top of page

Skin type

How sunbeds work

0.3 Tanning

Modern Tanning Sunbeds vs Old Fashioned Hot Sunbeds

Using sunbed tanning lotion

Safefy guidelines



If you have VERY FAIR, sensitive skin you are likely to have a high risk of burning when exposed to UV light.

Due to this, it is recommended that you do NOT use sunbeds.

If you have fair to light brown skin your risk of burning is a little less. You will build a moderate tan when exposed to sunlight.

It is recommended that people with fair to light brown skin keep their maximum session times to around 6 to 9 minutes.

For those with light brown skin, dark hair and eyes, burning when exposed to UV light is going to be considerably less. You will tan deeply and quite quickly. Your sessions can last a little longer; around 9 to 12 minutes.


For those with deep brown skin, dark hair and eyes, burning is very rare as this type of skin has natural protection. Sessions can last around 11-13 minutes.

Regardless of your skin type if you are using a sunbed for the first time, you should only use it for 3 to 4 minutes  as your skin may be very sensitive to intense UV light.


You should never have more than one tanning session in a 24hour period and it is recommended to allow your skin to rest for 48hours between sessions.. 

You should never tan in outdoor sunlight on the same day as an indoor tanning session.

And if at any time your skin turns red or is irritated after tanning you should not tan at all until this has completely cleared.

skin type

How do sunbeds work?

The ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB radiation emitted by sunbeds causes skin to tan because they stimulate the production of the skin pigment, melanin.   

Melanin is produced in cells called melanocytes and is responsible for determining the colour of a person's skin and hair.   

The melanin levels in each person will vary depending on how much their ancestry has been exposed to the sun.

This is because UV exposure stimulates the division of melanocytes, which creates more melanin.

Melanin browns as it rises to the skin's surface and thus results in a tan. 

The rate at which each individual burns or tans depends on their skin type.

Skin experts have classified skin types into six groups - ranging from porcelain white skin (type one) through to natural black skin (type six). The darker your skin, the more melanin you have. This means you are better protected from UV rays. 

A sunbed works by emitting UVA and UVB rays to speed up the production of melanin in our skin, causing it to darken more rapidly than a natural tan.

This is because the skin is working harder to protect itself from the high dosage of ultraviolet light.


EU regulation has made it a requirement for all sunbeds to have a maximum UV output of 0.3W/m2. And since then a new breed of modern machines have been born -  Designed to produce just the right environment and the perfect mix of UVA and UVB to achieve a deeper longer lasting tan than those in the past.


Useful link -

0.3 Tanning... 

The best way to tan!

There is a regulation governing the maximum UV output of sunbeds.  This is generally referred to as 0.3 and is approved by the EU and complies with all British and European consumer safety regulations.

A 0.3 tanning session delivers the same tanning effect as the mid-day Mediterranean summer sun but without the risk of burning.

0.3W/m2 is the amount of UV exposure that the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) set as the limit for effective irradiance.  This limit was then added to the European and British standards relevant for sunbeds.  A sunbed with a UV output above this level is deemed as ‘unsafe’.

What you can expect from a 0.3 tanning session:

  • Your tan will be deeper and longer-lasting

  • The tanning process is kinder to your skin

  • The risk of over-exposure or burning is effectively eliminated

how sunbeds work
0.3 tanning

Modern Tanning Sunbeds vs Old Fashion Hot Sunbeds

Even in this modern age of electronic technology there are some customers that are still under the misconception that heat is good for the tanning process.

Heat is an unwanted and costly waste product that was produced in abundance when old magnetic ballasts were used to power the sunbed tubes. For many years sunbed manufacturers have spent a great deal of time and energy installing cooling fans/air conditioning systems designed to remove the heat from a sunbed.

Some long-standing customers still wrongly believe that the hotter the sunbed, the better it will tan / make them go red and eventually tan the skin. The reality is that excessive heat generated has an adverse effect on the efficiency and tanning power of a sunbed, and the reddening of the skin is mainly due to the blood rising to the surface to try and cool the body. The skin will go red when we get to close to any heat source like an electric fire but we don’t get a tan as a result.

The new Electronic technology used modern domestic and commercial sunbeds enables optimized tanning performance within the 0.3 safe tanning regulations. As this is more energy efficient, it enables the sunbeds to run cooler with an optimal temperature of around 26 degrees which increases the overall electrical efficiency.  Modern sunbeds are much cheaper to operate due to the lower power consumption and less components required. The new highly efficient low energy technology is similar to the new LED lighting used in homes, they run on less power which means less heat is omitted, but they are able to increase the output of light or in the sunbeds case, UV tanning rays. 

Many experienced sunbed customers who have embraced this modern technology have welcomed this advance in sunbeds technology and they appreciate the new warm tanning experience and are pleased that you no longer need to sweat to get at tan. More and more tanning customers are very happy with the 0.3 safety regulations and the tanning results that these new tubes are capable of, when used in a modern electronic sunbed.

modern v old

Using sunbed tanning lotion...


Sunbed tanning lotion is a key part of the tanning process. Using a quality tanning lotion will help you to achieve a deep tan much more quickly - 

Sunbed tanning lotions are specially designed to speed up the skin's production of melanin. They are also highly moisturising, which helps to prevent dry skin and promotes the longevity of your tan. ProTan sunbed tanning lotions also contain Vitamin E, which is known for its anti-ageing benefits. If you are looking to buy a tanning lotion, make sure you choose a product that is designed especially for indoor use.

At GoTan we stock a range of ProTan lotions. The market leader in sunbed tanning lotions.

using lotion

Sunbed safety guidelines...

Understanding your own personal risk factors are key for sunbed safety. However these extend beyond awareness of your skin type and length of sessions. Age and medical conditions also need to be considered.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued advice on the health risks associated with using tanning equipment. It recommends that you should not commit to sunbed use if you:

  • Have a history of sunburn - particularly in childhood.

  • Are using creams or taking medicines that make you more sensitive to light.

  • Have lots of moles.

  • Have a medical condition that's made worse by sunlight (such as vitiligo).

  • Have had skin cancer or someone in your family has had it.

  • Already have badly sun-damaged skin. 

  • Have lots of freckles and/or red hair.

  • Have fair, sensitive skin that burns easily or tans poorly. 

Pregnant women are also advised to avoid using sunbeds as skin can be more sensitive while carrying a child so it is more likely to burn.  

It is also recommended that you speak to your GP before using tanning equipment if you have any of the following: 

  • epilepsy

  • frequent headaches or migraines

  • heart problems

  • high blood pressure

  • suffer from allergies.

Useful links;

The above information is provided as a guide only and is not medical advice

bottom of page