According to the Master Tanning Website, tanning lotions typically contains a special moisturizer that helps your skin during the tanning process and afterward. Although both lotions are used for the same purpose, an indoor lotion should not be used outdoors, and an outdoor lotion should not be used indoors.

Indoor Tanning

Indoor tanning beds primarily have UVA rays that are manufactured. The rays are in a controlled environment.

Outdoor Tanning

Outdoor tanning relies on natural UVA and UVB rays from the sun. They are not in a controlled environment.

Indoor Lotion

An indoor tanning lotion assists with tanning in a tanning bed. If the lotion contains sunscreen, it can help with preventing a sunburn while at the same time allowing the skin to tan.

Outdoor Lotion

Outdoor tanning lotions typically have sunscreen in them, which can help protect against the dangerous UVB rays that are produced by the sun. Indoor tanning lotions don’t always have sunscreen in them, so they are not recommended for use outdoors.


Outdoor tanning lotions should not be used for indoor tanning, because the outdoor lotion can make a film on the tanning bed’s acrylic, thus inhibiting the tanning process.