Indoor VS outdoor tanning

UVA and UVB rays are both found in the sun’s rays and in the use of a solarium. These rays cause a number of natural processes that take place in our skin during tanning/sunbathing. However, tanning should be respected. When we are exposed to ultraviolet rays, we face 4 different independent reactions:

The thickening of the epidermis, hyperpigmentation, melanogenesis and synthesis of vitamin D (If exposed to UVB)

What’s better?

indoor outdoor
Indoor vs Outdoor

If using a professional indoor solarium, where the owners and workers follow the safety rules, we can be sure that we are tanning in strictly controlled conditions. On the beach, ultraviolet rays can be a potential concern, as the output of the sun isn’t strictly measured.

However, regardless of where we are sunbathing, excessive UVA can lead to premature aging of our skin. It is worth finding your individual skin type and tanning with a defined and selected UV dose for your skin. Vitamin D3 synthesised in our skin due to UVB is responsible for repairing damage caused by excess UVA. If we tan indoors with a controlled light output and do it sensibly, the effects will be the same. In general, the light in a solarium often shines stronger than on the beach, and this should always be remembered. Particularly for beginners. New tanners will need their skin type to be defined and treated with the according exposure times.

A scale to show different skin types and their attributes.
By John D’Orazio, Stuart Jarrett, Alexandra Amaro-Ortiz and Timothy Scott – John D’Orazio et al. “UV Radiation and the Skin” Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(6), 12222-12248; doi:10.3390/ijms140612222, CC BY 3.0,

Poor timing can result in burns. Sunburned skin is not tanned skin, contrary to what many people may think.

Possibly the most important part of indoor tanning is to ensure you are visiting a confidence-inspiring salon with trained, educated staff who know what they are doing. Usually a good indication is whether they are part of “The Sunbed Association” This normally shows that they are safety conscious and follow the guidelines. After having your skin type checked, it will be saved in their logs to ensure future tanning safety.

Pros and Cons

SolariumsNatural Sunlight
Can be used any time – Including night timeNot always available (Weather, time)
Can be used indoors, in privacyOnly available outside
Initial cost and electricity costs (Or customer costs if visiting a salon)Natural, no cost
Controlled and healthy spectrum of lightHealthy and also potentially unhealthy spectrum (Not measured)
Intensity can be varied/controlledIntensity cannot be varied
Vitamin D (If using UVB or Vit D tubes)Vitamin D from the sun

Tanning isn’t always an instant process, so do not expect to be deeply bronzed after one visit. On holiday, we can be sunbathing for weeks, sometimes several hours a day. Indoors, the sessions can vary drastically, from around 4 minutes all the way to 20 minutes (Ergoline Sun Angel) and can be equal to a beach tanning session. If you wish to have a durable, deep tan, you must visit the salon for multiple sessions and sunbathe gradually in a safe way that does not lead to burns.


To summarise, both indoor and outdoor sunbathing will result in tanned skin, but if you are looking for a controlled safe dose of UV rays, a salon is the best choice for you. The rays from the sun can’t be measured and sometimes you may even fall asleep! Nobody wants to wake up looking red as a tomato. If you somehow manage to fall asleep in a salon, the session will end and the distribution of UV rays will stop.
As always, the concern is safety. We want you to enjoy the process and results of your tan in the safest and most comfortable way. At Best Sunbeds LTD we will always encourage safe tanning and will always do our best to help you and your clients.

Best Sunbeds Web-store
Best Sunbeds Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *