What Is A Tanning Bed Rash & How Do You Get Rid Of It

Everyone wants to look good, and healthy. One of the biggest signs of health is a tan, a tan makes you look good, healthy and attractive. So it is no wonder that so many people in the world desire and seek a nice, dark tan.

If you live in a hot country, this is fine – you just need to go about your day to day business and you will have no problems getting a tan, in fact you probably already have one, just from living in your hot place. Or if you don’t have one, maybe you spend too much time inside, you can get one relatively easily by spending a few hours a day sunbathing.

But not everyone lives in the Caribbean, Florida or other hot countries or states – so what do they do. Well, many choose to head to a tanning salon and get on a tanning bed or into a tanning booth, if you do this regularly, spending 10 to 20 minutes a time in the tanning bed or tanning booth then you can have a tan that looks just as attractive and healthy as the tans of those people who live in hot countries or places.

While for the most part, using a tanning booth will result in similar results to what you would get if you were to go out into the sun, but quicker and more efficiently, there are a number of issues that people who regularly use sunbeds tend to encounter.

One of the ones that effects the largest number of people is the problem of tanning bed rash. This is a problem for regular users to tanning beds and it is rashes, or bumps, or itches, or dry skin that appear on the skin after prolonged use of the tanning bed.

If this affliction has affected you, then read on to find out exactly what causes the problem, and how you can fix it.  

What Causes Tanning Bed Rash 

  1. Overdose Of UV Radiation

    For those of you that are just experiencing a rash caused by a tanning bed or tanning salon, this is the most likely cause. Most rashes are caused by basically overdoing it on the tanning bed, and you skin is receiving more UV radiation than it can generally handle, this causes what is called an overdose on your skin, because you skin, or more specifically the melanin on the skin, can’t absorb the radiation coming from the tanning bed fast enough – the excess causes the rash that appears on your skin.

  2. Dry Skin

    This is another common cause of tanning bed rash. The heat and the hot light from the tanning bed quickly dries out your skin. This can cause a rash and is also a common cause of the itching on the skin that can you sometimes get after using tanning beds.

  3. Light Sensitivity Disorder

    The one cause of tanning bed rash that you can’t do anything about. Some people have what is called a light sensitivity disorder, this is basically where the lights within a tanning bed cause a reaction within the skin, it is almost like an allergy. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do about this, if you have the disorder/allergy then you have the disorder.

    You basically need to make a decision whether the tanning is it worth it for you if you have this disorder. If you can tolerate the rash, then great, you are fine. But if you can’t stand the rash then you should stop tanning, as this is the only thing that will make it go away.

How To Get Rid Of Tanning Bed Rash

Stop Tanning For A Few Days

If it is the first time that you have suffered from a rash, and it isn’t or it hasn’t been a recurring problem for you, then stopping tanning for a few days will probably clear it right up.

As above, one of the primary causes of a rash caused by a tanning bed or tanning booth is because of an overdose of UV radiation on your skin. So, to cure the rash, you need to give your skin a chance to heal and absorb the UV radiation that is currently working to deal with.

The best way to do that is to not subject your skin to any further UV radiation, at least until the rash is gone.

The rash being gone is the best indicator of UV radiation overdose no longer being a problem for you.

So what you should do, when you notice a rash, is to stop using the tanning bed immediately.

Eventually, the rash will go away on its own, then you should give it a few more days for the skin to absorb any final bits of radiation, and then you can resume using the tanning bed.  


If you’re tanning bed rash is caused by dry skin, as I mentioned above, then there is a simple and effective way to reduce the rash and the itching that is associated with the rash.

You need to take a pretty proactive stance on moisturizing. Since the rash is caused by a dry skin condition that you have, keeping your skin moisturized is the way to stop that from being a problem.

You should moisturize before you get in the tanning bed, to ensure that your skin is suitably hydrated before the tanning light has a chance to dry your skin out.

But you also should moisturize as soon as possible after you leave the tanning salon, to replace the hydration in your skin that will have inevitably been lost by the tanning light.


As long as you are proactive with your solutions, as in not tanning when you have a rash and keeping you skin sufficiently hydrated, you can easily negate the effects of tanning bed rash and ensure that you have a healthy, happy tanning bed experience.

So you can have a healthy, attractive looking tan and avoid any nasty rashes that may appear, which is what you are aiming for.


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  • Hey, I tanned in a tanning bed at Sun Tan City for the second time ever on Saturday, Thursday was my first time. My entire stomach and sides are covered in a small bumpy rash that slightly itchy. The first time I was in for 6 minutes and the second time 8. I was wondering if I could be allergic to the tanning beds as you said. I’ve never had a problem with getting natural sun. In fact I grew up on a farm and I always a really tan skin or a sunburn. Any suggestions would be amazing. Thank you.

      1. I get the rash too. But it usually only lasts the first 2 weeks of tanning then goes away. I have itchy hives that bother me until then.

    1. It could be Sun Tan City’s solution they spray on the bed that’s what it was for me. They have more chemicals in theirs then some places. Ask them to spray it down with water. Or you can bring baby wipes and wipe the bed down yourself?

    2. I always am very careful about building a good base. I’ll go and tan for only 3 or 4 minutes. Probably 2 weeks going 4 days a week. No point in damaging your skin trying to get fast results. I always tan nicely doing this and I always have a gorgeous bronze color.

  • I got a rash that is itchy and burns really bad after I tanned. I’ve tanned before and never had this problem before this is the first time. Please tell me what I can do to help the burning sensation.

    1. I have tanned before in a stand up booth . I itch on my neck and boobs and face! One spot is puffy under my eye and itchs.
      I use a tanning lotion before going in. What should I do?
      Thank you!

  • Hi I just went for a 7 min sunbed and I went in and my bottom of my legs were getting itchy so I looked down and it looked like a rash all blotchy on my legs I had to come out it made me feel dizzy looking at it but when i got out its not there my bum looked purple as well any ideas what this could be?

  • I got the same bumps and they are driving me crazy for over two weeks. It might be the lotion they sell you gave you an allergic reaction. My doctors are still trying to figure out my rash.

    1. I don’t think it’s the lotion cause I don’t use any.
      I have a bumpy itchy rash on my stomach arms legs!!been almost 2 weeks!!
      How did any of u get rid of the rash??

      1. Did your rash ever go away? If so what did you use? I’ve had a rash on my stomach and legs for two weeks now and it’s not going away. In the morning it looks better, but as the day progresses and after a shower, it’s super red and blotchy

  • Well this is weird. I tan at Sun Tan City also and I get the red bumps on my legs. I also use a enhancer and it does seem to disappear when I use lotion on my legs. Maybe it is the chemicals they use to clean the bed? If anybody could reply with some information I would be grateful.

    1. Every time I tan there I get itchy on my belly and between my boobs and elbows. I have no clue why! Usually it goes away after a day and heavy lotioning. I legit have had to sleep with ice on my chest. Wtf I thought I was alone? Anyone have any ideas

  • It could be the solution is too strong they use to clean the beds, or you could be over doing it in the tanning bed. Put hydrocortisone or benadryl cream on it and skip tanning for a day or two and it will go away.

  • I’m having the same issue. I never had any issues until I switched to the indoor tanning lotions with the bronzers in them. The ones that say 200x or 100x STAY AWAY FROM THEM IF YOU’VE HAD THESE ISSUES. Switch to something without a bronzer in them or something that says 25x or 40x. Unless you stay out of the bed until the rash is totally gone it will keep coming back everytime you tan.

  • I got a small rash on my stomach area only no other area is affected by this. It started itching maybe three days ago and didnt see the bumps till today. What could have caused this?? Cant be the lotion cause i use it all over my body and the bumps r only on my stomach.

  • I have been tanning for about 3 years now, few times every week and just since a few months ago my legs get super splotchy it’s so ugly. I don’t know what it is or how to fix it. I was thinking of doing less uv tanning and switching to spray tanning if it is caused from the uv radiation.

  • So I have had a hive like rash from tanning for over two weeks and itches like mad.
    I decided to try an antibacterial hand soap to wash up with as I suspect these rashes are from dirty beds
    Gone in 2 days and I tried everything so it must be bacterial

    1. I haven’t tanned in a while but I went in once to Sun Tan City for 8 minutes and my arms and chest are red. I think it was because of the dry winter air. Any idea what kind of lotion would be good for getting rid of it. I have dry skin and nothing seems to keep it moist for long.

  • Can anybody who has experienced a tanning bed rash on stomach and thighs tell me what they did to treat? I was tanning for about a month, twice a week, not using any lotion. My skin was getting pretty dry so I decided to use an indoor lotion. The day I used it icame home and noticed that I had red bumps all over my stomach. I have now had the bumps for two weeks. Most of them look dry, especially if I scratch, they just flake but there are soo many of them concentrated mainly on my stomach and inner thighs (some under my breasts). In the morning after I’ve slept, they look more white and almost appear to be getting better but as the day progressed they become more red and inflamed and after having a shower my stomach is just full of red spots. I went to doctor who admitted he had no idea what it might be. His first instinct was to treat me for fungal infection. Cream and antibiotics he gave me aren’t working.

    I’m convinced that this is from the tanning bed and is either a result of UV exposure, dry skin or both.

    Anybody who has experienced similar situation and is now cured? Please let me know what you did to treat?

    Thank you

  • I have used a tanning bed many of times! I get these red numbs on my left big toe and my 2nd toe just one bump on each toe. It itches and is red for days. I’m curious if anyone else had this problem?

  • I work at Sun Tan City and the solution used to clean the beds is called Virex II. The ingredients are:

    Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride ………………………….. 8.704%

    n-Alkyl (50% C14, 40% C12, 10% C16)
    dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride…………………………. 8.190%

    OTHER INGREDIENTS: …………………………………………… 83.106% TOTAL: ……………………………………………………………….100.000%

    If you insist on tanning but have issues with breakouts, the best thing you can do is consult a dermatologist to determine whether you have allergies to something, light sensitivity disorder, or some other situation that is causing the irritation.

    I hope this helps.

  • My hole body is covered in bumps ichy I have it bad and I’m dark have Indian in me but I can’t take it it’s so ugly my skin is try maybe the beds are dirty

  • I have a question, I just recently started tanning. I’m a male and this is the first time ever tanning. My first time tanning was 10 minutes, the second time 10 and the 3rd time was 20 minutes. My body was red that day and the following day my body started itching in random places and I would have a few bumps that are itchy. Is that common?

  • Check to see if your lotions have mineral oils. I can’t use mineral oil on my face, stomach chest or arms but its fine on legs. Mineral oil clogs pores terribly and doesn’t let the skin breathe. If you’re tanning with something that has it in it chances are you’re double irritating your skin with UV and mineral oil..hence the itchy bumpy rash.

  • So I can’t find anywhere on the internet what’s wrong with me , it’s not a rash, but every time I go tanning in the tanning bed I get a cple bulbs lke 3 or 4 above my but lke above my crack lol and bellow my lower spine, they itch and their lke swelled up bulbs only cple almost look lke blisters but their not I also get a cple in between my breast the flat part , then they go away and the itching stops after 24 hrs after I tan so I tan every other day I used to tan in the tanning bed all the time in high school and it’s been years since I’ve tanned and I jst bought a bracket a week ago, this is so weird never had this happen, please help I what to knw what this is lol

  • I got a little rash after 2 sessions (never used tanning salons before.) They were stand up beds, so no possibility that it could be contact with cleaning solution. It’s very likely dry skin. So I’m using plain ol lotion (paraben and lanolin free–no fragrance or alcohol) and staying out of the salon for a few days. It’s easy to overwhelm the skin when it’s getting a full blast of UV rays in 8 mins that are the equivalent to 6 hours by the pool!

  • I get this same rash. Usually on the inside of my arms, legs and sometimes stomach. It got so bad once it spread to other area. I was prescribed a steroid to take it away faster. I have gone tanning for many years now. I tan pretty dark and have never had this issue. It’s all of a sudden. I figured it was the chemicals and maybe my lotion, so I tried standup without lotion and a day later it came back. So this is something internal for me. I think I’m allergic to UV, but can this just happen out of nowhere or could it be a more serious cause I don’t know about?

  • I also tan at Suntan City. I have this rash on my legs, back and stomach. It’s very painful. It itches and burns. Please let me know what will help!

  • Tinea versicolor…in other words fungus. Jock itch, ring worm. All from sweaty beds. Think about how many people lay in the bed. Lamisol, some fungal wash or any athletes foot spray or cream will work. I had the same thing. It will not go away on its own and it will cause your skin to change colors. As in major scaring and blotchy. This is highly common. Tea tree oil kills fungus. You have to use the medicated cream everyday to kill it. Doctors Know all to well what this is. After you sweat or get hot the itching doesn’t stop as this is when the fungus spreads. Keep the area very dry. No lotion. Stay out of the bed a few days and use the wash and creams. If you don’t use an antifungal cream it will spread.

  • Thank you for posting this. I’ve tried moisturizing, Benadryl, I even used a cream that I got when I had sun poisoning. I have cleaned my own tanning bed and showered as soon as I got home. Nothing has worked. I do have to say, (and I didn’t mean to do this) the rash is worse if you get burned.
    I will try the antibacterial soap. I appreciate you posting this. I’m losing my mind with this burning itch.

  • I have a pink rash in a circle around my buttocks, very itchy and have had it a couple of days. Is this due to using the sunbeds ? No rash anywhere else.

  • I have also been tanning at sun tan city and gotten this rash, but it is all over my foot/ankle and keeps me up scratching at night! I had been tanning at my apartment complex before when I was at college and had gotten 3 of these bumps that itch like crazy but never thought anything g of it & I was using a stand up bed at the time. I’m thinking since i’ve been tanning a lot recently that this could very well be the issue with having these bumps all over my foot/ankle!

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