Do Sunbeds Bring Out Freckles?

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Many people love a nice glowing bronze tan, and many love a fresh freckled face or body.

Tanning beds are often used for creating an even, natural-looking body tan and your natural glow. Do Tanning Beds Bring Out Your Freckles? Do they make them darker and more prominent? What exactly are freckles, anyway?

Let’s take a look at tanning beds and what they mean for freckles.


What Exactly Are Freckles, Anyway?

There are several types of freckles, including brown spots on your skin that form due to sunlight exposure.

They are typically harmless and are often considered beautiful. Freckles are caused by an overproduction of melanin, which determines your skin color. This is also known as pigmentation. UV radiation stimulates the growth of freckles.

Freckles fall into two categories: solar lentigines and ephelides.

The ephelides are the most common type of freckles.

A solar lentigine is a dark patch on the skin that develops during adulthood.

Freckles, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and aging spots can be the result of this. It is possible to see similarities in freckles, but there are other differences as well, such as how they develop.

Are Tanning Beds an Artificial Way to Tan?

Tanning beds work similarly to the sun. Sorta.

Your skin darkens when it is exposed to UVA and/or UVB rays, whether from the sun or from a tanning bed. The UV rays penetrate the skin and stimulate the production of melanin in the skin, and voila, darker, tanned skin.

When dealing with artificial UV tanning bed bulbs, UVA radiation is often prioritized, while UVB radiation is reduced in sunbeds.

Instant tanning beds and bronzing beds complicated this story somewhat, as the ratio of UVA to UVB light is different in these beds than what would be found in typical tanning beds.

Tanning beds work similarly to the sun. Sorta.

Can Tanning Beds Make Freckles More Prominent? 

There is a good possibility that tanning can cause freckles to show up more intensely.

Existing freckles can even appear more pronounced after tanning, and even sunless tanners tend to bring out hidden freckles. As the UV light interacts with the pigment in your skin, it affects the already-dark spots as well.

Tanning bed exposure of up to 20 minutes could be equivalent to two hours spent at the beach unprotected under the midday sun (but without the benefits of tanning in the sun). 

In addition, UVA rays from artificial tanning are three to six times stronger than sunlight. So ultimately, tanning beds make freckles darker and can cause more freckles to appear.

Tanning beds make freckles darker and can cause more freckles to appear.

Are Freckles Something to Worry About?

In general, freckles are harmless and many find them beautiful, so they do not need to be treated. But for some people, they are an annoyance.

However, tanning beds can cause melanoma which can sometimes start out looking like a freckle. This is why it is important to keep an eye on your freckles and report to your doctor if any are changing size, color, or shape. 

It is important to keep an eye on your freckles and report to your doctor if any are changing size, color, or shape. 

UV rays can lead to a number of dangerous skin conditions, so avoiding them is the best answer.

People with light skin and who are prone to freckles will end up with darker, more obvious freckles with continuous use of tanning beds. And often they will get burns as well, which are not good.

In case you are unhappy about the appearance of your freckles, makeup can be used to conceal them, or laser treatment, chemical peels, and liquid nitrogen. Some freckles can fade once you stop exposing skin to UV rays, but they will never truly disappear on their own.


Tanning beds are convenient, fast, and effective, which is why they’re still used, despite the well-known health concerns. Strong UV rays are emitted by tanning beds to produce a healthy-looking tan as quickly as possible. 

However, individuals with freckles often have pale skin and cannot handle the intensity, leading to irritation and increased freckle prominence. If you don’t want your freckles darkening in color and becoming more obvious, avoid tanning beds altogether or only use them on special occasions.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).