They might offer you a pair when you arrive at the spa or salon, but there are certain benefits to bringing your own that you should know about.
If you’ve never owned a pair of tanning bed goggles, there are certain things you’ll want to look for before purchasing them.
Read our guide on how to choose the right goggles for your next tanning bed visit!
But First…Are Tanning Beds Safe?
Before we get to talking about tanning goggles, we must answer this question first: Are tanning beds safe?
Studies have shown that they are not. In fact, tanning beds expose you to harmful UV rays, just like the sun, and can increase your risk of getting skin cancer (melanoma), just like being over exposed to the sun.
Read this article over at cancer.org to find out more.
Still here? Ok, if that didn’t scare you away from your scheduled trip to the salon, read on.
How To Choose The Right Goggles For Tanning Beds – Our Guide
Tanning Goggles – Think Of Them As Eye Condoms
No, seriously, you want a pair of tanning bed goggles that protects your eyes effectively.
This is why we’re comparing tanning goggles to actual condoms. It just takes one bad tanning salon session to potentially damage your eyes, making them a leaky, burning mess.
Similar to actual condoms, where if you go unprotected just ONE TIME, you could similarly regret not wearing them.
Think about it. The main reason you need to wear goggles while under the tanning bed lights is to protect your eyes, so you don’t let any of the UV light in, which can harm your eyes and even do serious damage.
This is the reason that you can’t just close your eyes when you’re in the tanning bed.
The UV light will go through your eyelids, which offer no real protection at all, and can cause a variety of things that you don’t want, ie. photokeratitis, pterygium formation, cataracts, or macular degeneration. Or maybe all of the above!
Think of exposing your eyes to UV light like a sunburn for your eyes – Ouch! This is why tanning goggles are essential.
Remember that eyelids do not tan, so don’t think you can not wear goggles and just close your eyes to get that even tan. This is a BIG MISTAKE.
The UV light can not get in at all, and so your tanning goggles must be on tight, but not uncomfortably so – just snugly fitting, to keep the light out.
Think of being in a pool and wearing swimming goggles. If the goggles are loose, water gets in. Tanning bed goggles are the same way, except it’s light that’s trying to get in.
Tanning goggles come in many colours, but the level of protection is not dependant on the colour at all, it’s dependent on the material of the goggles.
Not to freak out, but people have asked – can tanning beds make you go blind? The answer is yes, they can, if you don’t have the proper eye protection and you repeatedly refuse to wear goggles.
Bottom line: get goggles that fit your head properly and block out all of the UV light.
What Are Tanning Goggles Made Of?
So how do tanning goggles protect your eyes, exactly?
California Tan Pro-Specs Eyewear 1-Pr
Black Super Sunnies Uv Eye Flexible Tanning Bed Goggle Evo Color Tan Single
Evo Flex Sunnies Flexible Tanning Bed Goggles Eye Protection Uv Glasses 4 Pack (Purple)
Tanning Goggles Modern Peepers Eyewear By California Tan – Uv Eye Protection (1)
Tanning goggles are made of a type of semi-transparent plastic that keeps the UV rays out almost completely, while still allowing you to see slightly, like sunglasses.
In fact, this goes back to the entire point of tanning goggles – to keep the light out. The manufacturers who make these goggles make them from the kind of plastic that blocks UV up to 99%.
If you’re no expert on the nature of plastics and UV light transmission, you’re not alone. Ok, so basically no regular person understands this stuff – it’s fairly complicated science.
But, if you’re craving more info, here’s a link about UV light and plastic to show you how and why UV light is blocked by plastic in the first place.
Can I Open My Eyes While Tanning?
Now, you may ask, “Can I open my eyes while I’m tanning?” The answer is yes, you can, but only with goggles on.
There are reasons you may need to see what’s going on at the salon, while tanning, but generally, there isn’t much to look at.
You’re not in the tanning bed to go sight seeing. If it makes you feel more comfortable, close your eyes. Or open them. Just keep your goggles on, please.
Of course, some people have asked, “Can I text while tanning?” The answer is yes, but the tanning goggles are hindering your vision, so texting or reading things on your phone might be a bit annoying. We advise you not to do it.
You might be tempted to take off your goggles (eye condoms) to check things, like your phone, and it’s all downhill from there, got it?
Basically, your eyes can be opened or closed while in the tanning bed, as long as you have goggles on, because the goggles are what’s blocking out the UV rays.
If it wasn’t for the fact that you were being blasted by UV rays, you wouldn’t need the goggles in the first place.
You see, tanning beds are like laying in the sun, but the UV light is more concentrated, and so it can cause more damage, unless it’s blocked by some form of eye protection. Hence: goggles (we’ll keep coming back to this point as much as we have to).
Some people have said, can’t I just cover my face with a towel? The answer is no, because it won’t block the UV light and you’ll suffocate. Not a good idea.
Others have said, “Can’t I just close my eyes? Won’t my eyelids be enough to block out the UV rays?” Wrong. Your eyelids are paper thin and don’t block out UV light.
Think about this statistic for a second: eyelid cancer is less rare than you might think.
Tanning Bed Goggles Strap – Pros and Cons
Some tanning goggles come with a strap, some don’t, and there are reasons to use both.
The pros of using goggles with a strap is that you can stand up and they won’t fall off. You can also turn to tan your backside and they’ll stay on your head, firmly in place.
Of course, tanners are often concerned with tan lines, and the strap counts as a tan line, as does the piece that goes over the bridge of your nose.
So, in that case, the strap is less than ideal. What you want in terms of a strap, if you decide to use one, are goggles where the strap is adjustable, so you can loosen or tighten it to your specific preference.
You’ll get a more even tan without the strap, sure, but you have to be more careful that your goggles don’t fall off if there is no strap holding them on.
If you’re looking for a product that will create less tan lines, then you could also try Wink Ease, which are adhesive gold-coloured, cone-shaped eye protection that minimizes tan lines and also allows you to stand up because they stick to your eyes.
These are a great option for tanning beds, and we highly recommend them.
Watch this video to show how you can use Wink Ease.
We understand that not everyone wants such disposable products as their eye protection. So let’s get back to the goggles!
FDA approval is also another thing you want to look for in these products.
If your goggles are FDA approved, that means they are a lot safer than those which are not.
Yes, they should be. With a little soap and water, you can clean them and they’ll be ready for your next visit to the salon.
With products like Wink Ease, no they aren’t reusable, but that’s why they supply you with lots of them.
With tanning goggles, they are definitely reusable, but, that said, these products are not the most expensive products you can buy. Frankly, they are nearly disposable.
However, if you are careful with them, they can last a long time. But remember, they’re just little plastic eye-pieces, so they’re not exactly going to count as family heirlooms that you’ll be passing on to your great great grand children. These are $5 and up. Sure, they should last several visits to the salon, but they definitely aren’t going to last forever.
Best Tanning Bed Goggles – Our Review
Hopefully we’ve explained enough about what to look for in a pair of good tanning goggles that you’ll know what to look for the next time you’re shopping for them.
Now, without further delay, let’s look at the actual goggles themselves. These are the ones our editors picked as the top of the heap, along with reasons why they chose them, plus all relevant features.
Modern Peepers Tanning Goggles Eyewear
These Modern Peepers from California Tan have been around for ages, but this is a design that they’ve updated with new colors. They’re FDA approved like all UV protection should be.
The goggles have a high bridge on the nose, so you won’t end up with a tan line between your eyes. No raccoon eyes for you!
Black strap included
There are assorted colors that come with these protective goggles.
Whether it’s hot fuscia or understated gray, you’ll be able to switch these out based on what you feel like wearing at the moment.
It might also depend on what you can find in your tanning bag when you head to the salon or gym.
Text Podz – Tanning Goggles
These come in a variety of colors, but there’s only one per purchase. You’ll have to choose the color you want when ordering.
We adore these goggles because they come with a little tote. You’ll be able to hook this tiny tote on your bag or purse.
It’ll never be in the way, and when you take spontaneous trips to the gym, you don’t have to worry about making extra trips home to get them. It can also hold your key to a locker at the gym.
Easy for travel
Soft and comfortable
While you’re protecting your eyes from UV rays, you’re also trying to protect yourself from raccoon eyes.
These comfortable goggles can be placed directly over your eyelids to ensure that you’re getting a tan without missing the entire area around your eyes.
Designer Classic Podz Tanning UV Protection
While some of the other goggles have a case or are left on their own, these goggles become a carrying case. The eye bits snap closed to create a place for keys or other items.
While it’s not a huge case, you’ll find it very convenient, and it clips easily onto a keychain, so you’ll never be without your eye protection.
Soft, comfortable eyepieces
Snap together for case
Variety of colors
These form-fitting goggles will protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. They’ll still allow you to see, though. You don’t have to block all light to get UV protection from a pair of goggles.
You can choose between 6 vibrant colors like bright pink, purple, or yellow. We love that you can end up with an innovative pair of goggles used for a variety of purposes.
Soft Podz with Emoji Tanning Goggles
Admittedly, we chose these goggles at first because they are pretty fun. They come with an emoji face right on the front.
You could end up with a few pairs to telegraph your mood to others or merely to make yourself smile. There’s a cool face with glasses, a cry laughing one, a winky, love, or shocked face.
Case with keychain
There’s no reason you’ll ever forget your goggles and have to make an extra trip to retrieve them from home. These come with a chain that hooks the carrying case directly to the strap of your purse or phone.
We love how comfortable the goggles are while the case is a fun, little emoticon that everyone will comment on when they see it.
Black Super Sunnies Goggles
These goggles are meant to be serious protection from the UV rays of the tanning bed.
They come with many features that you’ll want in your tanning goggles like form-fitting protection and a flexible fit that won’t hurt as you wear them for some time. It can be tough to get a close fit without bearing down on the skin around the eyes.
These are secure without being painful.
High nose ridge
While we believe tanning goggles should be fun, there are times when they need to be serious. It’s all about protecting your eyes from UV rays of the tanning booth.
These have great features like a high nose band to avoid tan lines. They also come with a strap, so you can use the stand up tanning booth at your local salon or gym.
These are some of our favorite goggles for the next time you go to the salon or gym for your tanning session. You can pick cute “sunnies” that protect your eyes from overexposure to light.
Or you can choose serious goggles that won’t allow UV rays to touch your sensitive skin or eyes. These are all FDA approved and will protect your eyes from the UV rays that give you a glowing tan.
About the author:
Sariya is our resident tanning expert. Being Turkish, she has a tendency to tan easily, which she considers a blessing. At the same time, Sariya minored in chemistry, so, when it comes to various lotions and bronzers, Siriya knows a thing or two. As much as she loves her tan, she knows that sun safety is also very important.