How Long Does It Take to Get a Tan in a Tanning Bed?

With the increasing awareness of the dangers of prolonged sun exposure, more and more people are seeking other ways to get the perfect tan, and indoor tanning has become a popular alternative. While tanning lotions, spray-on tanners and tanning lamps are widely available, tanning beds offer a convenient solution to evenly and quickly tan your body. You must pay attention to the time you spend in a tanning bed, because of the concentration of UVA and UVB rays. However, by following the manufacturer's user manual, you can get your best tan in the shortest amount of time.

Quality of Tanning Bed

Tanning beds are not created equal. The quality of a tanning bed affects tanning time. All tanning beds have a maximum time, which guides the user to the maximum amount of time he can spend lying in the tanning bed. The usual max time is 10 to 20 minutes. By general standard, the shorter the time you're allowed to stay in a tanning bed, the more powerful the bed.

Skin Tone or Skin Complexion

Your tanning time depends on your natural skin tone. Compared to dark-skinned individuals, fair-skinned people need to shorten the amount of time spent in a tanning bed. Lighter-skinned people will need several shorter sessions, since they want to avoid the risk of sunburn. On the other hand, someone with a darker complexion can achieve a noticeable tan in just one session.


Some people tan quicker and easier than others. If you've always gotten a tan quickly in the sun, you can expect to tan quickly in a tanning bed. The time it takes for you to tan tells something about your genes. Limit your tanning session to one session per day, or every other day, until you've achieved the tan you want. Once your base tan is established, your sessions can be weekly.

Tanning Lotions & Sprays

Tanning lotions and sprays speed up tanning time and offer protection against the glaring lights of the tanning bed. Some tanning products carry special formulas that stimulate melanin pigment formation in the skin, while others even out tanning results. Using tanning lotions or creams before you enter a tanning bed can help you achieve a base tan in 4 to 6 minutes.

Tips for Quicker Tanning

To achieve a quicker tan in a tanning bed, prepare for your tanning sessions. Since dead skin is harder to brown, exfoliate with body scrubs the night before. For an even tan, shave your legs before lying in the tanning bed. When you are using tanning lotions and creams, apply the product all over your body to avoid uneven tanning results.