Like the sun, tanning beds emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, which lighten hair because they break down melanin, which is what is responsible for giving hair its color, according to Zidbits. The exact mechanism by which UV rays break down melanin molecules is not fully understood.
Just as it is important to protect eyes against UV rays while in a tanning bed, it is important to protect hair as well in order to avoid having to deal with dry, damaged or color-faded hair. There are several ways to protect hair while in a tanning bed. According to Cosmopolitan.com, it is possible to be proactive against damage by using a shampoo and conditioner that has sun protection factors (SPF) in it. These products allow hair to develop a protective layer against UV rays. Beauty High recommends applying a heat-protecting hair product before tanning in order to keep the heat from damaging hair as well as to slow down the rate at which the UV rays penetrate the hair. Lastly, YouBeauty.com advises keeping UV rays away from hair completely by wrapping the hair in a towel or scarf while tanning. Taking proper precautions and being proactive about protecting hair against UV rays will minimize the amount of damage and color-fading that tanning beds can cause and keep hair looking healthy.