What are Tanning Stickers?

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  • Written By: Mandi R. Hall
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2019
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Typically a tanning sticker is a regular sticker — an adhesive piece of paper that has been shaped or patterned — that is applied to a person’s skin before exposure to rays from the sun or tanning bed. While the skin around the sticker tans, the skin below the sticker or decal remains its initial color. Such stickers have been used for decades, though their date of inception is relatively unknown. They may be purchased at tanning salons or online.

Tanning stickers may be used anywhere — on the beach, in the back yard or at the neighborhood pool. Many people prefer to use them in the privacy of a tanning bed within a tanning salon or boutique, though. Tanning stickers may be utilized at the same time as tanning lotion or bronzing lotion. Those who use the adhesives, however, should keep in mind to apply them to a dry area of skin. A tanning sticker applied to slick or wet skin may fall off or slide, causing the desired light patch of skin to lose its intended shape.


Experienced tanners often apply small tanning stickers to an area of the skin that isn’t immediately noticeable, such as behind the knee or on the foot. These stickers can monitor the skin’s tanning progress when used consistently in the same area. A tanner who places the tanning sticker in the same spot before tanning each time can effectively measure the skin’s pigment or tan line against the paler area after each use.

Tanning stickers are also a way for people to show off their newly bronzed body. People who may not be ready for the permanency of a tattoo or piercing can utilize the decals as temporary body art. Rather than place the sticker in a semi-hidden area on the skin, these tanners often place them in areas such as the lower back, belly, arms, or hips. Popular shapes include hearts, stars, bunnies, dolphins, or initials, though the shape varieties are endless.

Both indoor and outdoor tanning poses significant risks to the skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns both men and women that UV radiation causes damage to the skin, whether it arrives from the sun or from a bulb. Consumers may use tanning stickers while using a spray tan or aerosol tan, too, however. Firmly applying tanning stickers before the faux tan application will allow consumers to enjoy the temporary body art without the harmful effects of radiation.

While tanning stickers may be bought at a tanning boutique or on the Internet, some consumers buy regular craft stickers from a convenience store, instead. They essentially work the same way. Consumers who easily react to glue or adhesive should heed caution.


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