Tanning Lotion Terminology

What is the difference between Accelerators and Maximizers? What about are the benefits of hemp seed oil, tyrosine, copper and other ingredients found in indoor tanning lotions? With all the different formulas of lotion available, it helps to know what key ingredients to look for when selecting a quality indoor tanning lotion. In this article we will help you define the top ingredients and decipher the language behind the indoor tanning lotion industry.


Accelerators v. Maximizers: Accelerators are level one tanning products for people just beginning the indoor tanning process. These lotions are designed to help people achieve a base tan and usually contain a large amount of moisturizers because moisturized skin tans much better, faster and has the ability to hold tan longer. Maximizers: These are level two tanning products for people who have reached a base tan and want to continue tanning. Unlike accelerators, maximizers do not contain high levels of moisturizers. For this reason it should only be applied directly before starting a tanning session.

Tingle: This is a special type of lotion that many refer to as a level three product. However, some companies have different methods of naming the levels of their products. Tingle lotions are usually found in maximizers and it contains chemicals that cause reddening and increase blood flow to the skin. They are available in heated and cooled formulas and act to speed up the repair process of skin causing it to tan faster. Tingle can be very uncomfortable for many people although use over time does help one build up a tolerance to it. These lotions should not be used on sensitive skin as some people are just simply not able to tolerate it.

Bronzers: This feature is found in accelerators and maximizer lotions. It is a sunless self-tanner that is mixed into the lotion for instant results. The trick is to give the immediate illusion of bronzed skin while your skin underneath develops a tan and and plays catch up. It is best to find one that is streak free to avoid the orange or uneven look.

Hemp Seed Oil: This is added to many tanning lotions to help nourish and moisturize the skin. It is a very beneficial and rich ingredient for hydrating the skin. Avocado, Shea, Cocoa Butter: Also added to many tanning lotions to help moisturize, hydrate, and protect the skin.

Body Blush: Very similar to tingle but without the heat and prickly feeling. These lotions are especially made for people who want the effect of tingle but have sensitive skin and a low tolerance for tingle.

Anti-Aging: These ingredient has properties and vitamins that protect the skin from premature aging. Also aids in keeping the skin supple and firm.

Shimmer: This added feature give the skin a luminous glow. Some will have a glittery look. Shimmer lotions add dimension to your bronzed color.

Tyrosine: An amino-acid derivative, added to tanning lotions to produce melanin. Also helps the body produce the mood-influencing chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Because people who are depressed often have low levels of tyrosine, researchers have thought that tyrosine might help treat depression. However, more research is needed.

Caffeine: Added to lotions to help reduce puffiness and energize the skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Caffeine should not be used by people on caffeine free diets or sensitive to caffeine. It does absorb into the body.

Silicon: This is a mineral added to lotions to condition skin. It has moisturizing properties and make skin feel silky smooth to the touch. Beta Carotene or Retinyl Palmitate: Vitamin A that supports pigment coloration of the skin.

DHA: This is usually found within bronzer lotions. It reacts with the skin to make a stain promoting a “fake” tan or bronze color. It is usually combined with other bronzers to enhance skin color and make it even darker. To reach a more natural bronze look select a bronzer that is DHA free. For darker bronze color, DHA is appropriate.

Vitamin E or Tocopheryl: This ingredient renews and softens the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Unipertan: A combination of Tyrosine, Collagen and Vitamin B-2, added to tanning lotions to boost melanin production and boost natural skin bronzers.

The bottom line – never use a tanning product before your skin is ready for it. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by TANfastic Tanning Salon in Grand Junction, Colorado and one of our knowledgeable staff members will be happy to assist you and provide you with more information. Remember, it is beneficial to use indoor tanning lotions to promote and accelerate the tanning process but it should not be rushed to the point of becoming a bigger risk – lotions and oils that are not specifically made for indoor tanning will ruin the acrylics in tanning beds and may also increases the chances of developing skin cancer prematurely. As always, tan wisely and always use eye protection.

Tanning FAQ's

Over the years, our customers have had many questions concerning the tanning process. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions below. If your questions are not addressed here, feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff.

Is indoor UV tanning safe?

Artificial UV tanning comes with the same benefits and risks as outdoor tanning. Both are enjoyable and can improve how you feel about your appearance, but proper care must be taken. Our tanning beds meet FDA requirements and are rated for maximum exposure time. In addition, our technicians are trained to identify the most effective way to achieve your desired result.
If you are worried about exposure to UV tanning rays, try our sunless -airbrush for a UV-free bronze glow that looks just like the real deal.

How does it work?

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) light rays, which are called UVA and UVB. Indoor tanning equipment uses powerful lamps to reproduce this UV light with a mix of UVA and UVB rays.
UVA are mainly browning rays that turn your skin's melanin from pink to brown. This is your body's natural protection from the sun. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB, are less harmful and take a few hours to produce their full results.
UVB rays stimulate your skin's melanocyte cells, which in turn bring more melanin to the surface. These rays penetrate the skin less deeply, add a natural sheen to your skin and take slightly less time to show their full effect.

What is sunless tanning?

Sunless tanning uses a spray-on system to provide a tan-like skin coloring without the use of ultraviolet light rays. A fine mist of DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is applied evenly to the skin to produce a reaction on the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). DHA reacts with skin proteins to produce a bronze coloring within two to 24 hours. Spray tans usually last for up to a week, depending on factors such as how often you shower, shave or exfoliate. Our formula includes cosmetic bronzers so that you leave our salon with a temporary tan as your DHA treatment takes effect.

Does skin type matter?

The short answer is: yes, skin type matters a great deal! The long answer: Tanning salons use the "Fitzpatrick scale" to classify skin types into six different categories. This helps tanning technicians determine the best treatment plan for your skin. The scale is based on the skin's reaction to the first ten to 45 minutes of sun exposure after the winter season. Skin types I and II burn easily and tan minimally if at all. Skin type III burns moderately and tans gradually. Skin type IV tans well and skin types V and VI rarely or never burn and tan very easily. For first-time customers, our tanning technicians perform a free test to identify your skin type and determine the best course of action for your desired tan.