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How Long Does It Take To Tan? [In The Sun & Tanning Bed]

how long to lay out to get tan

How long does it take to tan properly?

Summer is here and with that, beaches or poolsides are the number one place to be!

It is time to break out that new bathing suit you have been waiting to try out and sit back in the hot sun and relax. 

While soaking up some sun, you may be wondering…

Would using a tanning bed be easier? 

Am I using the best outdoor tanning lotion?

When will my summer bronze body be ready? 

It this article, I will be discussing how to tan properly and answer these questions (all but the last one) so that next time you decide to head out to the beach, you are aware of what may happen to your skin!

What Happens When Tanning?

In a nutshell…

Through exposure to sunlight or UV Radiation, your skin can often take on a sun-kissed glow known as a tan. 

This can also be done with artificial lighting such as in tanning beds and as a recreation.

Models or celebrities often engage in Sunbathing, a type of tanning in which you purposely lie in the sun to darken your skin.

Ways To Extend Your Natural Tan 

While exposure to harmful UV Radiation can be dangerous and lead to cancer, there are ways to bypass this.

Experts recommend using tanning beds or sunbathing in moderation- maybe once a month and following up with self-tan products.

Self-tanning products have dramatically increased in quality from their initial production. Self-tanning products now are made for all skin tones and their variations. 

These lotions gradually tan your skin and look all natural, even with the desired sun-kissed glow.

However, if you do decide to go the natural tanning or artificial route, it is important to know the logistics behind proper tanning.

How Long Does It Take To Tan in the Sun?

Whether you choose to get a tan from sunlight or through artificial light directly impacts how long the process will take for you.

Skin tone is also another important factor that comes into play because each skin tone and their variations have different durations of time they can be exposed to UV Radiation safely.

Sunbathing can be tricky if you are unaware of how long you should be in the sun.

According to a recent article by the Sun, a news company located in the UK, knowing your skin tone is vital to achieving the desired tan.

Being that melanin affects your skin, eye, and hair color, people with different amounts of it are subject to burning faster or slower.

One tip is that if you have less melanin, you should take more precautions when sunbathing because you may burn faster and are more susceptible to being sunburned.

However, this also means you will have a difficult time tanning. It is the exact opposite for someone with more melanin.

Experts recommend using any type of SPF sunscreen when attempting to sunbathe because they filter out any harmful UV Radiation.

However, no sunscreen has full protection which means that even if you wear sunscreen, you will still achieve a tan.

What About In A Tanning Bed?

If choosing to go the more artificial route and visit a tanning bed, it may be easier to achieve a tan.

This is because there are plenty factors in play when tanning outdoors such as the clouds, time of day, latitude, and many more.

Also, how long it takes for you to tan depends on your skin tone. However, there is an average of three to seven sessions to achieve the desired tan, assuming that you visit on a fixed schedule.

Using a tanning lotion may also help you achieve the tan quicker with less time in the tanning booth. Using a tanning bed can help you achieve your base tan and afterwards with the protection of sunscreen, going out in the sun can help deepen your tan.

Experts on tanning call this Smart Tanning because you will not burn if precautions are taken.

Why Do Some Parts of My Body Tan Faster Than Others?

A new study indicates that it is nearly impossible to achieve a full-body tan because some areas of your body are more prone to being tanned than others.

According to an article on about the said study, areas that do not tan as easily are the buttocks and legs.

The study has also determined that individuals with freckles on their skin take longer to tan than those without.

With this in mind, it is important to take extra precautions when going out in the sun because you may end up with a tanned stomach, but fair legs.

The reason behind this is that in addition to having a skin type, every individual has skin regions which have various durations they can be exposed to the sun without burning.

Tips for Safe Tanning

While tanning can be dangerous and unsightly if done wrong, it can also be beautiful if done right. ​

Evening your skin tone is vital before going outside to get tanned.

This can be done by exfoliating.

By washing your face with cold water and an exfoliating wash, dead cells are removed and your pores are unclogged.

The removal of these cells and any particles or dust clogging your pores will lead to a shallow layer of skin. This allows you to tan faster and it to stay longer.

In addition to exfoliating, wearing any protective clothing also helps. UV Radiation is harmful to every bit of your body, including your eyes.

Therefore, wearing sunglasses is recommended when going outside as this protects your eyes from any future harm.


If you don’t have a lot of time to sit out in the sun or frequent a tanning bed to build up a gradual tan, I’d recommend getting a spray tan or investing in a self-tanner. It’s quick, easy, and a lot safer for your skin.

From all of us at Bronzed Airbrush Tanning online, we wish you happy safe tanning!