How Many Tanning Sessions to Get a Base Tan?

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Getting a base tan is often the first step for many people on their tanning journey. Did you know that it typically takes around 3-5 sessions in a tanning bed to develop this initial glow? In this article, we’ll steer you through all aspects of building and maintaining a base tan, including your skin type, optimal frequency of tanning sessions, and even some handy tips to enhance the process.

Ready to get that sun-kissed look? Dive right in!

  • It typically takes around 3 – 5 tanning sessions to develop a base tan, regardless of your skin type.
  • Gradually increasing exposure time and using indoor tanning lotions can enhance the tanning process.
  • Regular moisturizing and limiting sun exposure outside of tanning sessions helps maintain and prolong a base tan.

Determining Your Skin Type for Tanning

Understanding your skin type is a crucial step in the tanning process. Skin types range from very fair, which burns easily and seldom tans, to dark brown or black skin, which rarely burns and tans profusely.

Once you’ve identified your skin type, it becomes easier to decide how many tanning sessions you need to develop a base tan.

For instance, if you have fair skin that tends to burn instead of tan, you’ll likely require more low-pressure sessions. Starting with brief exposure times ensures a lower risk of overexposure while allowing your skin time to build melanin – the pigment responsible for causing your skin color to darken during a tan.

On the other hand, if your complexion is darker and less susceptible to burning, fewer high-level sunbed sessions could be adequate for achieving an enviable bronze tint. This approach offers faster results as higher-level sunbeds emit more UV rays compared to their lower-level counterparts.

Knowing this distinction helps structure a fitting indoor tan appointment schedule specifically designed according to how easily or difficultly one’s particular complexion reacts under simulated sunlight exposure from using regular sunbed use in order maintain as well provide protection against actual sun heat damage on different days throughout week through correct duration each session thereby preventing potential health problems associated with long-term effects such untimely wrinkles cracked dry patches crowded pores even worse like cancerous growths due harmful ultraviolet radiation absorption into living tissue underneath surface layer human body cells leading medical conditions resulting form excessive unrestrained unnecessary disordered reckless artificial tanning practices disregarding FDA regulations concerning commercial establishments offering these kinds services thanking bed clients customers advising them consult licensed professional trained personnel first before taking decisions about personal beauty treatments procedures aesthetic purposes only leaving aside all scientific rational analytical critical reasoning behind what should be inherent natural common sense based knowledge wisdom shared universally amongst educated informed intelligent modern societies mankind population worldwide- just remember golden rule life any kind activity moderation key balance good health happiness prosperous fruitful long lived life experience journey filled joy peace contentment satisfactionappiness.

How Many Tanning Sessions to Develop a Base Tan

Developing a base tan usually requires around 3-5 tanning sessions, regardless of your skin type. It’s important to note that the base tan may not become noticeable until after several days or even weeks of consistent tanning.

To start, it’s recommended to have 1-3 low-pressure sessions and gradually progress to high-pressure ones for the best results. Remember to space out your tanning sessions between 24 to 48 hours and avoid going into a tanning bed more than once a day.

On average, it takes about 5 to 10 sessions on Level 1 sunbeds within a period of 14-21 days to acquire a base tan. However, fewer sessions may be needed if you’re using higher-level sunbeds.

Maintaining your tan can be achieved through regular sunbed use, typically at a rate of two sessions per week. Indoor tanning professionals suggest starting with three sessions per week until you’ve developed a tan and then reducing it to two sessions per week to maintain the desired color.

The duration of each tanning bed session varies depending on your skin type but generally lasts between 8-12 minutes.

By following these guidelines and being patient with the process, you’ll soon achieve the natural-looking base tan you desire.

Factors That Affect the Number of Tanning Sessions Needed

The number of tanning sessions needed to develop a base tan can vary depending on factors such as your skin type, the intensity of the tanning bed, and the amount of time you spend in each session.

Skin type

Different skin types react differently to tanning, which means the number of sessions needed to develop a base tan can vary. However, on average, it takes about 3-5 tanning sessions for most people to start seeing results.

If you have fair or sensitive skin, it may take a bit longer, while those with naturally darker skin might see results more quickly. Keep in mind that consistency is key – regular sunbed use at a rate of 2 sessions per week is usually recommended to maintain your base tan once it’s developed.

Tanning bed intensity

The intensity of the tanning bed plays a significant role in how quickly you develop a base tan. Higher-intensity beds can provide a more efficient and faster tanning process compared to lower-intensity beds.

It is important to start with low-pressure sessions and gradually increase the intensity as your skin becomes accustomed to the UV exposure. This gradual progression allows for a safer and more even tan development.

Remember, always follow the recommendations of indoor tanning professionals when it comes to selecting the appropriate level of tanning bed intensity for your individual needs and skin type.

Time spent in each session

To develop a base tan, it is important to consider the time spent in each tanning session. On average, a tanning bed session lasts around 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your skin type.

Starting with shorter sessions and gradually increasing the time can help you build a beautiful tan while minimizing the risk of overexposure. Remember that consistency is key – spacing out your sessions by at least 24 to 48 hours allows your skin to recover and reap the benefits of each session.

So, make sure to find the right balance for your skin and gradually work towards achieving that gorgeous base tan.

Tips for Achieving and Maintaining a Base Tan

– Gradually increase your exposure time during each tanning session to avoid overexposure and burning.

Gradually increase exposure time

To develop a base tan, it’s important to gradually increase your exposure time in tanning sessions. Start with shorter sessions and slowly extend the duration as your skin becomes accustomed to UV rays.

This helps prevent burning and allows your skin to build up melanin more effectively, resulting in a longer-lasting tan. By taking this approach, you can achieve a beautiful base tan without overexposing your skin or risking sunburn.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to building and maintaining a healthy tan.

Use indoor tanning lotions or accelerators

Indoor tanning lotions or accelerators can be beneficial in helping you achieve and maintain a base tan. These products are specially formulated to enhance the tanning process by stimulating melanin production in the skin.

When applied before your tanning session, they help to intensify your tan and provide a deeper, more even color. Additionally, these lotions often contain moisturizing ingredients that keep your skin hydrated during the tanning process, preventing dryness and flaking.

By using indoor tanning lotions or accelerators regularly, you can maximize the effectiveness of your tanning sessions and prolong the life of your base tan.

Moisturize regularly

Regular moisturizing is an essential step in achieving and maintaining a base tan. Moisturizers help to hydrate the skin, keeping it soft and supple, which can enhance the tanning process.

Dry skin tends to reflect light rather than absorb it, which can hinder the development of a tan. By moisturizing regularly, you can ensure that your skin remains in optimal condition for tanning.

After each tanning session, apply a nourishing lotion or oil to replenish moisture lost during exposure to UV rays. Additionally, continue moisturizing daily between sessions to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Limit sun exposure outside of tanning sessions

To achieve and maintain a base tan, it’s important to limit sun exposure outside of your tanning sessions. Excessive time spent in the sun can lead to overexposure and increase the risk of skin damage.

Instead, focus on getting your tan from indoor tanning where you have more control over the intensity and duration of your sessions. By avoiding sun exposure outside of tanning, you can ensure that your skin stays healthy while still achieving the desired glow.

Remember, regular use of indoor tanning beds is key to maintaining a base tan and reducing fading over time. So make sure to prioritize your tanning sessions rather than relying on natural sunlight for that perfect tan!


In conclusion, developing a base tan typically requires 3-5 tanning sessions, regardless of your skin type. To maintain your tan, it’s recommended to continue with 2 sessions per week.

Remember to gradually increase exposure time and use indoor tanning lotions or accelerators for best results. Regular moisturizing and limiting sun exposure outside of tanning sessions will help prolong the lifespan of your beautiful base tan.

Happy tanning!


1. How many tanning sessions does it take to get a base tan?

The number of tanning sessions required to achieve a base tan varies, but usually, it takes several consistent visits following an FDA regulated tanning bed schedule.

2. What is the normal duration for each tanning session?

Tanning times differ based on individual skin types and the specific goals for your indoor tan; however, beginners should start with shorter durations.

3. Does it matter how quickly I want to build my base tan?

Yes, building a foundation or “base” tan requires time and patience – rushing can lead to harmful results like burns or premature skin aging.

4. Will maintaining my base tan require me using sunbed frequently?

Maintaining your base tan typically involves regular but not daily usage of the sunbed; overly frequent exposure could be harmful.

5. Can different skin types affect how long it takes to get a good indoor tan?

Yes! Tanning times vary significantly among various skin types with some taking longer than others when using equivalent tanning bed time as sun exposure.

How Many Tanning Sessions to Get a Base Tan?
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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