Itchy After Using a Tanning Bed? Here’s What To Do

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If your skin is feeling itchy after a tanning bed session, that could mean you’ve contracted a skin infection from one of the tanning beds or that you’ve overdone the tanning and your skin is burned.

Depending on the cause, with proper care and treatment, itchy skin can be gone in a couple of days.

So, are you feeling itchy after using a tanning bed? Keep reading to learn what to do.

What Causes Itchiness After Using a Tanning Bed?

Dry skin is the number one culprit of tanning bed rashes.

The UV radiation from the heat lamps is known for its ability to dry out the top layer of your skin, known as the epidermis.

As a result, your skin starts to feel itchy, prickly, and scaly.

Another reason is UV overexposure.

This is when your body is subjected to too many UV rays in a short amount of time.

Thus, your skin can’t keep up and doesn’t absorb everything, which can result in itchiness and a rash.

Otherwise, if the tanning bed you used was not properly cleaned and sanitized, you may have picked up a skin infection.

woman laying in tanning bed

How to Treat a Tanning Bed Rash

A tanning bed rash can be annoying and painful.

But the good news is that the itchiness and the red blotches don’t last long.

As long as you follow our tried-and-true tips, it’s likely to go away within a day or two.

Here are a few ideas to treat your rash and get back your tanning groove.

Use a Topical Cream

Moisturizers and topical creams can help increase the skin’s suppleness and elasticity. Plus, they boost its hydration and soothe dryness.

Choose creams and body lotions made from natural ingredients, like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide.

Niacinamide is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B3. While it has many functions, it’s perhaps best known for protecting the skin from environmental damage and helping to reduce rough, dry skin.

A moisturizing cream with niacinamide will help to reduce itching and give your dry skin the moisture it craves, helping to restore your skin’s natural glow.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream

✅ Contains niacinamide & shea butter to restore moisture and stop itching

✅ Can be used on the face and body

✅ Recommended by dermatologists

✅ Paraben and fragrance-free

Aloe vera is also highly recommended by dermatologists. It’s excellent at easing skin inflammation symptoms like itching, swelling, and redness.

Here are some other options that can help treat itchy skin after tanning:

  • Coconut oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Colloidal oatmeal

Take a Lukewarm Bath

By ‘lukewarm,’ I mean almost cool to the touch.

Remember that hot water strips the skin from its natural oils. That leads to only more dryness and itchiness.

You have a few options once you get the water temperature right. The first option is to add one of the natural ingredients mentioned above.

For example, if you prefer using essential oils or apple cider vinegar, add a few drops to your bathwater. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of colloidal oatmeal to your warm bath.

Another option is to add baking soda. This fine powder is known for its antifungal properties.

Add about a quarter cup of baking soda to your bathwater. Then sit back and enjoy!

woman laying in bathtub

Avoid UV Exposure

Try to avoid going into the sun, at least until your rash starts to let up.

UV radiation will only make your condition worse and prolong your inflammation.

However, if you must go outside, always apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Also, cover the itchy areas to protect them from the sun.

Another good idea is to wear loose-fitting clothes, preferably those made from natural materials.

It’ll prevent your clothes from rubbing against the rash and making it worse.

Seek Professional Help

If the home remedies we mentioned above aren’t cutting it, it’s time to give your doctor a call.

They’ll likely prescribe antihistamine cream if your rash is caused by an allergic reaction.

How to Prevent a Tanning Bed Rash

Once the itchiness is gone, you can start your tanning regimen again.

To ensure you don’t suffer the same fate twice, here are a few ideas to help prevent a future flare-up:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Only go to reputable tanning facilities and use high-quality tanning products
  • Use moisturizing tanning lotions prior to each tanning session
  • Before you hop onto the tanning bed, wipe it down with a hypoallergenic wet wipe
  • Apply a moisturizer immediately after you’re done tanning and after showering


Now you know what to do if you’re feeling itchy after using a tanning bed. The most important thing to remember is to keep your skin hydrated.

Apply moisturizer and drink plenty of water. This way, your skin has all the protection it needs, from the inside as well as the outside.

4 thoughts on “Itchy After Using a Tanning Bed? Here’s What To Do”

    • That’s something you would need to discuss with your dermatologist. However, if you already have dry skin, tanning beds can irritate that further.

  1. Why do am I feeling electric shocks when I tan? It’s not the’s still bothering me after I’ve gotten home and have a huge red spot in the back of my calf…I know this isn’t normal can anyone explain to me what is happening?

    • Hi Abbey,
      The huge red spot on your leg may be a sunburn from the tanning bed. It’s not normal to feel an electric shock from a tanning bed. I would definitely let the business know that’s happening!


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