There’s no right answer to that question. The best tanning lotion isn’t necessarily the best lotion for the next person. Everyone has their preferences as to what they expect a tanning lotion to do and the results they expect to receive. Also the skin type, tanning experience, oily skin, dry skin, the type of tanning bed bulbs and tanning bed equipment used etc. etc. There are simply too many factors involved to determine what is the “best” tanning lotions.
Tanning lotions help counteract the drying effects of tanning and ensure a longer lasting tan. The primary functions of indoor tanning lotions are to moisten the skin. Simply, moistened and nourished skin tans better. The active ingredients in tanning maximizers and accelerators also help in the production of additional melanin in your skin. Dry skin acts as a barrier, reflecting tanning rays so for best results, drench your skin with lotion prior to tanning.
An accelerator is a product, which boosts the level of tanning cells in your skin. With the application of an accelerator after you shower in the morning, your skin is generating the tanning cells prior to your tanning session. This way when you enter the tanning unit you immediately start to tan the cells rather than having to create them first.
An amplifier is a product that creates a moist barrier on your skin, which traps the tanning rays that may have otherwise been reflected away.This allows you to absorb as many tanning rays possible when in the tanning unit.
Tanning Bronzers are a dye that changes the color of your skin instantly. Some people love them and others hate them. Products with “browning”,or “bronzer” in the name usually have a really heavy (dark) bronzer. You have to be careful when applying tanning lotions that contain bronzers as some will streak if not applied evenly, also real dry areas of the skin will absorb more of the tanning bronzer and leave the skin a different color. Elbow, knees, between fingers, and palms of hands are the most common spots. Many people that use bronzers will take wipes with them to clean these areas and hands immediately after applying tanning lotions with bronzers.
A tingle is a stimulation of the epidermal layers of your skin. Different lotion manufacturers just call it different names. Tingle, Hot, Fire, Heat, and Tingle Factor… It’s the same principal. Most people feel their skin heat up or tingle after applying these tanning lotions. The stimulation (irritation) brings blood closer to the surface of the skin. The blood brings melanin with it and you may receive a better tan.
The tingle factors range from 1 to 30+ with some tanning lotion manufacturers and others use words like hot, hotter, hottest, max reddening. The higher the number is, the more intense the tingling.
It is recommended you start with a tingle of 1 or 2 to become accustomed to the stimulation then gradually work up through the different levels.
The constant use of a moisturizer allows your skin to retain the tanned layers while subsequent layers are added. This combination of multiple layers is how your tan continues to darken with future tanning sessions. The final ingredient essential for a deep wholesome tan is a moisturizer.
Indoor tanning lotions usually do not contain SPF. You will have no sun protection outdoors. Outdoor UV rays can vary daily even hourly in intensity. It is recommended you use a SPF while tanning outdoors. You do want to use a SPF lotion if a certain part of your body is susceptible to burning. Outdoor tanning lotions are not recommended for indoor use, as they can cause a film on the acrylic and will inhibit the tanning process.
If you do burn after an indoor tanning session you need to decrease the tanning time of your tanning sessions or use an SPF lotion to prevent this from happening in the future. Sunburns are bad and you never want to tan to the point you get sun burnt.
Outdoor tanning products are made to address the specific needs of tanning outdoors (uncontrolled conditions). These products can cause a film on tanning bed acrylics and actually inhibit your body from tanning.