Guide To The Best Indoor Tanning Lotion For That Perfect, Healthy Tan!

Before hitting the tanning bed, you might want to grab the best indoor tanning lotion you can find, or else suffer the consequences. Without any tanning lotion, your skin could end up dry, dull, flaky and just not looking all that good.

Lucky for you, this article is here to tell you exactly why you need an indoor tanning lotion, the benefits, and other stuff you should know. Also, it will introduce you to several product reviews to further help you find the best indoor tanning lotion for your skin type.

So, what are you waiting for? Read on and let’s get right to it!


What Is An Indoor Tanning Lotion?

Best Indoor Tanning Lotion

Indoor tanning lotions are the types used in tanning beds and salons, and should not be used under the sun. They contain no SPF to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, although some have sunscreen included.

In fact, indoor tanning lotions tend to intensify UV rays rather than block them. This makes their job of giving you a faster, darker tan more effective. They can also keep your skin healthy and may protect you from skin cancer in the long run.

Benefits Of Indoor Tanning Lotions

Best Indoor Tanning Lotion

The main reason for the use of indoor tanning lotions is to prevent your skin from drying out during the process. Since indoor tanning accelerates and intensifies the tanning process, the skin also tends to dry up quickly.

This could lead to peeling, which is undesirable since this will cause you to lose your tan sooner.

So, the benefits of indoor tanning lotions are:

  • Saves time and money
  • Skin moisturizing and hydrating properties 
  • Intensifying UV light for faster tanning 
  • Reduces the chances of getting tanning-induced wrinkles 
  • Can protect from or remove after-tanning odor 
  • Protects skin from burns 
  • Continues the tanning process after a session 
  • Improves skin condition

The Different Types

There are two common categories of tanning lotions: tingle tanning lotions and bronzers. Both can contain moisturizers but will not provide protection for outdoor tanning.

Tanning lotions that produce tingles have ingredients that boost blood flow to the skin surface, creating a tingling sensation. This works to speed up the tanning process.

This can cause a burning sensation in the skin that decreases along the session and with subsequent use. Some products give more intense effects than others. Some people also tolerate or even prefer getting the burning sensation while others do not.

Bronzers, on the other hand, generally contain DHA for producing a golden tan. Bronzers help darkens a tan and adds a glow to a color, which gives best results when used over a base tan.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is an ingredient found in majority of self-tanning lotions. It causes the darkening of amino acids and dead skin cells in the body.

The effects can last for a week, and many products contain DHA. However, there have been investigations about DHA possibly causing damage to the skin or your DNA when used long-term.

Things To Consider Before Trying Indoor Tanning

There are a few things you should do and consider first before jumping into indoor tanning to get the best results and save you from burns, streaks, allergies or rashes.

  • When using a tanning bed, it is not recommended to use products containing sunblock or mineral oil.

Mineral oil is present in many moisturizing products, but quality tanning lotions do not contain mineral oil, which can damage the acrylic of the bed.

  • Always do a patch test for skin sensitivity and for color

This is important because we all have different skin types and sensitivity. So, a product that works well for a lot of people may not work as great for you. One ingredient can cause irritation or a full allergic reaction.

Our skins also have different chemistry, and may react differently with tanning products. One person’s perfect tan can be a little yellow or orange for another.

It is important to do a patch test to ensure that the product gives you the shade that you prefer.

  • Read and follow the directions carefully

This is the best way to make the most of a product and minimize the risks of using it. Be mindful of the required time of use, reasonable results, and dafety precautions indicated in the packaging.

  • Always wash and scrub your hands after applying bronzers

This is to prevent discoloration or staining. You should also shower to remove the product a few hours after tanning, depending on the directions provided.

  • Never use tanning lotion on children’s skin

What To Look For In The Best Indoor Tanning Lotion

To find the best indoor tanning lotion, there are several things that you should check or look for. Here, a list is provided to help you choose before deciding and buying what works best for you.

  • SPF

Most indoor tanning lotions do not have SPF, so do not protect against sun rays. Be mindful of this befor using a tanning lotion under the sun especially when doing this for extended periods of time.

  • Formulation

Typically, the formulation of an indoor tanning lotion is 5% UVB and 95% UVA that tells about how the product enhances the effect of UV rays without much of the harmful effects.

  • Natural Ingredients

Natural oils, herbal extracts, vitamins and antioxidants are great to have in a tanning lotion. They help keep your skin healthy and prevents it from suffering too much due to tanning.

  • Hydration Capacity

​One of the best benefits and function of indoor tanning lotions is keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized despite exposure to heat and light. This will make your skin firm, smooth, soft and supple.

  • No After – Tan Smell

After tan smell can be due to bacteria on the skin reacting with radiation. Ensure that the tanning lotion has a good smell and anti-bacterial elements to reduce bad odor.

  • Tan Enhancers

Tan enhancers are usually ingredients that make your tan last longer, give your skin a natural glow, reduce streaks and gives more even tanning. These can also be anti-aging, anti-peeling, anti-flaking or skin-firming formulas.

Five Best Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews

To help you narrow down your choices, here is an overview of some of the most reviewed and highly recommended indoor tanning lotions.

**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

best indoor tanning lotion


Last but not the least on our list is another tanning lotion that gives you a deep, tropical tan without the use of bronzers or tanners. JustNatural tanning indoor lotion aims to accelerate, prolong and preserve your tan.

The product provides a deep, long-lasting tan. The natural ingredients also nourishes your skin for a healthy, naturally youthful glow.

It is especially designed to be used in tanning beds but can also be used outdoors. You can also use it as a daily skin moisturizer for skin that feels and looks better.

It can be used with sunscreen if you decide to use it outdoors. It does not contain mineral oil, artificial colors, chemical fragrances, or parabens.

The formula contains Kokum butter, Avocado oils and Hazelnut blended with Papaya extracts, Aloe Vera, Noni, coffee and Guava to hydrate your skin. It is made with gluten-free ingredients and infused with Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E.


  • The effects last longer and tanning can be done less frequently
  • Nourishes skin with natural ingredients
  • It is best for use in tanning beds
  • No parabens, artificial color or fragrances 
  • No mineral oil 
  • Gives deep, dark, long-lasting color


  • Not a sunless tanner or a bronzer
  • Does not contain sunscreen

best indoor tanning lotion


First on our list is the Paint it Black auto-darkening Dark Tanning lotion by Millenium that aims to give the darkest tan possible. This product has been receiving great reviews from many tanners because of the smooth and even results it can provide.

It contains a silicone blend of moisturizers that leaves your skin conditioned and smooth even long after a tanning session. The Clean Cotton Blossom scent is also fresh and nice without being too overpowering.

If you experience and dread that tanning bed smell, it’s worth noting that this product can free you from this. The pleasant scent can mask that after-tanning skin smell. It leaves your skin smelling good all day after tanning.

Although this tanning lotion works especially great for fair skin, satisfactory results have been reported by users of all skin types. Also, it does not contain tinglers that may be bothersome to other tanners.


  • Can be used in a tanning bed or outdoors under the sun
  • Does not leave orange streaks
  • Smells good
  • Does not rub off on clothes 
  • Not greasy


  • Reports of no or short-lived results
  • Contains DHA and parabens

best indoor tanning lotion


The New Solid Black Bronzer by Millenium Tanning is another great option. Different from the previous Paint it Black tanning lotion, it contains tinglers and bronzers.This advanced tan darkening lotion also contains silicone balm that makes your skin supple and soft. It can also improve the texture of your skin, leaving it looking and feeling good after tanning.

The bronzer works quickly and results are already seen after the first use. This is due to tyrosine, a component that increases your skin’s production of the pigment melanin, and so darkens your skin tone.

The product also has a delightful Orchid Blush scent that remains long after a tanning session and removes tanning bed smell. It is also loaded with moisturizers like pecan seed oil, hemp oil, walnut oil and sunflower seed oil that maintain skin health.

Vitamin E, willow bark and chamomile ingredients also aid in soothing the skin during and even after every tanning session.


  • Provides a deep tan
  • Applies smoothly
  • Moisturizes and protects skin
  • Leaves skin smelling good


  • Few users experienced yellow or orange streaks
  • Can leave stains on the hands because of the quick action 
  • Contains DHA and parabens

best indoor tanning lotion


Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion contains skin-friendly coconut milk and coconut oil with a scent that transports you to the tropics. It gives your skin a deep golden, darker, longer lasting tan.

This product does not have bronzers or tanners, and has only tanning intensifiers that increase melanin formation. This provides you with a dark tan that originates deep in your skin.

The active ingredient is Quad tyrosine blended with a special melanin formula called melanobronze that darkens your skin faster. The effects can also work even after a tanning session.

The mixture of moisturizing cocoa butter plus the coconut oil and milk hydrates your skin, preventing dullness and dryness. The formula also makes the lotion lightweight, non-sticky and easily absorbable by the skin, leaving it smooth.

Another bonus from this product is that it can protect and extend the life of your tattoos as well. It has a protective action against color fading so you don’t have to use any additional product.

In addition, Body Fit technology makes your skin firmer and healthier, reducing the formation of cellulite.


  • Can be used in a tanning bed or outdoors
  • Prevents cellulite formation
  • Protects the color and extends the lifespan of tattoos


  • 10% of users reported no results
  • More expensive than most tanning lotions

best indoor tanning lotion


The tanning favorite, Cheeky Brown Tanning Lotion, is now made even better, with bronzer. It can give your skin a golden, sun-kissed smoothness with caramel and henna.

It is formulated with various Australian oils and Vitamins A and E that keeps your skin healthy and hydrated. It also protects and softens the skin for an optimum tanning experience.

This product does not contain any mineral oil and only has very little alcohol that allows the skin to retain moisture. The cocoa dreams fragrance smells of vanilla which most people find delightful and nice.

It also contains special, natural herbal DNA that helps fight aging and gives you a youthful glow. This also helps in repairing damaged or unhealthy skin.

The tanning accelerator can act as an even perfect base tan. The dark brown bronzers give your skin a smooth, even tan without streaks or spots. The product is also neither too oily nor dry and can be easily applied.

The bronzers are also made from natural herbal extracts that are safe on your skin and can give you a beautiful glowing tan. The color also gradually builds up and is not likely to fade away upon exposure to sunlight or UV radiation.


  • Keeps skin smooth, supple and moisturized
  • Fights aging and repairs damaged skin
  • Easy to apply 
  • Contains natural herbal extracts, oils, and vitamins


  • Requires sunscreen if used outdoors since it lacks SPF
  • Must be applied every 2 to 3 days to keep the tanned skin color 
  • Some people dislike the smell


Best Indoor Tanning Lotion

To wrap it all up, the best indoor tanning lotion based on these reviews is the JustNatural indoor tanning lotion. It is made with all-natural ingredients that keeps your skin healthy, aside from giving you a long-lasting, glowing tan.

Did you find this article helpful? Feel free to share and to leave your comments, suggestions, or questions in the comment section below! I’d love to discuss them with you!

Emily Brathen

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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