March 10, 2021

12 Best Tanning Lotions for Sensitive Skin

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It’s frustrating when you can’t seem to get that sun-kissed skin! Thankfully, we can always rely on indoor tanning lotions for sensitive skin as a great alternative.

There are loads of tanning products to choose from. If you have a sensitive skin type, look out for tanning products with soothing ingredients balanced with visible tanning effects.

Still have no idea which indoor tanning lotion to get? Fret not, since we’ve got your back with our 12 best tanning lotions for sensitive skin!

Best Value
Devoted Creations Tanning Butter
Our Pick
Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer
Budget Pick
Ed Hardy It List Tanning Lotion
Table of Contents

12 Best Tanning Lotions for Sensitive Skin

Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer

Our Pick

Hempz is well-known for using skin-friendly ingredients such as hemp seed oil in its items, and this tan maximizer is proven to be effective on sensitive skin.


Hempz uses 100% pure natural hemp seed oil and is mixed with oatmeal and mango seed butter which nourishes and moisturizes, soothing sensitive skin as you bask in the sun.

Clean Finish

Many reviews say that this has a lightweight and non-greasy formula which sensitive skin absorbs quickly. You won’t feel sticky after you put this on.

Is Hempz For You?

Users with sensitive skin will appreciate that Hempz is paraben, nut, and gluten-free. It’s also fragrance-free, so you have less to worry about.


  • Skin-friendly natural ingredients
  • Fast absorption of product
  • Highly-rated reviews


  • Effects may not be immediately visible

Devoted Creations #TANLIFE Hydrating Butter

Best Value

This amazing tanning butter combines anti-aging, nourishment, and tanning effects all in one bottle. What’s more, it’s priced only slightly higher than our Budget Pick, making it a great buy!

Youthful Glow

You’ll find several anti-aging ingredients in this product’s formula. It can deodorize the skin while minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite. Unique formulations also lighten the skin.

Nourishing Ingredients

The presence of ultra-hydrating shea butter ensures that your skin won’t dry out while you spend the day in the sun.

To further nourish sensitive skin, baobab provides calcium and vitamins, and its five-fruit antioxidant blend protects from free radicals and absorbs quickly.

MelaTime Complex

The MelaTime Complex is responsible for the tanning effects of this butter. It’s meant to be combined with other indoor tanning products, and it’ll help speed up melanin  creation.

The fact that it preserves tattoos and body art makes this product truly a must for beach-lovers.

Is Devoted Creations #TANLIFE For You?

The tanning butter enhances the tan, so use this if you’ll be sunbathing or getting tanned at a salon.


  • Nourishes skin
  • Reduces fine lines and cellulite
  • Preserves tattoos


  • Inconsistent results among skin types

Ed Hardy's The It List Hypoallergenic and Vegan Tanning Lotion

Budget Pick

This vegan tanning product takes care of your skin as it tans for only 13 dollars a bottle!

Vegan Formula

You won’t find any oils, gluten, nuts, wheat, or parabens in this tanning lotion, making for a great hypoallergenic self-tan product.

Softens the Skin

Also, there are skin softeners that hydrate and leave your skin smoother and fresh-looking. It also absorbs quickly, which contributes to increasing the duration of your tan for days.

Is Ed Hardy’s The It List For You?

If you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank, the It List is your best choice as long as you don’t mind the floral fragrance.


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Softens skin
  • Absorbs quickly


  • Scented lotion depends on user preference

Devoted Creations Limited Couture Paraben-Free Dark Tanning Creme Oil

Devoted Creations brings another product for this list: an indoor tanning oil for those who need a self-tanning product.

Lustrous Skin

It might say Creme Oil on the label, but it’s mostly due to the macadamia and coconut oil that can make your skin look smooth and lustrous.

Healthy and Younger-looking

Of course, your skin won’t just look good on the outside. It’ll be just as youthful on the inside using a special lemon and apricot formula.

Is Devoted Creations Limited Couture For You?

This is one of our top self-tanners on the list, so it’s perfect for those who intend to do indoor tanning sessions.


  • Tanning oil gives skin beautiful shine
  • Younger-looking skin


  • Has fragrance
  • Lacks bronzing, according to some users

Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion

The Sun Bum brand is well-known for being good for the skin with its natural ingredients, and this browning lotion is one of its best.

Fast Acting

Sun Bum’s Browning Lotion is brown, so your skin instantly gets a tan, enhancing your skin tone.

Soothing Formula

This lotion has aloe vera and green tea butter, which soothes the skin while different oils ensure that your skin is healthy and well-protected.

Is Sun Bum For You?

Sun Bum is your indoor tanning buddy for those who want to get a darker color right away due to the lotion’s color.


  • Instant tanning product
  • Gentle on sensitive type skin


  • Lotion can stain

Designer Skin Naked Ambition Bare It All Natural Bronzer

This one is a bronzer that stimulates the skin darkening process leaving you with the best, natural-looking tan.

Natural Bronzer

Unlike other bronzers, this one doesn’t use DHA. MelanINK Technology and copper encourages natural darkening of the skin.

Moisture Locking

Its 3D Protect technology that cleanses the skin and promotes cell regeneration.

Is Designer Skin Naked Ambition For You?

For those looking for a dark but natural glow for their fair skin, this product is the one for you!


  • Uses natural tanning process
  • Promotes cell regeneration of healthy skin


  • Product can be hard to find

Swedish Beauty Shea You Love Me Tanning Lotion

This one is a premium tan maximizer that makes skin look more youthful.

Shea Shine

This is another product that uses shea butter to preserve the moisture in the skin. It has incredibly high amounts of it, so your skin is well-hydrated.

Goodbye Fine Lines

A neat addition to this lotion is the anti-aging properties that can prevent wrinkles, so your skin looks fresher and younger as you use it.

Is Swedish Beauty Shea You Love Me For You?

This is for those who struggle with dry skin and don’t want any bronzing. As a tan maximizer, it’s meant to be used before going for a tan.


  • Intense hydration
  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles


  • Effects may not be as visible

Australian Gold Beachin' Dark Tanning Lotion

This product will make it look like you’ve just come back from a great tanning session at Australia’s white sand beaches!


The ingredients list for this lotion will look a lot like a yummy dessert; you’ve got an exotic fruit smoothie complex that hydrates your skin while using Australian berries and caramel for that dark tan.

Longer Lasting Color

This product can extend your tan to last longer than the usual tanning product to prolong your beach-side look. The Vitalize Blend then helps with dry, sensitive skin and makes you positively glow.

Is Australian Gold For You?

Get this one if you’re looking for a longer-lasting lotion that’s gentle on sensitive skin types but won’t have any lingering smell.


  • Hydrating fruit extract formula
  • Extends your tan


  • Not entirely fragrance-free

Swedish Beauty New Sunshine Shea You Want Me

Swedish Beauty doesn’t skimp on giving you a great tan; for those who want a darker tan, try out their line’s bronzer.

Sun-Kissed Tan

Using this lotion will give you a long-lasting tan that’s better than your usual color. It’s all thanks to a blend of natural Henna, Black Walnut, and its BioBronze Blend.


Much like the Shea You Love Me, this product also uses shea butter, along with apples, oatmeal, and cocoa butter. These target dry skin and allow it to heal and be nourished.

Is Swedish Beauty New Sunshine Shea You Want Me For You?

Shea You Want Me is the perfect thing for those with fair skin compatible with shea butter.


  • Tan lasts longer
  • Moisturizes dry skin


  • Not enough color for a bronzer

Skinerals Californium Self Tanner

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty self-tanning product, then this one with white and green tea is worth a try!

Got the Good Stuff

If we had to list all the useful content here, you’d be looking at a long list including DHA, mineral oil, aloe, glycerin, fruit extracts, and even white and green tea.

Oil and Nut Free

You won’t find any nuts or oils among the ingredients, so you’re free to use this product on your face.

Is Skinerals For You?

This is for the ones who want a darker tan but only with the gentlest and premium ingredients. It’s also equipped with a handy pump, adding to its convenience.


  • Filled with nourishing ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Washes off quicker than other tanning products

Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses

This coconut-filled tanning lotion soothes the senses and your skin while giving you a gorgeous tan.


Like most Ed Hardy products, this lotion preserves any skin designs or tattoos while you get your tanning session underway.

Hydrates Fully

As it says on the tin, this lotion contains both coconut milk and coconut oil which retains the moisture in your skin and makes it silky smooth.

Is Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses For You?

Coconut Kisses is perfect for those who dislike the almost orange hue of most bronzers and would rather a natural and healthy glow.


  • Preserves body designs or tattoos
  • Moisturizing coconut ingredients


  • Some may not like vanilla fragrance

Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner

This is another self-tanning lotion that keeps skin healthy and hydrated while also giving you a great tan style.

All-Natural Ingredients

This brand is dedicated to only using plant-based ingredients in their products. For this self-tanner, you’ve got aloe vera and shea butter to keep skin hydrated.

Healthy Glow

Since it doesn’t use any bronzer or coloring, you’ll only get a natural-looking glow.

Is Beauty by Earth For You?

If you’re a fan of all-natural products, then this is a good tanner to consider, especially if you’re looking for something that won’t cause any reactions with sensitive skin.


  • Hydrates skin
  • Nourishes with all-natural components
  • Gives a natural-looking glow


  • Unpleasant smell after use

How to Choose the Best Tanning Lotion for Your Sensitive Skin

How to Choose

Before you decide on anything, let’s go through the various kinds of skin care and tanning products and how they differ.

Types of Tanning Lotion

Tan Accelerators and Maximizers

These are for beginners in tanning. As depicted in the name, they speed up the tanning process and establish a good base tan. They also moisturize and protect your skin from getting burned.

Tan maximizers increase the absorption of UV light, kick-starting the darkening of your skin tone. So even afterward, your skin color will continue to change. They’re also called tanning bed lotion.

Bronzers and Self-Tanners

Self-tanners are the most popular type, and you’ll find a lot in stores outside tanning salons. With self-tanners, you can get an instant tan even when you stay indoors.

Self-tanners or indoor tanning lotions use dihydroxyacetone or DHA, a chemical that darkens the skin by increasing melanin production. Self-tanners also improve your skin with their hydrating properties.

Bronzers are closer to make-up than self-tanners, and the type can be washed away with soap and water. A bronzer self-tanner may be something you’d want to look into for more pigment.

Hot Action and Tingle Lotions

This tanning lotion type’s main feature is the warm and tingly sensation produced by active ingredients like nicotinate and benzyl. These increase the blood flow to your skin and give it a slight flush.

As for their other functions, tingle lotions act similarly to tan accelerators by enhancing UV rays’ effects while also boosting melanin production. This type of tanning body lotion isn’t recommended for those who are just starting.

The Best Type of Tanning Lotion For Sensitive Skin

For the best tanning experience, you need to understand first how you want to get your tan. Once you know whether you want a tan maximizer, a tan enhancer, bronzer, or an indoor tanning one, you can narrow down your choices.

After that, take stock of your possible skin types. In your case, you can start with your sensitive skin’s history and what sort of ingredients it could handle. Ingredients like DHA, pure natural hemp seed oil, and coconut oil are popular choices.

Each of the tanning lotions in this list is great for delicate skin, but it’s always better to be safe and rely on your past experiences.

It’s a rule of thumb to get non-greasy ones that are paraben-free and gluten-free, too.

All that’s left to do is follow their directions or get some more information from research.



#1 Are Tanning Lotions Safe?

Considering the kinds of tanning lotions discussed above, the self-tanning or sunless tanning ones are the safest since they don’t utilize UV rays. To add, their effects last for a few days before wearing off.

And so, it’s this type of tanning lotion that’s safe as long as you follow its prescribed directions for use.

However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s always a general rule to patch test any product first before continuing its use.

SEE ALSO: Best Self-Tanning Lotions for Sensitive Skin

#2 How Do I Use Tanning Lotions?

Usually, directions can be found on the product. While tanning lotions are safe, avoid inhaling them or applying them to sensitive skin areas.

  • Before anything else, do a patch test on a small area on your arm or leg before you try to apply the lotion all over. If you experience no irritation after 24 hours, then you can proceed with the product.
  • Exfoliate with a washcloth or exfoliating product to get rid of dead skin cells. Put more focus on your knees, elbows, and ankles. Then, dry off your skin.
  • Using a circular motion, apply the product in sections. Start with your arms, then your legs, and then the torso. Make sure to wash your hands with soap after each section to avoid discoloration on your palms. Spread any excess product to your hands and feet for a more natural finish.
  • Some areas absorb more of the product and end up becoming darker. These include the joint areas like knees, elbows, and ankles. To minimize the tanning effects of the tanner, apply lotion or rub with a damp cloth after you’ve finished.
  • Wait at least 10 minutes before wearing anything. If possible, put on loose clothes and try not to sweat too much after.
  • If you’re using a tan accelerator or maximizer, apply them before you sunbathe or get into the tanning bed.

Conclusion: The Best Tanning Lotion for Sensitive Skin


Now that you’ve been introduced better to the world of indoor tanning lotions and others, here is our top pick for those with sensitive skin!

Our best overall is the Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer since it’s proven to be gentle on sensitive skin while maximizing your tan. It’s unrivaled by the effectiveness of its natural ingredients like hemp seed oil and mango seed butter.

Found that golden tanner that brings out your best self? Share it with us in the comments!

Also, don’t forget to still put on sunscreen when you’re tanning! UV light spares no one. And make sure to do a patch test as well.

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.