why am i not getting darker in the tanning bed
Kristina Davis

In case you’re asking, why am I not getting darker in the tanning bed, you’re not alone.

Many people think that getting inside the tanning bed would automatically darken their skin over a few uses – I thought so, too! However, that’s not how it entirely works.

After digging deep into its process, what happens when you get in, and the aftercare services you need to do, I’m confident that I can teach you about it.

Your tanning bed sessions aren’t effective in browning or bronzing your skin because you miss exfoliating before tanning, you’re not using the right tanning lotion, and you aren’t moisturizing.

You also need to check up on the tanning bulbs mounted on the tanning bed.

If you’re a beginner or a newbie, you might not be well-inclined with the proper use of tanning beds.

How Do You Use a Tanning Bed?

tanning bed

There’ll be no problems if you walk into a salon to get your tan because professionals can assist you.

I remember a time when I had an appointment with a tanning salon, and they didn’t start the process without probing and asking a couple of questions about the recent skincare routines I’ve done.

But what if you’re renting a tanning bed or if you own one? How do you use it properly?

Follow these:

  1. Ensure that your skin is conditioned enough for tanning.
  2. Prepare all ingredients and materials – set up the tanning bed, too.
  3. Make sure that the tanning bed is clean.
  4. Lie down properly, with all your body parts exposed.
NOTE: When you lie down on the bed, have your hands up (over your head) to get an even tan on your sides. Moreover, you can lie down with your knees up to even out tan lines on the bottom part of your body.

Can You Turn and Rotate Inside a Tanning Bed?

can turn and rotate in bed

“I’m not getting any darker in the tanning bed, is it because I don’t roll over and turn?”

The most common misconception people have when using tanning beds is that they need to constantly roll and turn.

This is not true. Based on my experience, rolling and turning did very little impact on the final result of my tan.

As a matter of fact, turning inside a sunbed improperly can damage and crack the acrylic lining of the machine.

Don’t be confused about it, though, you can move as long as you do it with extreme caution and where it wouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable.

So, if being still inside the tanning bed is the way to do it, why isn’t it being effective on my skin?

Why am I not getting the bronzing that I’m anticipating?

Why Am I Not Getting Darker in the Tanning Bed? 6 Reasons Why

six reasons why

I’ve always had the luxury of a tanning professional assisting me during all my sessions.

After years of regularly visiting my tanning salon, combined with a few lessons, I learned a few things about the failure of people to achieve the tan they want using their sunbeds.

Reason #1: You’re Using the Wrong Tanning Bulbs/Lamps

Choosing the right tanning bulb can make or break your tanning experience.

I always hear from professional tanning experts that incapacitated bulbs aren’t good because they won’t give you the tan you need, and it’ll cost a heap of electricity.

So, you want to use the best and fittest tanning bulbs available.

To be able to choose this properly, check the wattage, consider the brand, ensure that the bulbs fit the size of your sunbed, and lastly, check the UVA and UVB output of the bulbs.

Using the right tanning bulb is key to getting the perfect tan.

Reason #2: You Don’t Exfoliate Before Tanning

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells at the outermost (top layer) of your skin.

If you don’t exfoliate before a tanning session, then, these skin cells would be the cells exposed to tanning.

dont exfoliate before tanning

In addition, exfoliating before tanning can help heatwaves and radiation penetrate your skin better.

Exfoliating also boosts and activates melanin production, which helps protect your skin from the harsh effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Reason #3: You’re Not Using the Correct Tanning Lotion

Not all tanning lotions are made equally – at least, that’s what I and other people believe in.

You’ll find various types of tanning lotions, like intensifiers, accelerators, and maximizers. Furthermore, there are also those that have active bronzers!

I typically go for tanning lotions with bronzers because they help my skin become shinier and glowing. Moreover, it also releases the tan better and more effectively.

Check the tanning lotion you’re using and make sure that it fits your goals and wants perfectly.

Reason #4: You Don’t Moisturize After Tanning

did not moisturize

It’s not common knowledge, but moist skin is better at holding and retaining than dry skin.

And when you get out of a tanning bed, your skin will feel dry, warm, and humid.

After a tanning session/process, moisturize or hydrate your skin to allow the tan to work deep into your pores and inner skin layers.

It is suggested to do the following to ensure that your skin is hydrated:

  • Drink a few extra glasses of water per day
  • Use a humidifier in your room
  • Get complete sleep (8 to 9 hours)
  • Apply face and body moisturizers before and after a session (after exfoliating)
Hydrating your skin doesn’t always require you to use moisturizing products! 

In fact, drinking more water than what you usually drink is the best and most effective way to moisturize from the inside.

Reason #5: You Shower Right After Tanning

shower right after tanning

Knowing what you can and cannot do before and after tanning sessions is crucial.

Because of the feeling, many people hop in their showers to rinse their bodies off after a session – this is not advisable.

Bronzing and tanning using sunbeds aren’t natural, and therefore, the products and ingredients you used on your skin can easily be washed and rinsed off.

Gradually, the supposed tan your skin gets will fade and be washed away. This does not only shorten your tan’s timeframe but can also reach bad and uneven tan lines.

As my professional tanning personnel and experts say, you need to wait about 2 to 5 hours after a session before hitting the showers.

Washing your body before this suggested time period can tamper with the color that the products ought to give you.

Reason #6: You’ve Reached Your Tanning Plateau

reached tanning plateau

Last, but most definitely not least is because you’ve plateaued on the tan you can get.

In simpler terms, you’ve achieved the tannest you can be. There’s no other way to be tanner without burning your skin.

We all have our own limits on how dark we get. It’s not like you can expect yourself to get a level of tan your friend has.

This, in fact, is the trickiest and most complex sign because you’ll need to make sure that the tanning you’re doing is appropriate and correct.

NOTE: You can also try a natural tan. If your color doesn’t change any longer, then it only means one thing – you’ve achieved the darkest tan or hue you can achieve.

These are the most plausible reasons as to why you aren’t getting darker in your tanning bed.

At first, I thought, Hey, these are common things that I SHOULD remember,” but once you’re in the same position as all other people who want to get a tan, you can forget about it, too.

How Long Can I Get a Tan in My Tanning Bed?

how long to get tan

Generally speaking, results will start to show after a few sessions.

Halo Salons UK claims that noticeable results will start appearing after a few weeks, with consistent 3 to 4 weekly sessions.

In my personal journey, I waited for about 2 and a half weeks until I noticed drastic changes in the hue of my whole body.

I was able to see changes in how my face complemented my neck and body after a week, but it was 2 weeks when I started noticing a huge difference in the color of my body.

Read Next: Why Does My House Smell Like Nail Polish Remover?

Final Verdict

Why am I not getting darker in the tanning bed, you may ask? It’s probably because you go inside the tanning bed unprepared.

More so, it could be because you’re not doing aftercare routines and practices correctly, too!

Achieve the tanning and bronzing you like by making sure you’re doing the right things before and after tanning sessions!