If you have fair skin, then you know how easy it is to burn your skin when out in the sun. The same is true for tanning beds. Fair-skinned individuals must be more cautious. You can achieve your desired look without harm if you are willing to be patient and work on it a little at a time, being sure to take the necessary precautions.
Standard tanning sessions are 20 minutes long. That is far too long for someone with fair skin. This is especially true if you are just starting out. You need to build a base tan, which means you should not tan for longer than 6 to 7 minutes. After you have used the tanning bed four or five times at this length without burning, you can increase your tanning time to 10 minutes per session. Since you have fair skin, you will most likely never be able to go the whole 20 minutes at once.
Warning: You should also wait at least 3 days in between tanning sessions.
When you begin tanning your fair skin for the first time, you should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 to 30. This will protect your skin from burning, while letting you develop your base tan. You will also want to wear moisturizing lotion made for indoor tanning sessions. Use the moisturizer before and after your tanning session. This will keep your fair skin from drying out and aging prematurely.
When you use an indoor tanning bed, you will find that certain products you wear on your body will hinder your ability to tan. Do not wear perfume or body lotion (the moisturizer made for the tanning bed is okay). These products can actually cause your skin to burn, and for individuals with fair skin, this is a double whammy. You will also need to stay away from deodorant until after your tanning session is over. It can cause blotches around your armpit area. So take a shower before you tan, and make sure you do not put anything on your body until you have finished tanning.