Best Tanning Bed Lotion [Reviews And Top Picks]

After comparing dozens of tanning bed lotions, looking at their ingredients and going through customer reviews we’ve picked the 250ml Emerald Bay Dark Escape Sunbed Tanning Lotion Cream as the best tanning bed lotion for most people.

If you want an extra-deep tan we recommend the 125ml Tannymaxx Brown Exotic Intensity Deep Sunbed Tanning Accelerator Lotion. If you want a premium tanning bed lotion (or you generally love Australian Gold tanning products), buy the 250ml Australian Gold Hot Indoor Tanning Lotion.

What is Tanning Bed Lotion?

There are generally two types of tanning lotions.

Outdoor tanning lotions are designed for use before and while sunbathing. They contain ingredients that increase melanin production in the skin which results in a deeper tan. These lotions are also called tanning accelerators.

Indoor tanning lotions are designed for use with a sunbed or a solarium.

Unlike outdoor tan accelerators, tanning bed lotions are designed to magnify the skin’s exposure to UV rays to quicken and intensify the tanning process. Some pricier ones even go as far as using special oils that refract UV light and magnify it onto the skin.

Indoor tanning lotions also contain a long list of other ingredients that…

  • Trigger more melanin production to produce a deeper tan. Tan accelerators in other words.
  • Deeply hydrate the skin and retain moisture during tanning.
  • Nourish the skin with vitamins and other nutrients. This conditions the skin to enhance the appearance of your natural tan.

It’s extremely important that you only use indoor tanning lotions in a tanning bed. Outdoor tan accelerators can damage the acrylic material in tanning beds and prevent proper tanning.

Benefits of Tanning Bed Lotions

Tanning bed lotions are a must use whenever you artificially tan your skin. They not only enhance your skin’s natural tanning process they also provide crucial protection.

The skin is at a higher risk of drying out and developing eczema when you use a tanning bed. A good quality indoor tanning lotion keeps your skin properly hydrated both during and after tanning. It also contains vitamins and antioxidants that nourish and protect the skin from the effects of UV radiation.

What to consider when choosing a Tanning Bed Lotion

The first thing you should do is check the list of ingredients.

First make sure there is nothing your skin is allergic to. Some lotions are designed to be hypoallergenic and are great for those with sensitive skin.

Then check that the lotion contains nourishing and hydrating ingredients. One common ingredient to look for is Aloe Vera. It’s great for soothing the skin, protecting against UV damage and moisturising it.

Other common ingredients include natural oils to moisturise and soften the skin, vitamins for protection and nourishment and tyrosine to accelerate tanning.

After you’ve covered the basics – that is, it’s safe for my skin and the ingredients will protect and hydrate my skin – decide whether you want a special purpose tanning lotion. There are several of them.

For instance you can get a tanning bed lotion with a bronzer if you want an even deeper tan. A bronzer is an artificial colour that mimics suntan. It complements your skin’s natural tan.

You can also get a tingle tanning bed lotion which creates a tingling sensation on your skin. This stimulates increased blood flow to enhance melanin production and give your skin a nice glow.

Other special tanning bed lotions include shimmer lotions (to enhance skin appearance), tan accelerators (to increase amount of melanin) and cooling lotions (to help you relax during tanning).

The Best Tanning Bed Lotion Reviews [UK Market]

1. The Best Tanning Bed Lotion for Most People: Emerald Bay Dark Escape Sunbed Tanning Lotion Cream, 250ml


  • Hypoallergenic – good for people with sensitive skin.
  • Intensifies natural tan.
  • Coconut oil for hydration.
  • Lovely fragrance.


  • Not the best if you want a deep tan.


If other tanning bed lotions make your skin itchy or give you rashes, try this Emerald Bay sunbed tanning lotion. It has a hypoallergenic formulation which is great if you have sensitive skin. It doesn’t contain tingle or bronzer to ensure it doesn’t cause any skin reaction.

It will not give you the deepest tan but it’s great if you just want a nice pleasant tan on your skin.

Note that it’s formulated for indoor use only in a tanning bed. Do not use it outdoors.

What it does best

This is an intensifier. It encourages your skin to produce more melanin and conditions it to enhance the bronzy appearance.

One of the ingredients used is agave nectar which helps smoothen the skin and get rid of acne and blackheads. It also contains coconut oil to deeply hydrate the skin. This prevents drying out when you are in the sunbed and enhances your natural tan (dry skin doesn’t show much tan).

Flaws but not deal breakers

Because it doesn’t contain tyrosine, an active ingredient in premium tanning accelerators, this lotion will not give you that extra-dark tarn. It’s best for enhancing your own base tan and protecting your skin during tanning.

What other customers think

Customers love the texture of this lotion. Unlike most tanning lotions that get sticky as they set, this one feels smooth. And because it has plenty of coconut oil it leaves the skin feeling soft.

Many customers say it has helped them get a more noticeable tan after using a tanning bed.

Should you buy It?

If you are looking for a good quality, deeply-hydrating and non-sticky tanning bed lotion, this is a great choice. However, if you want a lotion that will give you an extra-dark tan I recommend the next lotion below.

2. The Best Tanning Bed Lotion for a Deep Tan: Tannymaxx Brown Exotic Intensity Deep Sunbed Tanning Accelerator Lotion, 125ml


  • Provides an extra-deep tan thanks to the presence of tyrosine.
  • Plenty of nourishing ingredients including vitamin A, C and E.
  • Papaya extract for skin purification.
  • Natural oils for deep moisturization.


  • Small tub.


Many tanning bed lotions are great for moisturising your skin during and giving you a nice dark glow. But if you want that extra-deep tan than looks like you’ve just come from a 2-week holiday at an exotic island you’ll need something with an extra punch.

Specifically, you need a lotion that contains tyrosine. This is an essential amino acid used in the production of melanin in the skin.

When applied externally it increases the amount of melanin in the skin. That’s why the Tannymaxx Brown is able to give you a much deeper tan than other tanning bed lotions.

What it does best

If you want a deep tan or you find it difficult to tan your skin, try this lotion. You’ll notice a nice golden glow with just the first use.

You should apply it just before you get into a tanning bed and give it a few minutes to set in. It will intensify the natural tan you get from a solarium or tanning bed.

What I love most about it is the rich nutrient content. It contains extracts from papaya, coconut, peach, magnolia and pineapple among others. These help to hydrate your skin, detoxify it and protect it from UV damage.

Flaws but not deal breakers

I wish they’d packed it into a larger bottle. This 125ml tube is rather too small especially if you tan often. But you can always order several of them.

What other customers think

Many customers have noticed that it definitely creates a deeper tan than other lotions. Even though it’s not much they say a little goes a long way so one tube will still last long.

Should you buy it?

If you want to really boost the tan you get from a tanning bed as much as you naturally can, go for it.

3. The Best Premium Tanning Bed Lotion: Australian Gold Hot Indoor Tanning Lotion, 250ml


  • Premium moisturising and nourishing ingredients including natural oils, Aloe Vera and anti-oxidants.
  • Intensifies your natural tan.
  • Nice fragrance.


  • Pricey.


For the best tanning products you can’t go wrong with Australian Gold. It’s a trusted brand that people have been using for more than 25 years.

Their indoor tanning lotion is packed full of rich ingredients to hydrate and protect your skin in a tanning bed. These include vitamins, anti-oxidants and natural oils.

Their Classic CocoaDreams fragrance gives it a mild but pleasant smell.

What it does best

The lotion uses a mixture of oils and other ingredients that enhance the skin’s natural melanin production capacity. They include amino acids and amino oils that condition your skin into a rich dark tan.

To nourish and protect the skin it uses antioxidants including vitamins A, E and C. It also contains several hydrating oils such as macadamia, tea tree and olive oil.

Flaws but not deal breakers

It’s expensive compared to other tanning bed lotions. While the other two lotions average around £4.80 per 100ml, this one costs £13.99 per 100ml. But it’s worth the price tag considering the premium ingredients and stronger tan-intensifying effect.

What other customers think

Most customers agree that it was the extra money. It produces a deeper tan than other lotions and leaves the skin feeling so soft and smooth.

Should you buy it?

If you are already familiar with Australian Gold’s other premium products buying this one is a no-brainer. Get it if you want the best tanning bed lotion that will not only enhance your tan but also nourish and hydrate your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do tanning bed lotions really work?

Tanning bed lotions are different from sun creams and other lotions that you put on your body to help deepen your tan. Using a tanning bed lotion can help to moisturise your skin, helping the tan settle deeper into your skin cells.

Tanning lotions can actually increase the tan, because although they do contain a certain amount of SPF, they won’t block the UV rays you receive in a tanning bed, as a normal sun cream would.

If your skin is fully moisturised before you go for your tanning session, you stand less chance of the tan rubbing off the next time you shower or exfoilate.

This is because the lotion will help your body remove those dead skin cells, and moisturise the rest of them, so that they tan takes better and lasts longer. Plus, you will have super soft, hydrated skin!

2. Should you shower after tanning?

If you are going for a tanning bed tan, then the first rule is that you should shower eight hours before your treatment. But how about showering afterwards? As we all know, it is advised to wait after you have been spray tanned or used a home tanning kit.

But if you have been in a tanning bed, there are no chemicals involved, so you cannot “wash off” the tan. That being said, if you shower straight after your tanning bed session, you could cool down your skin too quickly, which could affect the final result.

As a general rule, it is recommended to wait for at least 20 minutes before you shower, to allow your skin to cool down naturally. Given that you probably won’t be showering at the tanning salon, this is ideal – you can go about your day after your session, and shower in the peace and quiet of your own home!

If you are using tanning accelerators or bronzers, then you should definitely wait a while before you shower, so that you do not wash off any of the additions.

3. What NOT to do after tanning bed?

There is a lot of information about what you SHOULD do after tanning, but what about what NOT to do? Let’s have a look…

  • Forget to drink. Keeping your body hydrated is essential at all times, and especially after tanning. Make suree you take a drink bottle with you so that you can have a good sip straight after your session.
  • Leave the moisturiser. Keeping your skin moistened and soft will help your tan set better, so make sure you spend a bit of time with the lotion after you have been on the tanning bed.
  • Avoid the chocolate. The compounds in dark chocolate have been shown to be filled with antioxidants, which can help the body protect itself against the UV. What better excuse to nibble on some chocolate at the salon!
  • Skimp on the fruit. Although it is not as enticing as eating dark chocolate, eating lots of flavanol rich foods will help to keep your skin hydrated, and will also give you plenty of vital antioxidants.
  • Shower straight away. Leaving your post tanning shower for several hours will really help your tan set better, as your skin will not be artifically cooled too quickly.
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