Tanning Without Goggles, Is it Safe?

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Tanning beds are a great alternative to tanning under the sun. The beds make use of powerful bulbs that produce UV light to tan the skin. 

However, UV light doesn’t just tan the skin, it also has the potential to damage the eyes. That’s why most will advise you to wear tanning goggles whenever you use them. 

You will definitely see reminders all over the tanning salons about wearing goggles while you go for a tan. However, using one could lead to raccoon eyes and no one wants that. 

That’s one of the reasons why some people opt for tanning without goggles. You will certainly prevent having the pesky “raccoon eyes“.

But is it safe?

What happens when you go tanning in a tanning bed without goggles? Should you really skip using the tanning bed when you don’t have any tanning goggles? Or are there alternatives that you can use?


Is Tanning Without Goggles Safe?

Tanning Goggles

Tanning in the Sun

If you’re hitting the beach to tan in the sun, you don’t need to wear goggles. Some still like to wear goggles when suntanning, but typically people just wear sunglasses, or just close their eyes.

Sunlight can be quite powerful, and it is well known that any UV tanning is dangerous to some degree. But your eyes should be safe if you’re tanning in the sun.

Spray Tans

If you’re opting for a spray tan over a tanning bed, good choice! Spray tans from a spray tan machine are much safer than tanning beds. There are very few risks from spray tans. However, one of the risks is getting spray tanning solution in your eyes and nose.

This is why most salons recommend wearing goggles and nostril covers when getting your face sprayed.

Tanning in a Tanning Bed

Tanning using a tanning bed has its perks. However, it also has downfalls and safety concerns. One of them is the raccoon eyes that you could develop due to the use of tanning.

Tanning goggles  cover up the eye area so it isn’t exposed to UV light. That helps protect the eyes but it also causes you to have raccoon eyes. That’s because the skin covered isn’t tanned.

Some people believe that tanning while closing their eyes is enough to protect their eyes from damaging UV light.

But that’s definitely not true.

Only about 25% of the UV rays are blocked by the eyelids. 

That means your eyes will get damaged by the UV light of tanning beds.

Therefore, it only means that tanning without goggles isn’t safe. There are a few things that could happen to your eye when you don’t wear goggles as protection. 

Eye Damage Due To Tanning Beds

What happens if you don’t wear goggles in a tanning bed?

UV light is the main culprit in the damage that can happen to your eye. Not only that but exposing your body too often to tanning and bronzing bulbs also has its significant risks

There are a few harms that your eyes could develop if you expose them to UV light without protection. They are as follows:

1. Long-term Eye Damage

You may feel like you’re okay right after tanning without goggles. But what you don’t know is that your eyes are already receiving damage! If you repeatedly expose your eyes to the powerful amplified light of a tanning bed without protection, you can develop cataracts

Cataracts are cloud-like formations in the eyes. These can cause impaired vision and eventually lead to blindness.

This is due to the retina and cornea getting damaged due to overexposure to UV rays. 

You may not see the effects of the damage immediately but it will be obvious in the long run. 

2. Sunburns

The skin around the eyes is thinner and is more sensitive than the rest of the body. That also means that it can easily get sunburned! Particularly your eyelids (known as Photokeratitis).

Sunburns on the eyes are very uncomfortable. It’s not only the sunburn on the skin but also on the eye itself. That can lead to itchy, watery, and red eyes. 

The swelling and redness of the eyes due to the sunburn can last for a couple of hours. However, it is still very uncomfortable.

3. Inflammation

Eye inflammation can also result from exposure to UV rays. Examples of eye inflammation include photoconjunctivitis, photokeratitis, and conjunctival growths.

All of these can lead to impairment in vision, which cannot be reversed.

Can You Use Regular Sunglasses Instead?

Do you have to wear goggles in a tanning bed? Can’t you use sunglasses instead?

Wearing tanning goggles is essential when you use a tanning bed. However, if there is none available, you might wonder if your sunglasses will suffice. After all, you use sunglasses outdoors in the sun to protect your eyes.

Regular sunglasses aren’t an acceptable substitute for tanning goggles. Remember that the tanning beds produce much higher amounts of UV light than the sun does.

The bulbs can efficiently cause your skin to tan without having to bask in them for a very long time. 

Regular sunglasses may reduce the amount of light you see. But UV light can penetrate through them. The UV damage will not be efficiently prevented.

Wear proper eyewear while tanning under a tanning bed. 

Wear proper eyewear while tanning under a tanning bed. 

Additionally, if the regular sunglasses did work, you’d have a weird tan line due to the shape of your eyeglasses. The tanning goggles are shaped and fitted to make sure it efficiently covers your eyes but still allow the surrounding skin to get tanned. 

Use Tanning Goggles in a Tanning Bed!

Don’t be foolish, use tanning goggles or other eye protection if you’re going to be tanning in a tanning bed.

No excuses. We love tanning, but there’s no reason to harm yourself for a tan!

If you’re tanning at a salon, they should require goggles or other alternatives. If you’re tanning at home, pick up some tanning goggles and use them.

Super Sunnies Evo Flex Flexible UV Eye Protection, FDA Compliant Individual Tanning Bed Goggles, Random Color, 1 Count
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Substitute for Tanning Goggles

No products found.

An alternative to tanning goggles are No products found.. These are stickers that you put over your eyes to protect them from UV light. 

They are shaped like a cone so that your eyelids can still blink in them. However, most people do prefer to keep their eyes closed while tanning under the sunbed. 

These are see-through so they will let you see your environment while still blocking both the UVA and UVB rays. Once you’ve used them, you can just throw them away. There is no need to clean them up. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re tanning in the sun, you shouldn’t need eye protection. But if you’re getting your face spray-tanned, you should wear goggles . And if you’re tanning in a tanning bed, you should definitely wear eye protection.

Typically those who offer tanning bed services provide tanning goggles for their clients. This is because there is a huge risk of damaging the eyes due to the UV rays produced by the tanning bed. 

Whenever you use a tanning bed, you should always use tanning goggles or you risk damaging your eyes. At first, you might not notice the damage but it can eventually cause irreversible blindness.

If you don’t have tanning goggles, a good substitute is eye protection stickers. These are specially made cone-shaped stickers that completely block the UV rays.

You can see through them and they are disposable so there is less chance of contamination among those who use them. 

Super Sunnies Evo Flex Flexible UV Eye Protection, FDA Compliant Individual Tanning Bed Goggles, Random Color, 1 Count
Super Sunnies Evo Flex Flexible UV Eye Protection, FDA Compliant Individual Tanning Bed Goggles, Random Color, 1 Count
BLOCKS OVER 99.9% of the UV-B rays and over 99% of UVA rays while allowing vision; SLIM EYE CUPS minimize the ‘raccoon-eye’ phenomenon associated with tanning indoors
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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).