How to Treat a Tanning Bed Burn

tanning bed burn

Contrary to popular belief, although the type of UV-Radiation you may experience in a tanning bed is different than that caused by the sun, a burn from either source is the same and requires the same treatment to relieve discomfort. Here are some useful tips for finding relief from sunburn and tanning bed burn (ps. as always, more can be found here).

Tanning Bed Burn – Treatments Tips

Cold Showers

Cold showers are a popular way to find relief from a tanning bed burn. Unfortunately, for all of their popularity, cold showers don’t work. As unbelievable as it may seem, warm or even hot water that stings severely for about 3 to 5 seconds upon hitting the burn provides amazing relief. Cold showers not only cause us to tense our muscles and surrounding skin but also close pores, making it more difficult for the body to deliver its natural healing oils.

Hot Showers

The pores serve not only as part of the body’s cooling system, but also as the skin’s natural lubrication system. As unsightly as oily secretions might seem, their job is to heal the skin. Hot showers open up the pores, keep us from tensing the skin, and helps the skin deliver natural healing solutions. Try it next time you burn.

Aloe Vera Gel

aloe vera gel tanning bed burnAloe vera is a plant based gel that has been known since prehistoric times to offer relief for cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns. If you have an aloe vera plant in your house, ripping off a bit of leaf and rubbing the gel on your tanning bed burn is just as effective as buying a bottle of pure aloe vera from your neighborhood or online store.

Be wary of products that merely contain aloe vera. Instead, choose straight aloe vera, or if you are unable to secure it as a pure product, buy a product that lists aloe vera as the first ingredient, like the one below.

Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion, a worldwide favorite for eliminating itches from insect bites (though common toothpaste works better) and relieving pain from scrapes and burns is often used to alleviate pain during the first stages of a tanning bed burn. However, the true relief of calamine lotion comes from using it during the peeling phase once the pain of a sunburn or tanning bed burn has become a tan.

While sunburn may give the appearance of a change in melanin, the reality is that a suntan is simply dead skin that has not fallen off of its underlying layers. The process of shedding the suntan can be unbearably itchy. Calamine lotion provides the relief you need to get through the molting process.

Tips & Warnings

  • To avoid future burns, always treat UV-Radiation with the respect it deserves. Tanning beds are great for treating some forms of psoriasis, but tanning beds are not without risk. If you have further concerns about prolonged use of a tanning bed, consult your physician.
  • Never try to tan on top of a healing burn. Consequences may be life threatening skin ailments.

May you find some relief from your next sunburn or tanning bed burn as a result of these tips.


  1. UV Radiation, University of California, San Francisco;
  2. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Aloe; University of Maryland;

About the author


WarmAdvice is carried out by professionals in the field of physical therapy, rehabilitation medicine, therapeutic and relaxation massage. Most importantly it all comes out of a great passion for the subject.

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