15 Tips – How to Get the Best Tan in a Tanning Bed

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

( As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. )

Do you crave a dark, even tan but fear uneven lines or damaging your skin? Indoor tanning, when done correctly, can be a safer and more controlled method to achieve that coveted bronze glow.

In this guide, we provide simple yet effective strategies to get the best results from your tanning bed sessions. So let’s dive in and discover how to become beautifully bronzed without the burn!

  • Determine your skin type to understand how it reacts to UV rays and adjust tanning sessions accordingly.
  • Hydrate and moisturize your skin before tanning to achieve a more even and longer-lasting tan.
  • Use a tanning accelerator or lotion to stimulate melanin production for a darker tan with lasting results.

Preparing for Tanning Bed Sessions

To prepare for tanning bed sessions, determine your skin type, hydrate and moisturize your skin, apply a tanning accelerator or lotion, remove makeup and cosmetic products, and choose foods that accelerate tanning.

Determine your skin type

Knowing your skin type is a crucial first step in achieving the perfect tan with a tanning bed. Each skin type reacts differently to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which play a major role in how your body tans.

Skin types range from Type I: pale and burns easily, typically with red or blonde hair and light eyes; to Type VI: dark brown or black skin that rarely burns and tans quickly. Monitor how your skin responds to sunlight as this can indicate your sensitivity level to UV rays.

Those with fairer complexions should start with shorter tanning sessions, while those with darker complexions may tolerate longer sessions. Always remember that understanding and respecting the limits of your unique skin type protects against overexposure and potential sunburns during indoor tanning.

Hydrate and moisturize your skin

To achieve the best tan in a tanning bed, it is crucial to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. Dry skin can result in an uneven tan or even cause your tan to fade quickly. So, before heading to the tanning salon, make sure to drink plenty of water and use a nourishing moisturizer on your body.

Hydrating from within and externally will help your skin stay healthy and ready for that beautiful bronzed glow you desire.

Using a hydrating lotion specifically formulated for indoor tanning can also work wonders for keeping your skin moisturized during the tanning process. These lotions often contain ingredients like aloe vera or shea butter that not only hydrate but also soothe and protect the skin from potential damage caused by exposure to UV rays.

Apply a tanning accelerator or lotion

Using a tanning accelerator or lotion before your tanning bed session can help enhance and optimize your tan. These products are specially formulated to stimulate melanin production, which is responsible for the darkening of your skin.

Applying a tanning accelerator or lotion can also moisturize and nourish your skin, ensuring that it stays hydrated throughout the tanning process. Look for products that contain ingredients like vitamin E, aloe vera, and natural oils to provide extra hydration and protection for your skin.

By using a tanning accelerator or lotion, you can achieve a deeper and more even tan with long-lasting results.

Remove makeup and cosmetic products

To achieve the best tan in a tanning bed, it’s important to remove all makeup and cosmetic products before getting into the bed. This ensures that there are no barriers between your skin and the UV rays, allowing for an even and natural-looking tan.

Makeup can create unwanted lines or streaks on your face and body, so make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly before each tanning session. By removing all traces of cosmetics, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of your tanning experience and achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Choose foods that accelerate tanning

Certain foods can help accelerate your tanning process and give you a darker, more even tan. Incorporating these foods into your diet can boost the production of melanin in your skin, which is responsible for giving you that sun-kissed glow.

Foods rich in beta-carotene, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach, can enhance your skin’s ability to tan. Additionally, consuming fruits high in antioxidants such as berries and citrus fruits can protect your skin from damage caused by UV rays while promoting a healthier-looking tan.

So grab a colorful plate of these tanning-friendly foods to achieve that beautiful bronzed look!

Tanning Bed Tips for Safe and Effective Tanning

Choose a tanning bed that is appropriate for your skin type and follow proper positioning in the bed to ensure safe and effective tanning.

Select the right tanning bed

Choosing the right tanning bed is essential for safe and effective tanning. Look for a reputable salon that maintains clean and well-maintained beds. Consider your skin type and desired level of tan when selecting a bed with the appropriate UV intensity.

It’s also important to ensure that the bed has proper ventilation to prevent overheating. Take into account any additional features or options, such as adjustable face lamps or cooling fans, that can enhance your tanning experience.

By selecting the right tanning bed, you’ll be on your way to achieving a beautiful and even tan without compromising your safety.

Follow proper positioning in the bed

To get the best tan in a tanning bed, it’s important to follow proper positioning in the bed. Here are some tips to help you achieve optimal results:

  • Lie flat on the bed with your body aligned in the center.
  • Keep your limbs slightly apart to ensure even exposure.
  • Avoid crossing your arms or legs, as this can create uneven tan lines.
  • Gently rotate your body every few minutes to ensure that all areas receive equal amounts of UV light.
  • If possible, adjust the bed’s angles and settings according to the manufacturer’s instructions for a more customized tan.

Determine the appropriate tanning session length

To achieve the best and safest results in a tanning bed, it’s important to determine the appropriate tanning session length based on your skin type. A good rule of thumb is to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the time as your skin builds up a base tan.

For fair skin, it’s recommended to begin with sessions lasting around 9 minutes for three days before increasing the time to 10 minutes for 4-5 days. This gradual approach helps prevent burning and allows your skin to adjust to UV exposure.

Remember, it’s crucial to avoid overexposure and sunburn by understanding your personal limits when it comes to tanning times and duration.

Protect your eyes during tanning

Proper eye protection is crucial when using a tanning bed. The UV rays emitted by the bulbs can be harmful to your eyes and potentially lead to long-term damage, including cataracts.

To shield your eyes, always wear FDA-approved tanning goggles specifically designed for indoor tanning. Regular sunglasses won’t provide enough protection, so make sure you invest in the right kind of goggles to keep your eyes safe during each session.

Remember, protecting your eyes is just as important as getting that beautiful tan!

Aftercare for a Long-lasting Tan

Proper skincare after tanning is essential to maintain a long-lasting tan. Discover simple yet effective tips for aftercare, ensuring your tan stays beautiful and vibrant for as long as possible.

Proper skincare after tanning

After tanning, it’s important to take proper care of your skin to maintain a healthy glow and prolong the longevity of your tan. Firstly, make sure to hydrate by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

This helps replenish moisture lost during tanning and keeps your skin looking fresh. Secondly, moisturize your skin with a gentle lotion or oil to lock in hydration and prevent dryness.

Additionally, avoid exfoliating immediately after tanning as this can strip away your tan prematurely. Lastly, protect your skin from excessive sun exposure by wearing sunscreen when going outside.

Keep your tanning bed clean

To maintain a hygienic and effective tanning experience, it is essential to keep your tanning bed clean. Regularly wipe down the surface of the bed with a disinfectant or cleaning solution to remove any residue or bacteria.

Additionally, make sure to change the protective goggles between each use to prevent cross-contamination and protect your eyes. By keeping your tanning bed clean, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable tanning session every time.

How often should you tan?

It is important to establish a tanning schedule that works for your skin and helps you achieve the desired results while maintaining its health. For most individuals, it is recommended to tan in a tanning bed 2-3 times a week initially, with shorter sessions of around 9 minutes to avoid burning.

As your skin develops a base tan, you can gradually increase the duration of each session by about one minute every few days. However, it’s important to listen to your body and give your skin adequate time to recover between tanning sessions.

Taking breaks from indoor tanning allows your skin to rejuvenate and maintain a healthy glow.

Tips for Achieving a Darker Tan

To achieve a darker tan in a tanning bed, exfoliate your skin before each session, moisturize regularly to keep your skin hydrated, and use a tanning accelerator or lotion for an enhanced bronzing effect.

Additionally, remove any makeup or cosmetic products prior to tanning and choose foods that can accelerate the tanning process for optimal results. Lastly, it’s best to avoid shaving or waxing immediately after a tanning session to maintain your dark tan longer.

Exfoliate your skin prior to tanning

To achieve the best tan in a tanning bed, it’s important to exfoliate your skin beforehand. Exfoliation helps remove dead cells on the outer layer of your skin, allowing for a more even and longer-lasting tan.

Taking a shower and using an abrasive soap or scrubbing sponge can help with this process. By exfoliating before tanning, you’ll be able to prepare your skin for optimal absorption of UV rays and achieve that beautiful sun-kissed glow.

Hydrate and moisturize your skin

To get the best tan in a tanning bed, it’s important to hydrate and moisturize your skin. Keeping your skin well-hydrated before tanning will help you achieve a darker and longer-lasting tan.

Dry skin can absorb more UV rays, which can lead to burning rather than tanning. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated from within as well. Additionally, applying a moisturizer or tanning lotion before getting into the tanning bed will create a barrier that locks in moisture and prevents your skin from drying out during the session.

So remember, always hydrate and moisturize your skin for the best tanning results!

Use a tanning accelerator or lotion

Using a tanning accelerator or lotion can help you achieve a deeper and longer-lasting tan in a tanning bed. These products are specifically designed to enhance the tanning process by stimulating melanin production in your skin, which is the pigment responsible for giving your skin its color.

By applying a tanning accelerator or lotion before tanning, you can help your skin develop a more even and vibrant tan. Additionally, these products often contain moisturizing ingredients that hydrate your skin, preventing it from drying out during the tanning session.

To maximize the effectiveness of your tan, choose a high-quality tanning accelerator or lotion that suits your specific needs and apply it evenly all over your body prior to entering the tanning bed.

Remove makeup and cosmetic products

Before stepping into a tanning bed, it’s important to remove all makeup and cosmetic products from your skin. This is because these products can create unwanted tan lines or cause uneven tanning.

By making sure your skin is clean and free from any barriers, you’ll allow the UV rays to evenly penetrate the surface of your skin, resulting in a more even and natural-looking tan.

So before your next tanning session, make sure to thoroughly cleanse your face and body to ensure optimal results.

Choose foods that accelerate tanning

Certain foods can actually help accelerate your tanning process and give you a deeper, longer-lasting tan. Incorporating these foods into your diet can boost melanin production, which is responsible for the color of your skin.

Some examples of these foods include carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. These foods are rich in carotenoids that promote the production of melanin in the skin.

Additionally, fruits like oranges and berries contain vitamin C which helps protect skin cells from damage caused by UV rays. Including these foods in your diet can complement your tanning bed sessions and help you achieve a beautiful bronzed glow faster.

Avoid shaving or waxing after tanning session

Shaving or waxing immediately after a tanning session is not recommended. When you tan, your skin becomes more sensitive and prone to irritation. Shaving or waxing can further aggravate the skin, leading to redness, inflammation, and even ingrown hairs.

It’s best to wait at least 24 hours before shaving or waxing to allow your skin time to recover from the tanning process. This will help maintain a smooth and healthy tan without any unwanted side effects.


Achieving a beautiful tan in a tanning bed is all about preparation and taking proper care of your skin. By determining your skin type, hydrating, using the right products, following safe tanning practices, and maintaining a consistent routine, you can enjoy a gorgeous and long-lasting tan.

Remember to always prioritize safety and listen to your skin’s needs for the best results. Happy tanning!


1. How can I prepare my skin for the best tan in a tanning bed?

Start by exfoliating and moisturizing your skin before each session. Use sunbed cream or indoor tanning oil to maximize your tanning bed experience.

2. What is the correct positioning when using a tanning bed?

Proper positioning in a bronzing bed requires laying flat with legs straight, arms up, and palms facing down to achieve an even, darker tan.

3. How often should I have a tanning session and for how long each time?

It’s suggested to start with short, gradual sessions reducing the risk of burns especially if you have fair skin then adjust duration based on how well your skin reacts.

4. Are there any techniques that can help me get a deeper tan from sunbeds faster?

Yes! Using effective tanning techniques like applying bronzing lotion before getting into the bronzing bed or adjusting your position during use could enhance your results over time.

5. Is it safe to use a tanning bed instead of being exposed to natural sunlight?

While both methods expose you to UV radiation causing potential harm such as premature aging & cancer risks; using sunless alternatives like self-tanners are recommended for safer outcomes.

15 Tips – How to Get the Best Tan in a Tanning Bed
No comments to show.
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.

Get your FREE copy.

Sign Up & Subscribe

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp