Why Do Tanning Beds Make Me Orange?

by Jessica Allen

Sunless tanning can often result in orange skin. Using products in large amounts or too often, as well as not knowing the appropriate lotion for your skin tone, can introduce unwanted results. Only by knowing the correct procedure and exercising caution will you ensure a natural-looking tan.

Tanning Bed

It’s probably not the tanning bed that’s making your skin appear orange, but the type of lotion you apply. Using tanning lotion with multiple bronzers will cause orange-looking skin. These lotions generally include a little self-tanning lotion, which causes the color change.

Tanning Bed Tips

Lotions with only one bronzer in them are safe, but using a tan accelerator will be the best option to avoid orange skin altogether. When using a tanning bed, be sure the salon associate knows you are a beginner so you can start by tanning for a shorter amount of time before working your way up. Wear an accelerator lotion created for use in a tanning bed.

Sunless Tanning Products

Sunless tanning products are notorious for causing uneven and unnatural looking tans. Because tanning lotion may be working for hours after being applied, allowing less than 12 hours between applications may cause orange skin. Additionally, using more than the recommended amount may introduce unwanted results.

Sunless Tanning Tips

When choosing a sunless tanning lotion, be aware of your natural skin tone. If you are extremely pale, do not begin with a dark lotion. Lotions have levels for fair, medium and dark skin, and choosing the wrong one could give you unwanted results. Often it is best to test the sunless tanning lotion on an area of your body that’s not normally visible to see how your skin reacts. If acceptable, apply over the rest of your body, but wait at least 12 hours between applications.

Preventing Other Issues

Orange skin shouldn’t be your only worry when tanning indoors. If using a tanning bed, be sure to wear proper eye protection to prevent injury. Tan sparingly, as tanning beds have been linked to skin cancer such as melanoma, premature wrinkles and brown spots. If using a sunless tanning lotion, be sure to follow the directions, exfoliate before use, and continue to use sunscreen when going outdoors. Sunless tanning lotion often rubs off on clothes, so be sure to wear something dark, or reserve a certain outfit, for the hours shortly each application.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Alla

About the Author

Jessica Allen is currently an editorial coordinator with the nation's leading textbook company. She received a B.A. in English/creative writing from Augustana College and has been a writer since 2005. Before editing textbooks, Allen was a news correspondent with the "Quad City Times," where she wrote feature articles.