Home » Products Sourcing » Beauty & Personal Care » Everything to Consider When Choosing Tanning Lotions

Everything to Consider When Choosing Tanning Lotions

Woman using tanning lotion on a beach

The golden glow look is still trending in 2024, with many people still seeing tan skin as aesthetically pleasing. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 90% of women see tan skin as more attractive than non-tan skin.

While this boosts demand for tan sessions and related products, tanning has its season. Spoiler alert: most people prefer tanning in the summer. However, the tanning market offers many products to help consumers get their desired bronze look, but one of the best remains tanning lotions.

Continue reading to learn more about tanning lotions and how to add them to your stock in 2024.

Table of Contents
Are tanning lotions effective enough to sell?
Is the market big enough to make profits in 2024?
What to look at when adding tanning lotions to beauty inventories in 2024
Final words

Are tanning lotions effective enough to sell?

A tanning lotion on some beach sand

Tanning lotions are popular among consumers looking for the perfect sun-kissed glow without basking in the sun. However, their effectiveness depends on the consumers.

But one certain fact is that tanning lotions can help accelerate the tanning process or provide sunless self-tanning. Typically, they contain ingredients that stimulate melanin production to give consumers a darker color.

However, how effective tanning lotions will be depends on skin type. Undoubtedly, some people may experience a more noticeable tan, while others may see only minimal effects.

Regardless, tanning lotions are still profitable enough to sell in 2024. According to Google Ads data, tanning lotions peaked in the summer (and pre-summer) of 2023, with 450,000 searches monthly from April to June.

With summer around the corner, businesses can expect another surge in demand in 2024. The good news is that tanning lotions already started the year with a healthy 201,000 searches in January 2024.

Is the market big enough to make profits in 2024?

Tanning lotions are under the self-tanning market, which nearly crossed the $1 billion mark in 2022, closing the year with US $909.2 million. However, experts predict that the market will join the “billion gang” by reaching $1.31 billion in value by 2030, growing at a 4.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Check out these statistics to learn more about the market:

  • Tanning lotions emerged as the most-purchased products in 2021, securing the largest market share at over 54.5%. Experts predict lotions will remain dominant over the forecast period.
  • The women segment also generated more revenue than men, accounting for 63.3% of the 2021 market. Experts don’t expect this to change in the near future. However, the men segment will register the highest CAGR over the forecast period.
  • Europe was the largest regional market in 2021 (35.0% market share) and is expected to maintain its lead. Experts say Asia-Pacific will emerge as the fastest-growing regional market.

What to look at when adding tanning lotions to beauty inventories in 2024

Tanning lotion type

A self-tanning lotion for natural-looking tans

The myth that all tanning lotions are the same stinks with falsehood. Although they achieve the same results (darker skin), tanning lotions differ. Various types are available on the market, each offering a different approach to giving consumers the famous bronzer glow.

The most common tanning lotion types include bronzers, intensifiers, maximizers, accelerators, and tingle lotions. Here’s a closer look at each of them:


These products are what people refer to when they say “self-tanning lotion.” Bronzers feature temporary self-tanning agents that immediately add color to the skin. Although these lotions offer quick results, they’re not long-lasting.

Tans from bronzers typically wash off after a few showers or days. However, they’re the go-to for people who want a quick, temporary tan. Bronzers also have two types under their belt: instant and gradual.

While instant bronzers give immediate results until consumers decide to wash them off, gradual variants build up color over time to create a more natural-looking tan.


Intensifiers don’t offer any self-tanning agents. Instead, they help consumers achieve a darker, deeper tan. What intensifiers do is stimulate melanin production to give impressive results over time—they’re not the best for consumers searching for an instant tan.


Similar to intensifiers, maximizers can help consumers get a darker tan. However, manufacturers pack them with more active ingredients to start melanin production faster than intensifiers.

Maximizers are a favorite for experienced tanners, especially those with a base tan who want something deeper. Don’t offer them to beginners—they may irritate their skin and not provide the desired results.


Speaking of base tans, accelerators are the most effective lotion types for creating them. They often have ingredients that help consumers achieve a base tan faster. Accelerators increase blood flow to the skin, enabling it to absorb more UV rays for a long-lasting tan.

Additionally, accelerators don’t contain bronzers or self-tanners. As a result, they won’t provide immediate color.

Tingle lotions

These lotions use ingredients (like benzyl nicotine) that make the skin tingle when applied. This tingling sensation happens when the lotion increases blood flow to the skin, so most people see it as a sign that it’s working.

However, it’s an uncomfortable feeling for some people. Regardless, tingle lotions are the fastest way to get a deeper, darker tan (not recommended for users with sensitive skin).

Consumer’s skin type

People on a beach next to a tanning lotion

While lotion type is important, knowing the target consumer’s skin type determines whether the product is great for them. So, sellers must consider it when stocking up on tanning lotions. Check the table below for common skin types and suitable tanning lotions.

Skin typeSuitable tanning lotion
Normal skinConsumers with balanced skin (not too dry or oily) can use any tanning lotion, regardless of the ingredients.
Dry skinUsers with dry skin need tanning lotions with moisturizing agents. They’ll help keep the skin hydrated and fresh while providing a tan. Tanning lotions with hyaluronic acid or aloe vera are great picks.
Oily skinThe last thing oily-skinned consumers want is clogged pores. So, businesses must prioritize lightweight tanning lotions, as they’re less likely to cause discomfort.
Sensitive skinHypoallergenic tanning lotions are the way to go for consumers with sensitive skin. These lotions must also contain minimal fragrance and fewer chemicals (no tingles!).

The desired tan’s depth

A tanning lotion and its packaging on a blue background

All tanning lotions come with DHA (dihydroxyacetone), an active ingredient for skin darkening. However, lotions can come with varying degrees of DHA, determining the depth of the tan consumers will get.

Experts recommend lotion with lower DHA levels to consumers with lighter skin tones for a natural-looking tone. On the other hand, darker skin tones may need higher DHA concentrations to see any difference. Check the table below for more details:

DHA level (%)Suitable skin toneColor resultExample products
2–5%FairVery light, subtle glowGradual tanning lotions
5–8%LightLight to medium tanLotions for beginners
8–12%MediumMedium to dark tanMost self-tanning lotions
12–15%DarkDark tan, bronzed effectAdvanced self-tanners

Duration and ease of removal

Two tubes of tanning lotion on a white table

Another thing to consider is how long consumers will want the tan to last and how easy it will be to remove. Manufacturers design some products to fade or wash away gradually after about a week, while others may need tan removers.

Tanning lotion typeApproximate tanning durationRemoval method
BronzersInstant (temporary color)Wash off with soap and water
Accelerators/intensifiers3 to 7 days (may enhance natural tan)Exfoliate gently with a body scrub.
Maximizers5 to 10 days (may also prolong DHA tan)Exfoliate gradually with a gentle scrub or mitt
Tingle lotions4 to 8 daysExfoliate lightly

Final words

Tanning lotions are great ways to achieve a darker look during the summer. However, tanning results rely greatly on the application method. While consumers can apply lotions by hand, they may consider using applicator mitts for a more even application.

Businesses can offer these mitts in a set with their tanning lotions or sell them separately to draw more profits from the tanning lotion market. More importantly, leverage the factors discussed to know what tanning lotions to stock up on ahead of summer sales in 2024.

Was this article helpful?

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top