Getting a tan from a tanning bed ensures a fast, even tan that will last for quite some time. Remember that the tan will eventually fade just as a tan from the sun will, so include hitting the tanning salon in your routine if you want a tan that will last the entire summer season.
Building a Tan
Just as a tan will gradually fade away, you must gradually build it by tanning at least every other day for at least six sessions. This will give the majority of people a golden glow. You will start in a standard tanning bed and will tan for a mere 3 to 4 minutes. Don't worry. It's best to take tanning in a bed slow and easy rather than rushing through things and ending up like a lobster. Each session, you will be bumped up either in minutes (maxing out between 12 and 15 minutes) or to a higher-grade tanning bed, which provides stronger rays. Be sure to take the tanning salon's suggestions into account, as they're professionals. If tanning for an event, you should start your tanning sessions no later than one week before the event to ensure a deep tan by the upcoming date.
From the last time you tan, your tan should last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. It will be more prominent within the week following the last session and eventually fade toward the end of the second week. You may get an additional week or so out of the tan, but usually not much longer than that. Should you decide to start tanning in a bed again, you will have to start over at the lowest-grade tanning bed and build your tan up again to avoid burning.
Prolonging a Tan
There are several ways to prolong a tan from a tanning bed. You can use an indoor tanning lotion with a bronzer, which will darken your tan by adding a self-tanning element to your tan. Regular moisturizing with a standard body lotion will also keep skin soft and supple. Dry skin will cause a tan to look splotchy and uneven more quickly, so it's in your best interest to keep skin hydrated. This prolongs the tan but also ensures that it fades evenly.
Tanning in a tanning bed gives you a fast, surefire way to achieve a golden tan. Regular use leading up to an event or vacation will give you a deep tan that will last a couple of weeks. During the cold and harsh winter months, tanning beds are a source of exposure to bright light, which can lift spirits and help some people shake the depression that comes with cold weather and staying cooped up indoors.
Tanning beds are commonly associated with skin cancer and contribute to premature aging. There is no way to combat either other than to stay out of tanning beds. Tanning beds should not be used for pregnant women or women who are nursing. Consult your doctor before tanning in a bed to be sure there will be no reactions from your medication. Always wear protective goggles over your eyes when tanning in a tanning bed.
Samantha Cabrera is a freelance editor and writer, covering fashion and beauty. She currently serves as the Fashion Director of Papierdoll.net, and writes Style-television.com, a blog of b5 media. Cabrera also serves as the National Women's Fashion Examiner for Examiner.com and has written for About.com and Bride.ca. Cabrera is a native Texan and attended the University of Houston.