How Long Does a Tan Last from a Tanning Bed?

woman in tanning bed

If you have recently been building a tan from a tanning bed you might be wondering how long does a tan last from a tanning bed?

A tan from a tanning bed typically lasts around 5-10 days which is similar to how long a suntan lasts. There are multiple factors that can influence how long your tan lasts such as how often you take showers or even how often you moisturize your skin.

Below we will get into more detail on really how long a tan from a tanning bed lasts and how you can make it last longer.

Understanding How a Tanning Bed Works

Before we talk about how long a tan from a tanning bed lasts it’s important we first talk about how a tanning bed works and what you can expect.

A tanning bed has UV bulbs that generate UV light which allow our skin to tan. These lights are more intense than the sun, so typically you only need to spend a fraction of the time in the tanning bed when compared with sun tanning.

Just like sun tanning when using a tanning bed, it will usually take more than 1 session to build up a tan. The reason why this is important is because it plays a factor in how long your tan will last.

How Long a Tan from a Tanning Bed Really Lasts?

As we mentioned before a tan from a tanning bed usually lasts around 5-10 days’ time which is similar to how long a suntan takes to fade too. There are many factors which can make it last either longer or shorter which we will talk about below.

What Makes Your Tan Last Longer?

Tan Intensity

One of the main factors that influences how long your tan lasts for is your tans intensity. What we mean by this is you had a number of tanning sessions (3+) over a period of days or weeks.

If you have took multiple sessions (4+) and really gotten a rich tan then your tan is likely to last for longer. If you have only had 2-3 sessions in the tanning bed it’s likely your tan will fade away more quickly than someone who has developed their tan more.


The more often you are washing your body the more likely your tan will fade quicker.

For instance, if you are someone who showers twice a day, it’s likely your tan will fade more quickly than someone who showers only once per day. The main reason for this is because water dries out your skin. When the skin is more dry it will have to regenerate new skin cells to replace the old dry ones. This means your tan will also fade more quickly.

The same applies to using a bath or even a swimming pool which follow the same principles.

There is 2 important pieces of advice here. Firstly, avoid longer showers if you want your tan to remain for longer.

Secondly instead of a hot shower/bath opt for using lukewarm or even cold water. The reason why this helps is because hot water dries out the skin more than cooler water. As we mentioned before dry skin means more new skin and your tan fading quicker. For more on this check our article – should you shower after tanning.

Skin Moisture

As we mentioned the more dry your skin the more likely your tan will fade quicker. Therefore, it’s recommended to moisturize your skin regularly to make the tan last as long as possible.

This is especially important immediately after your tanning bed sessions where the skin will likely become more dry. 2 moisturizing sessions (at morning and night) per day is what we would suggest.

We Recommend:

Body lotion – CeraVe Daily Moisturizer

Face moisturizer – Nertrogena Hydro Boost

Using Soaps and Exfoliation

One final thing that’s worth noting is when using soap on the skin it’s a good idea to avoid ones that are more rough or abrasive on the skin. This is because they will cause more skin to come off. This in turn will make your tan disappear more quickly.

The same thing of course applies to exfoliation which should be avoided if you want to make your tan last as long as possible.

Related Questions

How Long Does a Tan Take in a Tanning Bed?

There are some different factors here that should be considered when choosing what time to spend in a tanning bed.

The most important thing is skin tone, if you have a more pale skin tone it’s a good idea to opt for a shorter time in a tanning bed.

Also, if you are just starting out using a tanning bed, it’s best to start with less time to make sure your skin can tolerate the tanning process. The time can range from 1-2 minutes all the way up to 20 minutes per session. For more information on this check our article – tanning bed time chart. It will usually take more than one tanning session to build your tan. You should start to notice a good difference after 3-4 sessions.

What is 20 Minutes in a Tanning Bed Equivalent to?

20 minutes spent in a tanning bed is equivalent to about 2 hours spent in the midday sun. Therefore, for most people 20 minutes is usually a bit too long to spend in the tanning bed. It’s best to start with a shorter amount of time and work your way up gradually.

Scroll to Top