Tanning Lotion Buying Guide

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Tanning Lotion Buying Guide

The term 'tanning lotion' can refer to different styles of tanning lotion including those intended for indoors, outdoors, and even for self-tanning without sunlight. Tanning lotion is usually used to describe lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF), which protect the skin against UV light but still allow a person to tan, as opposed to SPF creams and lotions that attempt to block as much sunlight as possible. Tanners must decide how much protection they need, where they intend to tan, and what the lotion is intended for.

Some considerations include the temperature and strength of the sun in a local area, how long the tanner intends to tan, and whether the tanning lotion is meant to be used indoors. Most lotions are labelled with an SPF rating, where they should be used, as well as additional functions such as any moisturising or self-tanning properties that the lotion might have. Other options include a variety or prices, ingredients, and functions, all of which should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.

Why Use Tanning Lotion?

While science has proved that no sunscreen completely blocks out UV rays and therefore cannot completely remove the risk of skin cancer such as melanoma, it can help to prevent problems including signs of aging and sunburn. However, longer periods of exposure to the sun do raise the risk of both problems so using tanning lotion can never completely remove the issue. Tanners are normally recommended to avoid tanning for more than a few hours at a time, and to avoid the sun at its hottest, which is usually between 12 and 4 p.m. Using sunscreen does reduce the harm of the sun and applying it before tanning actually reduces the risk of sunburn and other problems. Despite this, tanners are recommended by health and beauty experts to always be careful when tanning, and to avoid tanning if they have extremely light skin.

Different Types of Tanning Lotions

There are different types of tanning lotions, many of which are intended for different uses. There are tanning lotions intended for specific skin tones, lotions with different levels of SPF, and those with tanning accelerators including self-tanning or oil to help the skin bronze more quickly. Choosing an appropriate tanning lotion should depend on where the person intends to tan, the skin tone, and the desired level of tan.

Outdoor Tanning Lotion

An outdoor tanning lotion is often labelled as simply 'tanning lotion' because it is the original tanning lotion. Variations include those with moisturisers and tanning aids including chemical bronzing. These tanning lotions normally have an SPF range between 2 and 100 but most experts recommend lower ranges between 5 and 15 for average use. Persons with light to dark skin can still tan without burning with SPF as low as 15, but to avoid issues such as increasing melanoma risk, they need to use a lotion with a higher grade sunscreen. High SPF tanning lotions do offer more protection against sunburn so buyers who are very prone to burning should consider choosing a tanning lotion with higher SPF.

Indoor Tanning Lotion

An indoor tanning lotion does not always contain SPF and should not be used to block the sun or prevent sunburn. The indoor tanning lotion is meant to be used at indoor tanning beds such as in a salon and are therefore only meant to block artificial UVA rays rather than natural UVA and UVB rays. The standard indoor tanning lotion is designed for accelerated tanning, meaning that it protects the skin under the typically very intense light from a UV tanning bed. The tanning lotion made specifically for indoor tanning does not damage the tanning bed as some standard tanning lotions have been shown to do. Various ingredients can be used in indoor tanning lotions including moisturisers, natural substances such as aloe vera, and self-tanning additives to enhance a tan.

Self-Tanning Lotion

The self-tanning lotion may or may not include SPF and may or may not be intended to be worn to protect against the sun. Self-tanning lotions include natural or chemical additives that darken the skin for a period of time. Usually, the self-tanning lotion is used to quickly tan evenly, or to tan the skin before going to a special event or to the beach. Other benefits of self-tanning lotion include that it can allow the body to be more tanned without requiring damaging lengthy exposure to the sun. A self-tanning lotion can be found under names such as bronzing enhancer, self-tanning, browning lotion, and a variety of other names. Varieties include those that tan the body quickly and those that take time and exposure to the sun to begin to work.

Guide to SPF

Most buyers should choose a sun protection factor level based on their skin type and skin tone. For example, persons with a fair complexion are very prone to burning and require higher levels of SPF. On the other hand, anyone with darker skin already has high levels of melanin in their skin and might require much less protection from the sun. Factors vary per skin type and individual skin tone so it is important to check individual needs.

Experts suggest that SPF 15-25 blocks up to 93 per cent of UV rays, while SPF 30 blocks up to 97 per cent of UV rays. Low SPF including 2 and 5 logically block much less UV. However, studies also show that the most important factor for the tanning lotion effectiveness is applying it correctly. Studies show that more than 50 per cent of people do not apply their tanning lotion correctly, which greatly reduces its effectiveness and protection.

Warnings When Using Tanning Lotion

Using suntan lotions cannot prevent melanoma or skin cancer and in fact, research studies have shown an increased risk of melanoma in persons who wear a great deal of high SPF sunscreen and spend more than a few hours per day in the sun. The bottom line is that to stay truly safe from the sun, tanners should exercise caution: they should determine appropriate times of day to tan and avoid overusing tanning lotion. Medium to light tanning with light SPF lotion is generally quite safe.

Skin Type




Recommended SPF

15 to 45

2 to 15

2- 5

It is important to consider that the level of suntan SPF required does depend on a variety of factors including the skin type of a person, the level of tanning, and how easily they burn when exposed to the sun. Some people burn more easily than others regardless of skin tone so it is important to choose a tanning lotion based on individual need. For most, frequent applications of a lower SPF lotion is just as or more effective than a high SPF lotion.

Another consideration is that anyone with a skin allergy to soap might have the same reaction to the tanning lotion. Usually this is because of chemicals in the lotion. Most of the time indoor tanning lotions intended for tanning beds have the strongest allergic effect because they contain more chemicals, as do any very cheap lotions that rely on a lot of chemicals. Therefore buyers prone to skin allergies should search for 'bio' lotions that are mostly organic materials rather than chemicals.

Choosing a Tanning Lotion

Depending on individual need, skin tone, and level of tanning required, each person requires a different suntan lotion. Someone with a history of burning should consider choosing a medium to high SPF and possibly a self-tanning lotion as well to accelerate tanning without damaging the skin. Someone with darker skin might prefer a 'dark' or 'tingling' lotion or even tanning oil that accelerates natural tanning for their dark skin. Medium skin tones should choose tanning lotions based on how quickly they tan and where they intend to tan.

Buying Tanning Lotion on eBay

eBay is an excellent place to buy any type of tanning lotion including indoor, outdoor, and self-tanning. Buyers can choose from top brands including Australian Gold or select a budget brand, depending on their budget and preferences. Options range from the professional to store brands so buyers can select anything they like from literally anywhere in the world. There are also a variety of sellers, including eBay authorised sellers, who offer name brand products.

You can search for your tanning lotion from the home page. Consider adding specifications such as the type of tanning lotion, the level of SPF, or whether or not it has features such as waterproofing or bronzing. Other ideas include searching for a specific brand that you prefer. Finally, read the description, check the shipping cost and time, and consider purchasing from a local seller if you need the tanning lotion quickly.


There are several types of tanning lotions available on the market, including variations that are meant for indoors and outdoors. Common features include self-tanning, moisturisers, and a variety of levels of SPF. Buyers should focus on their individual skin tone and burn rate when choosing an SPF level because this is the most influential factor for choosing a tanning lotion for outdoor use.

Deciding between indoor and outdoor lotion is also important. Some expensive brands of tanning lotion include indoor and outdoor, but most are made for either. Some indoor tanning lotions also do not include SPF and are therefore not at all appropriate for tanning outdoors. Also, outdoor tanning lotions should not be used for indoor tanning, because they may damage the tanning bed. Important decisions to make before buying tanning lotion on eBay or any other store include checking the SPF level, settling on proper features, and ensuring that the lotion is suitable for the type of tanning that a person prefers.

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