How to Get a Base Tan in a Tanning Bed

by Katarina Fitzpatrick ; Updated September 28, 2017

People tan for many reasons. Some tan to feel good, some tan to feel more attractive and others wish to prepare their skin for inevitable exposure of sun during a vacation, thereby decreasing their risk of sunburn. To create a base tan, it is important to do so over a reasonable amount of time. Be practical and patient and you will have a beautiful base tan within weeks.

Discuss the best tanning schedule for your skin type with a trained professional at the tanning salon.

Apply a tanning product that is right for your skin, before tanning. Only use products specifically designed for indoor tanning.

Use protective eye wear provided by the salon. You may need to purchase goggles or "winkies," usually available in the salon, to protect your eyes.

Keep your first tanning session to no longer than 6 to 10 minutes in a 20-minute bed. If the bed is very strong, tanning technicians may recommend you tan for even less time.

Apply an unscented, hydrating body lotion or cream, after tanning which may prevent peeling and prolong your tan.

Regularly check your skin for changes in the appearances of beauty marks, freckles or moles. Stop tanning and see a dermatologist if you notice any changes.


  • Allow yourself time to build a base tan and be prepared to see minimal results at first, especially if you are fair-skinned or haven't been exposed to Ultraviolet B (UBA) and or Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays in some time. For example, if you wish to create a base tan for a wedding, begin your tanning regime at least one month prior to this event. If you are in a rush to be tan, your skin will most likely burn.

    If you are under age 18, bring a parent to your first visit. Most salons require a parent's permission and their signature.

    Expect to spend a fair amount of money while achieving a base tan. Ask the salon if they have any specials. Consider buying a one month unlimited tanning package that some salons may offer. Remember that the newest beds tend to cost more to use.

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About the Author

Katarina Fitzpatrick has written professionally since 2006. Her work has been published on EOnline.com, TriMedMedia.com, LIVESTRONG and for the newspapers, the "Hanover Mariner" and the "Norwell Mariner" in Boston and the "Jamestown Press" in Jamestown, R.I. She is a 2006 graduate of Emerson College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in print and multimedia journalism.