Can You Use Indoor Tanning Lotion Outside?

Both indoor and outdoor tanning lotions can give you that golden glowing skin complexion that you’ll not get with just sunbathing. However, indoor tanning lotions are very different from your typical suntan lotion that is created to be used outdoors. Although it’s possible to use an indoor tanning lotion outside, you need to be careful how you use it so that it’s safe to use outdoors.

How do indoor tanning lotions work?

Indoor tanning lotions depend on UV rays produced in a controlled environment while outdoor tanning lotions contain both UVB and UVA natural rays in a widely varying environment. Indoor tanning lotions protect the moisture levels in your skin and allow your pores to open up more enhancing the effects of the UV rays instead of blocking them. These tanning lotions work faster by magnifying, conditioning, and moisturizing your skin to give you a deeper and more sustainable tan. They contain antioxidants, natural oils, minerals, aloe vera, botanical extracts, and vitamins that provide enough moisture for your skin to give you a deep, dark tan.

A sunless tanner will give you a bronzed glow when you apply it outside, but it won’t protect you from the harmful UV rays unless it contains sunscreen. Most indoor tanning lotions don’t contain sunscreen because you don’t need it when tanning indoors, so you’ll need to wear a waterproof sunscreen after the lotion has completely dried. Go for an indoor tanning lotion with a bronzer to prevent itching, but make sure it’s suitable for your skin type.

Outdoor tanning

The natural sun emits two types of ultra-violet rays, UVA and UVB. The UVA rays can penetrate deep into your skin and it can cause things like wrinkles, dark spots, dry skin, and even affect your immune system. The UVB rays affect the top layer of your skin that gets tanned or burnt from long exposure to the sun. These are harmful rays that can affect your eyes and cause skin cancer. A good outdoor tanning lotion should contain vitamin C and E that will protect your skin from sun damage and burning. The antioxidants will protect your skin from UV radiation, inflammation, premature aging, and skin cancer. Always remember to wear sunscreen with a higher SPF for better protection since some outdoor tanning lotions have a very low SPF.

Can you mix indoor and outdoor tanning lotions?

Mixing both indoor and outdoor tanning lotions isn’t a very good idea because it won’t give you good results. The mixing process may not blend well with your skin and you might end up with an uneven tan color and blotches all over your body because the lotions won’t spread evenly. And once you include sunscreen in the mix, it will be a lot for your skin to process and you’ll end up with a very oiled up skin.

Whether you mix the lotions or not, you’ll still need to keep your skin moisturized since tanning dehydrates your skin because of the heat. Some indoor tanning lotions contain a moisturizer so your skin will stay moisturized when tanning to prevent dryness and peeling so your tan lasts longer. However, not all indoor tanning lotions are the same, so you should look for one that contains vitamins and nutrients to help keep your skin nourished and healthy reducing dry skin and the appearance of wrinkles and premature aging.

Can you use an indoor tanning lotion outside?

You can apply an indoor tanning lotion outside, but you might encounter a few problems before it’s safe for outdoor use. Most tanning lotions are specified for indoor use only because:

  • Indoor tanning lotions tend to be greasy and won’t look good on your skin if you’re out in public.
  • They don’t contain sunscreen because you don’t need sun protection when tanning indoors.
  • Indoor tanning lotions also tend not to be waterproof so they can be easily washed off if your skin comes into contact with water.

Good things about indoor tanning lotions

Using indoor tanning lotions saves you time and money because they accelerate your tanning process to give you a deeper and darker tan faster and you don’t have to visit a tanning salon frequently to get tanned.

  • When you’re tanning outside, your skin gets dehydrated from the light and heat. However, most indoor tanning lotions contain moisturizers that will keep your skin moist improving your tan, and improve your skin by keeping it soft so it doesn’t form wrinkles quickly as dry skin does.
  • Some indoor tanning lotions contain tan enhancing ingredients which means your skin continues to tan even after leaving the tanning bed. Your tan continues to develop hours after your tanning session that’s why it’s good to wait at least 2-4 hours before taking a shower.
  • Helps to reduce dry skin caused by exposure to UV rays. The anti-aging ingredients in the tanning lotions can help with premature aging of your skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Regular use of indoor tanning lotions can help to enhance the tone of your natural tan and give you a better looking natural glow. Your tan is more even because your skin is always hydrated.
  • Your skin will stay hydrated which will prevent it from drying out or peeling and this will help keep your tan for longer.
  • Indoor tanning lotions tend to contain helpful nutrients and vitamins that help to nourish your skin making it healthier and softer.
  • Although most indoor tanning lotions don’t contain sun protection, they’ll keep your skin well moisturized which will prevent your skin from getting sunburnt.
  • Most people don’t like the after-tan odor from tanning lotions that are caused by the reaction between the bacteria on your skin and the tanning bed. Many indoor tanning lotions contain an anti-bacterial ingredient that helps to eliminate that smell. These lotions come in different fragrances that you can choose from.

Types of indoor tanning lotions

Indoor tanning lotions are designed to capture the UV rays from the tanning bed to give you the best tan. There are different tanning lotions you can choose from for your type of skin if you don’t want to end up with splotchy skin that looks dry and unattractive.


Most tanning lotions contain bronzers that help to accelerate the color of your tan. Some lotions have more bronzer than others so this will depend on how dark or light you want your tan to be. When applying a lotion with a bronzer, make sure you spread it evenly on your entire body if you don’t want to have streaks and an uneven tan. Also, keep such lotions away from your clothes because they can quickly stain them.


Tingle lotions will give you huge results, but they’re not meant for everyone. When you apply the lotion to your skin, it increases blood flow on your skin and the level of melanin which can cause your skin to become red and appear flushed. Most people experience a tingling sensation, others the sensation is heightened, while others don’t feel anything, the feeling varies from person to person. After a few hours, the redness and tingling stop and you can enjoy a dark tan. Tingle lotions are intense and shouldn’t be applied to sensitive skin or parts of your body like your face.

Intensifiers and maximizers

After you have a base tan, like most people you will want to continue tanning and an intensifier can help you achieve a darker color than your base tan. Maximizer lotions are formulated for people with a base tan, but they don’t contain lots of moisturizers like accelerator lotions.


These are the best lotions to use if you’re trying to achieve a base tan, especially for beginners. They contain lots of moisturizers that help to keep your skin moisturized since tanning can quickly dry out your skin and give you an ashy look and moisturized skin gives you a better tan faster.

Fragrance-free or hypoallergenic

These types of lotions don’t contain any fragrance and are free of irritants that can affect sensitive skin. These lotions are perfect if you have sensitive skin or don’t like strong smells.

How to use an indoor tanning lotion outside

The best idea is to use an indoor tanning lotion for indoors and an outdoor tanning lotion for the outdoors, and make sure you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both to protect your skin from the sun. However, if you must use an indoor tanning lotion outside, you need to keep the following issues in mind.

  • If you’re going to swim in the pool or at the beach, make sure you reapply some sunscreen and your tanning lotion because both will get washed off by the water. Even if your sunscreen is water-resistant, reapply it once you’re out of the water.
  • Always apply a layer of sunscreen with your tanning lotion with the sunscreen being first to apply then the tanning lotion. To ensure that your skin is well protected from the sun, choose abroad spectrum sunscreen of SPF +30.
  • Most indoor tanning lotions are oily which will make your skin look overly shiny. After tanning, you will want to take a shower to remove all the tanning lotion on your body.

How to properly use indoor tanning lotions

Most people think that applying tanning lotion involves just rubbing it on your body and washing it off when you’re done. For best results, there’s a specific process you have to follow. Although indoor tanning lotions are expensive, they provide your skin with essential moisture that prevents your skin from drying for great color and nourishes your skin with vitamins, essential oils, and extracts that keep your skin soft and smooth and prevent it from early signs of aging.

Before you go to the tanning salon, you should:

  • Exfoliate your skin using an exfoliator scrub to remove all the dead skin leaving a smooth clean skin that will give you a streak-free tan.
  • Shave your legs to prevent the tanning lotion from accumulating near your hair follicles. This way you won’t have small bronzed spots all over your legs.
  • Wear dark-colored clothes because most tanning lotions contain bronzers that give you a darker tan but also stain your clothes.
  • Once your skin is clean and fresh, apply an amplifier to moisturize your skin and allow the UV light to penetrate your skin. It reduces your skin’s ability to reflect light so you can get a deeper tan.
  • Apply an after-tanning lotion to moisturize and replenish your skin after your tanning session since your skin tends to dry out quickly. This will help to reduce flaking and peeling and also keep your skin moist and healthy.

Final thoughts

Whether you decide to use an indoor tanning lotion outside or not, you should be careful not to expose your skin to too much sun if you don’t want to start dealing with wrinkles or even serious conditions like skin cancer. Make sure the tanning lotion you choose doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that can harm your skin.