Sun Tanning

How To Tan Faster

Last Updated: August 14, 2023

In This article....

  • Discover the effective use of specialized products that can significantly expedite your tanning process.
  • Uncover key protective measures and useful tips for tanning, including techniques to remedy sunburn and extend the longevity of your tan.
  • Learn how to optimize indoor tanning or self-tanning, with emphasis on skin preparation, product application, and techniques for achieving an even tan.

It’s only reasonable that you would want to reduce the time you spend tanning, whether it’s in the sun or tanning bed. There are a couple of tanning products that are available to speed up the tanning process, which we will discuss but there are also a whole bunch of tips and tricks you should know that can aid in achieving a great golden tan quickly all while caring for your skin at the same time.

How To Tan Faster In The Sun

Well, you would want to get your hands on either a tanning intensifier or accelerator lotion, as they are called. These are specially formulated to speed up the tanning process up to three times more than what it takes to have a natural ‘layout in the sun’ session. This ultimately reduces the time you spend in the sun and still allow you to achieve a rich looking tan. Some of the top brands of tanning lotions (i.e. accelerator and intensifier) you can find are listed below

  1. Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Tanning Accelerator [Read our Full review]
  2. Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning [Read our Full review]
  3. Millenium Tanning New Paint it Black 50X [Read our Full review]
  4. Ed Hardy’s BeachTime Tanning Lotion [Read our Full review]
  5. Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion [Read our Full review]

Protect your Skin

Before you get to the point of applying any of these tanning products, you need to know how to protect your skin from overexposure and ultimately prevent it from getting sunburned.

On freshly exfoliated skin, evenly apply a low SPF mist spray oil, preferably SPF 15, this will minimize your chances of getting burned. Apply liberally and allow it to dry before putting on the accelerator or intensifier lotion and be sure to apply evenly as well.

More Tips

Now to speed up the tanning process even further!

  • Tan when it’s Hot! – Make sure to start tanning when the sun is at its most intense state, that can be anywhere between 9am to 3pm. This is actually the most dangerous part of the day to be in the sun, so tan at your own risk.
  • Rotate your Body – Remember to turn frequently, start on the back and lay there for about 15 minutes, then on the stomach for the same time and both of your sides for another 15 minutes each and then repeat. In the end, you can give your front another couple of minutes, about 6 to 8 minutes more. Also, change the position of your arms and legs periodically to avoid awkward tan lines.
  • Add More Lotion – Reapply sun-tanning lotion every 20 minutes or so; tanning in the sun can make you work up a pretty good sweat and the more you sweat is the more likely it is for your tanning lotion to wear away and also lose its potency. Also if you happen to go in and out of the water, be sure to reapply the suntan lotion each time you get out.
  • Tan by the Water – Another great tip is to lie close to the water. When the sun’s rays hit a body of water, they are reflected in multiple directions, so once you are nearby, the rays reflected from the water will give you additional coverage. What’s even better is lying on a floating bed in the water; this will definitely help you to tan faster.

Make your Sunburn turn into a Tan

If you happened to have overdone it in the sun and suffered from horrid sunburn on a couple of areas of your body, then there are some restorative measures you can take to turn your sunburn into a glowing tan. The key to undoing sunburn damage is to soothe your skin —

  1. Once you are out of the sun, the first thing you need to do is cool down the skin. Have a cool shower allowing the water to just run over your body for a couple of minutes. Don’t use any type of bathing implement i.e. bath sponge or washcloth, simply use your hands to lather and calmly apply soap if you need to remove residual tanning lotion.
  2. After your bath, depending on the severity of your sunburn, you can also use a cold compress to soothe the areas that feel sore.
  3. Carefully rub aloe vera gel on the affected areas and repeat as often as possible. Aloe vera gel will soothe the skin by minimizing the pain and soreness caused by the sunburn.
  4. A great home remedy is to slice up a cold cucumber and place the slices on the parts of the skin that are irritated.
  5. If you happen to have any oatmeal based lotions at home or if you’re trying to decide what type of lotion to get that will aid in your quest of sunburn recovery, then try something that has high concentrations of oatmeal along with tea tree oil, shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and/or aloe vera. These ingredients will not only soothe your skin but will also help it to heal quickly.

These soothing remedies will have your skin feeling good again after two days or so. Combine these tips and be sure to practice diligence with them all throughout the day. With these methods, you will overcome skin dehydration and the top layers of the skin will shed away to unveil your tan. Unfortunately, it would have taken a couple of days to see it in all its glory.

How to Make your Tan Last

The next smart thing to do is to prolong the life of your existing tan. After all, the last thing you would want to do after nursing sunburnt skin is to head back in the sun for another tanning session.

The key to making your tan last longer is to moisturize daily. The best type of lotion for this is tan extenders; here are a couple of suggestions to choose from:

  1. Australian Gold Moisture Lock Tan Extender Lotion
  2. Garnier Ambre Solaire
  3. Lancaster Tan Maximizer Tan Prolonging
  4. Golden Star Beauty Tan Extender Body Lotion
  5. Bahama Tan Extender Organic & Natural

How To Tan Faster In a Tanning Bed

More and more people are heading to the tanning salon these days to achieve a quicker tan oppose to spending several hours in the sun. Yet, no matter how advanced these beds are, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re increasing your risk of getting skin cancer. Plus there are a couple more reasons you’d want to get in and out of the tanning bed quickly, e.g. the cost associated with your specific tanning needs, the use of high-level beds are daunting, and some people are just outright claustrophobic. So even though the tanning bed takes less time for you to attain a tan, let’s talk about how to lessen the time even further but still achieve a good-looking tan.

Scoop up a good tanning intensifier or accelerator lotion specific for the tanning bed.  Also if you can find a type that combines SPF that would just be great, otherwise you can add your own separately and apply before the tanning lotion. Here are a couple of lotions you could try:

  1. Millenium Tanning New Paint it Black Auto-Darkening Lotion 50X [Read our Full review]
  2. Australian Gold Accelerator Lotion [Read our Full review]
  3. Somewhere on a Beach Indoor Instant Dark Tanning Lotion [Read our Full review]
  4. Australian Gold Sinfully Black 15X Deep Dark Bronzing [Read our Full review]
  5. Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion [Read our Full review]

More Tips

  • Prep your Skin – With any type of tanning i.e. indoor or outdoor, one of the key tips to producing the perfect looking tan quickly is to prep the skin by exfoliating your body and focusing on the areas that need it the most e.g. elbow and knees. Then apply the tanning lotion of your choice as evenly as you possibly can. Apply generously one section at a time and massage the lotion in circular motions over the skin until it is completely absorbed.
  • Choose the Right Tanning Bed – Speak with your tanning salon specialist about the best tanning bed option for you and the length of tanning that is required. These conditions will be determined on your skin type and your specific tanning needs. So tailor your questions along those lines to try and minimize your time in the tanning bed.
  • Rotate your Body – It will be a little bit more challenging to keep turning inside the tanning bed, but do not let that deter you from doing so. Rotating your body in a complete 360-degree spin is very necessary to get a good, full coverage tan sooner than later. Similarly to sunbathing, start off lying on your back then rotate your body to lie on your stomach and make sure to get both of your sides, giving these sections all the same amount of time. So if you decide to do a complete 20-minute session in the tanning bed then each section of your body should get 5 minutes each.
  • Wait for a Little – Some indoor tanning lotions contain bronzers to give your skin an added boost of color. If you happened to have chosen a lotion that has bronzers in it then you should not shower right after your tanning session. Bronzers take 2-4 hours to completely develop your complexion, so wait until then to shower.
  • Moisturize with a Tan Extender – Keeping your skin healthy during your tan will also make your tan last longer. To do this, moisturize daily with lotions that have high moisture content and ingredients to nourish and condition your skin. Tan extenders are very good for this purpose because they have all the right ingredients to prolong your tan.

How to Make Fake Tan Develop Faster

Making your fake tan develop faster has almost everything to do with the choice of tanner, how you apply it and to apply it well. So here are some key tips to turn the pale you into a darker more bronzed looking version of yourself in no time.

Pick the Right Tanning Lotion

There are a lot of self-tanners out there that will get you nowhere when it comes on to bronzing or darkening your complexion. So you need to know which are quality brands that will not only elevate your skin shade but produce a nice natural looking tan that lasts a long time. Here are some of the top brands and best sunless and self-tanning lotions that will develop fast —

  1. Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner [Read our Full review]
  2. St. Tropez Self-Tan Express Bronzing Mist [Read our Full review]
  3. Fake Bake 5 Minutes Mousse
  4. Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel
  5. Vita Liberata Ten Minute Tan [Read our Full review]

More Tips

  • Scrub Scrub Scrub – In a nutshell, what this means is to exfoliate everywhere! Or specifically the areas you intend on browning. Exfoliating for a fake tan takes a little more attention than the regular sun or indoor tanning. Since the tanning lotion needs to adhere to the skin then you have to prep it properly by smoothing and clearing away any impediments, i.e. removing dead skin cells, uprooting white/blackheads, unclogging pores, lifting ingrown hairs and so forth. So you may want to focus on getting a quality exfoliating scrub that is loaded with an immeasurable amount of scrubbing beads. Properly exfoliated skin will speed up the tanning process and even make your tan last longer.
  • Take a Long Shower – Use the exfoliator in the shower on wet skin. Showering for about 10 minutes prior also drenches and soften the skin to make it easier to exfoliate. Also, use a loofah for more effective results.
  • Hydrate – Sunless tanning lotion is best applied on clean skin and with clean skin, you will achieve a quicker tan as well. Even though it may work on skin that is lightly lotioned it won’t brown your skin as fast and you probably won’t get much staying power either. The best hydrating method would be to use a moisturizing body wash that rinses off clean but leaves your skin hydrated, supple and soft.
  • Lotion Dry Areas – Now there are certain parts of the body that you don’t want the self-tanner to color. Body parts that have a naturally darker skin shade such as the knuckles, elbows, and knee, don’t need tanning. So applying lotion on these areas will allow the self-tanner to wipe or wash off easily to eventually achieve an even skin color throughout.
  • Make your Tan Last – Another great tip to help develop your tan is to use of a daily in-shower gradual tan lotion after applying the sunless tanner. For the days following the application of the self-tanner, simply maintain it by showering with one of these ingenious in-shower lotions:
  1. St. Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan Lotion
  2. Lancaster Self Tan Beauty In –Shower Tanning Lotion
  3. Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer[Read our Jergens Reviews]

We’ve come along way with tanning over the years; there have been improvements with implementing better techniques, caring for skin in the interim and the maintenance to name a few. Now if only the tanning time could be cut down even further. Until then, these tips and tricks will definitely help you to shed off a couple of minutes from your tanning sessions and still produce great results.

Good Luck!

Hello! I'm Mandi Colburn, the lead writer of Inspired by a California upbringing and a passion for health and fitness, I turned my fascination with sun exposure into a blog that offers credible, research-driven advice on tanning and skin protection. Welcome to, where my goal is to guide you toward a healthier, sun-kissed glow.