How to Get a Dark Tan in a Tanning Bed

dark tanning bed session

With winter just around the corner, many people are sadly packing away their summer gear in favor of warm winter layers. But saying goodbye to tanks and shorts doesn’t mean saying goodbye to a sun-kissed complexion. Here are 6 tips to getting a dark tan in a tanning bed.

The days are growing shorter and shorter, which means winter is drawing nearer and nearer. It’s time for millions across the Northern Hemisphere to prepare for the coldest part of the year and say goodbye to ample times of fun in the sun. But just because the sun will be setting much earlier in the day doesn’t mean the end of sun-kissed complexions. Tanning beds provide an easy way to extend a summer tan throughout the year, and because they emit mostly UVA rays, with smaller doses of UVB rays, it can be a healthier option than most think — if precautions are taken. The ease of stopping by a tanning salon between work or school hours provides even more comfort and convenience to achieving a radiant bronze glow. Plus, tanning beds allow everyone to control the level of their tan. Some also prefer using lotion to work towards a dark tan in a tanning bed while others visit for a natural base tan.

How to Get a Dark Tan in a Tanning Bed in 6 Steps

1.  Skin Prep

Tanning beds penetrate the topmost layer of the skin, so it’s important to focus on prepping that layer before a tanning session, especially if someone’s goal is a dark tan. Drinking plenty of water and applying lotion leading up to a dark tanning bed session will help a tan last longer, as will moisturizing with a shea-butter based lotion. It is also very important for those about to tan to exfoliate so any dead skin is removed prior to their session. Skipping this process can result in a patchy tan that doesn’t look smooth or last as long.

2.  Apply Sunscreen and Product

Applying sunscreen, even when it is specifically designed for tanning bed use, before getting into a tanning bed for a dark, bronze tan might seem counter-productive, but it is proactive. Tanning beds may not seem as powerful as the sun but the short exposure to UVA rays is actually six times as powerful as the mid-day sun. Which makes sunscreen a critical component of a great tan. Applying an SPF of at least 15 before a tan can help prevent sunburn. Although many claim that baby oil is a proven method to achieving a dark tan from a tanning bed, it too can cause a severe burn. Instead, look specifically for a dark tanning bed lotion or a tanning enhancer. These products can help perfect the shade of a tan by giving it a golden hue and hydrating the skin further.

3.  Schedule Frequent Tanning Sessions

Since there are risks associated with tanning beds and sunbathing, booking multiple sessions that are shorter rather than a few long sessions is a healthier option and results in a better, long-lasting tan. For people who are prone to tanning, it can take five to seven days to create the base layer for a tan. Once a base color has been established, the darkness of a tan can be deepened with short sessions in a tanning bed. Overdoing it in a tanning bed while trying to achieve a dark tan, even with a lotion on, can immediately cause a person’s skin to dry and peel, which is the exact opposite of their goal. Gradually spending more time outside, while wearing sunscreen, is also a great way to prepare for a tanning session, in addition to applying a dark tanning bed lotion.

4.  Apply Product Afterward

Applying a lotion or oil that is specifically made to go on after a dark tanning bed session can help prolong and deepen a tan by moisturizing it. Aloe is also a great way to eliminate any soreness and redness that may have accrued while tanning. Baby oil can soften the skin, but only if it is applied after a tan and not before (as mentioned above, using it during a tan can cause a burn, but there are great dark tanning bed lotions available instead).

5.  Research the Tanning Salon

The type of tanning bed that a person uses can also impact whether they achieve a dark or light tan. Standing up tanning beds in combination with tanning lotions are the best way to achieve a dark tan as the unique design offers more emissions of UVAs. But due to the intensity over the exposure, these cannot be used for more than 15 minutes. The type and number of bulbs being used in a tanning bed will also determine how dark you can tan. If the bulbs were recently replaced, they will work more effectively than a tanning bed with older bulbs.

6.  Get Moving

In addition to applying dark tanning bed lotion, the last method to achieving a dark tan in a tanning bed is to move around. Changing positions will result in a less patchy tan as it exposes more skin to the tanning bulbs for a quicker, darker tan.

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