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How Long Will It Take to Get a Tan?

How Long Will It Take to Get a Tan?
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Last Updated: 27 August 2020

You’ve probably asked yourself many times, “How long should I tan for getting excellent shade yet keep the skin healthy, young and radiant?” We all know that there are lots of risks involved with prolonged sun exposure and tanning. However, we still tan since we like the way the sun-kissed skin looks and simply enjoy the process.

If you decide to spend some time lying on the beach, use a self-tanner, or a tanning bed, you should know how to reduce risks and tan quickly. Nip the problems in the bud! Read our post to learn science-backed info concerning a tan!

What Factors Are Influencing Tanning?

There are various factors that influence tanning, but one of the most important is a person’s skin type. Dr. Thoma Fittzpatrick, the American dermatologist, created a system to determine a skin’s response to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This system is called the Fitzpatrick Scale, and it categorizes an individual’s skin type from 1 to 6.

Below, you can see these types and how they influence a tone.

Skin Type
Skin Features
Tanning ability
1

Pale complexion

Green/blue eyes

Blond/red hair

The skin doesn’t tan, and quickly gets burn
2

Fair skin

Blue eyes

The skin tans poorly & burns easily
3 Darker fair skin Gets a tone after the initial burn
4 Light brown skin Gets a tone easily, burns minimally
5 Brown skin Gets a dark tone easily, rarely burns
6 Darker fair skin Always gets dark tone, never burns

Other factors which influence tanning

  • At higher altitudes, the sun rays are stronger, hence, they make getting the tone more quickly.
  • Humid climates make tanning happen faster and keep a tone from fading. By the way, to keep your tattoo from fading, use sunscreen for tattoos.
  • Individuals with darker complexion get tone faster since they have more melanin in the skin.
  • The time of the day and the angle of the sun matters too. The closer a person is to the equator, the more likely he/she is to tan.
  • The higher SPF your outdoor tanning lotion has, the longer you can suntan. For instance, SPF of 30 protects your skin 30 times more than if you didn’t wear anything.

What Are The Main Tanning Risks?

Despite the fact that we all love suntanning, we should understand that UV rays are really harmful. Sadly, but getting a tone in a tanning bed may be health hazardous as well.

Tanning risks include the following:

using tanning bed
  • Immune system suppression
  • Melanoma and other skin cancers
  • Eye damage
  • Sunburn
  • Premature skin aging
  • Heat rash
  • Dehydration

How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan In The Sun?

When our readers ask us, “How long should I tan outside?”, we recommend doing it not longer than several hours, provided that they use outdoor tanning lotion with SPF 30 or more. Most people get a tone within a few hours; however, you might not see the results right away. That’s because the skin produces melanin in response to sun exposure, and this takes time. Besides, the duration will depend on the climate in which you’re tanning and your skin type.

Can You Tan Using SPF?

As we touched on above, using an SPF is a must, even if you tan in the shade. And, yes, you’ll become brown when you use sunscreen, whether it’s 15, 30, or 50+. Actually, if you don’t use it, you can burn in as little as ten minutes.

SPF acts as a barrier so that only a small amount of ultraviolet gets through to the skin. For instance, an SPF 30 filters out up about 96% of UV, while an SPF 50 – up to 98%, making you safer while you are sunbathing.

Can You Get Tan In The Shade?

Following up with answering our readers’ question “How long does it take to tan naturally staying in the shade?”, we are happy to assure you that you’ll still become brown being under an umbrella or shady tree. It’ll take you 1 or 2 hours to get a tone.

However, according to professionals, people still receive quite a lot of sun exposure and risk skin damage even though they spend sunny hours in the shade. That’s because UVB rays can reach the skin indirectly.

To sum up, sunbathing in the shade is obviously healthier; however, do wear sunscreen with SPF 30+.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan In A Tanning Bed?

tanning in the sun

The best tanning beds can be a good idea for those who want a sun-kissed glow not only in summer but in winter as well. Besides, these devices diminish the time required to become brown in normal ways, and they are capable of blocking hazardous UVC type rays.

The duration of getting a tone in the tanning bed depends on the type of your skin and machine quality. Generally, you can lie there about 10-20 minutes per session. Dermatologists recommend taking not more than 1 session a week. Note, that results may not appear after the first procedure, most likely, they appear after the second or even third session.

Tips To Speed Up Tan Process In A Tanning Bed

If you are new to tanning beds or have a pale complexion, you’d better not speed up the process because you need to watch carefully the way your skin reacts to the procedures.

However, you can use a tanning lotion that will not only speed up the process but also protect your skin, and even prolong the result. Apply solution 5 minutes before the session.

Are Tanning Beds Safe?

Tanning beds are considered harmful. According to researches, one indoor tanning procedure can increase the risk of skin cancer – melanoma – by as much as 20%. The body is exposed to high levels of UVA rays that can cause cancer. IARS (The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer) classifies tanning beds as cancerogenic.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Spray Tan?

Once the solution gets on your skin, it’ll bring the result straight away. However, if you use a regular spray tan, it needs about 8 hours to set. After this period, you’ll see the full effect. For faster results, use express sprays; they usually take up to 4 hours to set on your skin and show a good tone.

An average spray tan lasts about 8 days, but if the tone is darker, it can last up to 10 days.

Tanning Spray Tips

To keep your beautiful bronze tone for longer, you should consider a few things which are a must before and after using tanning spray. Read the tips below.

Before Spray Tanning:

applying spray tan
  • Exfoliate the skin – use a scrub to remove dead skin because dead cells will block the action of the spay. Make sure to use natural scrubs, chemical or oil-based exfoliants won’t do.
  • Do not remove your body hair by waxing at least 3 days before spray tanning.
  • Remove makeup and other cosmetic products from the skin before applying the spray.
  • Do not take a hot shower before the procedure.
  • Deodorant with aluminum and spray tan together can make your skin become greenish. So, avoid using such a deodorant before spray tanning.

After Spray Tanning:

  • Avoid wearing tight clothes during the following 24 hours.
  • Do not take a shower at least 8 hours after using tanning spray. If you can prolong this period for up to 24 hours, it’ll be perfect!
  • Avoid using oil-based products if you want to prolong your tan.
  • Moisturize your skin with an alcohol-free solution twice a day – in the morning and before bed.
  • Try to use baby powder instead of deodorant to prevent undesirable color change.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan With Self-tanners?

Sunless tanning solutions make the skin look tanned without exposing it to the harmful sun rays. That’s why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using self-tanners as a safer alternative to sunbathing or getting a tone in the indoor tanning beds.

applying body bronzer

However, such solutions increase the production of the pigment melanin as well. Therefore, they might cause skin damage, premature aging, and higher risks of cancer. That’s why make sure to choose the best solutions such as pregnancy-safe self-tanner since they contain high-quality ingredients.

To see the best results, you should leave your self-tanner for about 6-10 hours on the skin.

What Are Self-tanners Alternatives?

If you need beautiful bronze skin right now, the best self-tanner alternative is wash-off solutions. They are safe tinted luminizers and bronzers that give you immediate glowy tan until your next shower. On top of that, they come with amazing smells. Remember that the quality and duration of tanning luminizers/bronzers will vary from brand to brand, so ensure to pick only the best ones.

How To Tan Faster: General Tips

Here are well-tried tips for you on how to get a tone faster so that you spend less time under hazardous UV rays or in the tanning bed.

  • Exfoliate before tanning, thanks to it, the tan won’t flake off.
  • Use a sunscreen with SPF30+.
  • Change positions often to get an even tone.
  • Eat lycopene-rich food like tomatoes, and watermelon. They help naturally fight UV rays.
  • Eat products that contain beta-carotene, e.g., carrots, they help to make the skin darker.
  • Sunbathe early in the morning and after 4 p.m. Although UV rays are not that strong at these periods, they are a bit safer for the skin and overall wellbeing.

Final Word

How long does it take to tan? Not long, really, about 1 or 2 hours! However, you should remember that any type of tanning has its risks and can lead to skin issues. So, use our tips to do it safely, and enjoy getting your perfect, long-lasting tone!

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