How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan? When Will It Fade? Tanning Bed vs. Sun

If you’re like me, then my guess is you live somewhere in the western part of the world and can’t wait until the summertime comes so that you can feel the nice warm sun on your starved, cold skin from the boring and cold winters that we get.

And you are wondering just how long it takes to get a tan?

Well, am I right? Probably.

That’s good because I’ve researched for you, and below, I will explain just about everything you need to know about tanning.

So How Long Does It Take To Get A Tan?

how long does it take to tan

Well. Sorry to tell you this, but the answer to this question depends on the type of skin you have.

People with a darker skin tone can get a tan in as little as a few hours in the sun. Most people with average tone skin will take a few days of being in the sun for a couple of hours each time.

People with lighter skin will require, on average, about 2-3 weeks in the sun for a few hours at a time to get their skin tan.

It all just depends on the type of skin you have.

What do I mean by the type of skin you have?

I’m talking about something called melanin.

What is melanin?

Melanin is something that affects our skin, eyes, and hair. It’s what protects our skin from getting burned in the sun.

People with darker skin have more melanin than people with lighter skin.

When your skin is exposed to the sun, the body increases melanin production, which darkens the skin in pursuit of trying to defend the body from the harsh UV rays of the sun.

How long does it take to tan in a tanning bed?

The amount of time it takes to get tan in a tanning bed is a bit different.

A tanning bed ultimately supercharges your tanning time to almost nothing if you think about it.

A dark skin person can get tan in a tanning bed in about 15 minutes of medium pressure tanning. This is nothing.

People with fair to light skin can get tan in a tanning bed in about 3-4 tans of medium pressure at 15 minutes each. This is a total of about an hour of tanning, all spanning about 4 days.

As you can see, tanning in a bed can be much quicker than tanning naturally out in the sun for obvious reasons.

This is why most people choose to accelerate their tanning by hitting the fake bake beds, but this leads us to another question.

Which tan is better?

Tanning Bed vs. Sun – Which Tan is Better?


Now I’ve got you wondering, is it better to tan in the sun, or is it better to tan in a tanning bed? And which one looks better, if any?

Tanning Bed vs.Sun Tanning: Which one looks better?

Ever notice that when tanning outside out by the pool, your tan seems to look a tiny bit better than when you get out of tanning bed?

Well, this is because Sun Tanning looks better than tanning in the fake bake bed. But why?

The answer is Vitamin D.

When tanning in a bed, your body does not get the UVB light it needs to make Vitamin D, and, therefore, you lack the proper vitamins that you need to make your skin get the perfect dark bronze look.

When tanning outside in the sun, your body can get the sun’s UVB light and make Vitamin D.

This is what helps you to get that perfect dark look.

How to Stay Tan Year-Round?


Ever wondered how those fitness gurus and your local fit geeks at your gym seem to stay tan year-round and keep their skin still looking super young?

They do this by using a Self Tanner.

A self-tanner is a lotion that you apply to your skin, typically before you go to sleep or right when you wake up in the morning that helps your skin to darken on its own.

Yes, this is legit, and yes, this is a thing.

My girlfriend uses it now pretty much every night before she goes to bed.

And let me tell you, she stays tan year-round, and her skin is always looking young and fresh.

This stuff, even from my point of view, freaking rocks. She is literally tanner by the next morning. It’s crazy.

Also, keep this in mind, using a self-tanner is far less dangerous than tanning in a tanning bed or tanning outside in the sun. This stuff keeps you tan without exposing your skin to dangerous rays.

How to Speed Up Your Tanning?

Get yourself a Good Bronzer. You may ask, “What does a bronzer do?”

A bronzer is a lotion that you apply to your skin to make it look darker, better, faster.

Yeah, it sounds freaking awesome.

Well, that because it is.

There are a bunch of bronzers out there, but most of them are just overpriced junk.

I’ve used just about every bronzer out there, and the only one that I’ve found that works really well that I have been using for years is the Bronzer from LUAU.

It’s cheap and works magic like you wouldn’t believe.

It also protects your tattoos while tanning, if you have any.

Best Time Of Day To Tan Naturally

Is there really a “Best time of day to tan?”

Yes, there is. But we have two different scenarios.

Do you want to tan faster with more burn or tan slower with less burn?

If you are only focused on getting tan as quickly as possible, then your best times to tan during the day will range between noon and 3 pm.

This is because this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and beat down on your skin the hardest.

You will tan faster but will also burn faster. You will want to make sure you have a good bronzer with at least 30SPF.

If you do not want to risk getting burned at all, then your best times to tan will be between 4 pm-7 pm when the sun is starting to set and the evening is approaching.


Spray Tans: Are They Worth it? Should You Get One?


Spray tans? Now, this is going to depend entirely on you.

From my perspective, I will tell you that these are not worth the money or time.

Why do I say this?

Have you ever seen someone walking out of a tanning salon or even just during the day somewhere who looks like an orange or an Oompa Loompa?

Well, that was probably a bit dramatic, but the fact remains that just about every spray tan I’ve seen and that my girlfriend has seen or sprayed herself always turns out a bit orange and looks nothing like a real tan.

Spray tans are essentially spray painting your skin an orange color that you think is supposed to dry out to a bronze tan but never does.

I wouldn’t suggest spray tanning unless you are in an insane hurry, and you only spray on one of the lightest shades they have.

Instead, jump in a tanning bed or get out in the sun and get a tan naturally.

Can Being In The Water Effect How I Tan?


Yes, being in the pool will most definitely affect how you tan.

To understand this, we have to give a bit of an educational background first.

Water reflects about 30% of the sun’s UV rays but still absorbs about 70% of them. As you go down deep into the water, the less the sun can penetrate, but even 6 feet down, there is still about 10% of the sun rays getting to your skin.

So if water reflects the sun, how can I still get burnt?

Well, think about it, water reflects 30% of the sun’s rays. So 70% of the sun’s rays are still hitting your skin and penetrating through.

And to add to this, another 30% of the sun’s rays that are getting reflected are getting thrown back at you from the water.

So you are essentially double tanning yourself if you are in the water. Whatever part of your body remains out of the water is getting reflective rays and direct rays.

You can also burn because the water can rinse off your sunscreen. This, in turn, causes your skin to burn more quickly.

How long does it take for a tan to fade away?

Unfortunately, unless you’re using a self-tanner, all tans will fade.

But just when do they start fading?

They start fading pretty much immediately after you get out of the tanning bed or escape the sun’s rays. It typically takes about 2-3 weeks for about 90% of your current tan to fade away into your natural skin color again.

How can I make my tan stay around longer?

Your tan fades because your body is always replacing old skin cells with new skin cells. Out with the old and in with the new. It typically takes about 1 full month for your body to completely replace all of your old skin cells with new skin cells.

Yeah, super sucks, I know.

The thing is, there are a couple of things you can do to make your tan stay around longer.

1. Use a lotion before and after you tan. Keep your skin moisturized.

By doing this, you are keeping your old skin cells nourished, and your body will not need to replace the cells as quickly, allowing you to keep your tan around for longer.

2. Use a self-tanner

Yep, you definitely will need to use a self-tanner if you want to keep your tan around for a long period of time. This keeps your new skin cells staying the same tan color as your old ones.

Now You Know How Long It Takes To Tan Depends Entirely On You

As you can see, the length of time for you to get that perfect bronze body depends entirely on your skin tone, what products you’re using, how often you’re in the sun, and a few other factors.

Related Reading:

Athlean X Workout Program Review

At What Height Am I Considered Short?

How Can I Get a Soft Jiggly Butt?