Tanning Bed Burns: Top Tips for Treatment and Prevention

Tanning Bed Burns: Top Tips for Treatment and Prevention

Tanning bed burns are a painful, yet all too common problem.

Whether you’re a tanning novice or an experienced bronzer, being aware of the risks and how to prevent these burns is crucial for your skin’s health and safety.

In this article, we’ll delve into the causes and symptoms of tanning bed burns, share top tips for prevention and treatment, explore safer alternatives to achieve that desired tan and emphasize the importance of sun safety awareness.

Key Takeaways

  • Cool and hydrate the skin with cold compresses or aloe vera, and use over-the-counter pain relievers and soothing creams. 
  • Home remedies for sunburns include aloe vera gel, baking soda baths, cool compresses, oatmeal soaks, and tea tree oil.
  • Seek medical attention if you have suffered severe burns, and avoid sun exposure until they are fully healed.

Understanding Tanning Bed Burns

Tanning Bed Burns

Tanning bed burns can occur due to overexposure to UV radiation, and they can range in severity from mild redness to second-degree burns.

Causes Of Tanning Bed Burns

Tanning bed burns occur when our skin is exposed to an excessive amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds.

These devices emit concentrated UV rays, often stronger than the sun, causing damage to the skin cells.

Symptoms And Severity Of Tanning Bed Burns

Tanning bed burns can vary in severity, and symptoms may not appear immediately after exposure.

The most common symptoms include redness, tenderness, and itching of the affected area.

More severe symptoms include peeling or blistering of the skin, or even fever and nausea in extreme cases.

It’s important to note that tanning bed burns are a type of sunburn caused by overexposure to UV radiation.

This means that other symptoms commonly associated with sunburns such as headache, dizziness, dehydration, or fatigue can also occur with tanning bed burns.

Treating Tanning Bed Burns

Treating Tanning Bed Burns

Cooling And Hydrating The Skin

To soothe the pain, it’s helpful to use cooling and hydrating products on the affected area.

You can try applying cold compresses or taking cool showers to lower your skin’s temperature and reduce inflammation. 

Remember to stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after exposure to UV radiation.

Adequate hydration not only prevents dehydration but also promotes healthy skin function. 

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief And Soothing Creams

If you do end up with a tanning bed burn, easing the pain and discomfort is essential.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be taken according to their dosage instructions to help reduce inflammation.

Soothing creams that contain aloe vera, chamomile, or oatmeal can also provide relief from itching and irritation caused by sunburns.

It’s important to note that not all products are created equal; some may even irritate your already-sensitized skin further!

Look for products labeled specifically for use on sunburned skin.

Seek Medical Attention For Severe Burns

If you experience a severe tanning bed burn, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Severe burns can cause blisters, swelling, and intense pain.

If your skin is peeling or oozing fluid, consult a doctor or a dermatologist as soon as possible.

It’s crucial not to pop any blisters that form because this increases the risk of infection and scarring.

A professional may also recommend avoiding sun exposure until your burns heal completely.

Quick Home Remedies For Treating Tanning Bed Burns

To provide quick relief for your tanning bed burn, there are several home remedies you can try.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera Gel - for Tanning Bed Burns

One of the most popular and effective home remedies for treating tanning bed burns is aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe and cool burnt skin, reducing redness and pain.

To use aloe vera gel, simply apply a generous amount directly to the affected area.

You can either extract fresh gel from an aloe vera plant or purchase pre-made gels from your local drugstore.

For maximum relief, refrigerate the gel before applying it as this will provide additional cooling effects on burned skin.

Using aloe vera gel regularly not only helps you manage tanning bed burns effectively but also keeps your skin looking healthy and hydrated.

Baking Soda Bath

One of the best quick remedies for tanning bed burns is a cooling baking soda bath.

Baking soda has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and reduce skin irritation caused by UV exposure.

To make a baking soda bath, fill your bathtub with cool water and add about 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda.

Mix well until the baking soda dissolves completely in the water.

Soak in the bath for about 15-20 minutes, making sure to keep affected areas submerged in the water.

It’s important to note that while a baking soda bath can provide temporary relief from sunburn or tanning bed burns, it won’t cure them completely. 

Cool Compresses

Cool compresses are an easy and effective way to quickly relieve pain, reduce redness, and soothe tanning bed burns.

To make a cool compress, soak a clean cloth or towel in cold water and wring it out until it’s damp but not dripping.

Then gently apply the cool compress to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time.

What I love about using cool compresses is that they’re so simple yet incredibly effective.

They help ease the discomfort caused by tanning bed burns while reducing inflammation and promoting healing.

Oatmeal Soak

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe and reduce irritation on burned skin.

To create an oatmeal soak, simply mix a cup of uncooked oats with warm water until it forms a paste-like consistency.

Then add this mixture to a bath and soak in the tub for 20-30 minutes.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil that has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

It can be used as an effective home remedy for treating tanning bed burns.

Tea tree oil helps to soothe irritated skin and prevent infection.

Its anti-inflammatory properties also reduce redness and swelling caused by tanning bed burns.

Tips For Preventing Tanning Bed Burns

Tips For Preventing Tanning Bed Burns

Gradual Tanning

As much as we all love a good golden tan, it’s important to remember that gradual tanning is key.

Don’t rush into spending hours in the tanning bed right away – start with shorter sessions and build up your time gradually.

Additionally, consider using a lower-intensity tanning bed or self-tanners to achieve your desired shade without overexposing yourself to harmful UV radiation.

Limit Exposure Time

One of the best ways to prevent tanning bed burns is by limiting your exposure time.

Gradual tanning is key, especially if you have fair skin.

Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase your time as you build up a base tan.

Aside from limiting your exposure time during each session, it’s also important to limit how often you use a tanning bed overall.

Too much UV radiation can cause serious damage to your skin, including premature aging and an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Overall, being mindful of how long you spend in a tanning bed is crucial for preventing burns and protecting your skin health in the long run.

Proper Skin Care

Taking good care of your skin is crucial for preventing tanning bed burns and ensuring overall skin health.

One important aspect of proper skin care is moisturizing regularly, especially after a day spent in the sun or using tanning beds.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid other harsh chemical-based products that may irritate or damage your skin.

Using gentle cleansers and hypoallergenic lotions can go a long way in keeping your skin healthy and glowing.


In conclusion, tanning bed burns are a common problem that can cause skin damage and discomfort.

However, with quick home remedies such as aloe vera gel, baking soda baths, cool compresses, oatmeal soaks, and tea tree oil, you can ease the pain and reduce redness.

It is essential to practice proper skin care and sun protection by limiting exposure time to tanning beds and using lotion before entering.

If you are unsure on how long you should spend in a sunbed consult with the worker first, you will not need long!

Should your burns be severe or show signs of infection or allergic reactions seek medical attention immediately.