Sunbeds are the perfect way to achieve a great tan without the health risks posed by direct exposure to natural sunlight and harmful UV rays. However, some people may find that they are not achieving the desired results from their sunbed sessions; "how many sunbeds to get a tan?" is a common question, and the answer is not always straightforward as a simple this or that.

If you are not achieving the desired tan on the sunbed, several factors could be contributing to this outcome - let's have a look.

Can you tan through fake tan on sunbeds?

The short answer is yes, but with some caveats. Most fake tanning products contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which reacts with the top layer of your skin, resulting in a temporary tan. Unlike a real tan, these products do not provide protection against UV rays from the sunbed; however, the layer of fake tan may act as a barrier, hindering the tanning process to a degree.

While it will not prevent tanning altogether, using fake tan products can affect your ability to develop a natural tan. This means you’ll require more time to achieve a deep bronze colour. However, for some a mixture of fake tan and tanning sessions is a plus, as it means they can take more time to build their tan beneath the top layer. If you'd rather achieve a natural tan in a short time, it is advisable to avoid using fake tan products.

How long does a sunbed tan take to develop?

The time it takes for a sunbed tan to develop can vary depending on several factors, such as your skin type, the strength of the sunbed, and the duration of your session.

Generally, you may notice some colour immediately after your session, but the full tan development might take up to 24 to 48 hours. It's important to be patient and not expect instant results, as overexposure to UV rays can be harmful to your skin. The colour will usually begin to truly darken after three sessions.

To achieve a deeper and longer-lasting tan, multiple sessions spread over several weeks might be necessary. It's important not to rush the process and avoid excessive exposure in a short period, as this can lead to skin damage.

How long does a sunbed tan last?

The duration of a sunbed tan's longevity also depends on various factors. Typically, a sunbed tan can last for one to two weeks before it starts to fade. The tan will gradually lighten as the outermost layer of skin naturally sheds. To maintain your tan's appearance in-between sunbed sessions, you can use moisturisers to keep your skin hydrated. You should also avoid exfoliating too frequently.

How often can you go on a sunbed?

The frequency of sunbed sessions should be approached with caution, as overexposure to UV radiation can lead to adverse effects on your skin's health. The European Standard advises not to exceed 60 sessions per year, which means an average of roughly one sun bed session per week for those intending to continue their sessions all year long.

Your skin type plays a significant role in how often you can tan. It is generally recommended to wait at least 48 hours between sunbed sessions for people with skin type 2 (fair skin, possibly, with freckles; blond to brown hair, green and grey eyes). 

People with skin type 3 to 6 are advised to wait at least 24 hours between sessions. This time allows your skin to recover from the UV exposure and reduces the risk of skin damage.

While skin types serve as a good guide, it is important to remember that everyone's skin is different, so it is essential to pay attention to how your own skin responds and adjust your tanning schedule accordingly. 

If you are a first-time sunbed user, it's essential to take a cautious approach and start with short sessions to allow your skin to acclimate to the UV exposure gradually. During your initial sessions, consult the staff at the tanning salon to understand the recommended exposure time based on your skin type. Additionally, always wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.


Improve your tanSafe tanningTan tipsTanning