Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair? Interesting Facts

In a tanning bed, it’s imperative to preserve your skin and your hair. You might find your hair seems lighter after a few tanning sessions or that there are more streaks of a lighter color, and you might be perplexed as to why this might be occurring! So, the question is Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair?

It’s not simply that your skin seems lighter after using a tanning bed that makes your hair appear lighter.

Like your skin, your hair needs safety from UV radiation since it can lighten or dry out your hair without it.

We have covered everything you need to know to understand better why your hair could lighten in a tanning bed and what you should do to protect it!

Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair?

Your hair can become lighter due to a tanning bed’s UV radiation. This is because they cause your hair’s melanin, which gives it color, to break down. A tanning bed might be helpful if you want to lighten your hair.

Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair
Can Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair?

Your skin and hair can both be harmed by the ultraviolet radiation that the sun’s UV rays and tanning bed light bulbs emit.

While it is simple to believe that the same UV rays would have the same effect on your hair, in reality, it is the reverse. With minimum exposure to UV rays, you can tan your skin and give it a new, darker complexion.

Only the topmost layer of your skin comprises dead skin cells; the layers beneath it are all made of living skin cells.

Your body responds by generating and releasing melanin, which returns darker skin and some protection for your skin when these skin cells are exposed to UV radiation.

This does not occur in your hair because it is formed of dead cells and cannot produce melanin to block UV radiation. 

Because there is no defensive reaction to the UV rays when they strike your hair, they oxidize the already present melanin, producing a lighter, nearly colorless substance.

Your hair may lighten over time and after extensive UV exposure.

Are Tanning Beds Bad For Hair?

Tanning beds can harm your hair; their effects go beyond simply making your strands appear lighter. In particular, UV lamps can significantly dry out your hair if you frequently use a tanning bed without any protection—such as a headband or shower cap.

Are Tanning Beds Bad For Hair
Are Tanning Beds Bad For Hair?

When scheduling your tanning bed session, keep in mind that hair that has been colored or bleached is more susceptible to drying out from UV rays.

Which Hair Colors Do Tanning Beds Lighten The Most?

Do not assume that your dark hair will stay dark after spending a lot of time in the sun or a tanning bed because UV rays can lighten all hair hues.

Because blonde hair contains less melanin than black hair, it tends to lighten more quickly in tanning beds, making it easier to detect the reaction as the melanin gets lighter.

Dark hair can, however, also lighten in a tanning bed. No matter what tint your hair is, if you use a tanning bed long enough, your hair will lighten. Darker hair would take longer to lighten to a discernible tone.

Which Hair Colors Do Tanning Beds Lighten The Most
Which Hair Colors Do Tanning Beds Lighten The Most?

Because the hair cells cannot produce more melanin, after the UV rays have stripped your hair of its melanin and made it lighter, it won’t turn darker again until new hair grows.

However, you could color over your lighter hair. No matter what color your hair is, you should cover it and preserve it from drying out and fading to avoid having your hair lighten in a tanning bed.

Is Lightening Your Hair On A Tanning Bed Safe?

Even if you might like lighter hair, using a tanning bed to achieve this isn’t recommended. Keep in mind that UV rays might be hazardous.

In this instance, it oxidizes the pigments in the hair to lighten it.  However, UV exposure can also damage your hair in other ways. In the process, it can get hurt. It might also become dry and brittle.

The UV light has the potential to harm the cuticle. It could alter the texture as well as the color of the hair. Your hair may be more fragile or frizzy as a result.  That might also cause split ends, damaged hair strands, and hair thinning.

How To Prevent Lightening Of Your Hair In A Tanning Bed?

Thankfully, there are some incredibly simple techniques to stop your hair in a tanning bed so that the only thing that changes color is your skin!

Here are some alternative strategies to shield your hair in a tanning bed from drying out and getting lighter.

Employ A Shower Cap

While it can seem like an absurdly easy fix, covering your hair with a shower cap while in the tanning bed can be a terrific technique to prevent hair damage!

You can purchase shower hats or bonnet caps made specifically for tanning beds—these assist in keeping moisture in your hair while also protecting your hair from UV rays.

UV rays cannot pass through thick shower caps or tanning bed-made hats, leaving your hair in its natural state.

You must only pull your hair back into a ponytail and tuck it all under it to wear a shower cap or bonnet in a tanning bed. Watch that the cap doesn’t extend too far down your forehead to avoid developing a tan line.

Apply A Towel

You could use a towel instead of a shower cap if you don’t have one when entering a tanning bed. Just before entering the tanning bed, you can fix your hair in place by wrapping a little towel around it.

Like the shower cap, the towel will shield your hair from UV light harm. Another advantage of the towel is that it can be a soft pillow for your head while in the tanning bed.

Utilize Heat-Protective Things

When utilizing a tanning bed, heat-protecting products, such as our favorite heat protectant from Moroccanoil, will help maintain your hair in better condition.

To ensure that all of your hair is shielded, they can be applied to your scalp, hair roots, and hair tips.

Make Use Of UV Conditioners

If you frequently use a tanning bed, several conditioners and shampoos have been designed to offer UV protection, such as this one from TRUSS. Select a hydrating conditioner to protect your hair and help it fight off dryness in a tanning bed.

Implement Hair Treatments

Treatments for your hair are more of a recovery than protection, although if you frequently use tanning beds, they can help prevent drying and frizz.

Keep your hair moisturized, nourished, and in the greatest possible, deep condition before and after utilizing a tanning bed.

Can A Tanning Bed Cause My Hair To Lighten More?

While some people try to prevent their hair from lightening in a tanning bed, you should try and do the opposite.

You can do a few things to hasten the process by which your hair lightens when exposed to UV rays, but you must exercise caution because doing so could also cause your hair to become brittle.

One method for accelerating hair lightening combines 2 parts water and 1 part lemon juice. Spray the mixture sparingly through the sections of your hair you want to lighten or the entire head if necessary.

With the addition of water, the lemon juice will be slightly diluted and will assist your hair lightening much more quickly without over-drying it.

After using the tanning bed, thoroughly rinse your hair, and then apply a profoundly nourishing conditioning treatment to restore some moisture to it.


It doesn’t matter what color your hair is; prolonged usage of tanning beds lighten your hair. In a tanning bed, lighter hair will take longer to lighten, whereas blonde hair will do so more quickly.

Use some form of protection in a tanning bed to prevent your hair from lightening, such as a shower cap over your hair or UV-protective conditioners. When sunbathing in a tanning bed, it’s crucial to remember to preserve your hair!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do tanning beds alter the color of hair?

You know that sunscreen while tanning is necessary to protect your skin from UV rays. Your hair is the same way. If your hair has been colored, the UV light can dry it out and even alter how it looks.

Will hair fade with tanning beds?

To simulate the effects of sunlight and help you tan, tanning salons employ fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent lighting emits UV radiation similar to the sun, which harms your skin, hair, and nails. Hair that has been colored or permed may brighten in tanning beds or become damaged.

Does blonde hair suffer from tanning beds?

You ask why? Because tanning booths might damage your hair worse. Blondes are more at risk since their hair can only go so far before turning platinum. Without covering your hair, tanning can lead to significant breakage.

Does using a tanning bed whiten your teeth?

Tanning beds can undoubtedly give you a warm bronze glow. However, they are all with flaws. They also have not been shown to help whiten teeth. Other types of light, such as LED light, hasten the chemical reaction of hydrogen peroxide and remove enamel stains.

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