Spray Tan or Sunbeds?

Millions of people each year pay to get their bodies tanned but, stopping short of paying for an expensive 2 week holiday some place, what really is the best way of getting an artificial tan?

Most women would agree, adding a little colour to their skin by way of a tan makes them feel much healthier and a lot better about their overall appearance. Looking good comes at a price, so let’s look at the pros and cons behind spray tan or sunbeds.

To help reach a fair conclusion we must ask ourselves a few important questions relating to each technique:

Based on the fact the majority of people in the U.K are of fair skin complexion, the aim is to achieve a tan which is neither too light nor too dark, so let’s take a look at the questions below and compare the two!

Spray Tan

  1. Preparation! What do I need to do pre tan to get a great result?
  2. How long will a spray tan take to perform?
  3. How long will I stay brown, will the tan fade evenly and will the tan stain my clothes?
  4. How much will it effectively cost me?
  5. Are there any health risks?


Spray tans, depending on who performs the tan, are really quick and easy to achieve. Before going for the tan there are a lot of steps we need to take to prepare our skin so as to ensure we get the best result possible. See our in depth spray tan tips guide for more detailed info! These are every day techniques a woman uses in her beauty regime so should be relatively easy to do.

You would probably expect the tan to take no longer than 15 minutes from start to finish (really good!) and it should cost no more than £20 – £30 maximum from a professional tanning therapist which is good value for money. The spray tan will develop really quickly and the end result should be great. The tan should last around 5-6 days before fading, not bad, and should wash off relatively easy once it begins to fade.

There are no real health risks as such. No ageing of the skin and no cancer worries. Just remember to keep your eyes and mouth shut when in the booth! We can also have them as often as we like without fear of damage to our health.


The spray tan will only last up to a week so could turn out expensive if we had 1 a week for a year!

The dreaded orange look is a major worry! If the tan is too dark for our skin tone and not applied to a high standard, we can come out looking like an Oompa Loompa which is not good. Depending on the make of the solution used we can come out smelling like a freshly soiled potato also. See here how to avoid an orange spray tan!

Clothing can be ruined if we don’t take care so can bed linen if we fail to wash off the excess tan properly before retiring for the night.


  1. Preparation? sunbed tanning
  2. How long will it take me to develop a tan using a sunbed?
  3. How many sessions would I need, and how long should each sunbed session be for (how many minutes at a time)?
  4. Again how long does the sunbed tan last and how much would it cost me?
  5. Is it much safer to go with a fake tan or use the sunbed as a one off experience?


No preparation is needed unlike with the spray tan.
A major benefit of using a sunbed is that the UV (ultra violet) exposure helps our body produce more Vitamin D. Experts claim that Vitamin D provides a wide range of benefits to our health!

A deficiency in this Vitamin is linked to various cancers such as  breast, bowel and pancreatic cancers. It is also associated with increased rates of diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis.

Sunbeds would normally cost around £4 for a 9 minute session (which is the maximum recommended exposure for a fair skin type). This is very reasonably priced. You can control the time you spend on the sunbed so can moderate your exposure accordingly. The result is a much more natural looking tan that fades naturally like a holiday tan and lasts up to 4-5 times longer than a spray tan.


By our reckoning  it would take at least 6-10 sessions to achieve the same affect as a good spray tan. That means it would take up a lot of our time. Can you be bothered going to the salon 3 times a week for at least a 2 week period to achieve this type of tan?

An avid sunbed user would do untold damage to his/her skin. Not only visually (think old leather handbag look)  but also developing certain dry/dark skin patches(known as age spots) and rashes. A proven long-term health risk is that you could develop melanoma which is a very dangerous cancer if not caught early. Be sure to check moles for abnormal colour or changes in shape and check for newly formed discoloured patches of skin. Check these 5 Scary Facts about Tanning Beds!

Using a tanning bed without properly protecting your eyes can easily cause burns to the corneas and cataracts. See more health information here.


getting a sunbed tan This really is down to personal preference and weighing up the good and the bad of both methods (each to their own). There is not a lot to gain monetary wise by choosing either method but personally my weighing up of the pros and cons is that going to the sunbed salon for a 2 week solid stint would be a real hassle and the long-term health risks against the short-term gain is not a trade-off I’m willing to pay. As I only want a tan for special occasions the spray tan method is the route I would be most in favour of…

Alternatively do the tan yourself by using these great fake tanning products!

Which is your preferred option, Spray Tan or Sunbeds? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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