Does Tanning Burn Calories and Make You Lose Weight?

Hello, beautiful people!

Today’s article is an all-inclusive answer to your burning question, “Does tanning burn calories?”

Like me, you already love tanning and flaunting skin that radiates the shades of a gorgeous summer evening.

Everyone has heard of sauna-induced rapid weight loss but is there a connection between weight loss and tanning?

Does Sweating While Tanning Burn Calories?

It does get quite hot and sweaty during a tanning session, for sure. Sometimes, I feel like I’m indulging in physical activities instead of getting my glow on.

This isn’t just when sun tanning or tanning beds, but also with self-tanners. Have you ever slathered on some spray tanner and wondered, “Why does self tanner make me sweat?” I’ve written a whole article on that, FYI. 

Alright, so the question at hand – does tanning burn calories, and if so, how much? And what about other processes of tanning? Let’s get started.

Does Sun Tanning Burn Calories?

tanning in the sun

As we bid goodbye to cold temperatures and welcome a beautiful summer day, the mats and swimsuits come out for some much-needed healthy sunshine exposure. But do you actually lose calories when sunbathing?

A recent breakthrough study suggests that exposure to ultraviolet wavelengths of sunlight modulates metabolic function. (1)

Pre-clinical and human studies indicate that ultraviolet rays may be beneficial for metabolic health as well.

However, getting too much sun exposure increases your risk of getting skin cancer. Don’t forget to slather on some protective sunscreen beforehand. 

Does Spray Tanning Burn Calories?

a tanning therapist

Sunless tanners are a great way to add color to your skin with minimal health risks as opposed to tanning beds.

Dr. Katherine Garrity, a dermatologist at Aurora Medical Center, says, “There are many choices you can make when it comes to achieving a tan or a ‘glow,’ but choosing to protect yourself from sun damage is the most important one.” (2)

Spray tanners reduce the risk of skin cancer but do they burn calories per hour? Well, sort of.

You burn calories during activities that require some energy. In that sense, you would burn some calories while applying a spray tanner but not many.

Does a Tanning Bed Burn Calories?

a woman in white bikini tanning in bed

Tanning beds are such an easy way to achieve golden skin even during the cold season where there is insufficient sunlight exposure.

That doesn’t mean you should spend too much time in a tanning booth, okay? Here are some symptoms of burn from tanning beds to look out for.

Just a few minutes, and you’re glowing like a bronzed beauty. And you shed a pound of sweat while getting your glow on. But does ultraviolet light help you lose your extra calories?

Tanning beds use ultraviolet radiation that works with your body chemistry to get you tanned skin. Since it uses UV-R, it does burn some calories too.

And, in case you overindulge in sun exposure, here’s how to get sunburn to turn to tan.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Tanning?

So, exactly how many calories do you burn tanning? Let’s take a closer look.

Sun Tanning

If you sunbathe for 30 minutes, you’ll burn about 34 calories if you weigh 125 pounds. You will burn more if your typical weight is higher. (3)

However, you can get some exercise while getting the sun, such as walking around your garden to speed up body fat burning.

Spray Tanning

You may lose around 75 calories per hour while applying a self-tanner to your body. Of course, a body at rest will burn around 75 calories per hour just by sitting and breathing.

Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Program, says, “Just about everything you call on your body to do burns calories.” (4)

Applying lotions or tanners are activities that require very little energy. You aren’t losing much unless you’re running up and down the stairs while using your spray tanners.

Tanning Beds

Like sunbathing, you will lose around 34 to 53 calories per hour by lying in a tanning bed.

However, you may lose a lot more in the long run due to your exposure to UV rays. So, calorie burn doesn’t justify longer hours in tanning beds.

Can Tanning Help You Lose Weight?

close-up shot of a lady's legs while tanning

In short, no! You don’t burn calories while getting your glow on, no matter your tanning process.

Tanning burns calories but not enough to burn your body fat or help you lose weight. The only way to lose a bit of weight is through working out and a healthy diet.

The best way to increase metabolism is regular aerobic exercise. 

“Any kind of aerobic exercise, whether you’re running or doing Zumba, burns calories. Make it more intense, and your body will burn more calories.” (5)

This video will help you learn how to calculate your calorie burn.

Getting a tan is good for just that: getting a tan!


Can heat make you lose weight?

Yes and no. Heat increases your body temperature, which results in water loss from the body in the form of sweat. So you will lose some water weight, but it is temporary.

Does tanning help loose skin?

No, it doesn’t. Regular tanning can do more harm than good. People who indulge in tanning salons may suffer from loose and sagging skin compared to those who don’t.

Are there benefits to tanning?

lady in white bikini using tingle tanning lotion

Outdoor tanning can result in a better mood, an improvement in appearance, and an increase in vitamin D levels in your body. Indoor tanning also improves one’s appearance and reduces the visibility of stretch marks.

Does tanning reduce appetite?

The use of Melanotan II, an injectable tanning peptide, can lead to appetite suppression. It also increases the oxidation of fatty acids and energy, causing weight loss in users.


I hope that answers your questions, “Does tanning burn calories?” and “Does tanning make you lose weight?”

Everything we do burns calories, but that isn’t enough to induce a loss in body mass. Physical exercises and a healthy diet help your body get and stay attractive.

Beautiful, tanned skin can only add to the goodness of living a healthy lifestyle. Not to mention, tans also help hide skin conditions and imperfections.

I always say, no matter what the season is, get your glow on. Stay tanned and beautiful. See you in the next article.

two ladies sun tanning at the beach

Does tanning burn calories? Please share your opinion below!


  • 1. Gorman, Shelley, et al. “Systematic Review of the Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation on Markers of Metabolic Dysfunction.” Clinical Biochemist Reviews, vol. 40, no. 3, 28 Aug. 2019, pp. 147–162, 10.33176/aacb-19-00026. Accessed 25 Mar. 2022.
  • 2. Health, Advocate Aurora. “Experts Say This Is Safe Way to Get a Tan.” Health Enews, 4 Apr. 2022, Accessed 29 May 2022.
  • 3. “Does Sunbathing Burn Calories?” Healthy Living, Accessed 29 May 2022.
  • 4. Magee, Elaine, et al. “8 Ways to Burn Calories and Fight Fat.” WebMD,
  • 5. Watson, Stephanie. “How to Boost Your Metabolism with Exercise.” WebMD, WebMD, 11 Aug. 2014,
About Martina Todorovska

Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES . Follow her on LINKEDIN , INSTAGRAM. Learn more about her HERE.

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