Tanning Bed for Beginners - Do’s and Don’ts

A comprehensive guide to sunbed tanning for beginners, including what to do before, during, and after a session. Formula One Gym highlight the importance of establishing your skin type and following safety guidelines.

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Tanning Tips

Preparing for your first tanning bed session? 

From exfoliating and hydrating beforehand, changing position during the session, and applying a tan extender afterwards, there are some key things you need to be aware of as a complete sunbed beginner. 

In this article, we guide you through sunbed tanning do’s and sunbed tanning don’ts so that you can really make the most out of your session. 

What skin type are you?

First, it’s important to discover what skin type you have before starting any tanning sessions. This way, you can prepare and protect your skin more effectively. 

For the purposes of tanning beds, skin types are typically categorised in six types: very fair, fair, fair to light brown, light brown, deep brown skin, and very dark skin. Please note that if your skin is very fair, you may want to reconsider using a sunbed. 

Here at Formula One Gym, we provide you with a skin type questionnaire at reception so that you can establish which skin type you are. We can also give you tailored advice based on your skin type and your feedback from previous sessions, such as how long to stay on the sunbed. We can even provide the appropriate lotion for your category in preparation for the tanning session. 

What are the do’s and don’ts before a tanning bed session?


  • Establish your skin type to confirm your suitability and to pinpoint the correct tanning lotion for your skin. Our experts at Formula One Gym can assist with this. 
  • Leading up to the tanning bed session, moisturise your skin daily. 
  • Right before your session, exfoliate your skin thoroughly. 
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 
  • Check with your doctor first if you are on medication, as certain medications can react with UV. 
  • If you’re planning a workout that day, do it before a tanning session. That’s because your pores are more dilated post-workout and this may help the UV penetrate more effectively. But you should still make sure you leave time to rehydrate your body after a workout before hopping on the sunbed. For further information on why you should workout before a tanning session, check out our previous article


  • Avoid wearing make-up, perfume or deodorant on the day of the tanning bed session. That’s because these chemicals can negatively impact the even result of the final tan. 
  • For the same reason, please don’t wear watches or jewellery.

For a more in-depth look at how to prepare for sunbed tanning, read our previous article

What are the do’s and don’ts during a tanning bed session?


  • Wear protective eyewear. Closing your eyes or wearing sunglasses is not enough protection against UV. Here at Formula One Gym, we provide clients with ‘winkees’ eye protection completely free of charge. 
  • Select the right bed for you, choosing between standing and lying. The former is a shorter session with more intense UV. The latter is a slightly longer, more relaxing session with less intense UV. Consult with our team to choose the right bed for you. 
  • Change your body position regularly to give attention to hidden or missed areas, for example, where your body has been leaning into the bed. 
  • Wear either underwear or a bikini. Some people also choose to tan naked, but if you’re going down this route, ensure you take extra care of your more sensitive areas to prevent burning. 
  • Protect any tattoos you have with recommended balms, especially if you’ve had them done recently. Check with your tattoo studio for further advice. 
  • Apply tanning lotion just before your session. If you don’t have any, our team can provide bottles of lotion based on your skin type, supported by our friendly advice. 


  • Do not continue the session if you notice your skin reacting unexpectedly. Everyone is different, so make sure you listen to your body. If you notice your skin itching or developing a rash while on the bed, stop the session and consult with a member of the team. 

What are the do’s and don’ts after a tanning bed session?


  • Drink plenty of water to rehydrate. 
  • Continue moisturising your skin every day to maintain its health and hydration after a tanning session. 
  • Consider applying a tan extender lotion onto your skin to maximise the effects. These extenders deeply moisturise and replenish nutrients to help your tan last longer. 
  • Repeat the tanning sessions to get the full effects. Usually it takes at least a couple of tanning sessions to see the best results. 


  • Resist the urge to shower immediately after using a sunbed, as it can negatively impact the final result of the tan. Ask our team at Formula One Gym for advice on how long to leave it before showering. 
  • Be sensible about how often you visit, as too much UV exposure can have negative effects on your skin. We recommend leaving at least 24 - 48 hours between each session and avoid tanning more than 2 - 3 times per week.

Ready to start? If you’re interested in local Nottingham tanning right in the heart of Nottingham city centre itself, visit us at Formula One Gym. Anyone can use our sunbeds in Nottingham - you don’t even have to be a member of our gym. Our friendly team are also here to guide you through sunbed tanning in Nottingham, right from your first visit to subsequent sessions. Get in touch to find out more. 

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