Does Tanning Burn Calories & Cause Weight Loss? [Answered]

Does Tanning Burn Calories

Tanning has become fashionable since 1920, upon which many enchantresses have become huge fans of its golden-brown skin radiance. They have been using different skin-darkening techniques such as outdoor natural tanning, tanning bed, etc. Undoubtedly all these methods furnished the same skin glow and rejuvenation. But, the occurrence of perspiration during the tanning process raised the question, “Does tanning burn calories or cause weight loss?”

Tanning doesn’t burn calories or cause weight loss. Tanning creates sweat mainly to maintain the body temperature, and it barely has any connection with the fat-burning process. The calories you lose on the tanning bed are tremendously insignificant that you attain little-to-no weight loss results.

Before getting to the subject of weight loss, you should first understand the impact of tanning on the human system. By this article, you realize the logical reasoning behind how UV rays enhance the tan result and why it has no connection with the weight-reducing process!

Does Tanning Burn Calories? The Real Truth:

Tanning involves the multi-stage chemical processes over the skin that finally increases melanin production. This raised melanin level makes the tanning session successful by furnishing the dark-brown shade to the epidermis.

For this process, you lay motionlessly flat over the surface (either on the beach or tanning bed) and expose your skin to the UV rays. The UV rays then stimulate the above-discussed tanning process and make the skin look sun-kissed. Thus, it is undoubtedly clear that tanning involves only the chemical process rather than the physical activities.

Fat-burning and weight loss, on the other hand, requires a significant level of physical workouts. Your body loses weight and takes a slim shape only when you lose more calories (energy) than your intake level. Such calorie-burning results occur when you do more and hard sweat-creating physical exercises such as walking, gym activities, etc. This point is really impossible with the tanning session.

But, this doesn’t mean you are not using (or burning) any calories while tanning. Even when your body stays ideal in the resting position, it uses the minimum level of energy to maintain basic bodily functions such as respiration. This energy level is known as the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which your body uses while tanning to maintain vital physical functioning.

In this regard, you burn about 53 calories per hour by lying inactive on the tanning bed (or on the beach). But, this is the same level of calories you burn even when you stay resting on the bed or watching your favorite TV shows. Your body uses this energy to maintain breathing, brain activity, etc., that it will show no visible weight loss result.

Thus, tanning involves only the skin-beautifying process and has no physical activities to burn a significant level of body fat. Though it uses a certain level of energy from your body cells, it does not show the compelling weight-reducing result (as in other physical exercises).

Despite these facts, certain studies predicted that the skin’s fat cells highly respond to the blue light of the sun’s radiance. Thus, by exposing your skin to the sun, these blue lights can penetrate the skin, decrease the size of fat cells and prevent the excess storage of fat under the skin. This contraction of fat cells can make the overall physique look slim to an extent.

But, this study doesn’t give a clear idea about the level of sun rays required to get this result and the extent of slimming outlook you could enjoy. Also, understand the over-exposure of the skin to UV rays can have negative impacts such as sunburns, premature aging signs, and even skin cancer. So, it is always better to view tanning as a chemical process rather than a calorie-burning activity.

So, what is the purpose of sweat while tanning? Does it reduce weight? Let’s look at such information in the next section!

Sweating While Tanning: Does Tanning Cause Weight Loss? 

Tanners get that fantasized idea of losing weight due to the creation of sweat during the tanning sessions. You might think that since you perspire during tanning, your body’s water weight reduces that leads you towards the minimized calorie. But, this is not the actual scenario!

In reality, sweat is nothing but the discharge of water (containing a certain level of salts) from the skin’s pores. Its prime function is to maintain the body temperature in a relaxed state. So, whenever your body gets exposed to the raised temperature, it starts sweating instantly to keep itself cool.

By undergoing the tanning session, you expose your skin to the heavy radiance that makes it darker in return. In this process, your body automatically experiences the hot temperature (either by the sun or by UV-emitting bulbs in a tanning bed) that forces your skin to sweat. This sweating is nowhere related to physical activities or actual fat-burning processes.

Also, the weight you lose by water discharge (on sweating) is neither permanent nor good for your health. By exuding water, your body loses the moisture content that leads to dehydration issues. It makes your tanned skin dull, unattractive, and tired that will spoil the entire tanning process.

So, you should keep yourself highly hydrated during the tanning session. With this thirst-quenching process, you replenish your body with the lost hydration that again brings back the same weight you’ve lost on sweating. Finally, apart from maintaining the body temperature against hot UV rays, sweat has nothing to do with the weight-reducing process.

Some women think that the tanning bed can burn up calories and leads to reduced weight. Let’s look at the facts and myths of this concept in the next section!

Do Tanning Beds Help You Lose Weight? 

Just as the outdoor tanning system, the tanning bed too involves no hard physical activities. With the tanning bed, you lay flatly over the UV-emitting machine that darkens the skin and furnishes the sun-kissed look. So, in this process, you lose the same calories as you lose in the case of an outdoor tanning system.

With the tanning bed, your body uses 53 calories as the BMR for vital functioning and shows no significant body-slimming result. The sweat it creates is also not connected with the calorie-burning process, and the weight gets rebounded once you restore hydration.

The major positivity about the tanning bed is its quicker result. You can attain the glamorously tanned darker skin within just 20 minutes (in contrast to spending hours and hours under direct sunlight). But despite this benefit, the tanning bed suffers from some downsides that you should be aware of before exposing your skin to its radiance:

  • Unlike the fake tan system, the tanning bed makes your skin brown using the UV rays (just like the sunbath process). So, with this tanning process, your skin gets highly exposed to the UV risks such as skin cancer, UV burns, etc.
  • By staying longer on tan beds, you over-expose your skin to the UVA rays. It drastically damages the skin’s collagen (a building block that keeps your epidermis firm and young). The deeper penetration of these rays breaks down the existing collagen and reduces its secretion level. So, instead of making your look better, the tanning bed can sometimes make your skin matured.
  • The tanning bed can enhance the appearance of blemishes and stretch marks and make them stand visible. But, you can neglect these imperfections by using the self-tanner.
  • Though the tanning bed yields better-looking skin at a younger age, it can permanently affect the health and firmness of your skin in the long run. Its UV radiance can trigger premature aging and other harmful effects.  
  • It emits only the UVA rays, and your body does not get exposed to the vitamin D (vitamin created mainly from UVB rays). So, unlike the outdoor tanning system, this method stays unwholesome.

So, these are some of the negative aspects of using tanning beds. But, you can smartly overcome these issues by following the precautions. To make your tanning process harmless, keep your tan bed session strictly for not more than 20 minutes. Also, wear the sunscreen lotion with higher SPF for overcoming the skin damages from UV rays.


Tanning makes the skin glamorously glowing with the golden-brown skin shade. It relaxes not only the skin but also your mind that makes you remarkably confident after each session. Thus, it acts as the best skin-beautifying process. But, tanning has no proven connectivity with fat burning or weight reducing benefits.

With tanning, you expose your skin to the UV rays, which react with the melanocytes and make your skin darker. It involves no fat-burning activities, and thus, you lose very minimal stored-up energy from your body (for basic body functioning). The sweat you release during tanning also has no weight-reducing impact. It just keeps your body cool.

Now, with all the required knowledge gained-up, enjoy your skin-rejuvenating tanning session as the pro!

Yogeshwari Ramadass

Yogeshwari Ramadass

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