Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed: Which One Is Best For You?

Spray Tan vs Tanning Bed: Which One Is Best For You?

Sometimes a tan is all you need for an instant confidence boost. Still, how you get that tan is totally up to you: Do you lay in the sun, get a spray tan, or go to a tanning bed?

You may not be lying outside if it's the middle of winter or spring. Thankfully, spray tanning and tanning beds are popular options year-round to add a little color to your skin. We are going to go over the pros and cons of both of these tanning methods so that you can stay bronzed all year long. 

Why Should You Spray Tan?

Spray tanning works by applying a fine mist of tanning solution over your skin. The formulation contains the active ingredient Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA works by reacting with the amino acids on the surface of your skin to give you a natural-looking tan. 

You can get a spray tan professionally at a salon or spa. They use a spray gun or machine to dispense the solution evenly on your body. There are also at-home spray tanning options available.

Let’s explore some of spray tanning’s many benefits before you book your next appointment.

No Exposure to Harmful UV Rays

One of the main benefits of spray tanning is that it provides a safe alternative to traditional tanning methods such as sunbathing or tanning beds. Spray tanning doesn't involve exposing your skin to harmful UV rays. Overexposure to UV rays can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin diseases. 

A Quick and Easy Process

Spray tanning is a convenient option that doesn't take a lot of time. A spray tanning appointment generally takes about 10 to 20 minutes to complete. You can get in, get out, and get on with your day.

A Customizable Tan

Spray tanning allows you to customize your tan to your skin tone. You can also select the level of darkness. Unlike a tanning bed, spray tanning is the option that allows you to have a personalized experience. 

Additionally, spray tanning can help cover skin imperfections and blemishes, like stretch marks, scars, and cellulite. It evens your skin tone, giving you a smoother, more even-looking complexion.

Plus, you can choose specific areas you want the spray tan, such as your arms and legs. It gives you the option for a more precise tan that looks exactly how you want it to look. 

Are There Any Disadvantages of Spray Tanning?

While there are many benefits of spray tanning, it does have its drawbacks. Here are some of the cons that arise with spray tans. 

Short-Lived Results

One of the main downsides of spray tanning is the life of the tan. The results only last between seven to 10 days. After a week, you'll notice your tan start to fade. The short-lived effects can be frustrating if you're looking for a year-round glow. 

Expensive Appointments 

Spray tanning expenses can add up if you're going often. These appointments are affordable for most if you go every once in a while, but multiple times a month can get expensive. You also have to consider the cost of aftercare products, such as tan extenders, which can further increase the overall expense. 

A less expensive option for making your tan look its best is proper skincare before and after your appointment. When your skin is properly hydrated, your tan will fade more evenly. Try a nourishing lotion before your appointment to properly prep, like Spongellé's Beach Grass Body Lotion. It is made with shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E to moisturize your skin and get you ready for a sunkissed glow. 

Uneven Application

Another common issue with spray tanning is uneven application. If you don't have an experienced spray tanning professional or try to do it yourself, you can end up with streaks, blotches, and uneven color. These results can be frustrating when you've spent your time and money to have an even tan. 

Requires Removal

Another con to spray tanning is the removal process. When you tan in the sun or tanning bed, you don't have to scrub the tan off (although you may end up with peeling skin instead). Spray tanning requires you to exfoliate once your tan begins to fade. 

You can make your life easier by using a buffer to remove your tan. A Spongellé body buffer comes infused with body wash and can help you take off your tan while giving your skin a little TLC.

Why Do People Use Tanning Beds?

Tanning beds are a popular method for maintaining a tan year-round. They work by using concentrated UV rays in an enclosed bed to add color to your skin. They provide a few benefits that keep people going back.

Longer-Lasting Tan

You have to go to a tanning bed several times before seeing results, but once you do, you will have a longer-lasting tan. Unlike a spray tan, tanning beds will give you a glow that lasts weeks. You won't have to take the time to remove your tan and go to an appointment every week. 


Many people find lying in a tanning bed to be a relaxing experience. You can take 10 to 20 minutes to unwind, meditate, or listen to music as you tan. The warmth from the tanning bed can also have a calming effect. 

Easy Availability 

The popularity of tanning beds means there are several places you can find them. It's easy to find a bed available almost anywhere you go. Some apartment complexes and gyms even offer tanning beds for residents or members. The possible free availability can make tanning beds the more affordable option. 

No Staining or Streaks

Spray tan solution can rub off on your clothes and sheets. However, your tan from a tanning bed isn't going anywhere. You don't have to worry about your white clothing or streaking. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Tanning Beds? 

There are a number of reasons you may want to avoid tanning beds. Consider the cons before making a decision on how you want to achieve a tanner complexion. 

Serious Health Risks

Tanning beds work by exposing your skin to UVA rays similar to the sun. However, did you know tanning beds can cause more damage than the sun? Tanning beds can be three to five times stronger than the midday sun. Spending 20 minutes in the tanning bed can be equal to two hours in the sun.

Overexposure to UVA rays can lead to skin diseases that can spread quickly and infect your organs. You may need intense treatment that can wreak havoc on your body. You may also need surgery to remove spots from your skin. 

Premature Aging

Another downside of tanning beds is they can cause premature aging. The harmful UV rays cause the proteins in your skin to break down faster. You may develop wrinkles and age spots faster than normal. Skin damage also means a loss of firmness, and you may develop leathery-looking skin if you go too much. 


You can get a sunburn from the tanning bed. Furthermore, since the tanning beds emit stronger UV rays, these sunburns can be far worse. If you experience a burn from a bed, consult a doctor or dermatologist. 

You can run cold water over your body to bring down the temperature of your skin. Adding moisturizer early and often will also be key. Look for a thicker cream to help add an extra boost of hydration and Aleo Vera to calm the skin — like Spongellé's body lotions, formulated to hydrate and moisturize the skin. 

We also recommend that you drink plenty of water to help replenish your skin from the inside out and avoid going into the sun. 

Which Method Is Best for You? 

When trying to decide which method is best for you, consider your skin type. While tanning beds cause harm to all skin types, some may experience negative side effects faster. 

You may want to skip tanning in a bed if you have fair, sensitive skin. These skin types are more sensitive to UV rays and can become sunburned more easily. The strength of the tanning bed bulbs is too much for this skin type. 

People taking certain topical and oral medications may also want to avoid tanning beds. Antibiotics, birth control pills, and benzoyl peroxide products can make you more sensitive to UV rays. 

People with darker complexions aren't as sensitive to UV exposure. However, this skin type can still develop diseases and experience UV damage.

The safest option is spray tanning if you want to protect your skin. However, you have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for you. Both methods can be effective at giving a bronze glow. 

Final Takeaway 

Considering the pros and cons is important when deciding what tanning method is best for you. Tanning beds can be quick and easy, last longer, and require no removal. However, they can have pretty serious consequences. Spray tanning doesn't last long but won't damage your skin. No matter which method you choose, Spongellé has products that can help you prepare your skin for a tan and nourish it after.


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