Does Your Skin Stop Tanning At A Certain Point?

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Do you love the way that your skin looks and feels when you have a delicious sun-kissed glow? Many people find it addictive, and there are many benefits to tanning that are often forgotten.

If you are a regular tanning bed user or are a sun worshipper like me, then you may be wondering: does your skin stop tanning at a certain point

Yes, you can reach a level of tan where you just won’t tan anymore. But you may be able to get beyond that with additional bronzers, gradual tanners, etc.

In this article, I’ll explain in depth.


The Allure of the Deep, Dark Tan

It’s almost impossible to resist the wonderful feel of an all-over glow when you have the perfect tan. And that’s a big reason why it can be quite addictive to have golden sun-kissed skin all year round. 

Our skin glows beautifully after tanning, so it makes sense that so many of us consider tanning as part of our normal beauty routines. And even with the risks of too much UV exposure damaging our skin and leading to cancer, having a tan feels so damn nice and leads to many positive outcomes.

It’s complicated!

Does Your Skin Stop Tanning At A Certain Point?

So, then you may now be wondering, does your skin stop tanning after a certain point? You’ve got your base tan, but just can’t get beyond it. Well, the simple answer to this is yes, your skin will stop tanning at a certain point. But there are several factors as to why your skin will stop tanning at some point and you can’t get any darker.

The simple answer to this is yes, your skin will stop tanning at a certain point. But there are several factors as to why your skin will stop tanning at some point and you can’t get any darker.


One of them is how dry your skin is, which is why it’s so important to stay hydrated whenever you’re out in the sun. If your skin is really dry and flaky, then the dead skin cells will get in the way of your surface skin, and inhibit its ability to tan.


Another reason why your skin stops tanning depends on how old you are, and how well you’ve taken care of your skin. That’s because the melanin levels in the skin become uneven as we get older. This is why people can have lighter and darker patches appear seemingly out of nowhere during their middle-age years. 

The Tanning Plateau: The Point Where Your Skin Can’t Darken Further

There are some reasons why you may find it difficult to tan your skin altogether. For example, your skin can become thicker if you’ve had too much previous UV exposure.

Excess UV Exposure

Additional tanning can make your skin feel quite leathery and dry, because of the breakdown and stretching of the skin’s elastin and collagen tissue as a result.

And if this is a situation that you find yourself in, then it becomes more difficult to tan your skin like you used to.

You should be wearing SPF while tanning, and you can tan while wearing sunscreen. Don’t skip the sun protection, you don’t want to get skin cancer because you’re lazy.

Watch the UV index, and aim to get your glow on in the morning. See these outdoor tanning tips for more information.

Poor Diet

You (including your skin) are what you eat.

This means that if your diet is lacking in foods that are high in beta carotene, a pigment that is found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, and turmeric, then this can stop your skin from tanning the way you desire it to. 

Your body’s metabolism, which is the mechanism that allows it to produce energy from the foods that you eat, can indicate how your skin either boosts or depletes the amount of melanin that is made by your skin whenever it is exposed to sunlight. 

This means that eating a diet that is rich in the foods that we’ve mentioned above can help your body to overcome a depletion in the production of melanin.

Skin Problems

If you have skin conditions like acne, dermatitis, or rosacea, then these can stop your skin from tanning, too.

The one exception to this is psoriasis, which has been shown to improve with exposure to natural sunlight — but not tanning most beds, because these only produce UVA light, not broad spectrum UVA/UVB like the sun does.

Note: Bronzing beds will produce a wider spectrum of light, including UVB light.

Can I Keep My Natural Tan Permanently?

Even if your skin stops tanning after a certain point, is it possible to keep the tan you already have permanently?

Well no, because it’s totally impossible for your skin to stay tanned permanently. The longest you can expect your tan to look great is about a week to 10 days, unless you’re constantly refreshing your base tan. But even then this will only happen if you keep your skin thoroughly moisturized and you do your best to extend your tan.

That’s because the surface layer of skin is constantly shedding. And as it sheds, it will take your tanned skin with it. Whether through using an exfoliation product, rubbing off from your clothing, or even by taking showers with water that is too hot, your normal skin tone will emerge eventually! Because tanning can’t affect the amount of melanin that your skin produces. 

Even if you walked around in a bikini all day, and kept your limbs slathered with aloe vera gel and shea butter, the average adult skin cell only lives for around 28 days. So as new skin cells are produced that aren’t tanned, your natural color comes back. 

That’s how your body works, and there’s no way around this unless you take matters into your own hands…

How To Keep Your Golden Glow On For Longer

So, luckily, there are ways to keep your skin appearing tanned while the cold winds blow, that also look natural, and can help to boost your confidence. 

1. Tanologist Gradual Oil 

Tanologist Self Tan Overnight Oil Treatment - Organic Hydrating Night Oil for Gradual Tan, Vegan and Cruelty Free, 1.01 Fl Oz
  • SKIN CARE MEETS SUN TAN | Brighten,...
  • HYDRATING | Our trio of grapefruit, goji...
  • ALL SKIN TYPES | Our oil has been tested...
  • THE GLOW DOWN | More drops = deeper...
  • TO USE | Apply drops directly onto the...

One such product is Tanologist Gradual Oil, which is an organic, vegan, and cruelty-free way that will help you to customize your skin color as you sleep.

Specially designed to be used on your face, and suitable for all skin types, including oily skins, you massage the oil into your skin before bed, so that you will wake up to a delicious sun-kissed appearance.

Free of ingredients that will clog your pores, it includes vitamin C to brighten your skin, pink grapefruit and goji berry extracts to boost your color, juniper berry to clarify the skin, and boswellia tree extract to calm it.

And best of all, if you want a deeper glow than the one you woke up with, then you can simply reapply it over and over again, until you achieve your desired deeper glow.

2. Beauty by Earth Self Tanner Tanning Lotion 

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner - USA Made with Natural & Organic Ingredients, Moisturizing Self Tanning Lotion with Aloe Vera & Coconut for a Natural Glow, Streak-Free Fake Tan, Medium to Dark
  • A NATURAL, SUN-KISSED GLOW: Goodbye to...
  • CLEAN BEAUTY: Trust Beauty by Earth for...
  • SUITABLE FOR FACE & BODY: Our organic...
  • OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE: We offer a variety...

Another product that you can use to maintain an all-over tan, look no further than Beauty by Earth Self Tanner Tanning Lotion, which contains more than 85% organic ingredients, and provides a cleaner way to keep your glow going.

I love this stuff, and did an in-depth review here.

A little goes a long way in this thick lotion vegan formulation, which will leave your skin feeling nourished from the included organic aloe vera juice and shea butter after a shower. It’s also free of chemical fragrance, and is made in the USA.

But best of all, after an eight-hour sleep, and no stained sheets to wake up to, there is no need to rinse it off.

3. Tan-Luxe’s The Gradual Illuminating Gradual Tan Lotion 

TAN-LUXE The Gradual - Illuminating Gradual Tan Lotion, 250ml - Cruelty & Toxic Free
  • Get glowing skin within 1 hour with this...
  • Use this gradual tanner for a buildable...
  • Perfect for beginners: No streaks. No...
  • Apply to the skin as you would a normal...
  • Full List of Ingredients: Aqua (Water),...

Tan-Luxe’s The Gradual Illuminating Gradual Tan Lotion Is also a cleaner way to keep your skin glowing during the winter months.

Its ultra-lightweight formula nourishes the skin like an oil, while adding hydration and protection like a lotion, and you will begin to see results within an hour. This gradual tanning lotion also has skin-firming capabilities, so can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, which is an added bonus!

The Gradual’s oil/lotion hybrid formulation is completely non-toxic and cruelty free, doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or bad smells associated with many self-tanning products, and it won’t leave behind any weird streaks for flawless and bronzed skin.

4. Naturena Self Tanner Mousse 

naturena Self Tanner Tanning Mousse with Organic & Natural Ingredients, Tanning Lotion, Sunless Tanning Lotion for Darker Bronzer Skin, 6.7 Fl Oz
  • Beautiful Sun Kissed Skin - Our self...
  • Effective Results - With Advanced Color...
  • Acceptable For Everyone - This bronzing...
  • Bye Bye To Sun Damaged Skin - This sun...
  • Satisfaction Assurance - We only use the...

One last clean self-tanning option is Naturena Self Tanner Mousse, which is suitable for all skin tones, and also contains organic and all natural ingredients, so is free of parabens, cruelty free, and vegan friendly.

For use on both face and body, this self-tanning mousse contains Advanced Color Complex, which works with your natural skin tone to mimic the same results you’d receive from normal sun exposure. 

And its nourishing ingredients, including coconut water, and argan, rosehip, and avocado oils, will leave your skin feeling hydrated and smooth.

The mousse is also tinted, so you’ll be able to see exactly where you’re applying it, while the color develops instantly, and will deepen within hours to leave behind a beautiful, and buildable, bronzed and golden tan without the ‘orange’ effect.

Final Thoughts

So, does your skin stop tanning at a certain point? Yes, it’s completely normal for your skin to stop tanning after a certain level.

As the layers of your dead skin cells start sloughing off, your untanned, natural skin color and texture will begin shining through. 

Therefore, if you want to keep an all-over glow to your skin, then it would be easy to just add a fake tanning product to your beauty routine. 

Alternatively, you could book some sessions at your local tanning salon, but don’t overdo it, so that your skin stays tanned and healthy.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).