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How to Use Tan Accelerators for Sunbeds & Bathing

How to Use Best Tan Accelerators

Jackie Mcilroy |

Wanting to ditch smelly fake tan, stained bedsheets and the tiger bread skin look? It might be time for you to try a natural tan!

We know -  it takes time and patience to build a natural tan. Although results aren’t instant, they are much longer lasting and have a certain glow that fake tanners can't always mimic. If you're getting ready for a sunny holiday, prepping for a special event, or just want a bronzed look all year round, a natural tan can be the way to go. 

And we’re here to help you speed up the tanning process - with tan accelerators. 

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about tan accelerators, covering what they are, how they work, and the best ways to use them both outdoors in the sun and at the sunbeds. 


What is Tan Accelerator?

A tanning accelerator is a specially formulated lotion or cream designed to help you achieve a faster and more vibrant tan. Used with sun exposure, either from natural sunlight or tanning beds, tan accelerators boost the skin's natural tanning process, giving you a deeper, richer colour in less time.

Tan accelerators come in various forms, including lotions, creams, oils, gels and even drinks. These products contain ingredients which stimulate melanin production, as well as moisturisers that keep your skin hydrated.

They’re suitable for all skin types, and make it much easier to tan during both sunbed sessions and sunbathing.


How Does Tan Accelerator Work? 

Tan accelerators work by increasing melanin production in your skin with key ingredients like tyrosine. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its colour. By boosting melanin levels, tan accelerators help you achieve a darker tan in less time when exposed to the sun or using sunbeds.

 Key Ingredients in Tan Accelerator:

  • Tyrosine - Stimulates melanin production for a deeper tan.
  • Aloe Vera - Hydrates and soothes the skin.
  • Coconut Oil - Moisturises and nourishes the skin.
  • Vitamins A and E - Protect the skin and promote healthy cell growth.
  • Natural Oils (e.g Carrot Oil) - Enhance the skin’s natural tanning ability.

You can use tan accelerators as creams, lotions or oils that you rub into your skin before sun exposure. But remember, these topical products are for external use only - don’t eat them! There are also tan shots that you can drink, which are very popular in tanning salons. 

With so many different tan accelerator options, it makes it easy for anyone to get a gorgeous tan in no time.


How to Use Tan Accelerator for Sunbeds

To speed up tanning on sunbeds, apply tan accelerator cream evenly to your skin at least 30 minutes before your sunbed session. This gives the ingredients time to activate and boost your natural melanin production. After tanning, continue to use the cream 1-2 times daily to deepen, maintain and extend the life of your tan.

Tan Accelerator Tips for Sunbeds:

  • Use Enough - Make sure you use enough tan accelerator to cover your body generously for an even tan. We suggest using about a tablespoon of cream per limb and for your torso. 
  • Application Areas - Apply the tan accelerator to all exposed areas of skin. Elbows, knees, and ankles may need extra coverage as they tend to dry out and tan unevenly. Avoid applying cream to sensitive skin like armpits or intimate areas. 
  • Reapplication - Apply the cream every time you use a sunbed. For best results, visit the sunbed 2-3 times per week, allowing at least 48 hours between sessions to protect your skin!
  • Post-Sunbed Care - Continue to apply the tan accelerator cream 1-2 times daily to maintain your tan and keep your skin moisturised.


How to Use Tan Accelerator for Sunbathing 

When trying to achieve a tan while sunbathing outdoors, apply tan accelerator cream evenly to your skin at least 30-20 minutes before sun exposure. Always use sun cream as well, as tan accelerators don't provide UV protection. After sunbathing, use the accelerator 1-2 times daily to prolong your tan.

Tan Accelerator Tips for Sunbathing Outdoors:

  • Use Enough - Again, ensure you apply a sufficient amount of tan accelerator for even coverage. Approximately a tablespoon per limb and for your torso is recommended.
  • Application Areas: Focus on all exposed areas, paying extra attention to elbows, knees, and ankles as they tend to dry out and tan unevenly. Avoid sensitive areas like armpits and intimate regions.
  • Reapplication - Reapply both your sun cream and tan accelerator every two hours. Increase the frequency if you're swimming, sweating, or towel drying to maintain protection and enhance tanning.
  • Post-Sun Care - Keep using the tan accelerator cream 1-2 times daily after sunbathing to maintain your tan and keep your skin moisturised.

*Note* It's important to remember sunbeds offer controlled UV exposure, which can lead to a more consistent tan. However, sunbathing outdoors exposes you to varying levels of UV rays depending on the time of day, weather conditions, and location. This means your tan may not develop as consistently when tanning outdoors compared to sunbeds.


How to Use Tan Shots for Sunbeds & Sunbathing 

Tan shot accelerators are another great way to boost your tanning results, during sunbed sessions or in natural sunlight!

Tan shots work by delivering a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support melanin production and skin health. When you drink a tan shot, these ingredients help your body produce melanin more efficiently, which enhances your natural tanning process. By starting a few days before tanning and continuing daily, you can achieve a deeper, more even tan from the inside out.

Here’s how to get started with tan shots:

  • Drink one tan shot daily. Start this routine a few days before you begin tanning. This gives the ingredients time to build up in your system and start working their magic!
  • Consistently take one shot each day throughout your tanning period. This steady intake helps your body increase melanin production, which means a deeper, more even tan. We suggest picking a time that works best for you to take your tan shot daily - morning, afternoon, or evening.
  • Drink plenty of water! Staying well-hydrated helps your skin tan better and keeps it looking healthy.
  • For the best results, use tan shots with topical tan accelerators. Apply the cream as directed, and let the tan shot work from the inside out.


Choose the Best Tan Accelerators for You

To help you achieve the best tanning results, you're going to need the best tan accelerator for you and your skin. To make the choice easier, we've curated this list of our top 5 tan accelerators, each of which suit different skin types, tanning preferences, and levels of tanning experience.

1. Best Tan Accelerator for Sunbeds:

ProTan Beaches And Cream

ProTan Beaches and Cream Tan Accelerator

Skin Types: Ideal for dry to normal skin.
Texture: Creamy body butter.
Scent: Sweet summer fragrance.

Designed exclusively for sunbeds, this tan accelerator is best for experienced tanners who enjoy a warm yet mild tingle sensation at the tanning salon. Tingling tan accelerators increase blood flow and oxygen to the skin’s surface, speeding up the tanning process. This helps you get a deeper, darker tan more quickly!

2. Best Tan Accelerator for Holidays:

Tan Shot Vitamin Drink

TanShot Extra Tanning Drink

Skin Types: Suitable for all skin types.
Texture: Liquid supplement.
Scent: N/A (consumed orally).

These drinkable beauty shots are great for both beginners and experienced tanners looking for an easy supplement to boost their summer holiday tan. They’re perfect for building a pre-holiday base tan at the tanning salon - they’re even the ideal liquid size for travelling with hand luggage!

3. Best Tan Accelerator for Legs:

ProTan Radically Hemp

ProTan Radically Hemp Tan Accelerator

Skin Types: Best for normal to oily skin.
Texture: Quick absorbing gel.
Scent: Sweet Almond.

If you need to speed up your leg tan, look no further! This accelerator is perfect for those wanting the deepest and darkest tan. Its creamy gelee formula absorbs quickly, meaning it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the skin. Suited for tanning in natural sunlight and sunbeds.

4. Best Tan Accelerator Natural Sun:

Carrot Sun Oil

Carrot Sun Oil

Skin Types: Good for darker skin types.
Texture: Lightweight oil.
Scent: Fragrance free.

Carrot tan accelerating oil is quick and easy to apply, helping you achieve a deep tan fast. It’s natural formula is perfect for sunbathing in natural sunlight, but it can also be used on sunbeds. Great for olive skin or fair skin with a base tan.

5. Best Tan Accelerator for Beginners:

ProTan Hypoallergenic

ProTan Hypoallergenic Dark Tanning Accelerator

Skin Types: Great for sensitive skin.
Texture: Non-greasy creamy lotion.
Scent: Fragrance free.

This tan accelerator is for sunbed use only, and is great if you’re new to tan accelerators and have sensitive skin. It contains soothing ingredients like mango seed butter, aloe vera, and oat kernel oil. Plus, it’s gluten-free, nut-free, and 100% vegan!



If you're new to tan accelerates and still have some questions, check out our tan accelerator FAQs below.

Are tan accelerators safe to use?

Yes, tan accelerators are safe to use when applied as directed. They are designed to enhance melanin production, which helps you tan faster. However, it’s important to consider other safety factors when tanning naturally.

When tanning outdoors, always pair a tan accelerator with SPF sun cream, because tan accelerators do not provide UV protection. A tattoo sun protection cream is also a good idea to prevent your ink from fading.

When tanning on sunbeds, always wear eye protection. Eyelid skin is extremely thin and delicate, so you’ll need an extra barrier to protect your eyes from harsh light. Get yourself a pair of reusable sunbed goggles or disposable sunbed eye protection discs before your next tanning session.

Do tan accelerators contain fake self tan?

No, tan accelerators do not contain fake self-tan. They enhance your natural tanning process without using artificial colourants or bronzers, so they won’t stain your skin or clothes. Ideal for beginners, tan accelerators help you build a natural tan gradually and include moisturising ingredients to nourish and hydrate your skin while you tan.

Do tan accelerators actually work? (on fair skin too?)

Yes, tan accelerators work - even on fair skin! They help boost melanin production, making it easier to achieve a tan. If you have fair skin, start gradually with sunbeds, and remember that accelerators don’t replace the need for sun protection when outdoors. With consistent use, you’ll see a natural, deeper tan developing over time.


Accelerate Your Tan Today

And that’s a wrap - you’ve now got all the key information needed to start building your natural tan with tan accelerators! All you have to do now is give them a try, find one that works best for you, and enjoy that beautiful, long-lasting glow.

Explore our full range of tan accelerators below - and have fun catching those rays! ☀️