A tanning bed is a quick and effective way to achieve a summer tan, and many tanning bed users find their sessions relaxing. Tanning in a bed means spending the time to gradually darken skin without damage. Give yourself enough time, about eight weeks, to develop a dark tan without forcing skin to change. Always apply lotion before tanning, as it will help darken skin evenly and make the tan last longer.
Body Preparation Before Tanning
Most tanning bed users forget to prepare their skin in order to get the most out of a tanning session. Showering is not recommended after tanning, but in fact it is recommended to shower and exfoliate skin before laying down for a tan. Get your regular shower before going to a tanning salon, and exfoliate using a body scrub or an exfoliating body wash. This process removes dead skin cells, and prepares the skin for the tanning lotion which will help stimulate melanin production. Removing dead skin cells also helps extend the tan, as it will not flake off as quickly.
Tanning Bed Technique
Newer beds require less time lying down but have the same amount of exposure as older tanning beds. High-pressure beds require 10 to 20 minutes of laying down, and no tanning bed should be used for 30 minutes or more. A great way to get an even tan is to apply the tanning lotion all over your body, covering every area including armpits, behind the knees and elbows. Lay down flat on your back for the first half of the tanning session, and then turn around and lay on your belly. At the next session, lay on your right side for the first half and then turn over to your left side for the rest. It helps to tan evenly if you have arms and legs extended while laying down, so that no skin area is covered up and unable to tan.
Gradually Darkening Skin
The key to tanning is to do it gradually, especially to avoid sunburns. A painful sunburn will not only harm your skin but it could prevent you from tanning in a bed completely due to discomfort. Tan no more than three times a week, and start with a tanning lotion labeled "accelerator." This prepares your skin for melanin production and stimulates the tan development. After a base tan is achieved you can start using higher-level tanning lotions, and only those labeled for indoor use. Some tanning lotions have a tingling sensation, especially the ones labeled for "extremely dark tans."