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Tanning Without Googles Substitutes For Tanning Goggles

Tanning Without Googles: Substitutes For Tanning Goggles


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Sometimes you will need substitutes for tanning goggles not because you don’t have one but because you might have forgotten it at home or the one you have is giving you raccoon eyes so you might find yourself pondering “can you tan without goggles”?

Well, It is not recommended to tan without goggles or some form of eye protection. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun or a tanning bed can lead to temporary and permanent eye damage such as cataracts or corneal sunburn. Therefore, if you plan on tanning, it is important to wear goggles to protect your eyes. So to answer the question, “Can you tan without goggles?” – you technically can, but it’s not a safe or advisable practice.


Tanning goggles are among the few important things you need to secure and tuck safely in your tanning kit bag or purse when you’re headed for the salon to get your body tanned. The reasons are simple; they are lightweight, cute, and protect your eyes from suffering complications that could ensue from exposure to harmful UV rays while you’re sunbathing or lying in the sunbed. 

The human eyelid works great naturally to protect our eyes but it can only protect so much. The eyelid needs all the artificial support it can get, either from tanning goggles or its other substitutes to be able to protect the eyes fully from harmful UV rays. 

Tanning goggles are great, but oftentimes clients may not be too keen on using them, and this mostly is because some goggles are uncomfortable and they happen to cause tan marks around the eye region. This is why there are lots of people and tanning clients seeking better alternatives for tanning goggles that, aside from being able to protect their eyes, can also eliminate the chances of having those unwanted tan marks by the eyes. In this article, we will cover some information you should know about tanning goggles, and the best substitutes for tanning goggles so you are better informed on how to protect your eyes whenever you go for a tanning appointment.  


Why You Need To Protect Your Eye When Tanning

The reason you need to protect your eyes with either tanning goggles or other substitutes when tanning is to prevent your eyes from getting damaged by harmful UV rays. 

Why You Need To Protect Your Eye When Tanning

Have you been tanning without eye protection? Either getting tanned from the sun or through a tanning bed, you should be aware that exposure to UV rays may leave your eyes vulnerable to developing eye problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye cancer which are all threats to vision. Another condition you risk getting by tanning without eye protection is photokeratitis, which happens as a result of sustaining sunburns to the eyes. So, whether you are engaged in an outdoor (sunbathing) or indoor (tanning bed) UV ray tanning, it is always better to have extra protection for your eyes beyond the natural ones the eyelid can offer. Although it is a natural reflex to close your eyes and allow your eyelids to serve as a cover for your eyes when the rays are released in the sunbed, this does not guarantee 100 percent eye protection because the eyelids are still a very thin patch of skin that could also suffer burns themselves from the UV lights.

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What Happens To Your Eye If You Tan Without Goggles?

What Happens To Your ​Eye If You Tan Without Goggle

Tanning without a goggle or other substitutes like the eye tanning stickers can cause your eye to become itchy, red, and sometimes even watery. These visible scenarios are what comes next as a result of the eyes cells being temporarily damaged through sunburn after exposure to UV rays. A fascinating reality about this is; sunbathing and going in a tanning bed without tanning goggles for just one tanning session is enough to cause remarkably daunting short-term damage to the eyes, so this is not a question of how many sessions the exposure needs to be. 


Basal Cell Carcinoma is another condition eyes suffering from sunburn struggle with. This condition typically causes the eyes to become swollen, often turning red around eye corners due to severe damage to delicate eye tissues.  

Can I Tan With Sunglasses?

Yes, you can tan with sunglasses when sunbathing but sunglasses are not a good substitute for tanning goggles so don’t expect full eye protection from sunglasses when using a tanning bed.


When shopping for tanning sunglasses it’s important to always double-check your sunglasses and make sure it actually has UV protection, because not all acclaimed sunglasses are UV-protection sunglasses. Yes, it may have dark lenses, which may make it look like it blocks rays, but the shades might not be adequate for UV protection. Using such sunglasses can even be more harmful than tanning without it because the glass dark tint gives an illusion of protecting your eye when in fact they are not, which in turn makes your pupils dilate, exposing your eyes to even more UV light.

Can I Tan With Sunglasses

A good sunglass labeled UV 400 provides nearly 100% protection against harmful optical, and impact radiation when tanning in the sun, they can block wavelengths up to 400 nanometers and are also great to double down on being stylish and protecting the eye. 

Yes, sunglasses can be good for suntan but because they do not completely cover the eyes, and are too big they may cause raccoon eyes, so they are not the best option when using a tanning bed, because UV rays produced by tanning beds can be 100 times as high as what you get from the sun. 


Tanning goggles are designed to cover your eyelids completely so they can protect your eyes and eyelids from burns. So, when going for your tanning bed sessions, it is always best to wear goggles specifically designed for tan beds.

Here Are 3 Other Substitutes For Tanning Goggles. 

For tanning enthusiasts who are looking for substitutes for tanning goggles, then eye tanning protection alternatives like tanning stickers, and snow goggles are a few they can try which of course, are equally as good, maybe even better.

1) Tanning Stickers For Eyes

Tanning Stickers for Eyes

When using the tanning bed without goggles, Eyes tanning stickers, such as winkies, are 100% UVA and UVB block and are known to be one of the best substitutes for tanning goggles. The tanning stickers are see-through, and have no straps or nose bridge! They also fit seamlessly on all-important corners of your eyes, giving you the optimum anti-UV light eye protection that you need, and at the same time – not taking up too much space on the face to prevent raccoon eyes. These eye stickers for tanning are lightweight and disposable so it’s fairly easy to slip in a pack into your purse the next time you go for an appointment.


2) Karono IPL Glasses Eye Protection

Karono IPL Glasses Eye Protection

Karono IPL Glasses Eye Protection is a top-quality product that provides the best protection against harmful radiation when using a tanning bed without goggles or other equipment that emits radiation, making it another excellent substitute for tanning goggles. The lenses are made from Polycarbonate and Polymer, which makes them comfortable to wear for long periods without causing any irritation.

This eye protection glass offers excellent protection from radiation falling within the 200-2000nm wavelength range. It’s adjustable and highly recommended by professionals such as laser operators, medical personnel, and scientists.

3) Snow Goggles / Ski Goggles

Snow Goggles Ski Goggles FOR TANNING

Ski goggles are anti-fog and provide 100% UV Protection, and unlike tanning goggles, snow goggles are more bigger and obvious. Snow goggles or ski goggles are another great substitutes for tanning goggles, they have double layer lenses which makes them relatively powerful, and big enough that they cover the eye completely and give no room for any UV rays to leak in. 

They are primarily made to protect the eyes when skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and other snow sports against snow blindness caused by snow’s white light reflection of the sunlight. Because they cover the eyes completely and have 100% UV protection, they qualify as a great substitute for a typical tanning goggle. 

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DIY Tanning Goggles: 7 Homemade Alternatives to Tanning Goggles

If you don’t have a pair of tanning goggles, or you want to save money by making your own, there are several DIY tanning goggles options available that you can easily make with materials you likely have at home.


Here are some DIY tanning goggles you can make at home:

1) Cardboard Tanning Goggles

Cardboard tanning goggles are a quick and easy solution. To make them, simply cut two identical goggles shapes from cardboard and tape them together at the edges. Use a single-hole punch to make holes on either side of the goggles and thread a piece of elastic through each hole. Adjust the elastic to fit snugly around your head.

2) Black Out Swim Goggles

If you have a pair of swim goggles, they can also double as tanning goggles. Simply cover the lenses with electrical tape or duct tape to prevent UV rays from penetrating the lenses. Make sure the tape is secure and won’t come loose during your tanning session.


3) Sunglasses

If you have a pair of sunglasses with dark lenses, you can use them as a makeshift pair of tanning goggles. While not as effective as proper tanning goggles, sunglasses can offer some protection. Look for sunglasses with UV protection and wear them during your tanning session. Keep in mind that sunglasses won’t protect the entire eye area, so be extra cautious.

4) DIY Tanning Goggles with Foam

To make foam tanning goggles, you’ll need foam sheets, scissors, and elastic. Cut two identical goggle shapes from the foam sheets and punch holes on either side of the goggles. Thread a piece of elastic through each hole and adjust to fit snugly. These goggles will offer more protection than cardboard or swim goggles.

5) Masking Tape Tanning Goggles

To make these goggles, you’ll need a roll of masking tape and scissors. Cut several pieces of masking tape and layer them on top of each other, sticky side up. Cut out two identical goggle shapes from the layered tape and press them together, sticky sides facing each other. Use a single hole punch to make holes on either side of the goggles and thread a piece of elastic through each hole. Adjust the elastic to fit snugly around your head. These goggles may not be as durable as other homemade options, but they are quick and easy to make in a pinch.


6) Tape and Cotton Balls

This DIY method involves taping cotton balls over your eyes and then covering them with black tape. While it may look a bit silly, it will protect your eyes from UV rays.

7) A Small Piece of Folded Towel or Washcloth

One of the simplest substitutes for tanning goggles is to use a very small and clean folded piece of a towel or washcloth free of any debris that could irritate the eyes to cover the eyes. This can provide some protection against UV rays, although it’s not as effective as wearing actual goggles, it will at least offer some protection compared to baring your skin naked to UV.

Using any of these DIY tanning goggles alternatives can help protect your eyes while achieving a beautiful tan. However, it’s important to note that while these homemade alternatives can work, they may not provide the same level of protection as a proper pair of tanning goggles. So, if you plan on tanning regularly, it’s always best to invest in a good pair of goggles specifically designed for tanning.


Can UV Rays Penetrate And Go Through Eyelids?

UV radiations are very powerful and can not only penetrate and go through one’s eyelids but also damage them, as well as the eye retina. This is because the skin that makes up the eyelids is thin and light, so can be easily damaged by UV lights. And as far as research goes, 10 percent of all skin cancer is associated with eyelids, so it is very important to protect your eyes when tanning.

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Being safety conscious when using a tanning bed without goggles is super easy and convenient once you get the hang of it. And as part of the efforts to promote safety regulations while tanning, some saloons have made it a habit of stocking important things, like tanning stickers, and tanning mitts in their tanning kit drawers and compulsorily dish them out to clients who want to book a session but forget to bring one along. 

Can You Use A Sunbed Without Goggle?

No, you cannot use a sunbed without a tanning goggle, and as said earlier above, there are too many damages that you could be risking for your eyes because the UV ray of a tanning bed is almost 100 times more powerful than that of the sun, so it’s very risky to use a sunbed without a pair of goggles. Even if you do not like a typical tanning goggle for some reason or cannot get them, you can get other alternatives for tanning goggles and make use of it. As a matter of fact, health bodies, such as the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration), advise against the practice of using a tanning bed without goggles to protect your eyes. Although in some cases the negative impact on the eyes doesn’t surface immediately, it will surely manifest later and you don’t want to wait around to see it. 


Do Tanning Salons Have To Provide Goggles?

Yes, in most places tanning salons have to provide tanning goggles. In most places, tanning salons are mandated by regulatory bodies to make sure tanning clients make use of eye protection and have to provide their clients with tanning goggles or some sort of tan goggle substitute for eye protection if they do not have one. Although, it doesn’t have to be free. 

Do Tanning Salons Have To Provide Goggles

Some tanning salons provide you with a new pair of tanning goggles or tanning stickers alongside your subscription or session while some may not. It totally depends on the country, the state, the salon, and how much you are paying. So even if you forget to bring the one you bought along to an appointment, you’re still covered.

The mandate is enforced because of the severity of the damages that may emanate from tanning with naked eyes, government regulations hold the tanning industry and its unions with the obligation to stock up on tanning goggles and eye stickers and to always make them available to clients who are booked for an appointment. Aside from offering tanning goggles, tanning goggle substitutes like eye stickers are also other alternatives they stock up on in preparation for every client’s session, and this is because they are easy, convenient, disposable, and cheap; if not for anything, it’s certainly cheaper than the cost of getting your eyes fixed after UV light damages it.



Well, that’s about it for tanning goggles and the substitutes for tanning goggles. The most important lesson to look out for by everyone, especially tanning customers and clients, is the need to protect your eyes from getting damaged by ultraviolet rays either coming off from the sun or tanning beds. This is very important and should be taken into consideration in every single tanning session. 

So, by all means, the next time you go for an appointment and you notice you might have forgotten to come with your pair of eye stickers, don’t be shy to ask for one from your therapist for your eyes’ sake.

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