Can Tanning Beds Change Nail Color? Exploring the Facts and Myths

Have you ever wondered if using a tanning bed can change the color of your nails? While some people swear that their nail color has changed after prolonged exposure to UV rays, others dismiss the idea as a myth. In this article, we’ll explore the facts and myths surrounding tanning beds and nail color.

Can Tanning Beds Change Nail Color?

There is some evidence to suggest that tanning beds can cause changes in nail color. Specifically, exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds may cause the nails to turn yellow or brown. This discoloration is thought to be caused by the breakdown of keratin, a protein that gives nails their strength and durability. When keratin breaks down, it can release pigment molecules that can stain the nail bed yellow or brown.

Tips to Protect Your Skin and Nails

Whether you decide to use tanning beds or not, it’s essential to protect your skin and nails from UV radiation. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher when going outside, even on cloudy days.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts, when outdoors.
  • Keep your nails clean and dry to prevent fungal infections.
  • Don’t share nail clippers or other personal grooming tools to avoid spreading infections.
  • Moisturize your skin and nails regularly to prevent dryness and cracking.


In conclusion, tanning beds cannot change the color of your nails. However, they come with several risks and downsides, including an increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. If you want to achieve a sun-kissed look, it’s safer to opt for alternative methods like self-tanning lotions, bronzers, or outdoor tanning with sunscreen protection.


Can tanning beds cause other nail problems?

While changes in nail color are the most commonly reported nail problem associated with tanning bed use, other issues can occur. For example, tanning beds can cause the nails to become brittle or develop ridges, which can make them more prone to breaking or peeling. Additionally, exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer on the fingers and around the nails.

Can tanning beds damage acrylic nails?

Yes, exposure to UV radiation from tanning beds can damage acrylic nails by causing them to yellow or discolor. This is because the chemicals used to create acrylic nails can react to UV light, which can break down the compounds and change their appearance.

How long does it take for nail fungus to develop after using a tanning bed?

It can take anywhere from a few days to several months for nail fungus to develop after using a tanning bed. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, and tanning beds can provide ideal conditions for their growth.

What should I do if I notice discoloration on my nails after using a tanning bed?

If you notice discoloration on your nails after using a tanning bed, it’s essential to seek medical advice. It could be a fungal infection or other underlying health condition that needs prompt treatment.Nail fungus can develop after using a tanning bed due to the warm and moist environment.

Can nail polish protect my nails from UV radiation?

Nail polish can provide some protection against UV radiation, but it’s not enough to completely shield your nails. It’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to UV radiation altogether.

Can tanning beds cause permanent nail discoloration?

If you use tanning beds frequently and for long periods, it can lead to permanent nail damage and discoloration.

How can I restore my nails’ natural color after tanning bed use?

You can try using a nail whitening formula or soak your nails in lemon juice to help restore their natural color.

Can tanning beds cause nail cancer?

There is no direct link between tanning beds and nail cancer, but excessive UV exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, including around the nail area.

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