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Rashes From Tanning Bed? – How to Spot Them and Quick Fixes

Rashes From Tanning Bed

Let’s face it. If you’re getting rashes from a tanning bed, it’s time to consider new alternatives to tan your body.

Before you panic, we’ll walk you through the possible causes, how to get rid of it, and how to tell if you got the rash from a tanning bed or from another source.

Read our guide if you want to start tanning again.

Table of Contents

How to Tell You Got a Tanning Bed Rash

Having some itchy rashes on your skin after your tanning session is a major cause of concern. The best thing you can do is to treat heat rashes before you have a rash worse than skin cancer.

But first…how do you exactly identify a tanning bed rash on your body?

What Makes Tanning Bed Rashes Different From Other Skin Rashes?

Before anything else, remember that tanning rashes come in different forms depending on their cause.

Tanning bed rashes appear as a group of itchy red blisters on the skin.

These itchy bumps differ from tiny, white bumps caused by bug bites such as a mosquito bite or small, irregular bumps you can get from prickly heat.

It takes some time for tanning bed rash to appear on your skin. Once it comes out of your skin, only time will tell how a few itchy bumps spread across your face, neck, stomach, back, and legs.

A tanning bed rash is not always a heat rash. You can get a tanning rash due to overexposure to the sun and general exposure to UV.

If you’re still uncertain about your bad skin rash and it doesn’t go away, it’s better to consult a skin specialist for a proper diagnosis.

How to Find the Cause of Your Tanning Bed Rash?

How to Find the Cause

Earlier, you learned that tanning bed rashes might differ in appearance due to their causes. Remember that you don’t get tanning bed rashes in one tanning session at the tanning salon.

With that, you must identify what’s causing stubborn tanning rashes on your skin. Here are some ways to pinpoint the culprit of your tanning rash.

1. Check the Intensity of UV in Your Tanning Bed

We understand you want to achieve a golden glow in your body for the summer. But, beware that UV exposure can lead to a lot of skin problems beyond pesky tanning rashes.

For sure, you’re aware that a tanning bed mimics the tanning effect of the sun’s UV radiation. Some tanning beds might give off UV rays up to six times more powerful than the sun’s.

For beds with stronger radiation, you should figure out how to lay down properly inside the tanning bed. Laying down the wrong way and for too long could be harmful.

It’s common knowledge that UV overexposure from the sun can cause dangerous skin problems and other skin cancers. What more can you expect from the ultraviolet rays emitted by a tanning bed?

How Does UV Affect Your Skin?

Indoor tanning at the comfort of a tanning salon or outdoor tanning for a natural effect exposes your skin to UV light.

Ultraviolet light, whether from the sun or tanning bed UV bulbs, is a combination of UVA and UVB rays.

These UV rays penetrate through different layers of your skin thus, producing various side effects. Still, you should be cautious when exposing your skin to these light rays.

Take note of these points:

  • Frequent or overexposure to UV rays in a tanning bed is not worth the risk to get an even tan body. Over time, further exposure results in tanning rashes and itchiness.
  • First-time tanners are more likely to develop tanning rashes. It’s either because they’re not aware of how sensitive their skin is to UV light or UV exposure is something new to their skin.

Some tanning products might help you lessen your risk of overexposure to UV light.

2. Be Familiar with Your Skin Type

UVB radiation is not the only thing you need to look for on a tanning bed. Tanning beds are also notorious for causing dry skin to some tanning enthusiasts.

To achieve a great tan, a tanning bed deprives your skin of moisture. All the sweat and oil that’s soaked on your skin also contribute to forming dry skin rashes.

Skin dehydration, when left unchecked, can lead to a dry skin rash. Dry skin rashes appear as flaky rashes most of the time.

If you’re someone with dry skin, you better protect yourself with the helpful tips found in the later section.

3. Check Your Trusted Tanning Salon

You might want to consult your local tanning salons upon seeing you have a rash.

Like other machines you use every day, tanning beds need regular cleaning and maintenance. You’ll never be sure your trusted tanning salon ensures the hygiene of all its tanning beds 100% of the time.

See, you get into a tanning bed almost nude to expose your skin thoroughly to UV rays. With that, expect other people to lie on tanning beds barely covered too.

Over time, perspiration drips off the user’s skin into the tanning bed.

What’s dangerous is that tanning oils, tanning lotions, and other tanning products can remain as residue in some tanning beds.

We suggest you try using a stand up tanning bed instead if you have sensitive skin. Since you won’t be laying down, you’re less probe to touching any grime or dirt for too long.

Is It Possible to Have an Allergic Reaction to a Tanning Bed?

Imagine lying on a tanning bed that exposes your skin to all this dirty stuff in one of your tanning sessions. Hello, allergic reaction!

You’ll never know if you had contact with some allergens like tanning lotions on the tanning bed that irritate your skin.

Even if you lie on a well-cleaned tanning bed, your skin might have an allergic reaction to the chemicals used to clean your tanning bed.

If you don’t want to suffer from contact dermatitis, check how your trusted tanning salon sanitizes all their tanning beds.

Ensure the staff does not settle with inferior cleaning practices when it comes to a tanning bed. Otherwise, it’s time to look for another tanning salon.

4. Watch Out for Sweat Inside Tanning Beds

The picture of sweat dripping out of someone else’s skin on a tanning bed is already an unpleasant scene. Plus, imagine if it’s also mixed with old tanning lotion!

Wait until you learn that a tanning bed can also TRAP sweat within your skin, clogging your pores.

Over time, excessive sweat build-up can irritate your skin, leading to what’s called heat rash or miliaria. Even when you’re outside tanning beds, sun exposure can also give you a heat rash.

Often, you can find these tanning rashes on unexposed skin covered with clothing.

Now, you have a dilemma here. You choose whether to tan nude to avoid heat rash as much as possible or to protect your skin from all the dirt hanging out on tanning beds.

5. Consult a Specialist

This particular cause is an ultimate sign that you should avoid tanning beds for a while. Only a few people experience this problem in their tanning sessions yet; it’s the most serious issue on this list.

If you notice your tanning bed rash keeps appearing back and forth, it could be a sign that you need a proper check-up.

Chances are you have photophobia or light sensitivity disorder. We’re sorry to tell you that a tanning bed is a harsh place for someone like you.

The UV light emitted by a tanning bed is more powerful and concentrated than the one you get from the sun.

This condition triggers your UV sensitivity to the fullest, causing many problems such as dizziness beyond a tanning bed rash.

You can still explore other options, such as sunless tanning and spray tanning, as recommended by your dermatologist.

How to Get Rid of the Rashes

Knowing what causes your tanning bed rash is the first step to prevent tanning bed rash. When you already identify the root cause of the problem, your intuition should tell you to stop tanning.

It’s easier said than done. Yet, you don’t want to ruin your golden glow skin with the rash’s redness or itchy scars.

Fret not; here are some steps you can do to get rid of your tanning bed rash.

1. Give Your Skin a Break

Give Your Skin a Break

If you already notice the signs mentioned earlier, you must stop tanning immediately. Why so?

Insisting on continuing your tanning bed routine with a tanning rash will only make things worse for you. This fact is especially true if you’re still unsure what’s causing your tanning bed rash.

Further exposure will only make your rashes grow and look bigger.

Worse, these rashes might also start to pop out in other parts of your body, such as your face and neck. You don’t want to ruin your even tan look with tanning rashes on these places, do you?

If you’re lucky enough, it will only take you a couple of weeks to revisit tanning salons. The cost of tanning bed sessions are no joke so at least you’ll be able to save up during the time in between.

Otherwise, you must seek medical attention, preferably with a dermatologist. Trust their system, and your healing process will end sooner than you think.

2. Embrace the Cold

Embrace the Cold

This procedure is more like first aid to treat tanning bed rash. If you expose your body to hot and dry conditions, you can counter its side effects by washing the affected area with cold water.

If you have sensitive skin, couple your cold water with a mild antibacterial soap. Taking tepid or cool showers will not only cool your skin, but it gives a soothing side effect on your skin as well.

Don’t shower with hot water nor put the affected area under running water. Doing so might only cause further irritation on your skin.

Behold! Cold Compressor!

A cold compress can also do wonders if you can’t take a bath soon. Creating a cold compressor is quick and easy.

Dip a soft cloth in cold water before putting it on the part of your body with rashes. Avoid fiber-made clothes as they dry out and flake your skin, further irritating the area.

Apply the cold compress over the area that felt itchy for about twenty minutes. It should help tone down the itchiness or redness on your skin for some time.

The cold never bothered you anyway, but your rash can’t stand it.

3. Keep Yourself Clean

Keep Yourself Clean

If your indoor salon cannot keep their beds clean, you must ensure your skin with rashes is clean most of the time. Taking a cold shower or bath is not enough on this matter.

It’s best to wash your rash at least twice a day. It will not only remove bacteria or other germs but also prevent your skin from cracking.

Applying an antibacterial, topical cream on the affected part after washing is the best step in wrapping things up, literally.

You can opt to put some cream on the rash itself or the bandage before placing it over the affected part.

Yes, Avoid Touching Your Rashes Too!

Another thing to remember is you must avoid rubbing your rashes. We know it’s hard to resist the urge to rub those annoying rashes, but rubbing them will only worsen the irritation.

If you can’t keep your hands to yourself, you can opt to cover these rashes with a soft bandage. We recommend hypoallergenic soft gauze pads to prevent further irritation.

You can also wear loose clothes to ensure your clothes don’t touch the affected part. It’s bothersome to have some threads of your clothes stuck on your rashes.

4. Take Antihistamines

Take Antihistamines

Once you start feeling an itchy sensation on your rashes, you’re maybe one step closer to treating your rashes, depending on their cause.

If your rash develops due to an allergic reaction, it’s best to take an antihistamine to relieve the itchy feeling and other symptoms. As always, consult a doctor if your symptoms persist.

5. Try These Home Remedies:

Try These

To help you alleviate your rash symptoms, you can try the following home remedies.

#1 Take an Oath on Your Oat and Yogurt

Oatmeal is not only good for your internal body but also for your skin. Oatmeal plants are the only source of compounds called avenanthramides, proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Submerging yourself in an oatmeal bath can help reduce side effects like inflammation and redness. To prepare an oatmeal bath, fill your cold bath with a mixture of a few cups of ground and raw oatmeal.

Stay in the bath for half to an hour to achieve the best effect.

If you ask for the most effective way to reduce inflammation, we recommend applying a few spoons of yogurt to the affected part.

#2 Hydrate Your Skin

You can defeat dry skin that causes rashes with some olive oil. Apply some olive oil to your skin to reduce rashes.

Another excellent treatment for dry skin is the cucumber, known for its hydrating properties. It can keep your skin cool as it heals over time.

You can also prevent dry skin by applying a fragrance-free moisturizer.

#3 Improve Your Skin's pH

A few spoons of baking soda can help reduce the irritation on your rashes, among other symptoms. This is since baking soda is at a basic PH level.

Unlike baking soda, apple cider vinegar can help improve your skin’s pH level to heal rashes and kill microbes at the same time. You can either drink it or apply it to your skin.

#4 Aloha, Aloe!

While most people like you know that aloe vera is good for the hair, aloe vera also has several benefits to your skin.

Applying an aloe vera gel can soothe your skin. Continue applying the gel on the affected part until it heals after some days.

Some Final Reminders

When you’re good to go using the tanning bed again, take some precautions.

A tanning lotion is a must-have. Apply enough indoor tanning lotion to cover exposed parts of your body.

Bring some baby wipes to remove any dirt stuck on your bed. And you can tan your skin again.

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.