Do Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair? 

Should you be looking for the answer to “Do tanning beds lighten your hair?”, don’t miss out on the following article to ease your mind.  

Aside from sunbathing, a tanning bed, also known as a sunbed, is an alternative option to have a nice tan. However, as a rule, tanning beds use the same or more UV rays to darken the skin, whether it is the same for hair.

Understanding your consideration, the article below will provide you with a detailed explanation and valuable tips regarding the question “Do tanning beds lighten your hair?”. So let’s check it out now!

Tanning beds
Tanning beds

Do Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair? 

Yes, tanning beds lighten your hair since they generate UV rays that can dry out hair and lessen the color of colored hair.

Specifically, a tanning bed is a method that uses fluorescent lamps to emit ultraviolet radiation (UV). UV rays then act on melanin, which is the pigment that determines the color of the skin, making it darker to give people a tan. 

Following that theory, you can imagine that the way your hair lightens in a tanning bed will likely be the same as what happens with your hair when tanning outdoors.

In detail, the skin comprises layers of live tissue cells, whereas the hair is made up of dead tissues. Therefore, the hair shaft swells when exposed to UV radiation, shattering the pigment molecules in the hair. As a result, the hair’s color lightens. 

Is There Any Adverse Effect Of Tanning Bed On My Hair?

Unfortunately, yes. Besides unwanted (maybe) lightening on your hair color, the strands might remain damaged until replaced by new hairs, not self-healing like your skin since hair only consists of water, pigment, lipids, and structural proteins. 

Accordingly, if you go for tanning beds, it is vital to give your hair some additional attention before starting the process.

Sun tanning machine
Sun tanning machine

3 Tips To Protect Your Hair While In A Tanning Beds

Use a shower cap 

The most popular and practical method to protect your scalp and hair from UV exposure is to use a shower cap. 

While many tanning establishments include a complimentary disposable shower cap, investing in a dedicated UV protection shower cap for your own is advisable if you usually have tanning beds. This item is easy to find in stores. 

Using a specialized shower cap not only helps your hair resist the effects of ultraviolet rays better but is also environmentally friendly.

You should use shower cap in your tanning session
You should use shower cap in your tanning session

How to use the shower cap properly?

Unquestionably, the effectiveness of shower caps regarding preventing hair from growing lighter after tanning beds also depends on how you use the shower cap properly. Accordingly, follow up these simple and practical steps: 

  • Use hair elastics to pull all your hair back into a ponytail. In addition, you probably lower your head to push up all the hair in a messy bun.  
  • Put the shower cap over your head (from the nape of your neck to forehead until your hair ends) 
  • Tailor the shower cap to cover all your loose hair. Moreover, make sure the shower cap stays during your tanning beds. One tip to do this task is to adjust it to cover your ears. 

Alternative options available:

On the other hand, there are several alternative options if you do not have a shower cap when utilizing a tanning bed. Beanie, turban, or towel are recommended in this case.

  • Towel or turban: You can also wrap a turban or a towel over your head. The material should be thick enough to protect your scalp and hair follicles from UV radiation during the tanning session. However, some people claim that it causes tan lines when worn incorrectly.
  • Beanie: It is also another approach to keep your hair safe. However, one disadvantage of wearing a beanie in the tanning booth is that you may feel too warm. To reduce this uncomfortable feeling, use a fan while tanning.

Heat protectants and Conditioners 

If you find wearing a hat, towel, or shower cap uncomfortable and hot while tanning, let’s consider the heat protectants and conditioners option. 

How to use heat protectants and conditioners properly?

The simple usage is to apply an appropriate amount of moisture conditioners or heat protectants to your hair before tanning beds. 

Make sure you apply them from your scalp to your roots and the ends. Do not be afraid to use too much and forget to cover any exposed areas. 

Where do I find the heat protectants and conditioners? 

Moisturized conditioners and heat protectants are available in numerous beauty and grocery stores to reach out to. For instance, you get them at medicine stores or other hair product merchant shops.

Some tanning salons even provide heat protectants or other items that help you prevent your hair from the tanning beds’ and the sun’s UV rays. 

Don't forget to use conditioners to protect your hair when tanning!
Don’t forget to use conditioners to protect your hair when tanning!

Hair treatments

Due to the regular exposure to the UV rays from tanning beds, your hair turns to be damaged severely, for instance, dry or frizzy hair. As a result, special hair treatments come in handy for hair damage prevention. 

Generally, it is advisable to visit the tanning salon to give your hair a special care, like giving the hair a deep conditioning hair mask. In addition, you may acquire further valuable tips or advice to protect your hair effectively.

Therefore, you ease your concern of dry or unhealthy hair after tanning a lot. 

Use hair treatments to protect your hair
Use hair treatments to protect your hair

On the other hand, it is highly recommended to be particularly cautious when tanning indoors if you have tinted, dyed, permed, or treated hair. Because treated hair is more porous than untreated hair, it is more vulnerable to UV light damage.

Unfortunately, while UV rays generate dry or brittle hair, the damage is typically irreparable. 

Fortunately, many conditioners and hair treatments are designed for brittle, dry, or limp hair. Adding a regular application of high-quality hair products to your regimen will swiftly revive it.

Primarily, it would help if you used hair treatment after tanning beds with a little more than the usual dose to soothe the damage to the hair after the treatment.

Moreover, you probably use it regularly during or after every shampoo to nourish and restore hair better.


What does a tanning bed do to blonde hair? 

Because tanning beds lead your hair to become even more processed, blondes are the most vulnerable, as their hair can not go any further if they have previously gone platinum.

In addition, hair breakage might occur if you are tanning without covering your hair.

What should I wear in a sunbed? 

You probably opt for a strapless bra or tube top to avoid tan lines in everyday clothing.

However, if a naked tan is not your reference, underwear can shield more delicate skin from the tanning bed treatment and keep you more comfortable. 

Choose suitable underwear for tanning bed
Choose suitable underwear for tanning bed

Can I put tanning oil on my hair?

Yes, tanning oil can be used as a hair treatment,a split end remedy or a leave-in hair treatment.

Moisturized ends appear healthy and silky, and you will feel confident that you are not employing harsh chemicals that cause more harm than good.

To temporarily seal broken ends and frizz, use only natural oils and vitamins. You should avoid the roots if you don’t want to appear oily.

Can I wear sunscreen on my face in a tanning bed?

Yes, you may wear sunscreen while tanning, but it is unnecessary.  

Generally, sunscreen is not required when using a tanning bed in most cases.

However, one of the main reasons might be steam from that time, and UVA and UVB light levels are managed to minimize UV ray exposure to your eyes. 

Furthermore, the SPF may obstruct your tanning goals, necessitating more tanning bed sessions.

In addition, using sunscreen on your face can interfere with the effectiveness of tanning beds on your face and cause a difference in skin tone between your face and body that you may not like. 

Can tanning beds cause hair loss? 

No. Hair loss is not caused by tanning beds, tanning booths, or natural sunshine. However, some individuals believe that tanning beds are responsible for hair loss. 

This assertion, however, has not been substantiated for persons with typical scalps. It just does hasten hair loss in persons who already have androgenetic alopecia.

Following the National Institutes of Health, protecting the scalp in already thinning and bald regions from UV damage is beneficial—use sunscreen if necessary.

In Conclusion 

Tanning beds are a standard method to achieve bronze, glowing skin quickly.

However, while tanning beds darken your skin, they have the exact opposite impact on your hair follicles. This is due to UV radiation oxidizing the melanin in our cells, both live and dead tissues in the skin and hair. 

As a result, tanning beds will undoubtedly lighten your hair.

Accordingly, it is advisable to protect your hair when you are in tanning beds. You might consider using shower caps, conditioners, or heat protectants to keep your hair from becoming damaged.

Hopefully, this article can help you ease your mind and get some helpful hair protection tips. See you in the next post!


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