24 Hour Tanning Rule – What You Need to Know!

tanning law

Do you wonder how often you can get tanned within a period of 24 hours? Well, according to recent guidelines, only once.

When it comes to getting an artificial tan, there are certain guidelines introduced by the authorities to protect the user from the dangers of over tanning. One such regulation is the 24 hour tan rule, which prohibits getting tanned more than once a day. However, there are a lot more regulations to protect the user during tanning.

If you’re planning to get a tan and wish to learn more about the 24 hour tan rule, read on to learn more about it. 

What Is the 24 Hour Tanning Rule?

The Food and Drug Administration, also popularly known as FDA, has put some regulations in place for the artificial tanning industry as well as the equipment. As per the recent 24 hr tanning law, a person is prohibited from getting tanned under a sunlamp more than once within a period of 24 hours.

They made the regulation not just to govern the tanning industry but to protect the users. Overexposure to sunbeds and sun lamps can adversely impact the skin and overall health of the person. 

What Are the FDA Guidelines For Tanning Beds?

While there are a range of ways to get an artificial tan, like spray tan and self-tanning lotions, more people prefer indoor tanning. A sunlamp or sunbed ensures they can lay down comfortably and get an even tan.

With the increasing popularity of indoor tanning with sunbeds and sun lamps, plenty of 24 hour tanning salons have come up. Upon recognizing the risks of the tanning equipment and procedures, the FDA has set up some regulations to safeguard the users.

According to these FDA regulations, the tanning devices used for indoor procedures must have a label with a big black box warning stating the age restriction of 18+. The equipment or procedure must not be used on any person who is under the age of 18. 

If the user is below 18 years and gets exposed to UV rays during the procedure, it may harm their skin. Besides that, the effect of UV radiation can add up throughout the user’s life. Limiting exposure to UV rays from a young age can help the total exposure of the person’s life stay limited.

Tanning salons also need to educate and make their clients aware about the potential health risks of the procedure. They also need to get a signed acknowledgment form from the client. It is to ensure the people are aware of the danger of exposure to harmful UV radiation and they don’t abuse it.

Many people often ask can you go tanning two days in a row because they tend to get confused about the timeline or the gap in between the tanning sessions. As per the 24 tanning rule, there needs to be a gap of 24 hours or more to ensure the user’s safety. Any time less than 24 hours is not allowed by the FDA.

Both clients and professionals must understand that the regulation is for 24 hours and not once a day. Moreover, salon owners have to stick to these tanning rules to safeguard their clients and can achieve that by sticking to a simple scheduling program. It will prohibit a user from booking two appointments within a period of 24 hours.   

What Is UV Radiation?

Radiation is a type of energy, and Ultraviolet (UV) is one of the many types of it. On the electromagnetic field, UV rays tend to fall between visible and x-ray radiation. There are three distinct types of UV radiation, and they are UVA, UVB, and UVC.

Among all the different types of UV radiation, the UVA rays are the longest wavelengths. They can easily penetrate through the atmosphere to reach people. People are mostly exposed to the UVA rays, and they can go through the middle layer of your skin. 

The UVB rays can also pass through the atmosphere. However, a majority of it gets absorbed by the ozone layer of the earth. The UVB rays that reach can only impact the outermost skin layer.

Lastly, the UVC rays get completely absorbed by the ozone layer of the earth and they don’t reach your skin. 

Does Indoor Tanning Pose Any Health Risks?

The UV rays of the sun can give you a tanned look, but when they penetrate deep into your skin, they can lead to burning of the skin. If you don’t follow the tanning laws and overexpose your skin, it may lead to a range of both short as well as long-term effects.

In case of overexposure to UV radiation, you can experience the following effects:

Premature Aging:

When your skin gets unprotected exposure to UV radiation for a prolonged period, it can often lead to premature aging. Also known as photoaging, it makes your skin wrinkled, leathery, and full of dark spots.

UV rays can break the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, which ensures your skin stays tight and youthful. With exposure to UV rays, your skin experiences damage and leads to wrinkles and loose skin. Your skin may even develop dark spots.   

Eye Damage:

When you go for indoor tanning, the experts always give you eye goggles because UV rays can cause damage to your eyes. UVB and UVC rays cause sunburn to the cornea in your eye, which is also called photokeratitis.

People residing in high-altitude regions develop this condition because of the reflection of sunlight on snow. Tanning lamps are artificial sources of UVB and UVC and cause damage to the cornea. 


Erythema or sunburn is the most common indicator that you got overexposed to UV radiation. In case of sunburn, the skin turns red and then even starts to peel off in a few days.

Sunburn only causes the top skin layer to peel off, but the damage goes even deeper. The rays can damage the cells in the epidermis, which leads to redness, and you may even experience pain sensation on the affected area. 

Skin Cancer:

Overexposure to UV radiation may even lead to skin cancer. There are two types of skin cancer, called melanoma and non-melanomas.

Melanoma is highly dangerous, but it is not very prevalent. It begins in the epidermal cells, which are responsible for producing melanin in the skin. This type of cancer might be cured if detected at an early stage. 

Non-melanomas develop in basal cells located at the base of the epidermis. They can develop in the body parts that are the most exposed to sunlight.  

UV radiation can damage DNA in the skin cells that cause your skin to grow abnormally, leading to growth. It can also affect the immune system and reduce your body’s ability to fight cancer cells.

Due to some of these risks is often why people opt for spray tanning and it’s definitely worth considering as well. Here we compare the 2 options to help you decide – spray tan vs tanning bed. Also keep in mind it’s not all downsides to tanning beds, there are in fact a selection of benefits to indoor tanning as well which we covered here – 9 benefits of indoor tanning.

Which Tips Must You Remember During Tanning?

Indoor tanning is an excellent way to get a smooth artificial tan. Although there are a few health risks, you must follow the tanning guidelines to keep yourself safe.

Besides that, remember the following tips to ensure your safety:

Wear Eye Protection:

Make sure you always wear proper eye goggles to protect your eyes from damage during indoor tanning sessions. 

Stick to the Recommended Time:

Whether it is the label of the product or the tanning expert, they will recommend a timeline for exposure to tanning products. Sticking to it will ensure you mitigate the chances of damage.  

Avoid Long Exposure:

It is wise not to stay in a tanning machine for a long time as it can lead to sunburns. Mostly sunburns can take anywhere from 6 to 48 hours to develop, and you might not even realize the intensity of damage until it’s too late.  

Don’t Use Medications:

Using certain cosmetic products or medications can further irritate your skin and make it more prone to UV radiation. You might even get sunburns during the tanning process. Consult your doctor whether the medication you are taking will interfere with the tan or not.  

Related Questions:

Do You Have to Wait 24 Hours to Tan?

Yes, as per the tanning bed rules and regulations given by the FDA, is it mandatory to wait for 24 hours before you can go for another indoor tanning session. It helps ensure you don’t get overexposed to UV radiation and protects you from the side effects. 

What Is the Equivalent of Ten Minutes in a Tanning Bed?

If you are someone who doesn’t have enough time to go to the beach to get a natural tan, you can get an artificial tan from tanning beds. Ten minutes in a tanning bed can be equivalent to 4 hours spent on the beach, and you can get the same tanned look from it.

What Is the Maximum Time in a Tanning Bed?

The maximum time can vary with the tanning beds. Each tanning bed comes with a maximum time limit that you can spend lying in it.

The maximum time is usually between 10 to 20 minutes. But, the less time you need to spend in the tanning bed, the more powerful it is.  

How Can I Tan Faster in a Tanning Bed?

In case you want to tan faster through a tanning bed, there are a few tips you can follow. Make sure you properly exfoliate your skin before the tanning process and use a good lotion. Besides that, a tanning bed with more lamps and quality bulbs will also help you get a smoother tan in less time. 

Can Fair Skin Tan in Tanning Beds?

A person with fair skin can tan in tanning beds. If you have fair skin, you can start with 6 to 7 minutes in the bed and not longer than that. It’s important to note that some people with fair or pale skin will not take the UV rays well so often instead it’s worth considering a spray tan – spray tan tips for pale skin.

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