Can You Go in a Tanning Bed With Wet Hair? (Read It First!) 

A tanning bed may give your skin a pretty attractive dark complexion, but it might not be the best place for your wet hair. So, can you go in a tanning bed with wet hair?

No, you should not go with wet hair while lying on a tanning bed. In fact, you should keep your hair covered, so it does not get exposed. The UV rays in the tanning bed might ruin your hair and burn your scalp. And if the hair is wet, there might be interruptions in the tanning process.

In this article, we’ll explore the underlying reasons why you shouldn’t go in a tanning bed with wet hair. Later, we’ll give you some helpful tips to protect your hair while tanning. 

Reasons Why You Should Not Go in a Tanning Bed With Wet Hair

Maybe you took a shower and prepared yourself for the tanning bed. Your hair is wet and dripping, and you didn’t take any protection.

Tanning Bed With Wet Hair images

Now, here comes the risk. Let’s find the most crucial reasons why you should avoid doing that- 

Damage Your Hair

As we know, a tanning bed uses Ultra Violate rays to help tan your skin. It’s three to six times more effective than sunlight, so the risks are higher too. 

UV rays can damage your hair by lighting them and causing discoloration. But this effect is more if your hair is wet.

Wet hair reflects the UV rays to the skin of your scalp. This process amplifies the effect of the ray and works more strongly in your hair and scalp.

So it can lead to even more discoloration of your beautiful hair and reddening your scalp. 

Patches on Your Skin

You expect to tan your body evenly, so there’s a dark and radiant glow all over your body. But having wet hair while tanning may leave some unwanted patches on your skin. 

It happens mostly when your hair is dripping wet. The tiny droplets of water may pile up and take off the sunscreen from your neck and shoulders. As a result, when the UV ray is applied, those places might not get evenly tanned. 

And for your unfortunate decision, you get patches on your skin. 

Problems in Tan Development

After getting up from a tanning bed, it’s advisable not to rush for a shower. While showering with water does not wash away tan, it can reduce effectiveness and disrupt the glow you want. 

You’ll witness the exact effect when you have dripping wet hair. The water drops raining from your hair might hamper getting the perfect glowing tan results. 

How To Safeguard Your Hair While Going on a Tanning Bed? 

It’s highly important to take the protection of your hair and skin before going on a tanning bed. Firstly, make sure you are completely dried. If your hair is dripping, take a towel and wipe your hair as much as you can.  

It’s often better to take a shower a few hours before going for tanning. It’ll ensure that you and your hair stay dry while you are lying on the tanning bed. 

Additionally, you can use any of these to cover your hair when you’re on the tanning bed- 


You can Twist your hair with a towel, which would be enough to protect your hair. Make sure that all of your hair is completely covered with that towel so that it can create a barrier for UV rays. You can use a bigger towel if you have long and beautiful hair. 

Shower Cap

Another affordable and handy option is using a shower cap. This particular item is designed to cover your hair. So you can tuck all your hair under it to provide protection. 

A Scarf/Bandana

You can also wear a scarf or a bandana. But first, make your hair into a ponytail so it gets easier to cover them properly. 

Heat Protectant Products

If you don’t like to cover your hair, this option is for you.

You’ll find many products in the market that helps to secure your hair from UV and heat. Those products keep your hair frizz-free, smooth, and hydrated while tanning. So, before going on a tanning bed, you can apply these products all over your hair. 

To use them, start applying at the scalp first, then gently stroke towards the hair strands.


Conditioner is another great protective option to save your hair from being lighter in the tanning bed. So, use a leave-in conditioner before going on a tanning bed to protect your hair. This product will keep your hair safe, moistured, and nourished.

Read It Next: Can Kerosene Kill Bed Bugs? 

Will You Lose Your Hair by Using a Tanning Bed?

It’s possible that tanning may be one of the reasons for your hair loss. Excessive exposure to UV rays might affect the structure of your hair, and eventually, they’ll start to fall. 

When you go on a tanning bed, it exposes UV rays to your body. Now, as a response, your body starts to make melanin. This pigment is responsible for the tone of your skin. So, if your skin has a higher level of melanin, it’ll look tan. 

But that doesn’t work with your hair because your skin has live cells. In comparison, your hair cells are dead. So they cannot produce melanin; instead, they start losing strength. 

If your hair is exposed to UV too often, it’ll start to dry and lose protein. Moreover, the strands will be brittle and start to break. 

In the end, your hair will start to fall often, and it’ll cause hair loss. So make sure to properly protect your hair before going on a tanning bed.

Do Tanning Beds Darken Your Hair?

No, on the contrary! Tanning beds help darken your skin, but they actually lighten your hair. 

It’s because the tanning bed has bulbs that expose artificial UV rays, and these rays break your hair pigment. This process causes discoloration of your hair. 

Unlike your skin, hair cannot produce melanin. So, your hair cannot get dark with exposure to UV rays. As the hair structure starts to break, your beautiful hair – whether it’s dyed or not – will start to get lighter and lose its attractive color. 

Final Thoughts

To protect your hair and for a nice and even tanning result, you should never go to a tanning bed with wet hair. 

Ensure your hair is dried and covered before lying on the tanning bed. 

Read Next: Can Bed Bugs Go in Your Private Parts? 

Some FAQs

How Long Should I Wait To Go Shower After Tanning?

You should wait 3-4 hours before going to shower after tanning. It’s because going immediately to shower will disrupt the development of the tan in your skin. It may ruin the expected glow.  

Do Tanning Beds Whiten Your Teeth?

Tanning beds do not actually make your teeth whiten. However, it can create an illusion of whiter teeth, as your body is darker than before. 

Can Body Hair Disrupt Tanning?

Body hair may not disrupt tanning as it is less concentrated compared to your entire head of hair. However, it’s better to shave your legs a day before going on a tanning bed. It’ll ensure even tanning and better results. 

Can I Go on a Tanning Bed With New Tattoos?

A tanning bed might affect your new tattoo or the healing. It’s recommended to avoid going to tanning beds at least 3 months after getting a tattoo. Moreover, regular tanning can fade your body tattoos over time. 

Is 20-Minute Tanning Too Much?

Yes, it’s too much, and never lie on a tanning bed for more than fifteen minutes. Tanning your body in a tanning bed for 20 minutes is no less than sitting for two hours under the hot sun without any protection. So, you risk burning your skin if the exposure is for extended periods.