High Pressure Tanning

High Pressure Tanning - Are you getting what you're paying for?

High Pressure Beds vs. Low Pressure Tanning Beds

High Pressure (HP) tanning equipment got its name from the tanning lamp technology used. All true HP tanning systems utilize short, 3 inch quartz lamps filled with mercury vapor that produce very high ultraviolet radiation (UVR) intensity levels. The pressure of the mercury vapor gas inside the tanning lamp is higher than that of a long tube lamp found in traditional tanning beds, thus the name "high pressure" tanning was coined.

Low Pressure (LP) tanning equipment got its name in much the same way. The difference is that the lamps used in LP tanning beds (identified by long tubes that run the full length of the tanning bed) have a negative atmospheric pressure or "vacuum". These commercial tanning beds are all examples of LP tanning beds because they contain long tube style tanning lamps.

Both types of tanning beds can be highly effective at producing a tan but in recent years there has been some confusion between salon owners and tanners when it comes to HP tanning and systems. Some salon operators advertise having a HP bed when technically speaking, they do not. Others define high and low pressure beds by the amount of UVA and UVB the lamps put out. Based on this thinking, the higher the UVA, the more "high pressure" it is. This concept would allow long tube lamps that have a high UVA output to be classified as HP and the small quartz lamps that output high UVB levels to become classified as LP. Again, this is not the case and it never has been. Simply put, a tanning bed that uses any number of long tube lamps is not a true high pressure bed.

HP and LP are defined by the lamp type used (short, 3 inch quartz lamps rather than the long, 6 foot tube lamps) and never by the UVA/UVB output of that lamp.

HP emits mostly UVA light and won’t give clients protection from the sun because the light spectrum has been changed.

- HP tanning allows the sking to retain more of its natural moisture
- You only need to tan once or twice a week to maintain a HP tan
- You get less Vitamin D from HP

- LP emits 95% UVA and 5% UVB, this mix allows the skin to build up a natural protection for outside tanning.
- You need to tan more frequently when utilizing LP tanning beds

Clients who are traveling to sunny climates should LP tan until the last week, then do a couple of HP tans to deepen their color.  This way they have both protection from sunburn and deep color.