Tanning Bed Rash: How to Prevent it And Get Rid of it

Want to learn about tanning bed rash and how to prevent it?

We’ve got you covered!

Below, we’ll go over what it is, why it happens, and how you can stop it in its tracks.

Let’s dive right in!

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Tanning Bed Rash: What is Is and How do You Prevent It?

So, you finally tried nude tanning and you’re feeling pretty darn good about your beautiful bronze.

As you’re admiring your new look in the mirror, you notice something pretty gross: itchy bumps all over your body.

My friend, you’ve got a tanning bed rash. It sucks, right? Don’t freak out. Your days of enjoying a good tan aren’t over.

Bumps from a tanning bed can be prevented and treated. And this article will discuss all of that.

First, though, a quick disclaimer. We do not advocate any form of “natural” tanning, be it in the sun or a bed. Neither are even remotely safe. Period. No “ifs, ands or buts.”

That said, you’re an adult. You can make your own decisions. Just understand that these posts are merely for “informational” purposes.

Also, nothing in this post should be construed as medical advice. If you’re dealing with a blistering rash, see a doctor.

Want to know the truth about tanning? Check the video below.

Check: How Does Tanning Oil Work?

Symptoms of Tanning Bed Rash

The symptoms of rashes from a tanning bed look different depending on the causes.

It could be scaly or simply a plain itchy bump that feels dry. Likewise, the blisters from a tanning bed can be itty-bitty or humungous. This also slightly differs from tanning bed burn symptoms.

If your rashes were as a  result of overexposure, then they will probably look like a sunburn.

These can be huge red blotches that are very painful or small discolored blisters that are only slightly itchy.

What does tanning bed rash look like on the skin?

A tanning bed rash can be in the form of clusters or patches of small painful bumps on the skin. They can also appear like red blisters of an allergic reaction.

Check the video below to get an idea about itchy welts that you could get after tanning.

Related: Must-Read Tanning Bed Tips

Treatment of Tanning Bed Rash

The good news is that a tanning bed rash disappears after a short time. And the bad news is, while it lasts, it can be irritating.

I recommend starting with a call to your doctor first, then trying some simple home remedies.

So, without further ado, here are some of the things you can do to ease your pain and avoid infections.

1. Stop Tanning for a Few Days

woman wearing a white bikini on a tanning bed

If you’ve been using a tanning bed regularly and have never had a rash, there is a high probability that a break from the bed will solve the issue after a few days.

This works because chances are you got overambitious and had an overdose of UV radiation to tan faster.

Giving your skin time allows it to absorb and eliminate excess UV radiation it’s currently working with.

Once the rash is gone, then you can start tanning again.

I know you want to speed up your tanning process. But tanning with a bed rash can make it worse and make it spread to other parts of your body.

2. Use Warm Water

The other thing you should do after you notice a rash is washing the area with warm (not hot) water and antibacterial soap.

Ensure you pat dry your skin gently, and avoid hot water or running water as it may cause further irritation.

3. Use a Cold Compress

This is another excellent hack for dealing with rashes after tanning. Apply a cold compress every day for 20 minutes until you heal.

This really relieves you of the pain and keeps your skin calm when healing rashes.

And a cold compress doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can simply deep a soft cloth in cold water and hold it over the rashes.

Avoid clothes with fibers as they can make your skin dry and flaky, causing you further irritation.

4. Use Oatmeal

I know you’re only familiar with oatmeal health benefits as a snack. But oatmeal can do much more when given a chance.

Oat has avenanthramides that have anti-inflammatory properties that kill bacteria on the skin and normalizes the skin.

Here are some of the ways you can use oatmeal to heal your bed rash.

Take an oatmeal bath.

You might need a magazine or a wine glass for this one.

Prepare a bath to cover all the affected body rashes and relax in the bath for an hour.

Wipe off the oatmeal and moisturize your body. Watch a sample of oatmeal bath in the video below.

Prepare an oatmeal taste.

If you’re too grossed out by the idea of taking an oatmeal bath, then a paste will do.

To make the paste, you can either cook the oatmeal paste or add oatmeal in warm water.

Apply the mixture to the affected areas and allow it to dry.

5. Keep the Affected Area Clean and Don’t Rub It

It’s always safe to keep any wound clean. It helps keep the bacteria away, which is very critical if your skin is flaking.

Washing the affected areas also decreases the annoying itchiness.

You also need to avoid rubbing the areas by wearing loose clothes or covering the areas with a soft bandage.

Ensure you use hypoallergenic soft gauze pads to prevent more irritation.

6. Apply an Antibacterial Cream

An antibacterial cream helps your skin stay moisturized, which will prevent further cracking. And prevent any bacterial growth that could cause further infection.

The best time to apply the antibacterial cream is after cleaning the wound before covering it with a bandage.

7. Take an Antihistamine

This will depend on the cause of your tan rash.

Antihistamine is helpful if your rash resulted from an allergic reaction to tanning products or cleaning chemicals used to clean the bed.

The medicine helps relieve the itchiness and reduce any symptoms of the tanning rash.

If you want to learn how to get rid of rash from self-tanner, you can watch the video below.

Other Simple Home Remedies for a Tanning Rash

They’re other ways you can deal with a tanning rash using simple ingredients. I always love home remedies because there is always a high chance I have the ingredients.

Here are the products you can use to deal with a tanning rash and why.

  • Olive oil
    • The oil ensures your skin stays hydrated, preventing further cracking to reduce the rash.
  • Aloe vera
    • It helps soothe your skin without any risk of side effects (unless, of course, you’re allergic to it) until the skin heals.
  • Potato.
    • This common veggie can help deal with tanning bed rashes by relieving pain and inflammation. Simply apply potato paste to the affected areas.
  • Yogurt.
    • I’m sure you’ve heard the praise of plain yogurt from your friends who are into intermittent fasting. Well, yogurt also helps in soothing inflammation, cleansing your skin, and removing irritants from your skin.
  • Cucumber
    • This veggie has amazing hydrating properties that are great for dealing with dry skin rashes. It will keep your skin cool and allow you to heal from the rashes.
  • Baking soda
    • A paste of baking soda on your rashes helps improve your skin’s pH level and heal the burns.

How to Prevent Tanning Bed Rash

Well, you’ve dealt with the annoying tanning bed rash, but how do you ensure you don’t experience this nasty experience again?

The obvious: stop trying to “tan naturally” and just use self-tanning lotions and sprays.

Never gonna happen? Okay, fine. Here are different ways you can go about it.

Change your tanning Products

After your skin heals, you can go back to tanning. However, ensure you get to the root of the tanning bed rashes.

If you suspect it has something to do with your tanning products, consider shifting to those made for sensitive skin.

Always carry hypoallergenic wipes with you

Besides ensuring that the tanning salon you go to has high strict hygiene standards, carry baby wipes to wipe the tanning bed before using it.

Just ensure the baby wipes you use don’t damage the tanning bed; otherwise, you’ll be in deep trouble with the owner.

Take it slow

I know you want to tan fast, but you don’t want to pay the cost with ugly, irritating rashes again.

Do you? I bet not.

Allow your tanning to be gradual, and reduce the number of hours you spend on a tanning bed, sun, or any exposure to UV light.

Moisturize your skin

a woman with moisturizer on her back to protect skin from tanning rashes

I can’t stress this enough. Whether you use a tanning lotion or not, make sure you moisturize your skin after tanning.

You’re likely to get rashes after tanning when your skin is flaky and dry.

Tanning Bed Rash: How To Prevent It And Get Rid Of It (Conclusion)

Tanning is fun, and the results are amazing. Giving up all the perks that come with being a tanning queen is simply impossible.

It’s too much to ask.

So all I ask of you is to avoid overdoing it. Just give it time and do it right to avoid nasty bed tanning rashes.

If you see tanning rashes after a tanning session, try some of the remedies I suggested in this blog post.

But if it gets intense, visit a specialist.

woman lying in a tanning bed

Back to you. Have you ever experienced a tanning bed rash? How did you recover from them? Share below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.

17 thoughts on “Tanning Bed Rash: How to Prevent it And Get Rid of it”

  1. It’s interesting to know more about this. I have never been tanning before, so I didn’t even know this was a thing.

  2. Tanning Bed Rash is new to me! Been a long time since I used a bed, but good to have these tips if it happens next time I go! Thank you for sharing this information, most people probably do not know about it.

  3. I have tanned quite regularly throughout my life, however with taking long pauses and breaks without tanning at times. This year, I experienced for the first time, perhaps this tanning bed rash, however it is only one big blister on my inner crease and outer elbow on both arms…I was shocked and couldn’t figure out what was happening ( these are water blisters) After it went away, and after a couple of weeks, I went tanning again and the same thing happened. ( no over exposure, in fact less time then usual) I was hoping to learn more about what this is, so I can resume tanning every once in awhile.

  4. I never knew that it could cause rashes, since I haven’t experienced this tanning bed. Thanks for sharing the home remedies for it.

  5. I’d be concerned if I got a rash after using a sunbed. Aloe vera is the best thing from a medical perspective.


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