How Many Times Do You Have to Indoor Tan Before You Get Color?

Indoor tanning is a service that often takes place in a tanning bed. These tanning beds feature special light bulbs that emit ultra-violet (UV) light, in the same way as the sun. How many times it takes for you to indoor tan before your skin changes color depends on a variety of factors.

Natural Skin Color

One factor in determining how long you have to tan indoors before changing color is your natural skin color. Those with fair skin may turn red first, prior to gaining a tan. People with darker skin may see more color faster.

Tanning Bed Bulbs

Tanning beds are equipped with different wattages of lights. Tanning beds with high-wattage lights emit stronger UV rays than standard-wattage lights. The tanning salon can advise which beds have the stronger lights.

Time in the Bed

Another factor is the time spent in the tanning bed. The longer the time in each tanning session, the faster the skin will change color.

Testing Your Color Change

One way to tell how fast your skin is changing color in the tanning bed is to apply a sticker on your body before the first session. Each time you tan, use the same shaped sticker, allowing you to see the progress of your tanning.


Studies by the American Academy of Dermatology have linked the use of indoor tanning beds to various forms of skin cancer. Like prolonged exposure to the sun, use of a tanning bed can cause sun burn, sun stroke, and sun spots.