How to Tan: 8 Tips to Get a Fast & Long-Lasting Tan

To get a tan, you should sunbathe with sunscreen suitable for your skin type, eat a diet that is rich in beta-carotenes and moisturize your skin on a daily basis. This care should be started before sunbathing and maintained throughout the time you are exposed to the sun.

It's also important to take short breaks while sunbathing and avoid spending more than 3 hours in the sun, as after 2 to 3 hours, the skin stops producing melanin, which is the pigment that gives the skin its color. This can help to avoid burns and guaranteeing a natural, healthy and perfect tan.

To tan quickly, you can also use artificial techniques, such as applying a self-tanning cream or spray tanning.

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How to get a tan

To get a fast, beautiful and natural tan, see the following tips:

1. Eat a diet rich in beta-carotenes

Diet has a significant influence on tanning because it contributes to the production of melanin, which is a natural pigment that gives the skin its color.

You can drink a juice prepared with 3 carrots and 1 orange every day, about 3 weeks before sun exposure and during the period of sun exposure. You can also eat foods rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants, such as tomatoes, apricots, strawberries or mango, for example, 2 to 3 times a day, at least 7 days before the first day of sun exposure.

These foods help fight free radicals, protecting the skin from premature aging.

2. Exfoliate your skin

Exfoliating the whole body about 3 days before sunbathing helps to remove dead skin cells, eliminate blemishes and stimulate circulation. It prepares the skin for a more even and long-lasting tan.

After sun exposure, you can exfoliate gently once a week to keep your skin soft and your tan even and uniform.

Also recommended: Sugar Scrubs (and Other Natural Exfoliant Recipes to Make at Home)

3. Sunbathe with sunscreen

To tan more safely, it's important to sunbathe before 10 am and after 4 pm, applying SPF 30 sunscreen suitable for your skin type to protect it from the sun's harmful rays.

Applying sunscreen does not prevent tanning but, on the contrary, prolongs it because it keeps the cells healthy and the skin hydrated, preventing peeling.

These products should be applied about 20 to 30 minutes before getting sun and reapplied every 2 or 3 hours, especially if you sweat or go into the water. 

4. Moisturize and nourish the skin

To maintain your tan longer, you should apply a moisturizing cream every day after bathing. Be sure to apply more on days you get sun to prevent skin dehydration and flaking. 

Moisturizing helps to ensure a natural, long-lasting tan. You can also use specific after-sun moisturizers or lotions with aloe vera, which help to maintain moisture and soothe the skin. They also help to fight free radicals and preventing premature aging of the skin.

5. Avoid prolonged exposure

Avoiding to much time in the sun is important to prevent skin burns, as after about 2 to 3 hours in the sun, the skin stops producing melanin, which is the pigment responsible for the skin's tan.

Therefore, to ensure a natural and long-lasting tan, it is recommended that you stay in the sun for a maximum of 2-3 hours in a day, or even less in the case of very fair-skinned people. Be sure to use sunscreen, and to sunbathe when UV radiation is not as strong, which is before 10 am and after 4 pm.

6. Change positions frequently

Changing position frequently, every 30 minutes, such as lying on your stomach, back or side, is important to ensure your skin tans evenly.

In addition, it is important to position yourself correctly in the sunlight, moving the towel or lounger towards the sun, so that you are always in direct sunlight.

7. Take breaks

Taking breaks while sunbathing is important to avoid overexposure to UV rays and reduce the risk of burns, thus ensuring a perfect, healthy and long-lasting tan.

Also recommended: Sun Poisoning: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

8. Use self-tanner

To get a tan quickly, you can also apply a self-tanning cream all over your body or get a professional spray tan Self-tanning is effective because it contains DHA, which is a substance capable of reacting with the amino acids present in the skin, resulting in a tanned color.

Using these products helps to keep the skin golden and hydrated, without the risks associated with direct sun exposure, such as premature skin aging or cancer. Generally, self-tanning products have no contraindications, however, it is important to know if you are allergic to any of the components of the product or if you are taking any acid-based medications.

Another factor to bear in mind when using these products is that if they are not applied evenly, they can stain that skin

Homemade self-tanner

Another simple way to get a tan without having to expose yourself to the sun is to apply a homemade self-tan prepared with black tea. The skin will take on a darker tone, giving the appearance of a beach tan.


  • 250 mL of water
  • 2 tablespoons of black tea


Bring the water to the boil, add the black tea and boil for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Strain and place the tea in a glass container with a lid and leave to stand for 2 days. With the help of a cotton pad, moisten the skin with a little of the tea and leave to dry naturally.

What not to do to tan faster

Applying coca-cola, lemon or oil to your skin without sun protection, for example, while sunbathing, does not help you tan faster. This will likely only burn your skin and put your health at risk.

The ingredients in coca-cola, the citric acid in the lemon or the oil burn the skin, giving the false impression of a tan, but they don't trigger the formation of melanin, which is the skin's natural pigment and gives it a darker tone.