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There are two types of rays coming from the sun; that’s how sunlight reaches us. These rays are called UVA (long wave ultraviolet) and UVB (short wave ultraviolet). Tanning beds also generate UV light (artificially, of course). Here’s the difference between UVA and UVB sun beds.

UV Tanning Beds

Types of UV Radiation in Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are artificial sources of UV light and are available in UVA, UVB, and even a combination of both types of light. These rays cause a person to tan faster than just being exposed to the sun.

The reason why UVA and UVB rays cause a person to tan much faster than when a person is exposed to the sun is chiefly due to proximity. While the sun is millions of miles away, the ultraviolet light (UVA, UVB or other) given off by a tanning bed is much closer to a person’s skin, which can speed up the tanning process significantly.


Types of Tanning Beds

UVA Tanning Beds

UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper than UVB rays can. They reach the lower layers of the epidermis and produce melanocytes, which produce melanin, and melanin is the pigment responsible for tanning.

Melanocyte: a mature melanin-forming cell, typically in the skin.

UVB Tanning Beds

UVB rays don’t penetrate the skin as much as UVA rays. They mostly affect the outer layers of the skin. UVB rays are more damaging to the skin. Overexposure to this type of UV light can cause sunburn and can contribute to skin cancer. Typically, sun beds emit fewer UVB rays in comparison to the natural source, the sun.


In the hopes of achieving a better tan, more sun beds generate both types of UV light. The reason for this is that UVA rays are responsible for making our skin look more tan as they get deeper into the skin, but UVB rays bring melanin to the surface, which causes our tan to be noticeable.

When present in combination, tanning bed lamps typically emit 93% to almost 99% UVA rays and 7% to 1% UVB rays.

Get Your Tan On

Studies show that indoor tanning can help you build a base tan more quickly and effectively because of the controlled environment. At Veranda Sun, we offer our clients eight different levels of sun beds, as well as a variety of sunless options. Our salon has more sun beds than any other salon in Boulder! In total, we have 19 beds to provide the best possible bronzing results. Reach out to us and we’ll give you more details about our services. We’re sure you’ll love them all!