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How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan Safely

How long does it take to get a tan safely? In this article, we are gonna answer this question, based on what type of skin you have and what type of tan you are planning to get.

How long does it take to tan safely in the sun?

If the sun is out there, and you are going to be exposed to it, it can take on average 15 min to 1 hour, on a sunny hot day, depending on your skin tone.

If you are wondering how long does it take to get a tan outside and want to enhance the effects of the sun on your skin and want to make the most of it, try using agood darkening lotion and bronzing creams

A good recommendation is to use the darkening lotion in the first 40 minutes and then after that start applying your sunscreen with UVA protection with a broad spectrum SPF higher than 50, on top of bronzing lotion.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan

It is very important not to be exposed to the sun for too long so take a couple of hours and then stop your tanning session.

And ah, remember to apply a high-quality tan intensifier or a maximizer lotion that will be very important in speeding up the tanning process for less time under the sun.

If the sun is too hot, be on the safe side and take 30 or 45 minutes and this should be enough to get you some color. 

And ahh if you stay on the beach for a longer period of time, then it is time to use all kinds of protection like sun blockers and umbrellas.

And another thing to remember is to apply the sunblock all over your body. It sounds counterintuitive but you might forget.

I can remember the other day, I went to the beach and forgot to apply the sunblock on my lower leg.

The result I got was not only purple but I spent one week with skin irritation. So, keep the attention.

Something that seems so obvious, but for some reason you get so excited because you are having a good time under the sun and then you will pay the price later on!


In a nutshell How long does it take to tan safely in the sun?

  • Darker skin shades: 20 min to 1 hour (Avg.). Sunbathe for 20 minutes and then take a shower. Then come back and have other intervals of the shower to make it safer.
  • Fairer skin shades: 1 hour (Avg.). Sunbath for 15 and then have a shower to cool the skin. Then, repeat.

Is good to remember that you can always improve your experience by using tanning creams and lotions and never forget to protect yourself with Sunscreen SPF 50+ to be on the safe side!

Somewhere around the globe, someone is asking how long does it take to get a tan safely?

But there are many other things we need to take care, of in order to get the most out of the sun, in a safe way.

Down below, we have our comprehensive tanning guide. It’s long but worth reading!

how to get a tan FAQ

Can I Still get tanned even using SPF?

Definitely yes as it will not affect your tanning, you will still have your bronzer, plus it will allow you to stay a little longer under the sun enjoying your time on the beach before having signs of burning.

Can I get a tan even if I’m in the shade?

First of all, being in the shade does not mean that you are protected from the UV (ultraviolet) rays.

In fact, UVB rays (which can be a threat) can and will affect skin indirectly.

For this reason, you should always use good sunscreen even if there is no direct contact with the sun.

Now answering our question, it is very possible to get a tan even under the shade.

How long does it take to get a tan from a tanning bed?

tanning bed tanning

Tanning beds appear to be a good idea not only during winter but also in summer, so you can arrive at the beach already feeling great about your skin. But there are more benefits you can expect to get with them.

Even though they are an interesting way to diminish the time of exposure that is requested to get a tan in normal ways plus it can block harmful UVC type rays, the best is to avoid it. 

The best way to tan is always naturally under the sun. Nothing will substitute it but for those days that the sun is not possible, you can still use spray tans or a bronzing lotion that includes DHA. 

Read also: Best Tanning Lotion For Tanning Bed

But if you still prefer the tanning bed, here we have a few considerations:

First of all, it will really depend on the quality of the tanning bed that you are planning to be taking your bronze.

Usually, tanning beds have a maximum time that you can lie down on them, which is usually around 10 to 20 minutes per session. 

It is indicated that you take one session per week. And once again, to know exactly how long does it take, will depend on your skin tone and genetics.

But generally, 10 minutes for more pale skin and you can start to have some results after the first session. But the perfect tan might start to appear after the second or third session.

It will depend on your skin tone:

People with lighter skin will need several short sessions. The folks with darker skin tones can have longer sessions, meaning they will see quicker results

Quick note: Be aware that there is a genetic factor as well. So if you feel like it is always hard for you to get a tan you need to be extra careful that you will not be exposed to the sun or the tanning bed just because you do not see the quick results.

The tip will be to have several shot sessions of exposure.

How To Get A Tan

Another interesting aspect to know is that there are tanning beds with high levels and lower levels.

The difference is that the high levels use tanning lamps with UVA bulbs that will get you a faster brownish tone, will protect your skin from burns, and provide the best results for a longer period.

Having your tan on a high-level tanning bed, once the indicated professional evaluate your skin and allows you to use a high-level bed level 5 or 6, you might get great results with a 10 minutes session per week.

Just make sure you use a good combination of maximizer tanning lotions and sprays for an even better result with long-lasting effects.

Tips to speed up the tan process on a tanning bed with Tanning Lotions & Sprays

tips to speed up tanning

Tanning lotions will not only speed up the tanning process but will also protect your skin against the effects of the lights of the tanning beds.

These products can normally speed up the tanning, enhance the effects of the tanning results and even prolong the results you had during the tanning bed.

It is indicated that you apply the tanning lotion a few minutes before entering the tanning session ( approximately 5 minutes before).

But be careful if your skin is very pale, this high level might not be the best and safest method for you.

In the case of very pale cases, very short sessions with lower to medium levels bed would be more indicated. 

This is because higher-level beds can give you extreme and unnatural looks. So you will not like to look like a carrot! 

In this case, we advise you to be patient and little by little start with the short sessions and observe how your skin reacts. 

The salon expert will check your skin and definitely find the best option that is possible for your skin tone.

How To Get A Tan

How to prepare for your tanning bed session?

To improve your chances of quicker and safer tanning bed sessions, get rid of dead skin because they are harder to get down. For this, you can exfoliate your skin with a body scrubber, for example.

To enhance the benefits of skin exfoliation, the best time to exfoliate your skin is normally the night before your tanning session.

For even better results, remember to remove all skin hair and make sure you apply the creams and lotions all over your body.

How long does it take to get a spray tan? 

Once the spray tan gets on your skin, it will already bring some results straight away but we can say that regular to conventional solutions can take around 8 hours to set. After this time you will be experiencing the full effect.

You can also count on the help of an express spray that will take 3 to 4 hours to set on your skin and show the final results.

How long does a spray tan last?

On average it lasts up to 10 days, but depending on the level of the darkness you are aiming for, it may vary: 

  • Lighter tan sprays: 5 to 6 days
  • Medium shades: 7 to 8 days
  • Darker: Up to 10 days

It is also good to remember that to keep your tan for longer, you must take care of a few things like preparing your skin before the tanning and pay extra attention to a few actions you should have after spray tanning as well.

What to do before spray tanning

what to do before spry tanning

– Exfoliate your skin

Make use of good body scrubs and dry brushing to remove dead skin. The dead skin will block the action of the tanning, also because the dead skin doesn’t absorb it. One quick note is to avoid chemical exfoliants or oil-based products.

– Pay attention to your waxing

Even though it is better that you remove your skin hair, it is also important that you do not do it at least 3 days before the spray tanning.

– No makeup nor products that are not related to your tanning process on the skin

– Avoid a hot shower before the session

– Deodorant with aluminum can cause your spray tan to bring results that are not desired, as it might turn out to make your skin become greenish. SO avoid it!

What to do after spray tanning

What to do after spray tanning?
  • My friends said that baby powder instead of deodorant is good to prevent streaking and sweating.
  • Be careful with the clothes you wear for the following 24 hours, avoid tight clothes
  • Some people advise waiting 24 hours to wash the area (or have a shower). Some other people advise waiting 6 hours. I would stay on the safe side and wait 24 hours.
  • During this time, to help you prolong your tan, avoid oil-based products
  • Moisture your skin every day, morning, and evening and choose moisturizers that are free from any drying alcohol. 

How Long Does It Take To Tan with self-tanners?

Traditional self-tanners can be harmful to the skin. They can accelerate the aging process and also cause other skin problems. 

How long it will take to get you a tan will really depend on the type of product you choose and it will be indicated in the product instruction. On average you should leave it on the skin for around t 6-10 hours to see the best results.

But wait a minute! I would like to suggest you use instead of traditional self-tanners…

What is the best alternative for self-tanners?

In case you need a tan right now and there is no way you can wait for the next sunny day, the best alternative for traditional self-tanners is the wash-off bronzers.

They are body bronzers and tinted body luminizers that give you an instant gorgeous glowy tan until your next wash.

In other words, they give you an instantaneous tanning effect that will go away on your next shower but will be much safer, not to mention that they are very efficient, with a much better smell!

The duration and quality of these instantaneous self-tanning alternatives will vary from brand to brand, so have in mind to choose the absolutely Best wash-off bronzers in the market for the absolute optimized result.

How Long Does It Take To Tan General Tips to Tan Faster and safely?

  • Use high-quality skin exfoliators so you can remove dead skin and will also help your tan to last longer
  • apply a high-quality tan intensifier or a maximizer lotion evenly throughout your body
  • Change positions so you don’t tan only in one part of your body
  • Alimentation can help! Consume food rich in beta-carotene such as carrot will help you in this
  •  lycopene-rich foods such as tomatoes and watermelon can give your skin properties that will make it resistant to UV rays 
  • Avoid tanning beds

How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan SAFELY (Bonus Tips)

bonus tips

– Hydrate your skin

In many ways, drink a lot of water, and fresh juices. Also, take cool showers before, while, and after the sunbathing exposure. 

– Exfoliate

Gently exfoliate your skin before sunbathing (around 2 or 3 days before), and use body scrubs or special soaps as it will help your tanning to stay longer.

– Sodium PCA-Based Moisturizer can be a good idea

The best Sodium PCA-Based Moisturizers are known to be highly nourishing and prevent your skin from becoming dry. It is a very hydrating type of moisturizer that will also help your skin to look healthier.

– Remember the lip balm

Don’t forget to take care of your lips while sunbathing! There are great lip balms out there, some of them even include UV protection.

It is nice to say that the best lip balms are not always the most expensive. In fact, I have noticed the contrary.

Not so long ago I purchased a bunch of very expensive and not so expensive lip balms to try and compare and I noticed that high price is not always related to quality.

How Long Does It Take To Tan Conclusion & Extra Advice

OK, you have a lot of information. It is really good to see that you are taking the extra mile to inform yourself and make the most of your tanning time! 

Needless to say that tanning is different from overexposure to the sun so you are doing the right thing to make sure you are doing it in a safe way.

We also have to have in mind that the process of tanning will depend on many factors, like the right products you use, so make sure to choose the best sunscreens according to your skin type.

As you already know, never get exposed to the sun without SPF protection, can’t stress enough, use always the best SPF higher than 50, even in the shade and winter.

If you have a sunburn, just moisturize your skin and I have also used ice cubes wrapped on a thin piece of cloth, as it alleviates the burning blues.

Now you are ready to go ahead and enjoy the san the proper way because you know How long does it take to get a noticeable tan, and also know everything about how to get a long-lasting and perfect tan.

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