What is a Bronzer Bed?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A bronzer bed is a kind of tanning bed that delivers a darker tan that lasts longer than tan achieved on regular tanning beds. These results, however, are achieved through multiple sessions. Many people use this kind of tanning machine because of the kind of tan that it can help them to achieve and also because tanning in a bronzer bed is much less likely to result in sun burn than tanning in a regular bed.

Bronzer beds can deliver a longer-lasting, darker tan than regular tanning beds, but may require multiple sessions to do so.
Bronzer beds can deliver a longer-lasting, darker tan than regular tanning beds, but may require multiple sessions to do so.

One key difference between a bronzer bed and a tanning bed is the kind of light bulbs that are used in the machine and the types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that the bulbs produce. Another key difference is the percentages of the various kinds of UV rays that the bulbs produce. Both kinds of tanning machines include a row of bulbs on the lower part of the bed where tanners rest during sessions and a row of bulbs on the upper part of the machine, which opens and closes to allow tanners to enter and exit the machine. Most tanning beds include between 10 and 50 bulbs that span the length of the machine. A bronzer bed, however, use between 30 and 60 bulbs.

Both sunbathing and bronzer beds can damage skin and cause it to age prematurely.
Both sunbathing and bronzer beds can damage skin and cause it to age prematurely.

In a tanning bed, the kinds of bulbs that are used produce a slightly higher amount of UVB rays than the bulbs that are used in a bronzer bed. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin while UVB rays only penetrate the top layers. As such, the bulbs that are used in the bed create a tan that is deeper and also is less likely to burn the top layers of the skin. However, because the bulbs used in bronzer beds only include a small percentage of UVB rays, it takes longer for the tan to become noticeable. Many tanning salons recommend using a tanning bed to create a base before starting a series of sessions.

It is very important to remember that tanning of all kinds, in the sun or in a tanning bed or bronzer bed, can lead to serious skin damage and even skin cancer. Tanning and bronzing should be limited in terms of frequency and the intensity of the sessions. It is also very important to take care of the skin after tanning. Be sure to moisturize the skin in order to replace hydration lost during the tanning or bronzing. This can also help to reduce peeling.

A bronzer bed is less likely to result in sun burn than tanning in a regular bed.
A bronzer bed is less likely to result in sun burn than tanning in a regular bed.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

@simrin-- I don't know about bronzer beds. They don't burn skin but I heard that they do more damage to skin in the long term. Since the rays go deep into skin's layers, bronzer beds apparently damage more skin cells.

I think they're more dangerous also because people might be inclined to use them more often.

SteamLouis

@ZipLine-- No matter what type of bed is used, tanning is never completely safe. There is always risk of skin damage.

I tan only once or twice a year but when I do, I prefer a bronzer bed instead of a tanning bed. I have very fair skin and just ten minutes in a regular tanning bed is enough to burn me.

I've never had this problem with a bronzer bed. Of course, I don't overdo it. I only go in fifteen minutes at a time, but I never burn. It's great.

ZipLine

I've always wondered what the difference was between tanning beds and bronzer beds. Thanks for the information! As far as I understand, bronzer beds are not any less dangerous than tanning beds health wise.

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