposed to the sun.
  • Start by applying the facial tanning product to your face. Afterward, cover your body by applying tanning lotion in a circular motion.
  • Protect your eyes using special goggles designed for tanning.
  • Take a break if your body starts stinging or tingling. The purpose is to create an adaptive environment for the skin gradually.

How to Care for Your Skin Afterwards?

  • Allow your body to rest for 2-3 hours before you shower. This period allows the bronze to oxidize and develop its full color. Use natural bronze if you can’t wait and want the shower immediately.
  • Don’t shave or wax post-tanning, as doing so will remove the top layer of your skin, which you’ve just tanned.
  • Rest at least 24-48 hours between two tanning sessions. Maintain that gorgeous golden tan by tanning 2-3 times per week.

Related Questions

Should I Take a Shower Before and After Using the Tanning Bed?

Your first shower post-tanning is one of the keys to achieving that perfect golden-tanned skin. This after-shower will also define the shade and tone of your tan. However, it’s essential to rest your skin for at least 2-3 hours before that cool shower. A shower pre-tanning is only necessary to wash the makeup off if you have any. Otherwise, it doesn’t have any other potential benefits.

Does Tanning Have Any Potential Health Issues?

Tanning beds promise consumers many other benefits, along with having a bronzed body year-round. But the ultraviolet (UV) radiation these devices emit poses serious health risks too. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proclaims many tanning bed-induced health risks, such as developing skin cancer, severe skin burns, immune suppression, eye damage, premature aging, etc.

Can I Tan After Dying My Hair?

Dying should not affect your tanning schedule in any way. However, if tan has put you in trouble – your scalp is burnt, or your hair is fried – you may need to avoid tanning til things go normal. Also, if you extend the color for longer, tanning may not be a good idea since it causes hair color to fade.

Can I Have A Spray Tan With Wet Hair?

No, your hair should be dried or covered properly if wet. Like tanning in a tanning bed, wet hair, when tanning with a spray, can cause amplified hair damage and dryness, as well as a patchy tan and burnt skin from different spots. For more info on tanning with wet hair, refer to the details mentioned above in this article.

Do Tanning Beds Make Your Teeth Whiter?

No, they’re not proven to help whiten teeth. The confusion comes from the fact that many teeth whitening kits use UV radiation to add a brightening effect to teeth. Many people falsely started believing that the UV radiation from tanning beds can too whiten teeth. If that’s true, everyone should pass smiles to the dear sun all day long for brightened teeth. Shouldn’t they?

Do I Need Lotion for Tanning Bed?

Yes, a full-body lotion application keeps the skin moisturized and enhances magnification for maximum tanning results. Lotioned skin better absorbs UV rays, which influences the tanning process for a deeper, faster, and darker tan. Moreover, lotioned skin is less prone to stinging and tingling and boosts the tan’s longevity.

Final Thoughts

Everyone wants to achieve that gorgeous golden glow. The difference between those who lose the health of their hair and those who tan safely, without damaging their hair, lies in how they protect their hair and other measures they take while tanning. We wish you to be one of those latter and never let your hair get in the way of achieving the beauty you want!

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