We be burnin’: Meet the golden boys who tan

Lads trip to the sunbeds anyone?

Nipping down the beds, asking your mate to do your back with the St Moritz and the gradual bronzing moisturiser your mum got you in Boots are no longer essential parts of an all-girls club.

Whether it’s just a lil base layer or a full on Essex glow, tanning salons have reported an impressive 80 per cent more business over the past five years – thanks in no small part to the hordes of boys taking more care of their appearance.

Grace, who worked at a uni tanning salon in Manchester, said: “You’d think that everyone coming through the door of a tanning salon would be local women in their thirties.

“In fact, most regulars were giggling males freshers – typically.”

Breaking down tanning boundaries and fucking the patriarchy, these men use sunbeds and fake it to look their best.

Samuel Asquith – Hull


Samuel Asquith is a regular sunbed user, have made the trip twice a month religiously for the past two years. For him it’s all about self-esteem and looking beautiful and bronzed.

He said: “My housemate through first and second year used sunbeds and pretty much sold it to me about helping your skin and just looking all round more healthy.

“The more I go the more I see other men there. I really don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of, but it is undeniably a female dominated thing. Some of my friends think it’s a bit too much but self-confidence is an important thing and should be respected.”

Samuel (left) with a healthier glow than the rest

Samuel (left) with a healthier looking glow than the rest

Despite being a regular user of the beds, Samuel insists he would never stoop to using fake tan.

He said: “I see it as a step too far. You can always tell too, it’s quite obvious.”

The apparent dangers of using tanning beds and harmful UV rays are made relatively clear, but Sam says you’ll be fine if you’re careful. He said: “As long as you moderate tanning and don’t go too far and burn then it’s safe.

“What the hell is wrong with getting an accelerated tan? It helps your complexion and helps your self-confience. As long as it’s not used to the extreme then why not?”

Tom Parsons – Durham


Tom (left) practically glowing

Durham second year Tom Parsons uses sunbeds because, he says, he suits having tanned skin more than looking pasty. He usually either tans twice a week for month periods before taking a break for half a year.

“I do think guys can be put off about going even if they wanted to. Personally I felt a bit of trepidation at the start but I simply decided that it is what I wanted to do and I will do what I want. I feel I look better and therefore can have more confidence in the way I look. The other reason is I am prone to a few spots on my face and tanning seems to help hide them.”

Tom believes the gender split of tanning salons changes depending on where you are in the country.

He said: “In Durham and the north it is a more normal thing for men to use sunbeds. I am talking here about the locals rather than students though mainly.

“My friends think nothing of it, I’ve even convinced a few to tag along with me. I’m very open about it and if someone comments on my tan then I have no shame in explaining why. I don’t worry about the health problems as I don’t think I go that often compared to some people.”

Nick Anderson – Works on set with David Dickinson  

Tanned Nick

Tanned Nick

Not everyone is proud of having hit the beds in the past. Leeds grad Nick has had an on-off relationship with tanning which has seen him quit then jump back in later when he looked a bit pasty.

He said: “I have used sunbeds in the past, during chapters of my life of which I am not especially proud. I do not deeply regret these periods in my life, because I think they added at least one point of attractiveness on the attractiveness scale, which is a good thing.

“As I got older and my thinking brain matured and developed, I found myself lying on sunbeds fervently thinking to myself ‘touch wood this won’t affect my health’. But – of course – there was no wood inside the beds.”


Nick works in TV on the set with David Dickinson, the spiritual godfather of tanning

Nick claimed he’d finally quit sunbeds for good to, or so he thought.

He said: “At the start of 2015, I fell into relapse, hard. I was due to go to Florence later that month to be reunited with a girl I had fallen in love with in Italy the year before – but I was at a peak of fatness and pastiness from Christmas.

“I wanted to make a good impression. I smashed the sunbeds like a foolish lad. I glowed and beamed.

“It becomes really tempting to just top up the tan, only six minutes a week, which according to your other mates who use sunbeds, is just the same as an afternoon on the beach. As you get a bit older, you start to realise you could really be fucking up your health – people get skin cancer in their 20s – and beauty, fortunately, is not skin deep.

“From June this year I’ve been pale and proud.”

Bobby Palmer – Journalist


This tan isn’t real

Away from the heat of the artificial sunbeds, many men take the safer option and slap on the fake tan.

Leeds grad Bobby Palmer is a fan of the gradual tanning moisturiser, which gives you a wonderful bronze glow over time rather than turning you into an instant orange.

He confessed: “As an exceedingly pale man, getting my top off during winter makes me break out in a cold sweat – it’s a choice between looking like a frail little dove or being made fun of for slapping on some Fake Bake.

“But a female friend told me that there was such a thing as gradual tanning moisturiser, and I never looked back. The beauty of it is it’s gradual enough to make it look like you’re tanning naturally.”

Spray tans give you the bronzed look without the UV dangers, but it’s not always the easiest style to pull off, as Bobby has discovered.

He said: “The only issue is I can’t reach my back, and I wouldn’t dare admit enough to get someone to do it for me, so I end up looking healthy and bronze on the front and corpse-like from behind. It’s not a good look.”