Do Tanning Lotions Really Work?

Tanning Lotion ReviewsIf you’re aware of the harmful effects of using tanning beds, you’ve probably wondered if tanning lotions are an option. The reason it might be questionable as to whether it works is because many people with that orange glow or the visible streaks are a testimonial that it’s not quite as effective as tanning. But since it’s inherently safer, is it worth a try, or should you continue on with your search for the perfect tan?

Tanning outside or using a tanning bed has been shown to cause skin cancer if you do it often enough, so many people have turned to tanning at home with self-tanners and tanning lotions. Anything to get rid of that white and pastey look! There are many products on the market that claim to give you that nice bronze hue, without any streaks and without looking like an orange when you’re finished.

There are also those products out there that work in conjunction with tanning beds and sunbathing, so it can be hard choosing the right method for getting the look you want. We’re here to help sort through all of the different products so that you can choose wisely and avoid any missteps.

Product Review Recaps

Does JWOWW really work?
JWOWW Tanning Lotion Recap
If you watch the Jersey Shore, you’re probably familiar with Jenni Farley and her incredibly tan skin. She’s decided to market this asset by lending her namesake to a bottle of tanning lotion made by Australian Gold. You may be familiar with these products because the company behind them has been around for several decades in the sunscreen and tanning lotion market. Since they’re known for making high-end sun products, does the JWOWW brand measure up?

JWOWW has her own line of products, not just one. She has a regular bronzer, as well as a more powerful one designed to get you darker. Most people who have tried these rave about how great they smell, but the reviews have been split as far as how dark it gets you.

See our full review of JWOWW Tanning LotionDoes Paint It Black really work?
Paint It Black Tanning Lotion Recap
One thing that people have noticed about Paint It Black is its great smell. While some people are happy with their new shade, others said that they expected it to darken them even more than it did. It’s claiming to be a 50X bronzer, and is not the darkest product offered by the company. They also have a 100X bronzer designed to get you twice as dark.

The reviews coming in for this product have been relatively good, and it competes well with other products in its price category. For full list of its features, benefits, and drawbacks, be sure to see our full write up for all the details.

See our full review of Paint It Black Tanning Lotion

Does Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer really work?
Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer Recap
Overall, people are really happy with the products produced by Designer Skin. Luminary is just one of the products that they make that users seem to really like. Perhaps the biggest thing they comment on is how wonderful it smells, but that is only one of the things it’s supposed to do for your skin. Another good quality of Luminary is the moisturizers that it uses.

The biggest test of course is whether or not it gets you dark, and if so how dark. Luminary is not trying to be the darkest on the market and it’s only a 25X bronzer. This makes it great for those just starting off in the world of tanning.

See our full review of Luminary by Designer Skin

Different Types of Tanning Lotions

Depending on the look you’re going for you can find a tanning lotion that will support your goals. Whether you want to be out in the sun, avoid the sun, use a tanning bed, or any combination of these you can find the right lotion for your situation. Many people that are new to trying to get a tan don’t realize there are so many different kinds of tanning lotions in they are just familiar with sunscreen and self tanners.

Here’s a quick guide so you know which type of lotion you’re looking at either online or at the store. This way you won’t buy the wrong lotion, and you know about everything that’s available to you.

Indoor Tanning Lotion
Indoor tanning lotion has been gaining in popularity in recent years. It is designed to work with the ultraviolet lights used by tanning beds to accelerate your tan and get you better results more quickly. They also contain moisturizing agents so that your skin doesn’t get dried out from tanning, and your skin will be smooth and bronze looking.

These usually also contain fragrances in them to make your skin smell great as well. In fact this is one of the biggest things that people comment on, how great they smell.
indoor tanning
They get you darker in a few different ways, depending on which brand you go with. Some of them work to increase the melanin that your body creates naturally to give you a tan look. Others will try to increase how much blood is flowing to your skin, which provides the same result. It is important to note that these lotions do not contain sunscreen so they should not be used in an effort to block the sun or its harmful rays.

This could be a nice compromise between dermatologists and those that want to get a natural looking tan. While not quite as safe as sunless tanning, these lotions reduce the amount of time spent in the tanning bed so it’s actually a healthier way to get a tan than using the bed alone.

Tanning Oil
Tanning oil is meant to be used while you’re outdoors sunbathing. Usually these provide some amount of sun protection, allowing the harmful rays to be blocked while still allowing the rays responsible for tanning to get through. Many dermatologists do not recommend using this because it still allows harmful rays to heat your skin and people stay out in the sun longer than they should when using these oils.

Sunless Tanning Lotion
Sunless tanning lotion is recommended by dermatologists over sunbathing because it gives you a darker look without having to wait outside in the sun for so long.

The only problem with sunless tanning lotion is that it doesn’t quite work out the way it claims to in most instances. It doesn’t provide a natural look, and it doesn’t provide even results. Some of the more advanced systems are better than others, and you can even get a sunless tan airbrushed onto your body by a professional. But even these results leave something to be desired.

To counteract the harmful effects of the sun’s rays over long periods of time, it is recommended to use sunscreen or sunblock on a daily basis if you live in an area with lots of sunshine. The accumulated effect of getting daily sun to the same areas can produce wrinkles, sun spots, make your skin look old and aged, and on the most dangerous side can lead to skin cancer. That’s why it’s important not to get sunburned or to get repeated sun in the same spots day after day, as part of your plan to get a tan.

The Claim
Since some of these products are claiming that you can get the same caliber tan from a bottle that you can from the beach or the tanning bed, they’ve got their work cut out for them. It seems logical that someone should have been able to create a tanning lotion that works perfectly by now. With all of the advances in science and technology, and all of the advances in skin care products, it seems that there would be a fantastic product that does deliver a stellar tan with no muss and fuss.

The Hype
There’s not too much hype, in fact sunless tanning lotion actually suffers from a stigma of being not so effective. Many people have tried it through the years and have ended up with overly-orange knuckles and elbows, while others have gone too far with it and ended up a deep shade of orange, making it rather obvious they did not get their tan from the sun.

So people are still trying to find that perfect medium where they don’t have steaks, where it goes on evenly, and where it gives them the right shade so that it seems natural. Some people will even go so far as to have another person use an airbrush to spray the self tanner onto their body evenly.

There is some hype with indoor tanning lotions because they claim to get you pretty dark, and of course there are people that say they didn’t get very dark at all, so some of the claims are a little exaggerated. Also, many celebrities and reality TV actresses promote some of the brands so these lotions get a fair amount of attention.
The Cost
Tanning lotion is usually cheap, and that’s its other big draw besides being safer. You can usually find a bottle of well-reviewed sunless tanner for $20 or less. You can pay more for the more advanced systems, if you’re very serious about using an at-home tanning system.

Some of the indoor tanning lotions can get pricey, $40 or more for a reasonably-sized bottle. That’s on the high-end, you can get others for around $20 for the same sized bottle.

The Commitment
Unless you go to a tanning salon and use one of their liquid tanning systems you’ll have to commit to doing it yourself at home with a bottle of tanning lotion. It can be tricky to get all of your areas, so you might want to enlist a trusted friend to help you get your back.

With sunless tanners if you want to keep the look, you’ll also have to commit to re-applying the lotion regularly, as it does wear off over the course of a week or so with natural showering and daily wear. So you’ll need to keep going through with it again and again once you find the right system and shade that works for you.

With indoor lotions you’ll have to commit to a regular schedule of visiting the tanning salon, and using the lotion in conjunction with your sessions. This can get rather expensive, combining the cost of the trip to the salon with the cost of the lotion. So you have to make sure it’s really worth it to you, or you won’t be able to keep the look going.

There are so many different brands, and different shades of tanning lotion that it’s impossible to evaluate each of them individually. These products are continuously getting better and better, so don’t be surprised if you tried them in the past with mixed or bad results. You should try them again and see how they’ve improved.

Also, you should try a different type of tanning lotion to see if you get better results. For example if you’ve always tried sunless tanners usually give indoor tanning lotion to try. They’re much more effective at providing the results as you are not only using a tanning bed you’re using the lotion to get you more even results in less time.

How to Get a Natural Tan the Safe Way
There is a way to get a natural tan without causing yourself any harm from the sun. Contrary to popular belief, the sun is actually healthy for us and helps us produce vitamin D. Without getting regular doses of sunshine you can subject yourself to low energy and even depression. Getting the right amount of sun feels good but you just can’t start laying out if you’re used to not getting any sun at all.
Start off by getting a few minutes of sun, and continue this process adding a few minutes to your session gradually building up so that you can stay out in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes without feeling like you’re getting burned. Your skin will naturally build up a tolerance to the sun and give you a nice glow without causing you any damage relating to any long-term problems.

What most people do is not get any sun for most of the year and then slop on some sunscreen and lay out in the sun for hours at a time while on vacation. This is very unhealthy, not only because they’re not getting sun for most of the year, but also because they’re getting too much sun at once even with the sunscreen on. People think that when they put sunscreen on they are impervious to the sun. This is not true, and your exposure to the sun should still be monitored with or without using sunscreen.

Our Recommendation on Tanning Lotions

Sunless tanning lotion has gotten a bad rap over the last decade because it has been evolving. The products on the market today are cheaper than their predecessors and they are more effective at producing the results you want. Unfortunately, there’s no one lotion that works great for everyone that tries it, so you just have to read the labels, and give it a shot to see if it’s a match for your complexion.

Indoor tanning lotion, on the other hand, has gotten very good reviews and is the method most used to produce celebrity-looking results. This is because you don’t rely on the lotion itself to give you the bronze look, it’s like a one-two punch of tanning the regular way and boosting it with the lotion.

If having a tan is really important to you, you’ll want to dabble in the different options you have available to you. It’s best and easiest to get it professionally applied, but it’s also the most expensive way. As is usually the case, this will get you the best results. But if you can’t afford it you’ll have to use a process of trial and error until you find the right tanning lotions for your skin tone.

Stay Safe
Never jeopardize your health for beauty. Always stay safe in the sun, and get your tan as safely as possible. Don’t stay out in the sun for more than 20 minutes at a time, unless you’ve already built up a tolerance to it. Also, be sure to use moisturizers like those found in indoor tanning lotions to keep the skin healthy and smooth, because no matter how you do it tanning will dry up your skin.