What is the Difference between Tanning Lotion Intensifiers, Bronzers, Optimizers and Tingles?


If you are new to the tanning world or even an oldie to UV tanning, you may not know what the differences are between tanning lotions.  Do not worry because more than 70% of tanners do not!  Here is the breakdown:

  • Intensifiers: designed to enhance your natural color without DHA with the use of natural bronzing ingredients, such as caramel or silicone
  • Bronzers: incorporates a variety of the ingredient--DHA- that accelerates your skin to darken, such as White DHA, Brown DHA, or any proprietary blend of it
  • Optimizers: best of both worlds, or has both Intensifying and bronzing properties
  • Tingles: only for experienced tanners because these bad boys pop your blood vessels to get your circulation flowing extra hard

Be sure to check out the descriptions on our website for the full breakdown of ingredients in the products- that way you can choose your perfect tanning lotion.  Remember not to compare your skin to others or choose the lotion your friend uses, instead, pick a product that will help you reach your tanning goal by basing it off of things such as the following:

  • What your starting skin color shade is
  • How easily you burn, such as the amount of minutes to reach the burning color
  • How much protein you consume, since protein affects the rate in which you establish color
  • How often you are going to tan, because two or three times with an intensifying lotion will not show the same results as a tanning lotion that is either a bronzer or a tingle
  • What aroma you prefer, whether it be more sweet, tangy or rough
  • What ingredients you're seeking, because there are all types, such as ones that are hypoallergenic tanning lotions or with tattoo protecting complexes


Skin Care

Using a tanning lotion helps lock in moisture that is lost during the tanning process. It also helps to smooth out skin and allows for optimum UV absorption. Lotions help you get darker faster and help you keep your tan longer. Skin should be hydrated to reach and maintain that desired tan. Dry skin reflects UV light and does not allow it to tan underneath. Dry skin also exfoliates faster which in turn causes a tan to fade quicker. Our skin care products will help maximize your tanning results and leave your skin feeling silky smooth. How much color do you want to achieve? Choosing the right lotion will not only help you build your tan but it will also help you achieve the tan you desire.


Naturally promotes dark, bronze color through hydration and skin conditioning properties.



An intensifier/accelerator lotion has ingredients that will hydrate and tan your skin. There are zero bronzers in this type of lotion. It has ingredients that work with the melanin in your skin. You will only see the color that your melanin produces. The lotion is white so it doesn’t have bronzers to darken your tan while your tan develops naturally.



Natural Bronzer



Further promotes dark, advanced color via immediate cosmetic bronzers, natural bronzing agents, and/or sunless tanning agents. Bronzers deliver color in 2 to 4 hours while a natural tan develops.


Bronzers are often added to tanning products to enhance and darken the tan, blend unevenly tanned areas, and enrich the tone (color) of the tan.

Many moisturizers now contain bronzers. Today's bronzers work to give you a "HEALTHY GLOW" when used daily. Streaking is virtually unheard of because the effects are gradual. This concept is extremely popular. These are effective for people who tan indoors, outdoors, or don't get any UV exposure at all.

How the bronzers work varies by brand depending on the ingredients used. Generally, they are temporary, but regular use will promote a healthy tan color with less (or no) exposure. We offer a variety of tanning formulas so you can choose the type that best suits your skin. The more bronzers in the product, the longer your tan will last.

Which is best for you depends on your tanning goals, although we generally recommend a bronzer. You are less likely to get any streaks, and the better skin care is a plus.

Self tanning lotions are similar to bronzers EXCEPT they are stronger, and designed to use less frequently. Typically once per week or two. The advantage of a self tanning lotion is that it works very quickly and requires less maintenance. The advantages of a bronzer with self tanner is that it is almost impossible to get streaks and the added moisturizers enhance your skin and leave it feeling much more supple because you use it daily, just as you would a regular moisturizer. 


Recommended for advanced clients! After application, a “hot” & “reddening” sensation occurs. Tingle helps microcirculation & oxygenation of the skin, resulting in deeper, darker color.


Tingle lotions contain ingredients which cause micro-circulation. Micro-circulation brings blood to the surface of the skin. When the oxygen in your blood rises to the surface of the skin, the UV light can reach it much more easily. This process will deepen your tan to a new level.

When using a tingle lotion, you may experience any or all of the following that may last approximately one hour, although these effects may last longer based on your skin type:
Mild to intense tingling of the skin
Slight to intense reddening of the skin
Mild to intense heat on the surface of the skin.

You should NEVER use a tingle lotion on your face. The skin is much too thin and this could result in the popping of a capillary. If you want to lessen the tingle feeling of the lotion, mix it with an accelerator or bronzer. You will have an amazingly dark tan because it will push you beyond your tanning plateau. Make sure you wash your hands after applying it.



Lotions with coolants are the opposite of tingles. Coolants give you a cooling sensation and feels refreshing. They also cool you down faster after a tanning session. Our coolants have exhilarating cooling agents that refresh and soothe the skin for a wondrous tanning experience.



Delivers a relaxing, thermodynamic warming sensation to the skin. UV-activated warming helps increase oxygenation to the skin for darker, advanced color. “Non-tingle” heat!


Scientifically formulated with intense hydrating and tan-intensifying ingredients to preserve, protect and prolong the life of your spectacular dark, bronze color.

Planet Sun Tanning & Sunless Spa offers an array of both tanning lotions and other products to suit your tanning and skin care needs.

Your certified tanning consultant will help you select the tanning regimen that is best for you.

Have you ever taken a look behind the counter at our Beaches locations?

Well, if you have – you will have noticed the bottles of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Have you ever wondered what all of these lotions are and what they can do for your skin?

Well, when it comes to tanning lotion, there are many different choices to choose from, and once you find the one that works best for you, your tanning experience will be completely transformed. The reason it is so important to use a lotion in the tanning bed, is naturally it takes 7-10 minutes for a tan to begin the activation process – but with lotion, that activation process takes 30 seconds, which in turn will help get you better results in the beds!

Why go for a Bronzer?

A bronzer is typically known as the lotions that contain added color to them, to help darken your tan and blend uneven areas. When a lotion has bronzer in it, this helps “tone” the color of the tan to give you more of a natural glow. When thinking of bronzing lotions, there are typically two main categories that are referred to.
DHA Bronzers: The lotions that contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), have a colorless, gradual tanning component to them. DHA is a sugar-based ingredient that “interacts with amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change” ( Since the color change is within the dead skin cells, the brown color from DHA will typically last about 5-7 days. (DHA is the same ingredient used in a Spray Tan, just in a more concentrated, all-over, even spray, which is why a Spray Tan takes a few hours to develop).
Natural Bronzers: The lotions that are known as Natural Bronzers, provide immediate results without staining. The natural color comes from plant or herbal extracts instead of DHA, giving you natural color immediately. Some of these lotions typically contain caramel, riboflavin, walnut shell, and henna.

The deal with Intensifiers/Accelerators?

When checking out an Intensifier/Accelerator, these will be more helpful to hydrate the skin and bring more of your natural color out. Intensifiers have no bronzers in them, and they have ingredients that help bring the melanin in your skin to the surface. When the melanin in your skin is brought closer to the surface, this helps in allowing for it to be bronzed more naturally. Leaving out the bronzer in your lotion will ensure a more natural tan and will help you jumpstart your base color.
*If you are a first-time tanner, using an Intensifier can be a great way to begin to build your base color*

Trying a Tingler?

Have you ever heard of Tingle tanning lotion before? If you are an experienced tanner and you are looking to get a deeper, darker tan – Tinglers could be a great Segway into achieving even better tanning results.
The way that tinglers work is through the active ingredient of Benzyl Nicotinate, which works to increase blood and oxygen circulation in the skin. With the increased circulation, this brings about the production of more melanin, which in turn allows for a darker color to be produced.

Although tinglers can bring about more intense color, they also create an itching/burning sensation, If you have a low pain tolerance or are prone to sensitive skin tinglers are not for you.

To learn a bit more about tinglers and how they work – check out this about tinglers we had posted about in the past!

What’s so important about Face Lotions?

Why is it important to use a different lotion on my face than on my body? The skin on your face is the most delicate and sensitive area of skin, and ensuring that you are protecting it and giving it the proper skincare it needs – will help create a healthier tan.

Using a lotion designed specifically for the face will help protect it against signs of aging such as wrinkles, elasticity, and firmness. Face tanning lotions are designed with proper skincare ingredients to help with anti-aging effects as well as the firmness and youthful glow that can be lost due to over tanning the face.

Using a lotion before getting a Spray Tan?

Many people think that using a lotion before a spray tan will block the effects of DHA soaking into your skin… this can be true with the wrong type of lotions. Using a Primer specifically designed for before a Spray tan can help provide a balanced pH level of the skin which will help condition the skin for a more even tan as well as accelerate the development time.

With the use of a Primer, this can help with a color corrector to blend your skin tone to help balance and even out the spray tan.

Tan Extenders

Last, but not least – we have our Tan Extending lotions. The purpose of these lotions is to help extend your tan by keeping your skin moisturized, nourished, and healthy. The tan extending lotions that we sell at Beaches all have ingredients that are meant to nourish the skin with intense moisture such as hemp seed oil, vitamins E and B5, and other HydraRich complexes.

Some tan extending lotions also have a subtle bronzing formula to help provide streak-free gradual color, to extend the color of your tan even longer.

If you have any questions about how any of the different lotions, or which might be the best for your skin type and tanning goals, any of our tanning consultants will be able to assist you!

Happy tanning & Don’t forget that lotion!