Use of tanning beds is supposed to improve your skin’s texture and tone, so what could be causing the rash you might notice after basking under the UV lamps? You may be allergic to the sanitizer used to disinfect tanning beds, which reputable tanning salons use to prevent infection and disease. Tanning salons purchase sanitizer wholesale from tanning bed supply chain managers. Even diluted, the harsh chemicals in tanning bed sanitizer can produce an allergic reaction in certain people.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Reaction
An allergy to tanning bed sanitizer will be superficial; that is, you’ll see the reaction on skin that contacted areas of the bed treated with the sanitizer. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include irritation, redness, itching, swelling, blistering, weeping, crusting, rash, eruptions or hives, which are itchy bumps or welts. Some superficial allergic reactions can spread; don’t touch or scratch the irritated skin.
Keeping Track of Allergic Reactions
If you’re unsure whether a tanning bed sanitizer is causing your allergic reaction, keep track of when your allergic reaction flares up. Write down your day-to-day activities, and record the days and times of day when your allergic reaction appears. If it always appears not too long after you tan at a salon that uses a commercial sanitizer, you can deduce that you have an allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient in the sanitizer if no other aspect of your routine has changed dramatically.
Cross-Checking for Allergies
You may be concerned about an allergy to a particular ingredient in tanning bed sanitizer. If so, ask your tanning salon staff which tanning bed sanitizer they use, and write down or take a picture of the ingredients list. Check whether any of the major chemicals in the tanning bed sanitizer are also present in some other household products and cleaners you may have. Most household cleaners are designed not to harm skin — with the exception of harsh chemicals used in plumbing liquids — so feel free to test a small, hidden area of your skin with a different product to see whether it produces the same reaction as what you experience from the tanning bed sanitizer.
Avoiding Allergic Reactions
If you do have an allergy to tanning bed sanitizer, avoid outbreaks by inquiring at different tanning salons what kind of sanitizer they use. Many salons may use alternative sanitizers or sanitizers with natural ingredients that may be gentler to your skin. Also investigate sunless tanning, with cream tans or spray tans, which can produce the desired golden-brown look but without the risk of sanitizer allergies.
References and ResourcesTanning Guides: Tanning Bed Cleaners
eMedicine Health: Allergic Reaction Symptoms and Signs