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How Long Does It Take To Tan in a Tanning Bed & See Results?

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 9th August 2021

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You might have a big event coming up. Or maybe you just want to give your skin a little bit of color after a long winter. It’s not always possible to get yourself an even tan just sitting out in the sun though, and it’s not always the most time-efficient method either.

If you want an even tan for your skin tone, your best bet is to spend some time in a tanning bed. When it comes to how long you should stay in there, and how long it takes to get a good tan, keep reading to get your answers.

How Long Does It Take To Tan in a Tanning Bed?

It’s important to keep in mind that when you tan, you won’t be able to tan for more than 30 minutes at one time. This is for your safety. It also means that to get that tan you want, you’ll need to come back for a few weeks of sessions to get the coloring that you want.

But how long will it take you to get a tan in your tanning bed? Well, the length of time it takes to tan in a tanning bed depends on a couple of things.

Skin Type

There are six basic types of skin, which go from people who always get a sunburn without tanning and people who never get burnt. If you’re in the category where you always suffer a sunburn without even tanning, you should know right off the bat that you won’t be able to tan in a tanning bed.

While a tanning bed doesn’t have the same UV rays as the sun, and therefore won’t be as harmful, it will still be too harsh for those of you who have skin that just won’t tan. In this case, sunless indoor tanning lotions or sprays will be better.

The other five skin types can tan in a tanning bed. But bear in mind that the fairer and more freckled your skin is, the more tanning sessions you’ll need to get a good look.

Skin Tone

This is an obvious one, but the darker skin you start with, the fewer sessions you will need to get a good tan. If you have a darker skin tone, you might be finished in just a session or two. You will also be able to endure longer sessions without ruining your tan.

Those of you with very light skin will take longer, with more sessions that are shorter. It’s likely that you’ll need to really work overtime to make it to full 15-minute sessions.

This is because full sessions can be too intense for people with lighter skin tones. This means that it can burn your skin, and you’ll then need to take a break from tanning in general until your skin heals up.

Tanning Bed Quality

The quality of the tanning bed you use is one of the biggest factors that will impact how long it takes to get that tan. As you might expect, the best equipment provides you with better, faster, and more reliable results.
Better equipment and newer technology can get you started off with 10 or 15-minute sessions in a laydown bed, with the number of sessions varying on the basis of your starting skin tone. Some salons offer standing beds where you’ll only require 9 to 11-minute sessions.

Tanning Bed Tips

As you’re getting ready to get to tanning, there are some tanning bed tips you can try that will give you a head start when it comes to getting the most out of your tan.

Your Tanning Goals

For the most part, you can develop a base tan in about 3-5 sessions depending on your skin type. This is something that you can maintain through regular use—about one session per week. If you want to deepen your tan, you’ll need to go in for about two sessions per week with at least 72 hours between each session. This will keep your tan at a better color that will last longer.

Know Your Skin Type

You know that there are six skin types, so find out which skin type you are. Consider whether you burn easily, how you burn, and how dark your skin already is. Let the people who are helping you know how you usually tan too and they’ll be able to help you.

Skin Prep

You can prep your skin before a tanning session to get the most out of it. Shower, shave and exfoliate your skin a day or two before you go in for your tan, all of which will help prepare your skin. You’ll then want to apply a light moisturizer right after your shower.

In the Salon

Before you tan, the staff will help you with this but apply lip balm with SPF if you have it, and usually, salons have these products available as well. If you’re already wearing makeup, remove it, and before you go, don’t wear any heavy perfumes or essential oils.

As you set yourself up in your tanning bed, you’ll be able to disrobe to whatever level of comfort you would like, but do make sure to cover up any areas not typically in the sun. This includes the eyes, so remember to wear provided protective goggles. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your nipples and genitals aren’t too overexposed either since burns there can really hurt.

Also Read: 5 Amazing Tanning Bed Tips You Need to Know About


There’s a lot that goes into getting a good tan. From knowing your skin type to deciding which areas you want to tan you’ll need to be prepared to go into that tanning salon. Either way, it will take time to get that perfect tan, with more time needed for lighter skin and less time for darker skin.

Overall, it’s not easy to just determine how many sessions you’ll need. We recommend that you start off with a few sessions first, evaluate your progress, see how your skin is reacting to the sessions then decide on the best schedule for yourself with an experienced tanning salon specialist.

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