7 Things You Should Know About Tanning Bed Rash

Indoor tanning offers you a number of advantages over outdoor and spray tanning.

It’s private, the strength and temperature of the bed’s rays are controlled by professionals, and you’re always assured of getting the right kind of UV exposure you need in order to build your tan.

However, there are also a few disadvantages and side effects, and one of the most distressing is tanning bed rash.

This type of rash can appear suddenly and without any warning and can also be difficult to treat.

There are a number of reasons that cause this rash, but before you try and treat its symptoms on your own, there are seven things that you should know about it so that you can get back to worry-free, safe indoor tanning.

1. Skin Dryness and Overexposure Can Cause Tanning Bed Rash

There are a number of factors that can cause tanning bed rash, but this rash, which mostly appears on the backs of the legs, the back, the stomach, and the chest, is caused by two main things: dry and skin and overexposure to the UV rays the bed gives off.

These rays may give you a tan, but they can also dry out the skin, which causes itching and rashes that are mild to moderate, depending on your skin’s sensitivity.

In general, those who have never tanned before are more prone to developing these rashes because aren’t aware of how sensitive their skin is.

Tanning too long or setting the bed’s controls too high can also cause your skin to break out in a rash.

This occurs because your skin can’t absorb the quantity of UV light that the bed is giving off, and what it cannot absorb irritates the skin, which causes the rash.

To avoid this, it’s important that you only use these beds at a professional salon and under the guidance of tanning professionals.

2. Unsanitary Conditions Are a Common Cause

Tanning bed rash can also be caused by inferior cleaning practices at the tanning salon.

Many people tan in the nude, and as they sweat, their perspiration drips down onto the surface on the bed.

If the beds aren’t cleaned properly and you lie down in this dried sweat, it could irritate your skin and cause you to break out in a rash.

While these types of rashes aren’t as common as those that caused by dry skin and UV overexposure, they show up typically on the back, shoulders, and the backs of the legs, where the skin comes in contact with the surface of the tanning bed.

If you tan indoors, make sure that your salon follows strict disinfecting guidelines to reduce the risk of this rash.

3. The Rash Does Not Appear Instantly

Rashes that develop from the use of a tanning bed do not appear instantly.

In fact, it may take several days before you notice the symptoms.

The rash can break out slowly, over a course of days, growing from a few itchy bumps to a wide, red band that’s irritated and itchy.

This is why tanning bed rash can be difficult to identify: many people shrug it off as prickly heat or bug bites and continue to tan, which can increase the symptoms of the rash.

4. You Can Identify the Rash by Its Appearance

A tanning rash may not always be easy to identify, but if you know what to look for, you can seek treatment sooner.

This kind of rash is different from the small, white bumps of a mosquito bite or the tiny, irregular bumps of prickly heat.

Instead, this rash presents as a series of itchy red blisters.

Depending on their cause, they can even appear on the neck and the face, so it’s important that you’re able to identify them when they crop up.

However, only your dermatologist can properly diagnose and treat this rash.

5. You Should Stop Tanning Immediately

When you discover a tanning rash anywhere on your body, you should stop tanning until you’re seen by a dermatologist for treatment.

Continued tanning will only increase the rash’s redness and irritation, which may lead you to scratch and spread the itch.

While you may be anxious to continue your tanning sessions and build your tan, the rash may only become worse with continued sessions and eventually become infected.

6. Treatment is often Simple

Even if you are diagnosed with this kind of rash, the good news is that they are usually easy to treat.

Other than discontinuing your tanning sessions, your doctor will most likely give you a topical cream that will soothe the itching so that the rash doesn’t spread due to scratching.

Antibiotic creams may be prescribed to stop the inflammation.

There are also several other things you can do at home to speed up the healing process, such as avoiding further exposure to sunlight, taking tepid or cool showers, and using a non-greasy and fragrance-free moisturizer to ease the dryness.

Keep in mind that any type of moisturizer you use should be approved by your doctor.

7. Rashes May Indicate UV Sensitivity

Even if your tanning rash fades quickly, it may return as soon as you start tanning again.

If this happens, your skin is likely sensitive to UV light and you may have to consider other options if you want to get a tan.

Sunless tanning and spray tanning are two popular options for people who are sensitive to UV light, so you should ask your tanning salon representative if these options may be a better choice for you.
Tanning bed rash is a fairly common side effect of using tanning beds, but the symptoms can become quite serious if they are not treated right away.

Being able to identify this kind of rash is an important part of indoor tanning, but if you’re experiencing any kind of rash after tanning for the first time, you should seek treatment right away before you continue your tanning regimen.

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