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Is Tanning Twice a Day Safe for Your Skin? – Answers to FAQs

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

People usually associate golden tans with good health, but is it actually safe to tan twice a day? 

Well, the short answer is No.

It’s not safe tanning twice a day—no matter what type of process you use. 

We’ll share the kind of UV damage sun exposure can have on your skin and why you should think twice if you want to do it more than once.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Better Safe Than Sorry

Let’s say you have an event to attend a few days from now. 

You want to look good and get a tan, but you’re busy and don’t have enough time.

These are the usual questions asked:

1. What If I Get a Tan at 9am Today? Can I Get a Tan Tomorrow at 8am?

Answer:  This is still NOT allowed, even though your tan only falls short of an hour.  

You’re supposed to follow the 24-hour rule on getting a tan.

2. Can I Go Get Tans Two Days in a Row?

Answer:  Yes. You can tan two days in a row. But you should skip 1 or 2 days between tan sessions to help melanin production.

The tanning process can be damaging no matter what skin type!

Knowing this will prevent you from causing serious damage to your skin even during few tanning sessions and save your life.

The 24 Hour Tanning Law

The 24 Hour Law

Yes, there is such a law, and they’re SERIOUS about it. Take note of it before you do tanning several times in a row.

The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) introduced regulations for artificial tanning equipment, most especially not twice a day.

These regulations prohibit a person from tanning under UV rays or the sun’s rays more than once in a 24 hour period.

This communicates the dangers of tanning twice in one day.

Tanning beds need to have big black-box warning labels. People under 18 are NOT ALLOWED to use a tanning bed.

Indoor tanning restrictions for minors are there to protect them.

Even if it’s indoor tanning, there still are heavy risks so you might want to limit your indoor tan time.

How Should Tanning Salons Apply This Law?

Before a UV light tan session or indoor tanning session, the salon is required to inform you of the health risks. 

A risk acknowledgment form is signed before indoor tanning.

It prevents setting two appointments within the 24 hour period. So if you’re thinking of getting a tan 2 days in a row, think again.

FDA placed guidelines to save your life. You can thank them later.

Is It Worth the Risk?

An indoor tanning session releases endorphins, a feel-good chemical. That’s why people love it!

But hey, your body can also get a tan from the sun EVERY DAY (except when it’s raining, of course)!  

Sunlight gives you that much-needed mood boost and Vitamin D! 

However, make sure to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.

Another thing skin tan does is suppress your appetite, which can help you lose weight in the process. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

However, UV radiation use damages your skin and its effects range from mild to life-threatening. 

That’s why you should always use sunscreen when tanning.

To give you an idea, here are the harmful effects of tanning bed exposure:



Sunburn is one of the most common effects of overexposure to UV radiation from a tanning bed. 

UV light from the sun damage the cells in your epidermis when you tan.

This is why you should take precaution when tanning before a vacation.

Tanning sessions activate cells that secrete Melanin. This pigment is actually a “defense mechanism.” 

The hormone that stimulates melanin makes us brown because it absorbs the radiation.

Melanin production is what gives you your pigment, and thus, your tan.

Even if only the top layer got affected when you tan, it’s already a sign of skin damage.

Here’s what happens when you experience sunburn.

  • The immune system increases blood flow, making the affected area RED and PAINFUL.
  • White blood cells attack and remove damaged cells
  • Your skin develops rashes, becomes itchy, then starts to peel.

Ummm…Not fun.

By the way, you can also get a chemical burn from tanning machines. The same goes if you use too much of the wrong tanning oil.

Severe burning is a medical emergency, so you should see a doctor should you have any of these symptoms.

Premature Aging

Premature Aging

Visits to the tanning salon for several days in a row cause premature aging.

Elastin and collagen in the skin are responsible for keeping it plump and tight. UV rays start burning your skin and dehydrates your body.

Without water, skin loosens and produces wrinkles. Over time, your skin becomes leathery with dark spots. 

There’s not much anyone can do to reverse burns.

FACT: UV exposure builds throughout life. Your body will still have burns you had 20 years ago.

Need we say more?

Skin Cancer

There’s this myth that you can prevent sunburn when you get a base tan during a tanning session.

 The truth is, every time you tan, you damage the DNA in your skin! The more frequent you tan, the higher your risk for cancer.

There are two types:

  • Melanoma is the MOST DANGEROUS form of skin cancer. It starts in epidermal cells that produce melanin in the skin. It’s curable with early detection.
  • Non-melanomas develop in the basal cells located at the base of the epidermis.  It starts in the most sun-exposed area of the body.

Cancer can be hereditary, so if you have a family history of cancer, you should take extra precautions.

When skin cells get damaged, it causes abnormal skin to grow and develop rashes. 

Your body’s immune system weakens through UV radiation, leaving your skin defenseless.

No one wants to experience cancer.

Eye Damage

Eye Damage

Painful teary eyes. Swollen eyelids. Decreased vision. Yikes.

This happens when you don’t have eye protection when you go tanning. It’s called Photokeratitis

This is a condition where your cornea gets sunburned. 

Interesting Fact: Those who climb high altitude locations develop this condition. It’s from sun exposure and looking at the reflection of the snow.

The main culprit for this is UVC and UVB rays exposure.

  • UVB or Ultraviolet B-Rays: sun rays that damage the skin’s DNA and are strongly linked to cancer. These vary by time of day, season and location.
  • UVC or Ultraviolet C-Rays: can be found in artificial light sources like welding torches, mercury lamps, and “old-school” tanning beds.

The good news is that corneas heal within 24-48 hours. A topical treatment and extra eye protection gear prescribed by your doctor should help relieve symptoms.

Most, if not all, tanning salons recommend wearing eye protection or goggles while using a tanning bed. Your eyes are more important than achieving that sun-kissed skin tone!

Sowing the Seeds of Patience

Sowing the Seeds of Patience

One of the findings is that exposure to UV light releases endorphins in the body!  It gives us a mood boost!

Tanning can be addicting, and we know you want to see results FAST. We know you can’t wait to get on that tanning bed again!

But please go easy on the UV rays! Getting a tan skin tone takes time. Allow your skin to oxidize and darken before you go tanning again.

What are the Results?

You will notice results after a few tanning sessions. The idea is to go a few times a week to see changes in color.

Your skin tone will deepen if you go THREE TIMES A WEEK for few tanning sessions. 

It depends on your skin type and skin tone, and the amount of melanin you have.

You can use the following:

If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

If you want to look tan fast, you can get a sun tan or use a tanning lotion! 

Lotions can give you that natural skin tan without going to tanning salons several days in a row!

You can buy tanning lotions in a variety of golden tones for ALL SKIN TYPES. 

They give you that natural glow and tan color without the signs of premature aging, cancer, and eye damage.



Some say they feel more confident when they have a tan skin tone. But limiting your indoor tan time saves you from burning skin and other health conditions.

The 24-hour tan rule protects users from a lifetime of irreversible skin damage. 

Resting for 24 hours and applying a body moisturizer allows your skin to maximize color development. 

But if you want to get that golden glow fast, use a sun tan lotion! There are tanning accelerators for all skin types!

But, the best tan that you can have is from the morning sun!  Sunlight and lots of water help give you that natural healthy glow!