Best Indoor Tanning Lotion In 2018

There's nothing quite like the healthy glow of a new tan. If you want your skin to stay sun-kissed all year round, you may have experimented with indoor tanning salons.

To maximize your time in the tanning booth, it's important to use the indoor tanning lotion that's right for your skin type.

This guide will tell you what you need to know about these essential tanning products and give you a few picks for best indoor tanning lotion.

​What Causes The Skin To Tan?

​Before finding the best indoor tanning lotions, it's important to understand what causes the skin to tan.

​There are two kinds of sun rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVA rays are largely responsible for tanning. While UVB rays affect the upper layers of the skin, UVA rays penetrate deeper, to the lower levels of the epidermis.

When UVA rays reach these layers of the skin, it triggers the production of melanin. This pigment alters the color of the skin, leading to the sun-kissed look we all want to achieve.

​While UVA isn't entirely good for the skin (they can cause photo-aging), it's UVB rays that are truly harmful. They're the ones that are primarily responsible for skin cancer.

​How Are Indoor Tanning Lotions Different from Standard Suntan Lotion?

​These two product types differ because the experience of tanning indoors is different from tanning outdoors.

When you get a tan outside, you're being pelted with a combination of UVB and UVA rays. Your skin is exposed to the sun at variable levels for a variable amount of time. Due to this unpredictability, standard suntan lotions are designed to protect the skin from the most harmful rays.

​When you jump in a tanning bed, you're in control of your exposure. Tanning beds primarily use UVA rays, rather than the more harmful UVB rays. Because of this, indoor tanning lotions rarely include SPF.

Instead, this type of tanning lotion is formulated to enhance the power of UV rays. They help to deepen the tan during the short period spent in the tanning bed.

​There's another reason why indoor tanning lotions tend to come without SPF. That's because the ingredients used for sun protection can damage the acrylic used to make tanning beds.

If you do want to use an indoor tanning lotion that contains SPF, you're unlikely to find one for purchase at your local tanning salon.

​How Do Indoor Tanning Lotions Work?

​If you've ever tanned in a salon without using a lotion, you probably know that it can dry out the skin. When you apply an indoor tanning lotion before you tan, you're hydrating your skin, protecting it from the drying effects of indoor tanning.

​These lotions don't help the skin to hydrate. By helping the skin maintain the appropriate moisture level, indoor tanning lotions ensure that the pores open up to accept the UV rays.

In fact, most lotions contain refractive prisms of natural oils, which magnify these rays. This means that you'll be left with a tan that's darker and that lasts noticeably longer.

Natural oils aren't the only beneficial ingredients included in these products. Depending on the quality and type of lotion, they can contain ingredients ranging from skin protecting antioxidants to hydrating botanical extracts.

These ingredients provide the skin with much-needed nourishment. The more moisturized your skin is, the less likely it is that it will peel after a tanning session. This prolongs your tan and minimizing the time you spend at the tanning salon.​

What Are the Types of Indoor Tanning Lotion?​

There are many different types of indoor tanning lotions, and they suit particular skin types and preferences.

​Tingle Lotions

Many indoor tanning lotions cause a tingling sensation, due to ingredients such as menthol. Lotions often have a "tingle factor" listed on the side of the bottle, as some users can withstand higher levels of the tingling feeling.

These lotions jump start the circulation process, drawing blood to the top of the skin. This promotes skin cell oxygenation, which in turn results in superior tanning results.​

Bronzer Lotions​

Some tanning lotions have a bronzer. This doesn’t refer to the natural bronze color your skin will be after your tanning session. It means that there's a sunless tanning agent in the lotion, typically DHA.

This ingredient can also be found in self-tanners, and it works by altering the color of dead skin cells. Many indoor tanning lotions contain DHA because it promotes melanin production and speeds up the tanning process.​

​Hypoallergenic

​If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use a hypoallergenic lotion. These products are free of the ingredients that can cause irritation, from "tinglers" like menthol to harsh fragrances.

​Accelerator

​Lotions labeled "accelerator" send vitamins, minerals, and minerals straight to the skin. By optimizing the health of the skin, they enhance the tanning experience and lead to a deeper, more beautiful tan.

​The Benefits of Indoor Tanning Lotions

​Indoor tanning lotions help people achieve the golden bronze hue of their dreams. They also keep the skin moisturized, make tans last longer, and ensure even coverage. These aren't the only reasons to use these products.

​If you've ever noticed a strange odor after a tanning session, it's because of the way the skin's bacteria reacted to the temperature levels. Indoor tanning lotions can prevent this unsavory smell because they're loaded with anti-bacterial properties.

Lotions can also prolong the tanning experience. If your lotion has tan enhancing agents, you'll keep tanning for a few hours after you step out of the tanning bed.

How Do I Use Indoor Tanning Lotions?​

If you're preparing for your first indoor tanning session, you should start by preparing your skin. Exfoliation is essential to ensuring an even, beautiful tan. Get rid of dead skin cells using a body scrub or body sponge.​

Once your skin is ready for the tanning session, it's time to apply the lotion. Most people apply the lotion directly before getting in the tanning bed, as this magnifies the effects. Rub the product into the skin using gentle, circular motions.​

The Best Indoor Tanning Lotions

​There are many indoor tanning lotions on the market, and many of them serve different purposes and skin types. Here are a few of the very top indoor tanning lotions.

1

Ed Hardy Obnoxious Extreme Bronzer Tingle Tanning Lotion

Ed Hardy Obnoxious Extreme Bronzer Tingle Tanning Lotion

​If you love the tingling sensation, then you may want to try this indoor tanning lotion from Ed Hardy. Not for the faint of heart, this lotion causes an immediate and impressive tingle.

Upon application, your skin will get warm, and the increased circulation will imbue your skin with a reddish tinge. It's also a bronzer, which ensures immediate and delayed tanning effects.

​It's also formulated to promote skin health. That's why it's packed with so many nourishing ingredients, such as mangosteen.

This antioxidant-rich ingredient helps to prevent the photo-aging associated with sun damage. Skin is also hydrated thanks to Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

Pros


  • Tingle lovers adore this lotion, as it provides one of the most extreme sensations available.
  • According to buyers, the Mango Indulgence fragrance smells good before and after the tanning experience.

Cons


  • If you've never tried a tingle lotion before, beware. This lotion is formulated for intensity, and it may make your skin feel like it's on fire.
  • Some buyers say that the bronzer effect leaves them looking streaky.
2

Millennium Tanning Paint It Black Auto-Darkening Tanning Lotion

Millennium Tanning Paint It Black Auto-Darkening Tanning Lotion

This Millennium Tanning Lotion is a bronzer and an accelerator. If your tanning has hit a plateau, this product can help you achieve the dark brown tan you want. That's due to its Auto Darkening Tan Technology, which delivers some of the most impressive results on the market.​

The lotion also leaves skin feeling healthy and hydrated. It contains an extreme silicone emulsion blend, which penetrates the skin it gives it the nutrients it needs. The fresh scent is formulated to smell like cotton blossoms.​

Pros


  • Many buyers like the consistency of this product. While other lotions are too runny to achieve a consistent application, this one is easy to spread over the skin.
  • Due to this product's blend of ingredients, it doesn't leave the skin feeling too dry or itchy. Instead, it leaves buyers' skin feeling smooth, silky, and smelling great.

Cons


  • Some buyers note that they have a difficult time using the container's squeeze top.
  • While most buyers like the consistency, others feel that it's too greasy.
3

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator Tanning Lotion

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator Tanning Lotion

​This popular indoor tanning lotion helps users achieve the ideal tanning experience. It is a combined accelerator and bronzer, which ensure that users turn a dark brown shade.

The formula is packed with an array of skin-friendly ingredients, such as Native Australian oils, which leave the skin feeling hydrated.

Vitamins A and E offer potent antioxidant protection. The aroma, Cocoa Dreams, which will make you feel like you're at the beach.

Pros


  • Buyers praise the quick absorption time and easy application.
  • This product can be used on a range of skin tones, from naturally tan to the very fair.

Cons


  • Some buyers feel that the added bronzer leaves them looking too orange.
  • Not all buyers are fond of the Cocoa Dreams scent.
4

Designer Skin's Naked Ambition Lotion

Designer Skin's Naked Ambition Lotion

​If you love tanning but find your skin irritated by most tanning lotions, you may want to try Designer Skin's Naked Ambition. This lotion doesn't contain the most popular irritants, like DHA, gluten, hemp, or erythrulose.

Instead, this hypoallergenic lotion is formulated with skin-enhancing shea butter and amino acids. They'll leave your skin feeling soft, young, and very healthy.

Pros


  • This lotion can be used by tanners with the most sensitive of skin, and it won't cause itchiness, rashes, or breakouts.
  • Many users appreciate the thick consistency.

Cons


  • While many users like the aroma, others find it overwhelming.
  • Some buyers feel that it simply doesn't provide as deep a tan as lotions that contain bronzer and other potentially irritating ingredients.
5

Just Natural Indoor Tanning Lotion

Just Natural Indoor Tanning Lotion

​This Just Natural lotion is another great option for people with sensitive skin. It uses natural and organic ingredients to extend and maintain tans.

The extremely hydrating formula contains things like avocado oil, kokum butter, and aloe vera, which keep skin feeling soft for up to 24 hours. Antioxidant-rich vitamins protect the skin from unnecessary damage.

The lotion also contains advanced tanning accelerators, which speed up and extend the tanning process. You're left with beautifully tan, beautifully healthy looking skin.

Pros


  • This natural tanning lotion is a big hit with people who prefer their lotions to come without bronzer.
  • Many buyers love the consistency of this product, as it's not runny, greasy, or hard to apply.

Cons


  • The lotion also contains coffee, which gives off a pungent aroma. Buyers are torn on whether this is desirable in a tanning lotion or not.
  • Some buyers feel that this product simply doesn't give them the drastic change they wanted.

Conclusion

​The indoor tanning lotion you choose will depend on your preferences and skin types. If you have sensitive skin, you should gravitate towards Just Natural Indoor Tanning Lotion or Designer Skin's Naked Ambition Lotion.

If tingling is your thing, you can't go wrong with Ed Hardy Obnoxious Extreme Bronzer Tingle Tanning Lotion. For most tanners, the best indoor tanning lotion from this list is Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator Tanning Lotion.

​This lotion is the gold standard for many tanners, as it provides them with the ideal bronze glow. The bronzer ensures that the tan shows up quickly, and the accelerator prolongs the life of the tan.

This decreases tanning salon visits, saving tanners money in the long run. Perhaps more important than its cost-effectiveness is the beautiful results it helps tanners achieve. The combination of skin-protecting antioxidants, hydrating oils, and tan accelerants ensures a cheeky brown shade even the most experienced tanner will appreciate.

Whether you're a first-time tanner or you've been going to tanning salons for decades, you'll love this Australian Gold Lotion.

Alyssa S.
 

Main Editor For Beauty Ambition, I'm very passionate about the latest and newest beauty products on the market.

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