Can You Use Indoor Tanning Lotion Outside?

So you have decided that today is the perfect day to lie under the sun next to the pool and take in some UV rays to accentuate your tan. This is a rare occasion as you do not normally have the time to do this and instead visit a tanning salon to maintain your golden tan.

In a desperate attempt to be a responsible tanner you look through your cupboards for a light SPF sunscreen. But alas, all you find is the indoor tanning lotion that you use when you visit your tanning salon.

Now here is the big question. Can you use indoor tanning lotion to tan outside? This question comes up often in the tanning world and has brought with it a lot of controversies.

Quite simply put, the answer is both a yes and a no. It is important to remember that indoor tanning lotion does not have any sunscreen in it so is generally not recommended for use outdoors. 

There are, however, some indoor tanning lotions that do contain a light SPF factor which can be used when tanning outdoors.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between outdoor and indoor tanning lotion, how UV rays can affect your skin if you tan outside without wearing a light sunscreen, and the best ways in which to tan outdoors safely and responsibly while using an indoor lotion.

What is the Difference Between Indoor Tanning Lotion and Outdoor Tanning Lotion?

The answer is quite simple. Indoor tanning lotions do not contain sunscreen while outdoor lotions do contain sunscreen.

UVB light that comes from the sun can cause significant damage to the skin if sunscreen is not used. This is especially true if you are going to be in the sun during peak hours such as the late morning and early afternoon.

Tanning beds emit a lot of UVA light and very little UVB light when you are tanning. The reason for this is that UVB light is known to be the most dangerous type of radiation when it comes into contact with the skin.

It is for this reason that many indoor tanning lotions do not contain any sunscreen and allow you to tan much quicker than you would in the sun with less chance of sunburn.

Indoor tanning products are specifically labeled for indoor tanning only and there are reasons why these lotions are not recommended for use when tanning outdoors.

These are the reasons:

  • Indoor lotions do not normally contain any sunscreen.
  • These lotions are made for indoor tanning so are not water-resistant.
  • Indoor tanning lotions can be very greasy which is not a problem if you are only tanning for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Greasy tanning lotion can make you feel sticky and uncomfortable if you are going to spend the whole day outdoors in the sun.

Is it Ok To Use Indoor Tanning Lotion For Outdoor Sessions in The Sun?

If you are thinking of using your indoor tanning lotion when you tan outdoors it is important to understand what the SPF factor that is shown on the label means.

Indoor and outdoor tanning lotions are made of various ingredients. While most indoor tanning lotions do not contain sunscreen there are a few that do. Check the label to see if your indoor tanning lotion has sunscreen in it and what SPF factor it is.

Bear in mind that indoor tanning lotions were made to enhance the effects of UV rays on the skin. This makes them perfect for use on a sunbed as it helps the tanner to obtain the darkest tan possible.

This can be problematic when you use the product for outdoor tanning because if your tanning lotion does not contain even a small amount of sunscreen then you could land up with painful sunburnt skin.

Always remember that indoor tanning lotions used to tan outdoors with can increase the risk of developing skin cancer as they are, under normal circumstances, used to amplify the capacity of the UV rays when tanning in a sunbed.

Indoor tanning takes place in an environment that is controlled while tanning outdoors can be completely unpredictable. Did you know that you can even get sunburnt on a cloudy day? When you tan outdoors you are at the mercy of the sun’s natural UVA and UVB rays.

Outdoor Tanning Tips and Tricks

It is a fact that UVB rays affect the layers of the skin that cause your skin to tan or burn. These rays can also cause eye damage if you do not adequately protect your eyes.

It is important to follow these guidelines when tanning outdoors:

  • Take note that tanning outdoors in the natural sunshine can cause a different reaction on your skin as compared to tanning on a sunbed.
  • It is of the utmost importance that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and prevent premature wrinkles and dark spots.
  • Always remember to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
  • The higher the SPF of the sunscreen, the less the sun will penetrate through the layers of your skin and cause permanent damage.
  • Remember that you are still able to achieve a gorgeous tan even if you are wearing sunscreen when you are tanning outdoors.

Sunscreen and UVA Radiation

Most sunscreens protect the skin from UVA radiation and do not protect the skin from UVB radiation. With this being said, there are now many sunscreens on the market that are broad-spectrum sunscreens. A broad-spectrum sunscreen was designed to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.

In the past, it was thought that UVB radiation could cause skin cancer and not much thought was given to protecting the skin from UVA rays as these types of rays were not considered to be very dangerous. It was later discovered that UVB radiation can also cause skin cancer.

This means that indoor tanning is just as much of a health risk as outdoor tanning even though sunbeds only emit UVA radiation. It is advisable that when tanning on a sunbed to use an indoor tanning lotion with a low SPF sunscreen in it to protect your skin.

Ways in Which To Use Your Indoor Tanning Lotion Outdoors

If you have decided to use an indoor tanning lotion to tan with the outside, then you should make sure that you do the following:

  • Put a thin layer of sunscreen on your skin before you apply the indoor tanning lotion.
  • Make sure that the sunscreen that you are using is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Remember to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours especially when swimming.
  • Always remember that indoor tanning lotion is not water-resistant.
  • If you feel that you are getting sunburnt then get out of the sun.

Can I Mix My Indoor and Outdoor Tanning Lotions Together Before Use?

Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. It is a much better idea to buy an indoor tanning lotion and an outdoor tanning lotion and keep them both readily available.

Here are a few reasons why mixing indoor and outdoor tanning lotion together, no matter how tempting it may be, is not a good idea:

  • The mixture of the lotions will more than likely not blend very well into the skin. Remember that indoor and outdoor tanning lotions spread onto the skin differently.
  • It is easy to end up with an uneven tan if you mix outdoor and indoor tanning lotions together.
  • This mixture can make for a very oily concoction that is not going to look very good.

Other Important Considerations

Indoor tanning lotion was made to enhance the impact that the UV rays have on the skin while outdoor tanning lotions were developed to block out both UVA and UVB rays to protect the user from sunburn.

While it is not the best idea to use an indoor tanning lotion when sunbathing in the sun it is just as important to remember that an outdoor tanning lotion should not be used whilst on a tanning bed.

The reason for this is because outdoor tanning lotion can cause the acrylics of the sunbed to break down. This can be extremely costly to fix which is why most salons strictly prohibit the use of outdoor tanning lotions on their sunbeds.

Are There Tanning Lotions That Can Be Used For Indoor and Outdoor Tanning?

Luckily for people who like to tan indoors as well as outdoors, there are multiple products on the market today that can cater to both types of tanning in one product.

While you can pick and choose the product that you want, here are three popular tanning lotions that can be used both indoors and outdoors:

# 1 That’s What Sea Said Tanning Lotion

  • This tanning lotion is filled with powerful tanning accelerators.
  • If you want an authentic tan, then this is the product for you as it has no bronzer in its ingredients.
  • This lotion is formulated to stimulate the production of melanin which is known to speed up the tanning process.
  • This product will not stain your clothing.
  • The Hibiscus extract found in this lotion is a potent anti-aging component and will help your skin to keep its even tone and increase skin elasticity.
  • Skin is evenly tanned thanks to the passion fruit extract in this product. This ingredient holds in moisture so that you can tan without burning.
  • Antioxidants in this tanning lotion prevent damage to your sin and also help to extend the lifespan of your tan.

# 2 Beachtime Dark Indoor-Outdoor Tanning Lotion with Coconut Infusion

  • This tanning lotion has no bronzing agents and is made from coconut milk and coconut oil.
  • These oils act as amazing skin softeners and make your skin stay smooth and hydrated resulting in a longer-lasting tan.
  • This product contains Hibiscus Extract which is known to increase skin elasticity and even out your skin tone.
  • This tanning lotion has the added benefit of promising to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

# 3 Turquoise Temptation Indoor and Outdoor Tanning Lotion

  • This stunning tanning lotion contains a smooth blend of aloe and cucumber extract.
  • A beautiful fragrance combined with a fast-acting tan enhancer that can be used for tanning indoors and outdoors.

Responsible Tanning Is Always Best

Always keep in mind that an indoor tanning lotion is not going to block out UV rays completely and can do the complete opposite and cause serious damage to your skin. Try to avoid using indoor sunscreen when you are tanning outdoors.

Remember to choose an outdoor tanning lotion that contains essential oils and nutrients to prevent your skin from becoming dried out by the sun. Purchasing the correct outdoor tanning products can also lessen the signs of premature aging and sunburn.