Fitness Tips

How Long Does it Take to Tan & When Will It Fade? Natural Tanning Vs Tanning Bed

The look good, feel good mentality is something that has existed for ages, and what better way to achieve that than getting a nice golden, bronze tan. There is just something about laying under the hot sun and getting those tan lines forming. But just how long does this take? You don’t want to be spending your entire summer just trying to get tan again.

Your goal should be to start even before the spring comes so that you can be tan before summer hits. 

Well you’ve made it to the right article because here we are going to point just how long it will take you to tan, what you can do to speed up your tanning time, and exactly what you can use to keep yourself tan all year round.

And trust me, you will want to try your best to stay tan year round because once fall comes around it does not take long for your tan to fade away.

How Long Does it Take to Tan In A Tanning Bed? Is it Faster?

how long does it take to tan in a tanning bed

Depending on how tan or pasty white you may be, it could take up to a couple of weeks for you to build a base tan.  

It is important to note that there are two different types of lights that are emitted both indoors and indoors, that help a person tan. 

This is called UV light, which is comprised of UVB and UVA light. UVB rays, or reddening rays, are the ones that causes burning to occur, while the UVA rays, or bronzing rays, help with getting that deep bronze tan.  

Let’s say you are going on vacation to a warm tropical place and want to avoid getting burned.  Ideally, start tanning 2-3 weeks prior to your leaving date in a UVB bed, averaging about 3-4 visits per week.  This will allow your skin to build up a base tan without causing you to burn.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a fast tan color, you want to aim for a UVA bed. This bed should only take a couple visits for you to start building up that base, bronze glow.  Some even see results after just one visit. 

The cool part is that there are many different beds that offer different amounts of exposure to these lights.  Making sure that you are laying in the proper bed when making tanning purchases is key. 

Don’t always just go for the cheapest, or most expensive bed.  Make sure to understand the purpose of why you are wanting to tan, and then what bed fits your needs. 

For most people who have fair skin, tanning in a tanning bed will cut your tanning time down to about 2 weeks. In about 2 weeks you can have a bronze tan.

How Long Does It Take To Tan Naturally?

how long does it take to tan naturally

Depending on your skin type, you can start seeing a tan from the sun within a couple hours, or you may take a couple times out in the sun in order to see a tan.  

 Many factors play a role in the development of getting a natural tan, but using all your tools to get a natural tan fast is key.   

Key points to look at when achieving a fast tan naturally…

  1.   Knowing your skin time, and laying out in the sun best suited for your skin so you don’t burn
  2.   Using sunscreen 
  3.   Using a tanning lotion best fit for your skin (DHA bronzers, natural bronzers, intensifiers)
  4.   After care with a good hydrating moisturizer

 When using these steps, a tan can be seen within a couple hours!  

How Can I Stay Tan Year Round


Staying tan year round can instantly boost how good you feel.  Walking around with a nice glow to your skin, is something to brag about. But with all the different things out on the market, it makes it so difficult to know what the real deal is. 

There are a few options here to staying tan year round.   

The obvious option here is to lay in the tanning bed year round.  It’s simple, calming, relaxing, and some even say, therapeutic. But for people that are constantly traveling, a tanning bed is a hard choice. 

Self Tanner – Best Option

your next option is to get yourself a self tanner. This is my favorite choice and is super easy and works surprisingly well. If you do not want to end up laying around in a tanning bed year round then this is going to be your best option.

My favorite Self Tanner: Beauty by Earth’s Self Tanner

how long does it take to get a tan

Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is by far the best self tanner for the price. This stuff freaking rocks, and its dirt cheap.

You can check it out on amazon by clicking here

I use this stuff about twice a week and it keeps me looking tan year round. The best part about it, is that using this stuff prevents you from having to go tan and causing sun damage to your skin. I always hated having to tan year round because I knew I was causing damage to my skin and eventually this damage would turn into wrinkles.

If you want to stay tan year round and do not want to constantly be tanning then I recommend you to get grab some of this stuff.


For those that are looking for a quick visit to the salon, a spray tan is your best bet. Benefits of them are hey are quick, easy, and very versatile to what you want.  With all the different color options and add-ons, it makes it a popular choice.  

We will discuss more later about spray tans.

But, for people like me, spray tan’s do not develop well with my olive skin type.  Or, for people that don’t even have the time to come into the salon to get a spray, you have the at-home option. 

A good “color building tan extender” to give your skin the added glow you need, along with the versatility to do this where ever you want, makes the bronzing tanning lotion a very popular option.  

If you are looking for a good bronzer, click here (insert link) for a product that I have loved, alongside so many others I have mentioned this to.

How To Speed Up Your Tanning: Both In A Tanning Bed & Naturally

how long does it take to get a bronze tan

We all want the bronzing glow that the sun rays give us, and we want it as fast as we can get it!  Accelerating your tan using a tanning lotion is the most common way to achieve a fast tan both indoors and outdoors.

A common misconception that people have is that a tanning lotion can only be used indoors, or that “it’s just a lotion, there isn’t anything different than sunscreen”.

WRONG!  Tanning lotions such as Designer Skin, Swedish Beauty, or the JWOWW line are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.  They don’t have sunscreen in them, but they have tanning accelerators in them. 

 The beauty about a tanning lotion is the ingredients in them.  DHA is the ingredient that develops the tan. The more concentrated the DHA, the stronger the bronze color you achieve with the lotion.  

So, if you are looking for a fast, bronze tan, Stardom by Designer Skin is the best of the best. If you are a more fair-skinned complexion, using an Intensifier – which naturally lifts the melanin (what tans you) in your skin – is going to be your best option. A very common lotion is Shore Love by JWOWW.

What You Can Use to Perfect Your Bronze Color

Like stated above, there are a lot of options to help give your skin the ‘perfect’ glow.  Using a tanning lotion will help to develop and accelerate your tan, giving your skin that perfect bronze glow 

 Also, using a tan extender with bronzers in them, such as Boost, will deepen that tan that you already have.  

On top of that, the always easy option of getting in that Bronzing Tanning bed is the popular and easy option to ensure a nice golden glow.  When combining the use of this bed, with a tanning lotion, and topping it off the next day with Boost, you can be sure that you will be walking down the street with that ‘perfect’ glow.   

Spray Tans… Are They Worth It Or Not?

You get a text from the guy you have been talking to, and he is surprising you with tickets to a concert that night.  It’s the middle of summer and you have yet to build up a nice bronze tan. Fearful of walking around in a dress looking like Casper the Ghost, the only option is to run in for a quick spray tan. 

Or, you may be part of the population that is too young to tan, but needs some color for your high school dance happening over the weekend. 

For the majority of the population, a spray tan is the way to go.  No harmful UV lights are being exposed, quick and easy fix, and instant results. 

Spray tan booths have evolved over the years, and now offer a variety of options that best suit you and your spray tan needs.  Starting off by choice 1 of 4 color options available, light, medium, dark, and double dark. 

Then you choose if you want to see an instant all over bronzing glow, or if you want that bronze glow to develop over the next couple hours.  The ‘clear’ option gives more a more natural progressive glow. 

Even more, there is the option for a double leg pass, in case your legs always fade first on a spray, or if you need to shave it keeps the second layer underneath! And finally, there is a hydration spray that locks in your spray tan keeping your skin nice and hydrated.   

With all of these options available, it makes it very easy to customize a spray that fits best to you. Make sure to ask your salon about all the different options and what products you should use to see your best spray tan results. 

For the small part of the population, just like me, spray tans do not develop well with my skin tone. I have tried every primer possible and tried all the different combinations, and the color just won’t develop good.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Not to mention, my boyfriend always calls me a Burnt Oompa Loompa!  

What The Best Time Of Day Is To Tan

how long until i get a tan

Knowing your skin type is important when it comes to knowing when the best time of the day is to tan.  

If you are one that burns pretty easily and have very fair skin, your best bet is to lay out in the morning before noon.  This may take you a little longer to build your tan since the sun rays aren’t as intense, but it is better than getting burned every time. 

 If you are one that already has a good base tan or has a darker complexation, it probably means you are less likely to burn. For you, your best tan time is between noon and 4:00 PM when the sun is at its hottest. 

Knowing what your skin does under the heat of the sun is important to pay attention to.  Don’t ignore your skin type, as this is a very good indication of how you tan, and when to tan! 

How Long Does It Take For A Tan To Fade?

It can all depend on how well you take care of your skin while it is tan.  If you want your tan to last longer, keeping your skin hydrated with a good moisturizing lotion helps keep your skin glowing, and staying alive. 

I have tried so many lotions over the years and finally found Hemp Nation, helps keep your tan from fading with moisture locking technology, and not to mention, smells amazing! 

Given that you aren’t getting any extra skin exposure, and without a good skin care routine, a tan will start to fade within a couple weeks (2-3 weeks on average for the initial fading). The skin starts to renew itself and within about 2 months, the tan can basically be gone.

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Ben Mayz

Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now. My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future. I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics. My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics. Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward. You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page

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