Spray tan vs Tanning bed – Which is better? {Differences}

Would you like to boost your skin complexion and make the surface glow? Tanning is one of the most effective techniques that most people use to achieve this. It can enhance your beauty and give you glowing skin.

Most people, however, assume that you have to spend some time under the sun for you to achieve this. Though sun tanning is a great way for you to boost your complexion, it is not the only tanning technique you can use.

You can achieve a nice looking tan through other techniques such as spray tanning, using a tanning bed, or applying a self-tanner. 

Our discussion today revolves around two techniques, namely spray tanning and using a tanning bed. We will give you all the facts regarding these two options for you to go for the best one for your skin.

Spray tanning vs. using a tanning bed is a debatable issue in the tanning world. Though both methods work, you should find out which way is better depending on your skin type and budget. Before we compare them, we will introduce you to both methods separately so that you have a clear understanding of what we are talking about. Read on!

What is Spray Tanning?

If you prefer indoor tanning instead of outdoor, you can go for a spray tan. Most of the salons that offer tanning services provide you with this option. Spray tanning involves a mist being sprayed all over your body. The residue that remains on the surface of your skin reacts chemically with the skin. This chemical reaction gives you results that are similar to a suntan.

Experts reveal that spray tanning is much safer compared to a tanning bed. Even though the results last for about 4-7 days, the technique does not expose your body to intense UV rays that cause skin damage. It can help your skin develop the golden hue that you desire when attending a special occasion.

What is a Tanning bed, and How Does it Work?

The second option is indoor tanning through the use of a tanning bed. This bed produces ultraviolet rays that trigger the production of melanin in the skin, thus darkening the surface. The device contains some tanning bulbs which are responsible for the emission of the rays.

Tanning beds use a similar mechanism as sun tanning since they expose your skin to the same UV rays to help boost your complexion. Though these beds can be quite relaxing, they have some side effects. You have to be in contact with the bed for the machine to work. Since every tanning customer in the salon lies on the bed, your body may be exposed to bacteria or viruses.

Other than that, exposure to UV rays increases the risk of getting skin cancer. That is why experts discourage the frequent use of tanning beds. The radiation from these beds can also make you age faster. They make it easy for your skin to develop wrinkles and fine lines at a young age. If your skin is fairly light, you should avoid using a tanning bed since there is a high risk of burning.

Spray Tanning Versus using a Tanning Bed

The following factors can help you understand the difference between the two tanning options.


In most salons in America, the cost of a spray tan is around $ 40. Since the spray tan can only last for a few weeks, most people find this price a bit expensive compared to using a tanning bed. A session of a tanning bed costs $ 15. Though this price seems quite reasonable, you should know that you have to go for frequent sessions for your skin to develop the color that you desire. It means that you may end up spending about $ 100 for your skin to tan as expected.

Natural look

Though both of the techniques may be effective, a tanning bed lets your skin darken organically while the spray tan involves a chemical reaction. If you have sensitive skin, it can peel off or develop some red patches quickly from using a tanning bed. Choosing a spray tan is better since you can easily develop even coverage for the tan to look more natural.

Skin preparation

The way you prepare your skin for each session also differs. For instance, before you attend a tanning bed session, you should apply an indoor tanning lotion that can hydrate your skin. For a spray tan, you have to prepare your skin extensively to enhance the results. For instance, you should exfoliate the skin to get rid of the dead cells and shave.

Controlling the intensity of the color

A tanning bed puts you in control. For you to achieve the desired results, you have to build up the color over a couple of sessions. Spray tan, on the other hand, is less involving since your skin can develop the shade during the first session. This means that you may not have to go through different sessions for you to achieve the tan that you desire. You have to follow the directions of a spray tan religiously to prevent the appearance of orange patches.

Since a tanning bed works like sun tanning, it eliminates issues such as stained fingers, which is a common issue with spray tanning. If you don’t get the spray tan enough time to dry, it can transfer to your clothes.


If you have time limitations, you should stick to spray tanning. A spray tan can dry quickly, and the results should appear within 24 hours. A tanning bed is much slower since you should spend some time in the bed and book several sessions for you to notice a difference in your skin.

Conclusion: Which is better?

Using a tanning bed may look more appealing since it is relaxing, cheaper, and requires less preparation. This method is, however, not better than spray tanning since it is not safe. It exposes your skin to UV rays, which can lead to peeling, reddening, or premature aging. You can avoid all these by choosing spray tanning instead.