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Many tanning salons feature cutting-edge technology that safely, quickly, and easily gives you a glowing, bronzed, sunkissed look, as you’ve just come back from a tropical vacation. If you want to achieve a deep, even, and gorgeous tan, a tanning salon is definitely your best bet. Never been to a tanning salon before? Don’t worry! This tanning guide has all the answers to your most pressing tanning questions!
Tanning Salons Near Me
8 Common Services You Can Get in a Tanning Salon
1. Sunbed Tanning
Sunbed tanning is one of the most popular and common services offered at almost all tanning salons. When you sunbed tan, you climb into a chamber filled with UV lights, put on a pair of goggles, lie down, and relax for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. As you recline, the bed’s UVA and UVB rays penetrate the outermost layer of your skin and darken it, creating a natural, believable tan. These UV rays are exactly the same kind of light emitted by the sun itself, so the results you get will be identical to the color that you’d naturally develop if you laid out on the beach or by the pool!
2. Tanning Booths
Tanning booths work the same way as sunbeds, but instead of lying down inside the tanning chamber, you remain standing the entire time. One average tanning booth session lasts between 7 and 15 minutes since booths tend to have more powerful lamps than tanning beds. Tanning booths also have a smaller carbon footprint than sunbeds, making them slightly better for the environment! However, despite the different tanning durations and positions, there is no noticeable difference between the results you’d get from a tanning bed and the results you’d get from a tanning booth.
3. Spray Tanning
If you’re worried about sunburns or skin cancer, spray tanning can be a much safer option for developing a natural, glowing tan at your local tanning salon. Instead of using UV lights, spray tans use chemicals that cause a reaction with the pigments in your skin, turning them darker. During a spray tan, you step into a booth or stall and stand still as a series of wall-mounted nozzles mist you with tanning solution. This solution works gradually over the next couple of hours to give your skin a temporary, but natural-looking tan!
4. Airbrush Tanning
Airbrush tanning is very similar to regular spray tanning, but instead of using an automated machine, a trained airbrush tanning technician sprays you themselves, giving you a custom tan that’s exactly as dark as you want it to be. The type of tanning solution used in airbrush tanning is usually exactly the same as the type of tanning solution used in regular spray tanning. The upside is that you and your tanning technician can collaborate to make sure that you’re 100% satisfied with your results!
Not all tanning salons offer massages, but many do. If you’d like a massage in addition to your sunbed, tanning booth, spray tan, or airbrush tanning experience, make sure you’re picking a salon whose massage therapists are licensed. You’ll likely be able to choose from a variety of different massages, like deep tissue, Swedish, Shiatsu, trigger-point, and hot stone massages! A massage is a great way to relax, unwind, and treat yourself before you hop in the tanning bed, booth, or spray tan stall.
If you’re getting ready for an event, wedding, or vacation, waxing and tanning often go hand-in-hand. Many tanning salons offer a wide variety of different waxing services that’ll keep you looking and feeling silky smooth in addition to tanned and bronzed. These waxing services will likely include brow, upper lip, underarm, leg, bikini, and Brazilian waxes.
If your local salon advertises itself as a spa in addition to being a tanning salon, they’ll probably also offer facials. Facials are a great way to get rid of stubborn acne, soothe, exfoliate, and cleanse dehydrated skin, and address any nagging skin issues. Some of the most common types of facials include lymphatic massage, microdermabrasion, acupuncture, LED light, brightening, hydrating, firming, de-puffing, and anti-aging.
8. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening services are relatively less common at tanning salons, but still, a good number of tanning salons offer them. Getting your teeth whitened at a tanning salon can actually be much more cost-effective than getting the procedure done at your dentist’s office, and the results are generally very similar. Tanning salons usually use LED whitening and ionic technology to give you the pearly bright smile of your dreams.
Where Can I Get a Tan?
Obviously, the easiest and most cost-effective way to get a tan is to spread out a towel and spend an hour or two lying out in the sun. However, the results you get from this method are often uneven, and you put yourself in danger of staying in the sun too long and burning your skin, which can cause permanent damage.
Over the past couple of years, tanning salons have garnered themselves a bit of a bad reputation. A lot of would-be tanning enthusiasts have been scared away by the fear of sunburns, harsh chemicals, and garish, Oompa-Loompa orange spray tans. However, tanning salons don’t necessarily deserve all of the bad press they get.
For a more controlled and safer approach, try indoor tanning in a sunbed or tanning booth, a service that’s available at practically every tanning salon out there. Instead of using the sun’s UV rays, tanning beds and booths use lamps to control the amount of UV radiation your skin absorbs finely.
If you’d like to avoid UV rays altogether, ask for a spray tan or airbrush tan, both of which use DHA, a tanning chemical, to give you an artificial but natural-looking bronzed glow. Finally, you can consider purchasing an at-home tanning solution or tanning accelerator, which you can apply in your bathroom and let work overnight. There are definite pros and cons to each of these tanning methods, but all of them will work if you’re looking for a nice, deep, dark tan!
How Much Does a Spray Tan Usually Cost?
At a tanning salon, one spray tanning session will probably run you anywhere between $5, which is an average price for a spray tan on just your face and neck, and $100, which covers your entire body but is definitely on the more expensive side. On average, a full-body spray tan will probably cost you between $35 and $45.
Airbrush tanning, which uses a spray tan technician instead of an automated booth, might cost between $5 and $15 more. Keep in mind that if you go in for an airbrush tanning appointment, it’s courtesy to tip your airbrush technician, which might add a couple more dollars to your overall tanning expenses.
How to Spray Tan at Home?
If you’re not interested in paying for an expensive tanning bed, spray tan, or airbrush tanning appointments, but still want a dark, glowy, professional-looking tan, then a self-tanning lotion or mousse is your best bet! These at-home tanning products are generally much more cost-effective than a trip to the tanning salon, but their results are just as amazing.
These lotions and mousses work over the course of a couple of hours to build up a deep, but still, natural-looking bronzed tan that never looks orange. St. Tropez and Skinerals make some of the best self-tanners on the market, with products that will work for any skin type, skin tone, or lifestyle. You can choose from light, medium, and dark shades, gradual or express speeds, and mousse, lotion, or oil textures. There’s a self-tanning product out there for everyone!
The actual self-tanning process might take some getting used to, but after a few test runs, you’ll be a pro in no time. Before self-tanning, make sure you thoroughly exfoliate and moisturize your entire body from head to toe. Self-tanner can attach itself to dry spots on your skin, causing a patchy, streaky, or blotchy result.
While applying your self-tanning lotion or mousse, make sure you wear gloves or an applicator mitt, so that your palms don’t end up looking orange or stained. After 4 to 8 hours, depending on the formula you’re using, hop in the shower and rinse off the self-tanner to reveal a beautiful bronzed glow. In the meantime, make sure you’re wearing loose-fitting and dark clothing, to avoid rubbing off your self-tanner or staining your fabrics.
How Much are Tanning Bed Memberships?
Tans tend to fade, even if they’re naturally developed using the UV lights of a tanning bed. If you love having bronzed, glowing skin year-round, it might be an excellent idea for you to invest in a tanning bed membership. Many tanning salons offer yearly or monthly membership plans, which allow you to use their tanning beds an unlimited number of times.
However, keep in mind that many state and local laws prohibit using a tanning bed more than once within 48 hours, since frequent and prolonged exposure to UV radiation can cause sunburns and increase your risk of cancer.
Some of the most affordable tanning bed memberships are only $15 to $20 a month, but the more luxurious membership tiers might run you anywhere between $50 and $75 a month. However, in most cases, no matter how luxurious, these tanning memberships are still much more cost-effective than paying for multiple individual tanning bed appointments.
How Much Does an At-Home Spray Tan Machine Usually Cost?
If you don’t really feel like going through the hassle of making regular appointments and driving all the way over to your local tanning salon, but you still want the professional-looking results of a salon spray tan, consider investing in an at-home spray tan machine!
These convenient, efficient machines are available at online retailers, but their cost will vary based on how complex the kit you buy is. For just a spray tan gun, you can expect to pay $75 to $85. For an entire kit, which generally will include a spray tan gun, several bottles of spray tan solution, and a pop-up tent, you can expect to pay anywhere from $185 to $275.
That being said, if you’re a regular spray tanner, buying one at-home spray tan kit can help you save money in the long run since you won’t be trekking all the way out to the tanning salon anymore.
How Many Sessions Does It Take to Tan?
The number of sessions that it takes to tan can depend on a number of factors, including what tanning method you’re using, the frequency with which you tan, and just your overall personal skin chemistry. If you’re using a tanning bed or tanning booth, you shouldn’t necessarily expect to see noticeable results after your first-ever tanning session.
This is because your skin cells need time to oxidize melanin, the pigment that deepens and causes a tan. Many tanning professionals recommend that you start out by tanning two or three times a week. After 3 to 5 tanning sessions, you’ll notice your tan beginning to deepen and darken. Once you’ve achieved your ideal level of darkness, you can maintain it by tanning once a week. If you’re spray tanning or airbrush tanning, you’ll notice your skin looking darker after the end of your session.
However, after you go home and take a shower, this surface-level bronze pigment will wash away. Don’t worry, the actual compounds that cause your skin to deepen are still hard at work. Within 24 to 48 hours, you’ll notice the actual results from your spray tan showing through.
How to Tan Faster?
If you want a deep, dark tan as fast as possible, and you don’t have the time to sit through 2 weeks’ worth of tanning bed sessions, consider a tanning accelerator. As their name suggests, tanning accelerators are moisturizers that help naturally develop your tan faster. They can be used in conjunction with tanning beds, tanning booths, and regular, natural sunlight.
Their active ingredient is tyrosine, an amino acid that interacts with the melanin in your skin. Most tanning accelerators also include hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, as well as vitamins. Some tanning accelerators also include delicious tropical-themed scents, anti-aging ingredients, and skin firming ingredients.
How Do You Prepare for Your First Tanning Session?
If you’re nervous about entering a tanning bed for the first time and want to know how to prepare beforehand so you can achieve optimal results, look no further! The day before you visit the tanning salon, make sure you thoroughly exfoliate the entire surface of your body with a loofah or exfoliating scrub. Exfoliation helps your skin rid itself of dead skin cells. Heading into the tanning salon with freshly-exfoliated skin will help your tan last longer.
If you want to see super effective results, apply a tanning lotion or tanning accelerator thoroughly all over your body before stepping into the tanning bed. These moisturizers will soften, smooth, and hydrate your skin along with helping promote a darker, deeper tan. Also, make sure you wear protective goggles and a lip balm with SPF while you’re inside the tanning bed. The skin on your eyes and lips is extremely delicate and sensitive, and prolonged exposure to UV radiation without protection can permanently damage them.
After your tanning session ends, wait at least 48 hours before returning to the tanning salon. Too many tanning sessions in close conjunction with one another can seriously burn and damage your skin. If you follow these easy steps, you’re sure to have a great first tanning bed experience, and great experiences to come!
How Long Should You Wait to Shower After Tanning Bed?
The general rule of thumb after spray tanning is to wait at least 8 hours before showering. However, if you’ve tanned in a tanning bed or a tanning booth, you can shower as soon as you’d like. The tan produced by the UV lamps of tanning beds or tanning booths comes from melanin, a pigment found within your skin cells that cannot be rinsed away with soap or water.
That means that you can shower as soon as you get home from the tanning salon if you’d like. Just make sure to use cool or lukewarm water, since piping hot water might irritate your skin so soon after being exposed to UV rays. Also, make sure you generously apply moisturizer after showering, to keep your skin from drying out. However, if you used a tanning accelerator while in your tanning bed, try to wait 4 to 8 hours after leaving the tanning salon to shower. This gives the tyrosine in the tanning accelerator enough time to fully activate on your skin and deepen your tan.
What Shouldn’t You Do Before and After Tanning?
There are a lot of do’s and don’ts surrounding tanning. Here are some of the most important! First of all, if you want to further deepen your tan, use a tanning accelerator, NOT baby oil. Although many people think that using baby oil as an easy way to darken your tan, its reflective, intensifying properties can actually really damage your skin. Tanning with baby oil is a one-way ticket to a painful, peeling sunburn. Also, don’t wear makeup to your tanning bed session.
Makeup acts as an uneven barrier between your skin and the UV rays from the tanning bed and can cause the tan on your face to look uneven, splotchy, or patchy. One of the most important things you absolutely need to do while tanning is to wear your tanning goggles. It’s not enough to just drape a towel or folded t-shirt over your eyes. UV rays are extremely powerful, and have no trouble penetrating a layer of cloth to do serious damage to your eyelids and corneas.
Anything other than FDA-approved tanning goggles is not enough to protect your precious eyes. Finally, avoid wearing perfumes or scented deodorants while tanning. The fumes from these scents can irritate your skin when combined with powerful UV radiation, and in some extreme cases, can even cause you to develop a rash.
What’s the Best Way to Get a Tan? Salon Tanning, Spray Tanning, or Tanning Outdoors?
As you can see, there is a wide variety of different ways that you can achieve a tan. That being said, each of them has their pros and cons, and some of them are unquestionably safer and easier than others. Tanning outdoors is probably the worst way to get a tan. It’s the most cost-effective method, since it doesn’t cost anything to just lay out in the sun, but it’s also an unreliable and potentially dangerous tanning method. Many people find it difficult to tan naturally under the sun, and if you stay out too long, it’s very easy to get a sunburn.
Additionally, frequent, prolonged exposure to sunlight can significantly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Indoor tanning in a tanning bed or booth is a marginally safer tanning option. Most tanning salons limit you to spending an absolute maximum of 25 minutes in a tanning bed or booth, which curtails your UV exposure to a safer amount.
Additionally, many tanning salons prohibit their customers from tanning more than once in a 48-hour period, which is an additional safety measure that keeps you from getting sunburned. However, the UV radiation from a tanning bed or booth is precisely the same kind of UV radiation emitted by the sun, which is to say that it is still not safe, and can still lead you to develop a sunburn or skin cancer.
The Safest Way to Get a Tan
The safest way to tan by far is to spray tan or use an at-home self-tanner. Instead of using dangerous UV light to give you a tan, these indoor tanners utilize chemicals that interact with your skin cells, artificially darkening them to produce a believable bronzed glow. With a spray tan or self-tanner, you can achieve all the deep, dark, bronzed glowiness you’ve always dreamed of, but without the dangerous exposure to UV radiation.