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Picking the Right Tanning Lamp Bulbs for an Optimal Tan

Everyone wants that healthy golden tan, and a tanning bed is one way to get it if you don't want to spend hours out in the sun. You might think that tanning lamps are all the same, but they differ greatly based on which bulb you choose. Read on to understand the different types of lamp styles so you get the right result.

What are the different types of tanning lamps?

There are several types of tanning bed styles that deliver different results based on how much UV they output. Some lights are made to mimic the sun for an overall glow while others have more power around the face or arms. You can find both pre-owned and new versions of these lamps on eBay:

  • Standard: These are white or pale blue with no purple areas or dark sections. They give you an even glow.
  • Turbo Facial: These tanning lamps have orange or yellow sections that tan the face faster than the rest of your body.
  • Face and Arms: These have a purple canopy along the top and sides. These have a higher output around those areas to help bronze them quicker.
  • High Pressure: These typically come with a dark purple covering. These are the strongest and meant for quick tanning. These lights only cover small areas like the face.
How do you find the size of the bulb?

The serial number tells you the size of the lamp. Sometimes the serial number is imprinted with black lettering on the glass itself, or you can check the plastic cap on the side of the tanning lamps to see the number there.

There are two different types of caps, and you must ensure that you pick the right one for your tanning bed. The electrical inputs are made to only accept one or the other. There are caps with open prongs without a covering and caps that have the prongs covered by a wall of black plastic. They look very different, so there's no way to confuse one with the other.

What UVB amount should you choose?

UVA and UVB are two different types of wavelengths that mimic the sun and affect how quick and dark your tanning will be. While UVA is important, your focus should be on UVB as this is what will determine both speed and color. A higher amount of UVB, such as 6.5, will result in a fast tan, but it won't be that dark. A lower amount of UVB, from around 2.6 to 3.2, will create darker tanning that will take more time to achieve.