A tanning bed schedule is not one size fits all, and to work out how long you should be spending in a tanning bed you need to consider your skin type. Spending too long in a tanning bed with fair skin can lead to serious sunburn, and spending too little time in a tanning bed with dark skin might have no results at all.
Understanding your skin type can really help you not only achieve the tan you are after when using a tanning bed, but it also helps to protect your skin from overexposure and damage.
Before getting to know your tanning-bed times, you should first know what your tanning skin type is.
Type 1 – This is usually pale, very white skin with green or blue eyes, many freckles and red hair. Skin type 1 burns very easily and tans with difficulty. Tanning must be done very carefully.
Type 2 – This is light, beige skin, with blue or green eyes, light brown or blonde hair and some freckles. Skin type 2 tends to burn easily, and tanning must be done carefully.
Type 3 – This is light brown skin, brown hair, and brown eyes. This skin type does burn but can also tan well.
Type 4 – This is light brown or olive skin, with dark brown hair and eyes. This skin type can burn but usually tans easily.
Type 5 – This is brown skin, dark brown eyes, and hair. This skin type rarely burns and manages to tan very easily.
Tanning Bed Time Chart
Now that you are able to determine your skin type, you should follow the below chart on how long you should spend in a tanning bed over a period of 4 weeks.
|Skin Types||First Session||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|Skin Type 1||1 minute||1 minute||1 minutes||3 minutes||5 minutes|
|Skin Type 2||2 minutes||3 minutes||5 minutes||8 minutes||10 minutes|
|Skin Type 3||3 minutes||4 minutes||8 minutes||13 minutes||15 minutes|
|Skin Type 4||3 minutes||5 minutes||9 minutes||16 minutes||20 minutes|
|Skin Type 5||3 minutes||6 minutes||10 minutes||16 minutes||20 minutes|
The tanning session times for the different skin types are there to protect your skin. They might seem short, especially for the fairer skin types, but any more time spent in the sun will only lead to sunburn and peeling, which will leave your skin damaged and tan-free.
The first session, and the first 2 weeks, help to build a base tan, which works to allow for a darker tan to develop over the next few sessions, offering slight protection to the skin.
The first 3 weeks are the most important, so while a 1 or 2-minute session might seem frustrating at first, it will pay off in the long run with helping you to both tan for longer and maintain a healthy glow.
Tanning Bed Tips For Each Skin Type
The time limits of the different skin types in tanning beds are there for a reason, they are there to protect each skin type from damage, from burning, and from not achieving a golden tan.
For the fairer skin types, this is especially true, as spending even a few minutes too long in a tanning bed will result in sunburn, and the skin will peel and any possible tan will be stripped away as well.
Here are some extra tanning bed tips for the different skin types:
Skin Type 1
If this is your skin type, you should be very wary of using a tanning bed. Your skin will burn really easily, so you should essentially only spend 1 minute in the tanning bed for the first 3 sessions. You can build up from this, but you should only do so in 1 or 2-minute increments.
As soon as you start feeling your skin become warm or uncomfortable, you should end the tanning session right then. Only having 1-minute sessions at first is how you build up a base tan, to set the right tone for your tan going forward. If you spend too long in the tanning bed, even 1 minute too long, your skin will begin to peel and you will have to start the process all over again.
Use a tan accelerator when in the tanning bed to help your tan develop faster, and to protect your skin from drying out. This tanning accelerator is one of my favorites.
You can learn more about tanning accelerators for pale skin (skin type 1) here.
Skin Type 2
Skin type 2 is also prone to burning, so you need to practice caution. If at any point in the sunbed session you feel your skin burning or becoming uncomfortable, you should end the session. You need to build up your base tan in small increments, to prevent burning and peeling.
You should also use a tan accelerator to make the most of your short tanning sessions, while still giving your skin the extra nourishment that it will need.
Skin Type 3
This skin type still needs to be cautious when tanning in a sunbed, but their sessions can be slightly longer than the first two types. The process should not be rushed, and tanning should be done in short sessions.
With this skin type, you will notice results quickly, but do not push this, as your skin is still likely to burn from overexposure.
Once again, you should use a tan accelerator to help your skin darken in this short amount of time and to help deliver nourishment and nutrients to your skin, which will dry out under the UV rays.
Skin Type 4
Skin type 4 is able to spend longer in the tanning bed, but results will happen quickly, so you will not have to spend too much time in the tanning bed. A tan accelerator will do absolute wonders for your skin and will be able to darken your skin in short sessions.
The additional nourishment that a tan accelerator will give your skin will help the tan glow for a good amount of time and prepare your skin well for the next session.
Skin Type 5
The sessions for skin type 5 are still fairly short, but this is for 2 reasons.
The first is that you will still be susceptible to damage from the UV rays, so limiting time is important. The second is that you are likely to see results fairly quickly, so short sessions are all you need.
You do not need to spend excessive amounts of time in a tanning bed, and a tanning accelerator will help you develop a gorgeously dark tan without having to spend too much time under the UV lights.
Caring For Your Skin After Tanning
No matter your skin type, you will need to care for your skin after tanning. Once you leave the tanning bed, your skin will continue to tan and still produce melanin for at least 12 hours. Using a tan accelerator will help to keep your skin hydrated both during the tanning session and in the hours following.
For the fairer skin types, you might want to use an aloe vera gel to cool your skin and to prevent it from peeling, as you will more than likely feel the effects of the sunbed well after your session has ended.
What is a good tanning bed schedule?
Most tanning professionals will recommend that the first 3 indoor tanning sessions be done in one week until a base tan is developed. After this, 2 tanning sessions a week can be done to darken the tan and to maintain the glow.
You cannot have more than 1 tanning session in 24 hours, as your skin will still be developing a tan, and recovering from exposure to the UV rays.
Should you apply a tanning accelerator to your face?
If you want an even tan all over your body, including your face, you should apply tanning lotion to your face. This will allow your face to match the tan on the rest of your body.
However, be careful with the product you choose, as many indoor tanning lotions contain bronzers, so you might want to avoid a bronzer being applied to your face.
Is a stand-up tanning bed better?
You might want to consider using a stand-up tanning bed. They take less time to develop a tan rather than lay down beds, and you might want to choose them due to hygiene reasons, as lay-down tanning beds may not be cleaned properly, and you will be lying directly on them.
Tanning Bed Sessions
It is so important to stick to the tanning-bed time that is suggested for your skin type. All skin types risk sunburn and peeling if too long is spent in a tanning bed, and this could cause lasting damage to the skin.
Sticking to your tanning-bed time chart will ensure you gradually build up a base time in a safe amount of time, and then maintain it with fewer, but longer tanning sessions once or twice a week after that.
Practice safe indoor tanning and you will be able to develop and maintain a gorgeous, natural-looking tan.