“How to prevent tanning bed rash” is a crucial question for those who indulge in indoor tanning. Tanning bed rash, often called “tanning bed dermatitis,” is a common concern with skin redness, itching, and irritation post-tanning.

While this condition can be bothersome, the good news is that there are effective measures to mitigate its occurrence. Adopting proper skin care practices, embracing protective strategies, and maintaining a mindful approach to tanning frequency can substantially diminish the risk of developing tanning bed rash.

This guide will delve into essential steps that pave the way for a healthier and rash-free tanning bed experience.

Tanning Bed Rash: What Is And How Do You Prevent It?

Tanning bed rash, also known as tanning bed dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by redness, itching, and irritation that can occur after using tanning beds. To prevent tanning bed rash, it’s essential to follow proper skincare routines, use protective measures, and limit tanning session frequency.

Symptoms Of Tanning Bed Rash:

Tanning bed rash, or tanning bed dermatitis, is a skin condition that can manifest with several noticeable symptoms. These may include:

  1. Redness: The affected skin area may become red or flushed.
  2. Itching: It is a common symptom, leading to a strong urge to scratch the affected skin.
  3. Irritation: The skin may feel irritated, sensitive, and uncomfortable to touch.
  4. Bumps or Hives: Raised bumps or hives can appear on the skin, resembling an allergic reaction.
  5. Dryness: The affected skin might feel dry and flaky.
  6. Burning Sensation: Some individuals may experience a burning or stinging sensation in the affected area.
  7. Swelling: Swelling can occur, causing the skin to appear swollen or puffy.
  8. Pain or Discomfort: Tanning bed rash can sometimes be accompanied by mild pain or discomfort.

What does tanning bed rash look like on the skin?

A tanning bed rash typically presents as a reddened and irritated skin area. It can vary in appearance and severity, ranging from mild redness to more pronounced inflammation. The affected skin might feel warm to the touch and show itchiness.

In some cases, raised bumps, hives, or blisters could develop, resembling an allergic reaction. Dryness and flakiness might also be present, and the rash could be accompanied by discomfort or a burning sensation.

Treatment Of Tanning Bed Rash:

Treatment Of Tanning Bed Rash:

Indeed, here are the treatment steps for tanning bed rash:

Stop Tanning for a Few Days: 

Give your skin a break from tanning to allow it to heal and recover.

Use Warm Water: 

Cleanse the affected area with lukewarm water to soothe the skin and remove irritants.

Use a Cold Compress:

Use a chilled compress or a damp cloth to ease sensations of itchiness, redness, and inflammation.

Use Oatmeal: 

Bathe using colloidal oatmeal or apply a paste made from oatmeal onto the rash. Oatmeal possesses inherent anti-inflammatory characteristics, which can effectively soothe irritated skin.

Take an oatmeal bath:

Indeed, an oatmeal bath can be a soothing remedy for tanning bed rash. Here’s how to do it:

Oatmeal Bath for Tanning Bed Rash:

  1. Gather Ingredients: You’ll need plain, unflavored oatmeal. You can use colloidal oatmeal, finely ground oatmeal designed for skin use, or grind regular oatmeal into a fine powder.
  2. Prepare the Bath: Get your bathtub ready by filling it with lukewarm water. Refrain from using hot water, as it can exacerbate skin irritation.
  3. Add Oatmeal: Sprinkle a cup or two of oatmeal into the bathwater. Stir the water with your hand to help the oatmeal dissolve.
  4. Soak: Immerse yourself in the oatmeal-infused water for 15-20 minutes. During the bath, gently rub the oatmeal-soaked water onto the rash to provide additional relief.
  5. Pat Dry: After bathing, gently dry your skin with a soft towel. Avoid rubbing, as it could aggravate the rash.
  6. Moisturize: Apply a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizer to your skin to lock in hydration and help the healing process.

Prepare an oatmeal taste:

Indeed, here’s a basic recipe for preparing an oatmeal paste that you can use topically for soothing tanning bed rash:

Oatmeal Paste for Soothing Tanning Bed Rash:


  • 1/2 cup plain, unflavored oatmeal (colloidal oatmeal or finely ground regular oatmeal)
  • Water

Keep the Affected Area Clean and Don’t Rub It:

Use mild soap to keep the affected area clean, and avoid rubbing or scrubbing the rash.

Apply an Antibacterial Cream:

Apply an over-the-counter antibacterial cream to prevent infection.

Take an Antihistamine:

Consider taking an oral antihistamine to reduce itching and inflammation.

Simple Home Remedies for a Tanning Rash:

Indeed, here are some additional simple home remedies that can help soothe a tanning bed rash:

  1. Aloe Vera Gel: Apply pure aloe vera gel to the rash for its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Coconut Oil: Gently apply coconut oil to moisturize and reduce irritation.
  3. Cucumber Slices: Place chilled cucumber slices on the affected area to provide a soothing and cooling sensation.
  4. Calamine Lotion: Use calamine lotion to alleviate itching and promote healing.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and apply it using a cotton ball to help balance skin pH and reduce irritation.
  6. Witch Hazel: Dab witch hazel on the rash to reduce inflammation and provide relief.
  7. Baking Soda Paste: Create a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the rash, and rinse off gently to ease itching.
  8. Honey: Apply a thin layer of honey, known for its antibacterial and moisturizing properties.
  9. Tea Bags: Use cooled tea bags (chamomile or green tea) as compresses to soothe irritated skin.
  10. Olive Oil: Apply a thin layer of olive oil to moisturize and relieve itching.

Remember that everyone’s skin is unique, so it’s essential to test these remedies on a small patch first to ensure they don’t exacerbate the rash. If the inflammation persists or worsens, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate advice.

How To Prevent Tanning Bed Rash:

Preventing tanning bed rash involves a combination of protective measures and proper skincare. Here’s how to avoid bed tanning rash:

Change Tanning Products:

Switch to hypoallergenic or fragrance-free tanning lotions and creams to reduce the risk of skin reactions.

Hypoallergenic Wipes:

Keep hypoallergenic wipes handy to cleanse your skin before and after tanning, minimizing potential irritants.

Take it Slow:

Gradually increase your tanning session duration to give your skin time to adapt and avoid overexposure.


Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and less prone to irritation.

Remember, a balanced approach to tanning, coupled with proper skin care and protective measures, can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing a tanning bed rash.


While a common concern, tanning bed rash can be effectively prevented and managed with a thoughtful approach to indoor tanning, aligned with “How to prevent tanning bed rash.”

Combining protective measures and proper skincare can significantly reduce the risk of developing this irritating skin condition. Remember to moisturize your skin, choose the right tanning bed, limit session durations, and always wear protective eyewear. Should a rash occur, employ soothing home remedies like aloe vera and cold compresses, and if needed, consult a medical professional.

With these strategies in place, you can enjoy a safer and more enjoyable tanning experience while minimizing the chances of tanning bed rash affecting your skin.