Sunbeds vs Tan Tablets. Which One Should You Pick?

Tanning Tablet

During the summer, most people always look towards getting a decent tan for their skin. Sunbeds and tan tablets are usually the first products that users come across. While both of these can be used to achieve the same goal of attaining a decent tan in the summer, they vary significantly in how they work to achieve this goal. Sunbeds were commonly used in the past by most people until it was discovered that they can actually cause more harm than good. Tan tablets were then developed as a safe alternative to sunbeds and are now the popular choice when it comes to tanning during the summer. Below is a brief look at both of these products and the effects they have on the skin and body.


A sunbed is a horizontal tanning bed that appears similar to an MRI machine that was commonly used for indoor tanning. It contains light emitting devices that give out ultraviolet rays. When these ultraviolet rays are exposed to your body, the skin will then attempt to tan so as to guard itself from the damaging effects of these rays. Sunbeds are commonly used in business premises such as hotels, gyms, beauty salons, and leisure centres. The device was first introduced in the 1920’s as indoor tanning became very popular among white people in the west. Most of the people who used the device to tan their skins were women aged between 16 – 25 who were looking to improve their skin appearance or treat a skin condition.

Are Sunbeds Safe?

Using sunbeds so as to achieve a tan is unfortunately not safe to your skin. Most sunbeds emit a greater dose of Ultra Violet rays than the midday tropical sun. The ultraviolet rays emitted in sunbeds increases the chance of developing skin cancer which can be both non-melanoma and malignant melanoma. These risks are even greater among young people as scientific evidence has proven that ultraviolet rays exposure on people below the age of 25 greatly increases the risk of skin cancer on these young people later on in life. While the damage caused by the UV rays emitted in sunbeds cannot be seen immediately, the symptoms can take up to 20 years to appear.

Tan Tablets

Tan tablets or tan pills are small tablets that are ingested so as to provide a natural tan without the radiation. It performs this by providing the skin with a huge dose of colour additives using a substance commonly known as canthaxanthin. A large dose of this substance gives the body no other choice but to store it anywhere thus leading to the skin being tanned. The tan’s colour can range from brown to orange. The tablets themselves do not lead to the supply of melanin contrary to what some people think. The colour simply comes from the excess of colouring that has nowhere to go thus leading to skin colouring. The orange tinge comes from beta carotene, commonly used in most tanning tablets and a derivative of canthaxanthin.tanning tabs

Are Tan Tablets Safe?

While tan tablets are not FDA approved, Canthaxanthin, the major substance used in the tablets, is a safe product that has been FDA approved as a colour additive in food products like ketchup. But a massive dose of the same substance on a daily basis is considered to be unsafe. While there aren’t any serious side effects of using tan tablets, there are some minor ones such as:

– Discolouration of the feet and the palm of the hands.
– Stool discolouration.
– Some gastrointestinal discomfort.
– Induced Retinopathy and blurry vision.


As you’ve seen from above, sunbeds have more health risks will clearly bring about more long-term skin diseases that will negatively affect your body by causing serious diseases such as skin cancer and can also lead to they eyes being damaged especially when eye protection is not used during the tanning process. Tan tablets, however, have fewer risks, the most worrisome being the forming of crystals in the retina which may lead to impaired vision. However, this is very rare and can be seen on few users who use tan tablets that come from unrecognized manufacturers or institutions. Tablets such as Rio Tanning Tablets that come from recognizable institutions are completely safe and can be purchased from At the end of the day, if you need to tan during the summer, then tan tablets are the way to go as they pose lesser short-term health risks.