Tanning and Red Light Therapy Together.

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In a previous post, we’ve explained that red light therapy doesn’t make your skin tan. If you want to experience the benefits of light therapy but still get the sunkissed look, you might be wondering about tanning and red light therapy together

Is there such a device that combines red light therapy and tanning? Or could you at least have them both on the same day? The answer to both of those questions is yes. There are tanning beds that combine red light therapy and UV light for tanning, but they are rare.

What is most common is a gym, spa, or other facility that has a red light therapy machine and a UV tanning bed (e.g. the Planet Fitness Black Card membership). And of course, depending on where you live, there are always the benefits of natural sunshine

Let us tell you more about the hybrid tanning beds below. Then, we will also talk about having tanning and red light therapy sessions on the same day. Furthermore, you’ll also discover the effect of going through red light therapy before tanning. 

Why Would You Want Tanning And Red Light Therapy Together?

bikini by pool

Whether you are tanning naturally under the sun or using a tanning bed, UV exposure can lead to skin damage. Sure it can give you a sunkissed glow but that would also come with a price.

Skin damage including melanoma and premature aging is likely to occur due to UV exposure. Over time and due to repeated use, you can have leathery skin, or worse. 

Red light therapy, on the other hand, does the opposite. It doesn’t tan the skin but it helps the skin look younger and rejuvenated.

Red light therapy devices work by improving blood circulation. With this, the transport of nutrients to the different cells of the body, including the skin is easier. Additionally, the removal of any waste or toxins from the cells is also improved.

In such a scenario, the cells will be able to perform better. That means it can prevent premature aging and may even reverse some signs of aging.

These impacts can be seen through the use of large-scale devices like the Beauty Angel RVT-30 or smaller devices like the Pulsaderm which we reviewed here.

Pulsaderm in Use

Combining these procedures is a dream for people who’d want to regularly tan but still keep their skin as healthy as they could. Although using them together won’t guarantee that there will be no damage to the skin. It could at least try to lessen the damage that the other might bring. 

Hybrid Tanning Beds

Hybrid tanning beds that use both UV lights and red lights already exist. However, they are not that common.

For example, this Ergoline hybrid tanning bed works both for light therapy and UV tanning. Many are still not aware of the benefits that such machines could bring because red light therapy for the skin is just recently gaining popularity. 

There are many studies about red light therapy and its benefits and effects. Yet, there are still skeptics that say that the safety of the technology is still not proven.

Although there are no adverse effects observed today, some still question the possible side effects of prolonged use, particularly when combined with the known risks of tanning beds. 

Nevertheless, the newness of the technology and the cost of these hybrid machines are likely reasons they are only slowly being adopted.

As red light therapy becomes more and more popular for use in tackling issues like spider veins, rosacea, hair loss, and even pain, we could expect a rise in hybrid beds in the future.

After all, many are already using them separately today. For example, Planet Fitness offers their Total Body Enhancement red light therapy machines as well as Tanning facilities as part of the Black Card Spa Membership.

Effect Of Red Light Therapy On Tanning With UV Light

If you want to combine red light therapy with tanning today, it is likely best to use the red light therapy machines first before you head over to the tanning bed or bronzing bed.

As we’ve mentioned, red light therapy will increase blood circulation. 

When UV rays hit the skin, it causes a reaction that oxidizes melanin. With increased blood circulation, the oxidation process of melanin is more efficient because the requirements for the process are readily available.

This can help improve the tan because more melanin can be oxidized easily. 

Effect Of Red Light Therapy On Tanning With Self-Tanners

Beauty By Earth Self Tan

Tanning beds and suntanning are obviously very popular, but spray tanning and sunless tanning have been catching up due to their relative safety.

However, if you tan yourself using self-tanners like Tan Physics and Beauty By Earth, or a spray tan from a spray tan machine, the use of red light therapy before or after the procedure won’t improve the tan.

This is because the tanning agent in self-tanners, DHA, works on the outer dead skin cells and not the melanin found on the skin. 

Contrary to the red light therapy’s positive effect on tanning using UV light, it may have a negative effect on your tan with self-tanners. With increase circulation, the cell renewal of the skin may also increase. 

When that happens, the cells that were affected by the self-tanners are likely to be shed-off at a faster rate. This means that your tan could last shorter when you combine red light therapy with self-tanners. 

Although red light therapy can have a negative effect on the tan you achieve with self-tanners, it still has a positive effect on your skin when it comes to preventing premature aging and improving skin health. 

Self-tanners may seem the better option when it comes to tanning. But they could also affect the skin negatively.

A Maillard reaction occurs when self-tanners are used on the skin and this reaction could increase the production of free radicals, according to this study. The free-radicals in increased numbers speed-up the aging process by degrading the collagen as well as elastin fibers on the skin. 

As you can see, constant tanning of the skin, regardless of the method could potentially lead to premature aging of the skin. The question here is is if you are willing to risk premature aging just to give your skin a sunkissed glow. 

Tanning is a personal preference, and many people enjoy soaking in the morning rays. Combine that tanning with some red light therapy sessions, and you may find that your skin is even more supple, glowing, and luxe!


Tanning and red light therapy are possible in a single machine. They are called hybrid tanning beds. However, they are still not that many that produce them or manufacture them.

As an alternative, you use a red light therapy device and combine that with separate UV tanning, outdoor tan, or spray tan. 

When you use UV lights for tanning, red light therapy will actually improve the tan because the melanin will be more efficiently oxidized. However, when using self-tanners, it is possible that the tan won’t last as long. This is because red light therapy will increase blood circulation and help with a faster cell turnover.

Written by Kayla Young

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