Can You Wear Jewelry in a Tanning Bed?

man tanning in a tanning bed

Tanning beds can do a great job of speeding up the tanning process. They can give you a nice glow without hours in the sun. However, it would help if you took some precautions to ensure a safe and even tan.  

You can wear jewelry in a tanning bed. However, it is best not to wear jewelry when you tan since It could leave white marks or get hot under the lamps, irritating your skin. 

This article will further explain why it can be a bad idea to wear jewelry in a tanning bed and what can happen if you do. It’ll give you tips on what you should or shouldn’t wear to get the best tan possible.

What Happens If You Wear Jewelry in a Tanning Bed?

There are several reasons why wearing jewelry isn’t recommended. 

If you wear jewelry in a tanning bed, your jewelry may leave a white mark on your skin or get hot and burn you. Jewelry may also react badly with tanning lotion, damaging the jewelry. Otherwise, new piercings can also get irritated when you tan. 

man in a tanning bed

The Jewelry Will Leave a White Mark on Your Skin

Tanning beds target all areas of your body evenly. When you cover up portions of your skin with clothing or jewelry, UV rays cannot reach them as easily. 

The skin that’s covered will tan slower or not at all. 

So, let’s say you are wearing a watch or ring. The skin underneath these items will not get as much exposure as the skin around it. You’d end up with tan lines on your wrist or finger that would be a white outline of the watch or ring. 

Delicate or loose jewelry, such as a necklace or dangly earrings, might not leave noticeable tan lines. These items tend to be thinner or move as you shift your body. 

Still, the area underneath the jewelry will not receive light, leaving a potentially uneven tan line. It probably won’t be as pronounced as marks from watches, rings, or big stud earrings, but any obstruction interferes with a tan.     

The Jewelry May Get Too Hot Under the Lamps and Irritate Your Skin

UV lamps get hot. The heat is a necessary part of the process to emit those sunshine-like rays. 

Depending on what the jewelry is made of, it may heat up under the lamps. Jewelry is often metal, such as gold, silver, nickel, or copper, and metals get hotter in bright, direct light.

If your jewelry gets too hot, it has the potential to burn or irritate the skin it touches. 

Tanning Lotion May Damage the Jewelry

Using a sunbed tanning lotion or accelerating cream can help you achieve that beautiful glow faster. However, it can also get stuck in the small crevices of your jewelry when applying it. While this might not be a long-term issue, cleaning can be tedious. 

Tanning lotion or sweat has the potential to discolor jewelry made from lower-quality materials or metals. Copper accessories discolor and temporarily turn your skin green due to a chemical reaction. Also, tighter accessories like rings or stud earrings are more likely to tarnish when you tan.  

New Piercings May Get Irritated

Health professionals recommend waiting two weeks after getting a new piercing before using a sunbed. The skin in a new piercing is still healing and more sensitive, and it has a higher risk of burning or becoming irritated or infected. 

So, if you just got a piercing, avoid tanning in a tanning bed until it has healed up.

How Do Tanning Beds Work?

To understand what safety measures to take, you should first understand how tanning beds work. 

Tanning beds work by using ultraviolet rays to increase melanin production in our skin. Since they provide complete and even coverage, you can expect a seamless, even tan when you use one. 

Ultraviolet Rays Stimulate the Skin To Produce Melanin

The top layer of skin, the epidermis, produces melanin when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Melanin is what gives our skin a darker color. Skin produces more melanin the longer it’s exposed to these rays. 

Melanin increases when we get a tan since this darkening agent protects the skin from future sun exposure. So, tanning decreases the chances of getting a sunburn. 

Various skin types react to UV rays differently. Lighter skin tends to burn more quickly, while darker skin tends to tan more easily without damage. It’s essential to bear this in mind when deciding how long you should tan.    

Tanning Bed Lamps Give Off UV Rays

The sun produces UV rays, and that’s why our skin tans when exposed to sunlight. Lamps in tanning beds also create these rays so that you can get a tan without having to spend time outdoors or wait for a sunny day. 

In addition, tanning beds emit rays on all areas of the body simultaneously so that you can get an even tan quickly.      

man in tanning bed

What Can You Wear in a Tanning Bed?

Tanning salons have different regulations about what people should wear in the sunbed. It’s a good idea to ask the staff what their policy is. 

You can wear undergarments or a swimsuit in a tanning bed, or you can wear nothing at all. Still, you should wear protective items to prevent burning sensitive regions, such as eyes and lips. In addition, some tanning studios require you to wear clothing when you tan, so be sure to check. 

Swimsuit or Underwear As Desired

Some people choose to wear a swimsuit or underwear in the tanning bed. Doing so can help you protect sensitive skin, track your tanning progress, or feel more comfortable while lying in the tanning bed. 

Keep in mind that you will get tan lines as a result. Any skin covered while using a sunbed will end up lighter than the skin exposed to the UV rays.

Protective Goggles or Eye Stickers

Eyelids don’t sufficiently protect your eyes from UV rays. So, it’s necessary to wear protective goggles or eye stickers to prevent damage to the cornea or retina. 

Most tanning studios offer complimentary eye protection, so be sure to ask for a pair of goggles or stickers before you hit the bed. 

UV-Blocking Lip Balm

Like our eyes, lips are sensitive and may dry out, burn, or crack in a tanning bed. So, you’ll need to protect your mouth from the UV rays. A UV-blocking lip balm can protect your lips from burning or drying out while using the sunbed. 

I recommend using this Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm, which has aloe to heal damage, and SPF 40 to protect your lips from UV exposure. It’s also the perfect lip balm for everyday use, so if you spend any time in the sun or artificial sun, it’s always best to have some of this balm in your pocket. 


Wearing jewelry in a tanning bed isn’t advisable. 

Delicate jewelry such as small stud earrings or a loose bracelet might not cause issues. However, bigger items may leave white marks, cause uneven tans, or get too hot under the lamps. There’s also the issue of potentially damaging the jewelry with UV exposure, lotions, or sweat. New piercings are sensitive and can become irritated more easily.

Your best bet is to remove all jewelry, set it aside, and put it back on after your tanning session.

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