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Can You Go Tanning Two Days in a Row? – Safety Guidelines

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD

Ah, the tan. The highly-coveted, natural, bronze glow. We all want it, don’t deny it.

But the biggest question is…is it safe to go tanning two days in a row? The short answer? IT. IS. NOT.

Curious? We go into more detail below!

Are Tanning Sessions Two Days in A Row Safe?

Before we move on we’d like to note that regardless of the tanning method you use, we don’t recommend tanning two days in a row.

It’s best to wait at least 24-48 hours before your next tanning session.

Although it is possible to tan two days in a row, skin cancer is a serious concern whether you’re tanning under the sun or using indoor tanning beds. Please proceed with caution when you tan for two consecutive days.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it, yes?

Indoor Tanning Bed or Outdoor Tanning?

Indoor Tanning Bed or Outdoor Tanning

There’s always a preference for one or the other. Here’s a brief description of each one:

  • Tanning beds are always readily available and you can have your privacy.
  • Meanwhile, tanning outdoors is the healthier, more natural alternative to get tan skin. (Doesn’t pose a health risk)

We’ll go over the differences to see if either of these methods is safe for tanning two days in a row.

Tanning Bed

A UV sun bed session should last for about 10 TO 15 MINUTES. It’s a pretty quick tanning method.

Depending on the speed of your skin’s melanin production, you’ll either come out of the bed with a noticeable tan or you’ll have to wait for a few consecutive days for the base tan to show.

Eventually, after this first session, you can stay in the tan bed a few minutes longer – limit your indoor tan time to NO MORE THAN 20 MINUTES!

You can schedule frequent tanning sessions but most indoor tanning professionals and even devoted tanning bed users highly recommend keeping it to a few tanning sessions.

What’s the Ideal Tanning Schedule with a Sun Bed?

The tanning schedule most indoor tanning places suggest is having sessions TWO TIMES A WEEK. We don’t really suggest you do tan for two consecutive days.

Just be sure they’re regular enough to keep up a dark tan but not so often that it could damage your skin.

The UV rays in tanning beds are UNFILTERED UV RAYS – this is what makes laying in these beds more dangerous than just laying out in the sun.

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to protect your skin with sunscreen or even at least an oil with a naturally occurring SPF – like coconut oil.

And this goes without saying but since the light source is SO NEAR, indoor tanners wear eye protection – ALWAYS.

If you have sensitive skin – it’s best to consult a professional before entering any kind of sun bed. UV rays can aggravate delicate skin.

Quality Tanning Bulbs

To give you a clearer picture of what’s going on when you lie inside these tanning beds let’s talk about the kinds of bulbs they use.

Regular Tanning Bed

A regular sun bed will usually have lamps that use 95% UVA rays and 5% UVB rays.

This kind of bed is recommended for developing a BASE TAN. If it’s your first time to tan for two consecutive days, go for this tanning bed.

Bronzing Tanning Bed

A bronzing sun bed will have more light lamps of varied unfiltered UV rays – 98% UVA rays and 2% UVB.

This version of a tanning bed is best for those who already go tanning regularly. It deepens a base tan and is a good choice for a nice dark full-body tanning session.

Note: If you’re wondering whether you can use a sun lamp to tan – no you cannot. Although these lamps do mimic natural outdoor light, they don’t give off either UV rays – UVA or UVB. This means it won’t tan your skin.

Prep Before You Start Tanning

Remember before entering the bed, exfoliate your skin gently! Exfoliated skin makes for a clean and even base so that you can get a smooth tan.

As much as possible, before you start tanning prep your skin so you can give yourself the best opportunity to tan evenly!

You can use good tanning bed lotions or a tanning accelerator to aid in the tanning process as well as protect your skin from UV light for the next consecutive days.

Outdoor Tan under the Sun

If you’re lucky enough to tan under some Mediterranean summer sun – by all means tan two days in a row!

Laying under natural sunlight allows you to absorb not only vitamin D but also other natural ingredients from the environment that are good for you.

We still recommend not to tan everyday though. We do not suggest that you do outdoor tanning twice in one day either. It will pose a health risk and you’ll end up getting dehydrated.

But it is still safer to tan two days in a row if you’re doing it under the sun compared to a sun bed for consecutive days.

Getting Ready for the Sun

Make sure you are wearing a good tanning sunscreen – apply it at least 30 minutes BEFORE you go tanning. Safely limit your sun exposure by timing your tanning sessions.

Allow about 10 minutes on one side then 10 minutes on the other – again, DO NOT TAN MORE THAN 20 MINUTES! 

It’s important to keep a good tanning schedule even when you choose to tan naturally outside. This means not only the amount of time you tan but also the actual time of the day that you do.

You can tan under the sun a couple of times a week, 3 days would be a good amount to get that good vitamin D, but again not consecutive days, please. We recommend you do it in the early morning since tanning past 5pm won’t be as effective.

Depending on your skin type, you can either burn really quickly or get a tan to fully develop in just a few hours, regardless you still need to PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM UV RAYS.

AGAIN, WE REPEAT: You’re not helping your skin tone glow if you EXCESSIVELY tan without caring how your body will react.

UV rays from the sun are filtered through our ozone layer and are safer than the lamps from tanning beds.

However, overexposure to these UV rays can seriously damage your skin cells and cause skin cancer.

How Can I Tan Faster?

How to Do It Faster

So, you’ve reached that tanning plateau huh?

Before we go on, have you heard the rumor “wet skin – tan faster”? Well, that’s exactly what it is, a rumor. There’s no proven evidence that wet skin can tan faster, so let’s just put that to rest.

Now, here are a few things to do if you want to get that healthy glow faster!

  • Use a tanning lotion or tanning oil before you go on a tan session! Tanning lotions and other tanning oils were developed to help accelerate the process and give you a darker tan in less time.
  • Change positions often! You may not realize that you prefer laying on one side while you’re tanning but to get the best results you need to make sure every part of your body gets a good amount of exposure and EVEN exposure.
  • Don’t immediately shower after tanning. Allow your skin to rest after your session and let your tan develop. (If you aren’t using a tanning oil or lotion then at least 20 minutes after, you can shower. Otherwise, wait at least 2 hours to allow the product to settle into your skin before showering).
  • DON’T OVEREXPOSE YOUR SKIN. You might think, if you stay in the sun or on the tan bed longer, that you would develop a super deep tan, right? Wrong.

Caution: Depending on the person, the skin can only develop so much melanin. If you’ve gone over the limit that you can physically create melanin, you will just burn and that’s not doing anyone any favors.

Remember these tips whenever you go tanning so that you can stay safe while getting that beautifully bronzed glow!

What About Self-Tanners?

What About Self-Tanners

Self-tanners and spray tan are completely different stories that also have their own dangers.

The short answer is also, no. A spray tan or self-tanners twice in a row are not recommended.

The chemicals in spray tan can react with your skin then cause damage and increase the production of free radicals.

Not to mention a lot of self-tanners and spray tan have a horrible chemical tan odor. Any spray tan user can attest to this.

Though it’s worth checking out some self tanners for sensitive skin!

What Causes a Tan?


Now that we’ve talked about all the ways to safely tan and if it’s a good idea to tan two days in a row (or for consecutive days) – it’s not – let’s see what actually causes a tan.

Let’s Talk About the Chemical Called Melanin

With the exception of some people who cannot, we all produce melanin.

Melanin is a naturally occurring chemical that gives color to our bodies. That’s right. Skin, hair, eyes – that’s ALL dictated by a certain amount of melanin that our bodies naturally create!

Now, when we lay under the sun or inside a sun bed, the UV light we are exposed to trigger melanocytes which are the cells that produce melanin!

Cool, right?

Why Some Tan Faster and Others Don’t

Everybody has a different level of melanin in their bodies and this is why some people tan faster than others or why some people have difficulty tanning.

So, don’t take it against yourself if you don’t tan faster when you go tanning.

Melanin is actually the body’s natural defense against sunlight!

If you notice in parts of the world that get a lot of sunlight, people tend to have more melanin in their bodies.

This is why some people naturally have darker skin, hair, and eyes than others!

We love to see it!



To sum up, tanning two days in a row is possible but ALWAYS be careful. Err on the cautious side and try to wait a few consecutive days before tanning again – skin damage is an urgent concern you DO NOT want to mess with.

Remember we all want to look golden and glowing but nothing is better than having healthy skin!

Prolonged UV skin damage is far far costly than all the tan sessions you spend for. Tan safely!