How To Protect Hair In Tanning Bed: 5 Simple Tips 2022

It’s important to know how to protect hair in tanning bed because it may be destroyed severely under its impacts. Discover five easy tricks to shield your hair in this article.

Many people choose indoor tanning to obtain the tanned skin tone they love. However, in this method, your skin is not the only thing exposed to the UV rays produced by the tanning bed. 

Your hair is also affected during the tanning process, and it can be destroyed if you are not careful. You should know

how to protect hair in tanning bed to get the skin tone you want while keeping your hair healthy.

You must protect your hair from the adverse effects of tanning beds
You must protect your hair from the adverse effects of tanning beds

Are Tanning Beds Really Harmful?

Tanning beds are equipped with ultraviolet light bulbs to produce UV radiation, which tans the skin like when you sunbathe. 

When UVA from these bulbs penetrates the skin, it boosts the production of melanin, the brown pigment that’s responsible for the tanned skin tone. 

Keep this in mind, normally, when your hair is exposed outside, the UV rays from the sun are already harmful to your hair. Now, the UV radiation is concentrated in a machine, what adverse effects will it have on your hair?

Tanning beds have UV lights that tan your skin
Tanning beds have UV lights that tan your skin

What Harm Does A Tanning Bed Do To Your Hair?

Before getting to ways of protecting your hair in tanning beds, let’s see what adverse effects such equipment can have on your hair. 

UV Can Dry Out Hair

One of the most important proteins in the hair is keratin, which smooths down the cuticle on hair strands. It makes your hair look nice and glossy. Keratin also helps prevent curly hair from getting frizzy. 

Usually, despite the UV rays, sun exposure allows hair to absorb vitamin D, increasing the production of keratin. 

There is also a lipid outer layer on the hair strands that maintains moisture and protects them from external elements. 

However, overexposure to UV rays breaks down this barrier, which also strips your hair of moisture. 

Along with that, the bonds responsible for the hair’s elasticity and holding the hair shaft together are destroyed. The hair loses its keratin through holes resulting from this damage. 

Eventually, your hair is dried out, presenting frizz and dullness.

UV Can Fade Your Hair Color

Natural hair color

Melanin is the ingredient that determines your hair color. It also protects hair from the sun; the more melanin there is, the greater the protection. When hair is exposed to UV radiation for a long time, it breaks down melanin, making it dissipate faster. 

Color-treated hair

With extended exposure, UV rays break down the color and toner molecules that keep your hair color pure and vivid. In turn, it causes dyes to fade more rapidly.

Additionally, since color-treat hair is already affected by dehydrating color treatments,  it’s more likely to suffer from protein and lipid layer damage. 

Therefore, it’s much easier for color-treated hair to fade under the influence of UV radiation. 

UV Can Lighten Your Hair

While UV rays tan your skin, they can lighten your hair. Unlike skin, which is made up of living cells, hair develops on dead cells. 

When exposed to UV radiation, hair shafts expand and its color pigment molecules are broken. This process causes the hair color to lighten. 

Apart from these major impacts, UV radiation also seems to impede hair growth. Specifically, UV radiation damages hair follicles, making hair shafts more fragile.

A high dose of UV radiation also results in a larger quantity of dead cells, which shortens the anagen phase. 

Eventually, UV radiation kills mast cells, which play an important role in regulating hair growth. 

Indoor tanning can destroy your hair in several ways
Indoor tanning can destroy your hair in several ways

How To Protect Hair In Tanning Bed?

Now that you’re aware of what tanning beds can do to your hair, you can apply some methods to reduce those impacts. Basically, you need to prevent UV rays from coming in contact with your hair. Here’s how to do that. 

Wear A Shower Cap

A shower cap is one of the easiest things to use in a tanning bed. It’s super lightweight, compact, and easy to carry if you want to use your own cap. You just need to ensure it covers all of your hair.

When wearing a shower cap, you need to pull your hair backward, form a ponytail, and wrap it up inside the cap. 

Wear A UV Protection Bonnet Cap

A UV protection bonnet cap is the best thing to put on when you use a tanning bed. It wraps and covers all of your hair like a shower cap and provides sufficient protection against UV rays. 

Plus, these caps are breathable, so it won’t be hot for you in the tanning bed. 

Use A Beanie

A beanie is an acceptable alternative to a shower cap. It’s thick and does help block out some of the radiation when you’re in the tanning bed. 

However, a beanie tends to get hot after a while, which may cause discomfort. To avoid overheating, you can turn on a fan during the tanning session.

Ask The Tanning Salon

It makes perfect sense that the tanning salon prepares protective headgear for their customers to use in tanning beds. You should ask them for such accessories. 

If the salon doesn’t provide headgear for tanning, use a scarf or bandana, towel, or large headband to cover your hair as much as possible.

Use heat protectant products

Heat protectant products are made with formulas that create a barrier to maintain moisture for your hair and prevent frizz. 

There are heat protectants working against UV, which can be applied to your dry or damp hair before using the tanning bed. 

When choosing a product to apply to your hair, make sure it has a UV protection function and guarantee all of your hair is coated with the product for the best result. 

Use hair conditioner

A hair conditioner is used similarly to heat protectants. You need to cover your hair with conditioner, leave it in, then get in the sunbed. 

If you don’t cover your head with a shower cap or protection bonnet cap, you need to put sunscreen on to shield your scalp from UV radiation. The sunscreen must have an SPF of at least 12 and be applied half an hour before tanning. 

Extra Hair Care Tips Between Tanning Sessions

Not only during a tanning session but you also need to take good care of your hair before and after tanning to keep it healthy. 

  • Use hair mask: You should apply a hair mask once a week after tanning sessions to regain moisture and strengthen hair strands. 
  • Wear a hat: If you don’t want to expose your hair to more UV radiation and increase the risk of hair damage after tanning, wear a hat to cover your hair when you’re outside.
  • Use hair conditioner and hair oil: Hair conditioners are great moisturizers for your hair and they make it look nice and smooth. Using a good, compatible hair conditioner will help you maintain hair health before and after tanning. 
  • Use gentle shampoo: Shampoo can be harsh on your hair. Opting for a gentle one with mild ingredients will help you avoid further damage to your hair and scalp. 
Wearing a shower cap can help prevent UV rays from attacking your hair
Wearing a shower cap can help prevent UV rays from attacking your hair


Can you go tanning after you dye your hair?

No, you cannot go tanning after dying your hair. The UV radiation from the tanning bed may alter your hair color if the exposure is prolonged. 

Does heat make your hair fall out?

Yes, it does. High, dry heat weakens the hair shaft, causing the hair to break easily. 

Final Thoughts

The key to answering the question about

how to protect hair in tanning bed is covering it to block out the UV rays. 

There are several things you can use for this purpose, such as a UV protection bonnet cap, a shower cap, a beanie, and even a large headband though it doesn’t work as well as the other options. 

Apart from wearing caps, you can also apply certain products to form a shield for your hair, protecting it from the influence of UV rays. 


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