How Long Should You Lay In A Tanning Bed?

If you are a beginner at a tanning bed, the question “How long should you lay in a tanning bed?” will be one of your most significant concerns. However, we are here to help you find the answer, so let’s check!
Several of you may be newbie tanners with numerous questions about indoor tanning, particularly tanning time. Even if you have been using the tanning bed for a while, it is hard to know everything about it.

So, do not pass over this post on “How long should you lay on a tanning bed?” It will give you a lot of information that we have studied and collated in order to make your tanning experience as anxiety-free and pleasant as possible.

How Long Should You Lay In A Tanning Bed?

Since laying in a tanning bed is not safe for your health, knowing how long you should use it is crucial, especially for beginners. So let’s find out the answer to the question “How long should beginners lay in a tanning bed?”

Determine your skin type

Before determining the tanning bed timings, you first should discover your tanning type of skin, as this will assist you in deciding how long and how often you should tan in a tanning bed.

  • Type 1: It is characterized by pale, extremely white skin, blue or green eyes, red hair, and numerous freckles. This skin type burns readily and tans with difficulty, so those with skin type 1 should tan with extreme caution.
  • Type 2: This type has a light, beige skin, green or blue eyes, blonde or light brown hair, and freckles. Like the first type, this type burns readily, thus so people should tan with caution.
  • Type 3: It is characterized by light brown skin, brown eyes, and brown hair. Skin type 3 burns quickly but also tans beautifully.
  • Type 4: It has olive or light brown skin, dark brown eyes, and hair. This type is prone to sunburn but tans easily.
  • Type 5: It has brown skin with dark brown hair and eyes. This type burns very little and tans quite easily.

Tanning bed time based on skin type

Now you have determined the skin type, so go on to see how long you should spend in a tanning bed:

Skin type 1

If your skin belongs to type 1, you should be careful when utilizing a tanning bed. Because your skin burns easily, you should spend one minute on your first three tanning sessions. You can progress from here, but only in 1 to 2-minute intervals.

The first session Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
1 minute 1 minute 1 minute 3 minutes 5 minutes

Once you see your skin becoming uncomfortable or warm, you should stop tanning straight away. In addition, do not even rush through the procedure. 

The goal of a 1-minute session is to gradually build up your base tan while avoiding burning to keep the tan progressing. 
The first three weeks are crucial, whereas a 1 or 2-minute session may seem inconvenient initially, it will work out in the long term by allowing you to tan for more and retain a natural glow.
If you stay in the sunbed for too long, even one minute, your skin may peel, and you may need to start the procedure again.
When sunbathing in a sunbed, you should make use of a tan accelerator to assist your tan in developing quicker and keeping your skin from drying.

Skin type 2

Like skin type 1, this type is subject to scorching, so exercise caution. Tanning for 2 minutes will suffice for the first session. Then, you can increase the time gradually, up to 10 minutes after four weeks.

The first session Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
2 minutes 3 minutes 5 minutes 8 minutes 10 minutes

It will help if you stop when you feel the skin scorching or painful during your tanning bed session. To avoid scorching and peeling, you should build up the base tan in tiny increments.
In addition, you should consider applying a tan accelerator to get the most out of your brief tanning treatments while still providing your skin with the extra nutrients it requires.

Skin type 3

This type of skin must still exercise caution when browning in a tanning bed, although their durations can be substantially longer than the first two. 
You can tan for 3 minutes in the first session and gradually extend the time to 15 minutes after four weeks.

The first session Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
3 minutes 4 minutes 8 minutes 13 minutes 15 minutes

Remember that the tanning procedure ought not to be hastened and should be performed in short bursts. If your skin is type 3, you will see improvements rapidly, but do not push it because your skin can still hurt from overexposure.

Like skin types 1 and 2, you should apply a tan accelerator that can help the skin brown in such a short period and aid supply sustenance and nutrients to the skin, which may dry out when exposed to UV radiation.

Skin type 4

If you have skin type 4, you can spend more time in the sunbed, but the effects can be noticeable immediately, so you should not spend too much time in the sunbed. Beginning with 3 minutes for the first session and gradually increasing to 20 minutes after four weeks will suffice.

The first session Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
3 minutes 5 minutes 9 minutes 16 minutes 20 minutes

Likewise, a tan accelerator may do wonders for the skin and allow you to deepen it in short intervals. The extra nutrients that a tan accelerator provides your skin may help the tan last longer and prep the skin for another session.

Skin type 5

With type 5, the time you should lay in a tanning bed is similar to that of skin type 4. 

The first session Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
3 minutes 5 minutes 9 minutes 16 minutes 20 minutes

The sessions for this type are brief due to two factors. First, you may still be vulnerable to UV radiation damage; thus, limiting duration is critical. Besides, you will most likely notice results relatively quickly, so brief sessions are all you need.

You do not have to spend a lot of time in a sunbed, and a tanning accelerator can allow you to build a wonderfully deep tan without spending a lot of time under UV lamps.

SEE ALSO: Can you use tanning oil in a tanning bed?

What Is The Frequency With Which You Should Lay In A Tanning Bed?

More than one tanning appointment in one day is prohibited by FDA regulations since your skin needs to grow a tan and heal from UV ray exposure.
Based on your skin type, it usually takes 3-5 sessions, which is typically three tanning sessions per week till a tan develops, followed by two tanning sessions per week to deepen the tan and keep the glow.

SEE MORE: How often should you lay in a tanning bed?

What Is The Right Way To Lay On Your Back In A Tanning Bed For The Best Result?

Proper placement in the tanning bed helps promote even tanning and protects your skin and eyes from overexposure.

Lay on the sunbed

First, inside the sunbed, lay on the back with the legs and arms wide. An uneven or patchy tan may result from lying with the legs together or the arms lying against the sides. 
Once you first lay down, extend out the body to make sure that all regions of the skin are exposed. Then, lift the arms overhead for several minutes to darken the skin underneath the arms.

Bend your knees

As you lay the legs straight, your buttocks press against your thighs’ back. Tanning in this manner will lead to unsightly tan lines. 

So, bend the knees and elevate the legs a bit. If you do this, ensure the inner thighs do not push together, or else you will acquire an uneven tan.
Place your feet on the toes. Then, elevate the feet and keep in touch with the fingers, which may result in less contact with the surface and a deeper tan on the feet. Also, your knees may benefit from the tan as well.
Unless there is enough space within the sunbed to bend both knees simultaneously, you can bend one for several minutes before switching to the other.

Turn over onto your stomach

Midway through the sunbathing session, roll onto the stomach. You should change the position to lay on the stomach to brown the backside.
Put your arms by your sides, palms down, which is typically suggested by staff or a timer to show you it is time to flip over. Because this posture may be uncomfortable, you may prop up the chin by bending your arms.
Once you want to prop the chin up, you should use both hands to make a pillow and place the chin on top of it. Doing so may allow you to adequately tan your neck (that is always exposed), your wrists, and other portions of the hand.
Also, you do not need to bother about rotating the body to acquire a consistent tan when you tan inside a vertical booth. 
Plus, it is needed to minimize moving since it will make you fatigued soon, not to mention that laying on the stomach is extremely tiring and boring.

Turn your body 

You should rotate the body to lay on the side. Spend the last minute of the session tanning your sides. 
Whereas the bed has already indirectly tanned your sides during the session, resting on every side for 30 seconds at a minimum will guarantee that the tan is even across your complete body.

Proper laying position will help you a better result. 
Proper laying position will help you a better result.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a tanning bed work? 

A typical sunbed has 10—15 lamps installed beneath it. To illuminate, each of these lights need 100 to 200 watts of electricity. 
To control the speed of electricity passing through the lamps, an inductor called a choke ballast has been installed inside the lamps. When the electricity is turned on, it begins to emit a massive proportion of UV rays, which include UVA and UVB.
Highly pressurized sunbeds have the longest-lasting impact on the skin of any form of sunbed. These use quartz-filled bulbs emitting UV radiations which are more hazardous than those generated by standard sunbeds.

A tanning bed emits both UVA and UVB rays. 
A tanning bed emits both UVA and UVB rays.

What is the equivalent of 10 minutes on a tanning bed?

Tanning beds generate

3-6 times the level of radiation that the sun does. As a result, 10 minutes on a tanning bed is assumed to equal nearly 2 hours in the sun. So a 20-minute tanning bed session will equate to approximately four hours in the sun.
Following that, you may easily compare how long it takes to achieve a natural tan to lying in a tanning bed. 
However, you should avoid spending a lot of time in a sunbed if you may not be in the sun for far too long, primarily because a tanning bed is more severe than merely lying in the sun.
20 minutes in a tanning bed is equivalent to 4 hours in the sun.
20 minutes in a tanning bed is equivalent to 4 hours in the sun.

Is tanning bed harmful for your health?

The answer is yes. While some people believe that a tan offers them a healthy glow, a tan, whether indoors or outdoors, is an indication of skin harm. UVA and UVB rays can cause skin damage, especially skin cancer and other damages. 

Cancer risk

UV radiation, whether from artificial sources like sunlamps in tanning salons or the sun, raises the probability of causing skin cancer. Melanoma is known as the worst form of skin cancer related to intense sunburns, particularly at an early age.
Particularly, UV rays comprise UVA and UVB rays penetrating your skin. UVB rays enter upper skin layers and induce sunburns, which are the leading cause of skin cancer. UVA reaches deeper layers and causes allergies. In all, both cause damage to the skin and can cause skin cancer. 
Individuals who have tanned in a tanning bed are 29% more inclined to produce basal cell carcinoma and 83% more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma
Any history of tanning beds raises the risk of acquiring basal cell carcinoma by approximately 69 percent before 40 years old.
A person who has only used a tanning bed once seems to have a 20% increased risk of developing melanoma. Those who initially use a sunbed before 35 years old have a 75% increased risk of melanoma.
Since sunbeds significantly raise your risk of developing skin cancer, the United States Food and Drug Administration imposes warning signs on all sunbeds equipment which clearly state that the equipment should not be utilized on those under the age of 18. 
As a result, several states outright prohibit it, whereas others permit it with parental approval.
Furthermore, UV sunbeds are classified as Class 1 human carcinogens by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer because as previously stated, UVB rays are carcinogenic.

Other risks

Apart from the high risk of developing skin cancer, sunbed tanning may result in the following damage:

  • Premature aging

It is because a tanning bed causes your skin to lose wrinkle and elasticity. A tan’s “glow” is the polar opposite of healthy, and it is an indication of DNA damage to the skin. As a result, it destroys skin cells and accelerates the aging process.

This leathery appearance may not appear until several years after you have got a sunburn or tan.

  • Immune suppression

Since UVB radiation emitted from a tanning bed can impair the proper functioning of your immune system and your skin’s natural protection; it makes you more susceptible to diseases such as skin cancer. 
For instance, it may result in issues like herpes reactivation caused by sun exposure or other sources of UV radiation. Also, it may reduce the effectiveness of immunizations.

  • Eye damage

UV radiation exposure will cause irreparable damage to your eyes, such as burning or inflaming the cornea (the clear front surface of your eye), causing cataracts (obscuring of the eye’s lens), and pterygium (cellular growth on the eye’s surface). 
That is why it is recommended to wear goggles while tanning.

  • Allergic reaction

Several individuals who are very sensitive to UV rays may get an itchy red rash, photosensitivity, red or white bumps, etc.
In all, a tanning bed is not safe for you. In a tanning salon, sunlamps appear to be more harmful than the sun since they may be utilized at the same intensity year-round, as opposed to the sun, whose intensity fluctuates according to the time of the day, cloud cover, or the season.

Is it safe to tan when pregnant?

The answer is no. Tanning, as previously indicated, is not safe whether done indoors or outdoors. Furthermore, your skin becomes more vulnerable during pregnancy, making it more prone to scorch in the sun or on a sunbed.

The reason causing your skin to become more sensitive during pregnancy is the changes in hormone levels, making you more prone to skin discoloration. 
Chloasma is a type of dark, uneven skin patch that can occur on the face. This could indicate that your skin is more sensitive to UV radiation. 
The dark areas are likely to worsen if you use a sunbed. Direct and sustained exposure to UV rays can potentially cause hyperthermia in you and your unborn child.
In terms of your unborn kid, there is presently no conclusive proof about the impact of UV rays of sunbeds on a developing fetus
Despite that, several researchers have suggested a relationship between increasing UV radiation and folic acid insufficiency, which is due to the fact that UV radiation can degrade folic acid.
According to one study from a trusted source, infants delivered to women in Australia exposed to higher amounts of UV rays during their early trimesters appeared to have a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
In fact, folic acid is critical for forming the fetus’s neural system, including the spinal cord and brain, during the first three months of pregnancy. As a result, you should boost your folic acid consumption during this time.
To summarize, if you are pregnant, you should avoid tanning beds to protect yourself and your unborn child.
If you first come to a sunbed tanning, you should watch this video because it suggests several helpful tips for your tanning experience:


Final Thoughts

“How long should you lay in a tanning bed?” After reading this article, we believe you can find out the answer thanks to our detailed clarification. We hope you can make use of all the given information to improve your tanning experience as well as get your desired results.


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