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How to Lay in a Tanning Bed Properly to Get an Even Tan

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD

Summertime’s fast approaching. You did all the necessary preparations to flaunt your summer body.

From an intense workout to a healthy diet, you did an excellent job. Until you realize one thing: your skin looks like a bleached cloth.

You quickly book a session at a nearby tanning salon but you’re not sure how to do it properly! 

Whether it’s your first time or not, it’s challenging how to lay in a tanning bed.

Don’t worry. Our failed experiences taught us the RIGHT WAY to lay in a tanning bed. Here’s how.

How to Achieve a Perfectly Tanned Body from Head To Toe

1. Don’t Hesitate to Ask Staff to Orient You on the Tanning Process

1. Ask

Here’s the first thing you might want to do as soon as you step into tanning salons. 

Look for a friendly tanning bed staff to ask some questions about the tanning process.

Expect a staff to have some knowledge on how to lay in a tanning bed.

A tanning bed might be an overwhelming sight for a first-time tanner. There’s a whole new world waiting inside standard tanning beds.

  • Don’t let the bright lights of the tanning bed outshine your unique beauty.
  • You’ll see some buttons that you need to operate during the tanning session. These control buttons turn on and off the fan and separate bed bulbs during the treatment process.
  • It’s better to have someone explain every possibility you can get with those buttons.
  • You might also want to ask your friendly staff member if they’ll stay by your side throughout the whole tanning session. They might not be always there so you need to monitor the session through the timer.
  • As you put yourself inside the tanning bed, closing the lid of the machine before operation provides full effects. However, verify this with the staff member.

2. Protect Your Eyes with Tanning Goggles

2. Protect

We understand you want an even tan all throughout your body including your whole face.

Well, it’s easy to tan the face in a tanning bed. All you need to do is to lay on your back in the tanning bed.

While you want to achieve the best tanning results on every part of your body, you might need to protect your eyes from severe damage from harmful UV radiation.

That’s why a tanning goggle is a must-have in every tanning session. You should pick the goggle with the perfect fit to protect your eyes and eyelids.

Your eyes and eyelids are sensitive to UV exposure in particular. Your eye is at risk of severe damage once the UV light penetrates the eyelid.

Is Closing Your Eyelids Enough to Protect Your Eyes?

You might think that closing your eyes on the tanning bed will do wonders. But it’s not a healthy sign.

You might be wondering why most people risk not wearing a goggle under the tanning bed. 

The reason is the pesky raccoon eyes formed when you wear tanning goggles during the treatment process.

It’s no doubt thatit’s a deal-breakeruntil you learn the solution to this problem.

You only need to adjust the goggles every now and then. Make sure that it won’t stay in one position for too long.

In the end, you’ll never realize you have raccoon eyes with your impaired vision. Right?

3. Forget About the Pillow, You’re Not Going to Sleep

3. Forget About the Pillow

It’s an accepted fact that a bed is not complete without a pillow. Sorry folks, but things are different when it comes to standard tanning beds.

Sure, you need to lay down inside a tanning bed as if you’re going to sleep. Most tanning salons will even offer you some pillows, for that matter.

Here’s the thing:

  • You want to achieve an even tan all over your body, right? And you’ll do what it takes to get a complete perfect tan in every tanning session.
  • Pillows PREVENT that even tan. The pillow covers your neck and prevents you from achieving the best tan results.
  • Imagine having a white strip and tan lines on your neck if you insist on resting your head on the pillow. Pretty disappointing, right? No one wants ugly tan lines!

The Secret to a Perfectly Tanned Neck and Shoulders

Speaking of your neck and shoulders, how can you ensure you get the most out of neck tanning salons?

If you have long hair, chances are your hair will get in the way of having a properly tanned neck. 

It might eventually cause skin rashes from tanning bed use.

The best way you can do to prevent this is to tie your hair in a bun before getting into the tanning bed.

How about the shoulders? You only need to lay flat on your belly and prop your chin up with your hands.

4. Try Stretching Your Whole Body

4. Try Stretching

Who would think that you can do some yoga in the tanning bed? Well, you’ll be better off stretching your body every single time.

Stretch your arms by your sides to place your palms up. 

It’s one of the perfect tanning bed positions you can try to get an even tan all over your body.

If you’re still unsure how to lay in a tanning bed, consider this position as one of the proper tanning positions. Why?

If you stretch your arms and legs, you allow UV radiation to settle properly on the skin over time. 

Ensure you switch tanning bed positions after some time to allow your skin to get even UV exposure.

Think of it this way. Having more space exposed to UV radiation means more radiation sets in, resulting in a long-lasting deeper, darker tan.

The Expert’s Tip for a Golden-Tanned Back and Stomach

Stretching out in one of your tanning bed positions gets your back, stomach, and chest exposed to UV rays over time. 

You won’t have a problem tanning these parts if you follow one of the recommended tanning bed laying positions.

Professional tanners stress out you must keep your arms and legs spread apart when stretching.

Ensure your arm’s shadow doesn’t block the way of UV light to your skin to get an even tan. 

And just remember: Tanning beds won’t provide as much Vitamin D as the sun! So tan all you want, but it can’t be a substitute for actually going outside.

5. Feel the Heat in Your Stomach

5. Feel the Heat

You might not like this particular tip on how to lay in a tanning bed. But rest assured, it’s worth the struggle if you want to achieve the glowing sun-kissed tan.

We understand you might feel uncomfortable as you lay in a tanning bed on your stomach.

Yet,it’s also not good to lay in a tanning bed on your back all the time. 

You might have underexposed skin and the UVA rays missed spots in the process.

So you better turn on your stomach halfway through the process. In doing so, you might also want to shift your arms position to avoid tan lines.

Like what you’ll do when tanning your neck and shoulders, you can use your arms to support your chin. At the same time, ensure the sides of your arms get an even tan as well.

6. Reach for the Sky with Your Legs

6. Reach for the Sky

Who says you can only reach the sky with your hands? What if we told you you could also raise your legs to touch the sun?

You can do this impossible feat inside the tanning salon. Well, it could be the answer to your question on how to lay in a tanning bed.

You cannot touch the actual sun in the tanning bed, but you get the feel of being soaked with intense UV rays. 

That might be the case, but you can avoid burning once you apply indoor tanning lotion to your skin.

Kidding aside, you can raise your legs and bend your knees to avoid getting butt circles. 

Flip sides as you do this while you lay on your back to get a golden glow in your legs with no missed spots or butt circles.

How to Prevent Butt Moons and Tan Lines on Your Groin

If you don’t do this, you’ll encounter a different celestial body instead of the sun. 

You might notice white streaks over your thighs and butt creases called butt moons as you tan in poor positioning.

Butt moons form as your butt overlaps your thighs, making it hard for UV rays to penetrateas your thighs tanned.

You can avoid butt moons by allowing UV rays to penetrate both your thighs and butt.

You don’t only deal with uneven tans and butt moons resulting from overlapping buttock skin down under. 

Having a tan groin is not an arduous task, but don’t lose hope.

Here’s an expert tip for you:

  • As you lay flat on your back and spread your legs apart, you must create an acute angle with your legs and feet upright.
  • Also, don’t forget to apply tanning lotion on your groins as well. Plus, be sure you have a good sunscreen for tanning ready!

7. Explore Around the Blazing World of Tanning Beds

7. Explore

While inside a tanning bed, imagine yourself on the grill…like a barbecue. We all know grilling meat properly requires constant flipping.

The same goes for when you’re lying down in a tanning bed.

To avoid tan lines and uneven tanning, you must flip sides after some time.

Avoid staying in one position for too long to avoid uneven tan where you tan some skin faster than other parts. 

Moving a lot will make you feel tired faster but it’s worth it if you can avoid uneven tanning.

It’s up to your timing on how to lay in a tanning bed in the best positions possible. 

Whether you lay on your back or stomach, ensure you tan almost every part of your body.

Also, we recommend that you try your best to stay away from using tanning oil while on a tanning bed.

8. Give Your Skin Some Nice Treats

8. Nice Treats

After you figured out how to lay in a tanning bed, give your skin a break.

You might be worrying about uneven tan or butt moons. 

Yet, the most important thing you should be careful of is the changes happening on your skin after tanning.

Is Your Indoor Tanning Lotion Enough?

Tanning lotions offer some skin protection during the treatment. But how about after the session?

There are many moisturizing lotions with natural benefitsto treat your skin. 

Whether it contains shea butter or coconut oil, pick one with extra vitamins to help your skin rejuvenate.

You can also try using a tan accelerator on top of the lotion to enhance the pigment of your tan.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

In the end, we can all agree on one thing. There’s no single laying position that gives the perfect tan skin.

Tanning your skin takes time. You don’t achieve even tan skin in one session only.

But you must make the most out of your tanning sessions to ensure your money is well-spent.

If you’re not too keen on using a tanning bed, you can always use tanning lotions to maintain your desired shade.