I had a call get tossed to me today where someone owned a 16 lamp, 120V tanning bed, and had purchased 400W high pressure lamps and fixtures so he could upgrade the bed to face tanning. As this was an unusual request, naturally the call was forwarded to me. He asked how to hook it up. My answer was short and to the point.
There is no technical reason why you can’t run a high pressure facial on 120V, but there are many practical reasons. First, a high pressure bulb is a plasma device, just like fluorescent lamps or neon signs. This means you must have a ballast to regulate the current. Without it, it will keep drawing more power until it self-destructs. Unfortunately, no one makes a 400W ballast for face bulbs that runs on 120V. Another problem is the amp draw, as a pair of these 400W lamps would increase the amp draw of the tanning bed by 50%, and the breaker will certainly trip. This is why all the facial style ballasts are 220V.
Face lamps also need igniters, which are a type of capacitor. By the time you add a ballast, ignitor, bucket, bulb and installation, you have spend way too much money, even if your bed is 220V and you could make the modification. Oh, and face lamps produce UVC which is very dangerous if you don’t use the proper filter. This is a serious health hazard!
A few companies make lamps with face tanning built in, and you can even buy them individuall or in kit form from either of our sponsors and some other retailers. It will add about $30-$40 to the price of a set of lamps, which is the least expensive way to go. Since these lamps just install like a regular lamp, there is no additional wiring or work.
Save your time and money, and just upgrade your entire lamp set to one of these kits next time.