Abstract Background Americans continue to desire and pursue the tan. Recent data indicate continued high incidence of sunburn and ultraviolet tanning despite public health skin cancer prevention messages. The rising popularity of recently available sunless tanning booths prompted this review. Objective To present an overview of the history of sunless tanning and the sunless tanning booth industry, and to describe the current availability and safety practices of sunless tanning booth providers. Methods The current literature and internet resources were reviewed. Phone surveys of 300 businesses were conducted in July, 2003. Results Sunless tanning services were offered by 43% (39/90) of businesses with tanning services of any type. Sunless tanning booths were the most commonly offered sunless tanning application modality. The safety precautions most commonly offered to sunless tanning customers were recommendations to close their eyes (100%, 17/17), hold their breath (77%, 13/17), and utilize post-sunless tanning sun protection (82%, 14/17). Conclusion Uniform guidelines should be developed to address safety issues associated with sunless tanning booth use. Future investigations are warranted to assess both the medical and behavioral implications of perpetuating the aesthetic appeal of the tan.