How Long Does a Tan Last & Guide to Keep It Longer

If you’re not happy with the pale color of your skin, then you have likely considered visiting a tanning bed or even the beach. Getting a tan, whichever way you choose, can be a wonderful and very relaxing way to get the healthy-looking skin tone you desire. However, if you’ve never tanned before, you may have some questions about it.

One question that you might have is how long does a tan last. To answer this question, here is an overview, including the answer to your inquiry as well as tips for keeping your tan longer.

How does skin become tanned?

woman exposed her beach body in the sun

Upon being exposed to UV rays, either directly from the sun or from an artificial source such as a tanning bed, melanin is formed in the skin, which gives off a light brown glow. Many light-skinned individuals hate appearing pale and “ghostlike”, which is why they like getting tans. Although there are no health benefits to getting tans, nor is it harmful to have pale-colored skin, many people simply feel that they look healthier and more attractive with some additional color in their skin.

When will your tan start to fade?

woman looking at her skin in the mirror

In most cases, a tan, regardless of how you attain it, will last for anywhere from seven to ten days. Why does your tan fade so soon? Well, the skin is constantly regenerating itself, just as all the cells inside your body are. The outer layer of your skin will automatically slough off in a week to ten days, leaving you with skin that is your original skin tone. If you want to keep your tan longer without constantly exposing yourself to potentially dangerous UV rays, then there are some ways to do so.

Smart tips for extending your tan

woman inside the bathroom

If you’re interested in making your tan last longer, then one way to do so is to exfoliate your skin thoroughly prior to going to the beach or tanning booth. This will help your skin become smoother, so it can more thoroughly soak in the UV, giving you a darker, longer-lasting tan. It will also keep your skin from needing to exfoliate itself as soon as possible.

Another way to possibly extend your tan is to keep your skin as hydrated as possible. That means that you should drink lots of water and keep your skin moisturized with lotion and natural oils like coconut oil. The smoother and the more hydrated your skin is, the less frequently it will need to exfoliate itself.

Cool and lukewarm showers are recommended after getting a tan, as opposed to hot. Hot showers zap moisture from the skin, making your skin more likely to slough off its cells sooner, and your lovely tan at the same time.

There are products called “tan extenders” that are currently on the market. You might want to look into those products which actually help your body to produce melanin naturally. There are also supplements that are said to extend tans, in addition to tanning lotion.

What exactly are tan extenders?

woman applying lotion to her legs

Tan extenders are special lotions that you rub onto the skin after getting a tan, and they’re said to make your tan last longer. These tan-extending products are very similar to suntan lotion and are applied to the skin in the same manner. Tan extenders not only help your tan to last longer, but they can help treat any sunburn that you may have. The instructions will tell you how often to use the products, and when to use them, for the best results.

How much sun is too much?

woman wearing white shirt

Lying out in the sun while waiting for your body to tan can be very relaxing, so it’s easy to spend more time in the sun than you intended to. Actually, more than 20 minutes a day is too much time in the sun, because your body can only take in so much UV at a time. Excessive amounts will simply cause you to burn, which isn’t your intention at all. The same goes for spending time in tanning beds, and you shouldn’t spend more than two hours a week in a tanning booth, according to experts.

Of course, during the winter months, you will require a longer length of time in the sun in order to obtain the same results from spending time outdoors, because the UV rays aren’t half as strong during colder months. However, tanning booths are the same year-round, so you definitely don’t want to spend more time in them simply because it’s winter.

Is tanning lotion needed in order to tan?

woman applying lotion on arm

Not only will tanning lotion help you to tan faster, but it can also help your tan to last longer. You can use regular suntan lotion if you’re going to be spending time outdoors in order to tan, but if you’re going to be visiting a tanning bed, then be sure to get indoor tanning lotion. Is there a difference? Yes, there is a big difference between indoor and outdoor tanning lotion. With outdoor suntan lotion, you can rest assured that the SPF (sun protection factor) will be a lot higher to protect your delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Indoor tanning lotion contains little to no SPF.


Getting a nice tan can make you feel a lot more attractive than you feel when your skin is pale, and hopefully, this guide has helped you to learn new ways to extend the life of your tan when you are lucky enough to get one. There are possible consequences of tanning too often, so you would be better off tanning on an occasional basis and trying to extend the beautiful, bronze skin for as long as possible instead of tanning regularly and putting yourself at risk.

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