Tanning Bed Time Chart

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A tanning bed schedule needs to be worked out to cater to every individual’s skin type.

Every person was born with one of six different skin types and knowing what type you are will greatly influence how much time you should be spending on a sunbed.

Bear in mind that if you are fair-skinned and don’t know your exact skin type then you are going to be more prone to sunburn.

If, however, you are lucky enough to have a dark skin type then you may end up with minimal results if you don’t work out a proper tanning bed schedule.

But how do you work out your skin type?

A tanning chart is extremely beneficial in helping you to understand your skin type as well as how long your tanning sessions should be to achieve the safest and most noticeable results.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of knowing your skin type as well as how to identify the six main types of skin.

We will also delve deeper into how you should safely tan for your skin type.

How Can A Tanning Chart Help You?

tanning chart

It is of the utmost importance that you know your skin type before you can find out how long your tanning sessions should be.

Tanning beds are an excellent way to enhance the appearance of your skin if you know what you are doing.

Simply jumping into a sunbed and exposing your skin to UV rays is not going to give you the results that you have dreamed of.

A tanning chart can be an invaluable way for you to know how long you need to lie in the sunbed to achieve perfect results.

This chart will help you to determine your skin type before starting your tanning sessions and allow you to identify what may be too little and what may be too much UV exposure.

There are certain time limits as to how long certain skin types should tan during a sunbed session.

A tanning chart is used to protect your skin and can mean the difference between seriously burning and damaging your skin, or at the other end of the scale achieving little to no results at all.

What Is The Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype?

The Fitzpatrick Scale is a scale that is used to classify the type of skin that you have.

This scale was developed in 1975 and was deemed to be one of the best ways in which to estimate the response time of different skin types to UV rays.

Listed below are the different skin types according to the Fitzpatrick Skin Prototype:

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1

If you have Skin Type 1 then your skin is ivory in color and your eye color will more than likely be light blue, green, or grey.

Normally people with this skin type have red or blonde hair as well as freckles on their skin.

This skin type is very prone to burn when it is exposed to UV rays and once sunburnt the skin usually peels off and goes straight back to its original color.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 2

This skin color can be described as fair or pale skin and is usually accompanied by blue, green, or grey eyes and light hair colors.

This skin normally burns and peels after too much UV exposure taking its color right back to where you started. People with this skin type rarely tan very well.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 3

Skin type 3 is a fair to beige color. People with this skin type will also have gold undertones in their skin as well as light brown or hazel eyes.

Normally people with this skin type will have dark blonde or light brown hair and will occasionally burn, but more often achieve a tan when exposed to UV rays.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4

People with skin type 4 have light brown or olive skin accompanied by dark brown eyes and hair. These people rarely burn and tan easily.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 5

Having skin type 5 means that a person’s skin is naturally dark brown.

Their eye color is more often than not dark brown or black and their hair is also a dark color.

When exposed to UV rays these people rarely burn and always achieve a tan.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type 6

Skin type 6 can be explained as deeply pigmented skin that is a very dark brown.

A person with this skin type will have a dark brown or black eye color and black hair and will always be able to achieve a dark tan without burning.

Play this video for more information about the Fitzpatrick scale.

Tips for Safe Tanning

A safe tanning schedule is key to maintaining good results in the safest way possible when you are using a tanning bed.

Remember that most salons have various types of tanning beds that emit different amounts of UV rays.

You need to know which tanning bed would be the most beneficial for your skin type.

Here are some tips on how to practice safe indoor tanning procedures while developing a beautiful tan:

1. How To Lie In A Tanning Bed

It is important not to rest your chin on your chest as this could create an uneven tan.

You should also avoid lying in a position that enables your legs or arms to touch your torso.

2. Posture is Important

This applies when you are using a horizontal tanning bed.

It is important to stand straight so that you don’t cover certain areas of your skin.

If you are using a lie-down tanning bed, then you should always remember to turn yourself over halfway through the session to allow for an even tan.

3. Don’t Deviate From Your Tanning-Bed Time Chart

If you follow your tanning bedtime chart properly, you can easily build up a safe base tan and then maintain it with longer tanning sessions one to two times per week.

Did you know that a tanning session of 15 minutes is the same as spending more than four hours in the sun?

It does not matter what skin type you have, it is a fact that if you spend too much time in a tanning bed, especially when you are first starting, you can cause long-lasting damage to your skin.

4. Use Good Sun Bed Tanning Products

The products that you use are of the utmost importance.

Make sure that you are stocked up on tan accelerators, aloe vera creams, and light tanning lotions if you are prone to burning.

How to prepare for your tanning session

Shower and exfoliate

Not to state the obvious but we recommend taking a shower before your tanning session. This is because clean skin is a fresh base that can absorb the tan better. Sweat, dirt, oil, and other contaminant can hinder you from getting a tan you can show off.

If you have more time on your hands, go the extra step and exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and reveal new skin that will absorb the tan better and help you enjoy your tan longer.

Use an oil-free moisturizer

It would be outrageous to suggest walking out of your house looking dry and crusty after a good shower. Instead, we suggest using a non-oil-based moisturizer to nourish your skin without barring your skin from absorbing the tan.

Check your prescriptions

Some prescription medicines have side effects like increased sensitivity to UV. Before heading to the tanning salon, look through your prescription medication to avoid sustaining burns or even having an allergic reaction while in the tanning bed. You can always wait until you are done with the treatment to get yourself a tan.

Wear an SPF lip balm

The lips have a thin protective layer so it is important to keep them protected with a lip balm that has SPF.

Avoid makeup, perfumes, and essential oils

While these products are generally safe, they may react differently in the tanning bed. Makeup may cause you to have an uneven tan while perfumes and essential oils may create a barrier preventing your skin from tanning. In some instances, the formula of perfumes may change under UV causing them to irritate your skin.

Avoid wearing jewelry

Jewelry could get hot under the UV lamps causing your skin to feel irritated and could also leave a patch as the area is not exposed to the UV.

What to expect once you get to the tanning salon

If it’s your first time in a tanning bed, the entire process can be a little confusing, here is what you can expect to do;

Remove your clothes

Once you get to the tanning salon, you can expect to strip before getting onto the tanning bed. Fortunately, there is no rule of thumb and you are free to strip to your comfort level. Simply put you don’t have to be completely naked in the bed, bikinis are welcome.

Protective gear

As you are going to be under direct UV, you are required to have protective eye gear to keep your eyes safe from the effects of the UV. These are usually provided at the tanning salon.

Can I wear a tanning lotion or intensifier before going for an appointment?

It is okay to wear a tanning lotion to improve the results of your session however we recommend finding a product that is compatible with tanning beds to avoid ruining the tanning bed.

Can I use SPF when going on a tanning bed?

There’s no harm in using an SPF on your face and other sensitive areas however if you happen to forget to bring one, it is okay. You spend a very short time in the tanning bed anyway.

Other Facts and Considerations

If you are using a tanning bed for the first time, then you should note that your first few sessions are the most important if you want to develop a good base tan.

  • These initial sessions will yield definite results and you are going to see a vast difference in your skin’s complexion if you tan responsibly.
  • Once you have developed a base tan you can schedule intermittent appointments with your salon to maintain your golden glow.
  • Allow your skin enough time to recover in between tanning sessions and remember that for your tan to develop you need to stay away from UV rays for at least 24 hours between each tanning session.
  • This being said, you still have to go for regular tanning sessions if you want to maintain your tan. Once or twice a week is normally sufficient to maintain your tan.
  • When you are on the sunbed you can wear a bathing suit or tan naked. This all depends on how you want your tan to develop. Tanning naked is the best way to maintain an even tan with no tan lines, but ultimately the choice is yours.
  • Always remember to take a towel, tanning goggles, and tanning accelerator products with you to your sessions. Tanning goggles are an absolute must if you want to protect your eyes from any UV damage.

After Your Tanning Session

It doesn’t matter whether you have skin type 1 or skin type 6 when it comes to the aftercare of your skin.

While in the sunbed it is advisable to use a good tanning accelerator to keep your skin hydrated whilst tanning.

Remember that your skin continues to darken and produce melanin for about 12 hours after your session.

If you have a fair skin type, then it is important to keep your skin moisturized with an aloe vera cream or gel to prevent it from peeling after your tanning session.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, you need to be realistic about what is going to work best for your skin type before you hop into a tanning bed.

If you have a pale skin type such as those described in skin types one and two then you should make your tanning sessions shorter and rather have extra sessions to obtain a decent base tan.

When it comes to skin types three, four, and five you can be afforded a little more time in the sunbed without burning.

Remember though not to make your sessions too long because even if your skin does not go red it does not mean that you are not damaging it by spending lengthy amounts of time in the sunbed.

Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.