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Your tan will begin to fade if you don't work to maintain it. One of the main causes of a fading tan is exfoliating. Your tan occurs in the upper layer of your skin known as the epidermis, and the epidermis naturally replaces itself about every 28 days. If you don't maintain your tan once you have a base, you will notice that it begins to fade after a couple of weeks. One you build your base tan, you should be able to maintain it by using a tanning bed one or two times a week.