Tanning Tips for Fair-Skinned People | Life Hacks and Tips
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Fair Skin Tanning

Tanning Tips for Fair-Skinned People

Summer’s coming, and everyone is looking forward to getting their tan. Except for those of us with fair skin, tanning can be a daunting nightmare that almost always results in painful burns. We just can’t win—if we don’t try to tan, we can get mocked for our pale skin. If we do try, we end up red as a beetroot.

But wait a moment—Scandinavians have naturally pale skin too, yet they can also boast of the most gorgeously bronzed summer bodies in the world. If they can do it, why can’t we? The good news is, you can! Below are our top tanning tips for fair-skinned people.

Don’t Rush

The key ingredient to getting a good tan—whether you’re fair-skinned or not—is patience. If you try to rush the process, you’re only going to end up with sunburn, which isn’t only painful but can lead to skin cancer.

What you want to do is spend just 15 minutes a day working on your tan. After a week, you can start working your way up to a maximum of 30 minutes. As soon as you start feeling a bit of a burn, end your tanning session immediately—even if it’s only been ten minutes. Whatever you do, keep an eye on the time—the optimal amount of time you want to be spending in the sun piques at half an hour.

Take it Easy

Another temptation is to sit in the sun until you start seeing color. Tanning is achieved by stimulating melanin production in your skin cells, which doesn’t stop once you hit the shade. In fact, it continues for hours after you’ve crawled inside for a cold drink. This is why we often feel wonderfully tanned at first, only to realize much later that we’ve actually burnt. Be smart. Stick to the 15-30 minute guideline, and give your skin time to rest.

Know When to Bask

Tanning Tips for Fair Skinned People

You shouldn’t be attempting long, intense sessions, and to make up for it you might be tempted to spend those 15 minutes when the sun is at its hottest. But this is also a very bad idea if you want to tan without burning. Before 10 AM and after 4 PM is your Vitamin D Happy Hours. Schedule your tanning session for the golden hours—not the roasting hours in between.

Tanning Lotions

No, we don’t mean lotions that give you a fake tan—quite the opposite. Quality tanning lotions offer you SPF protection while helping to keep your skin moisturized and giving your melanin production an extra boost. There are several on the market, each with their own applications and recommended skin-types.

For us fair-skinned folk, the Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing Sunscreen is our top recommendation. Free of oils and parabens, the spray-on lotion is also vegan-friendly and hypoallergenic. You’ll want to apply it a few times over the course of the day, especially if you’re going to spend time in the water (it is water-resistant up to 80 minutes, though), and it’s not suitable for long exposure to the sun.

But having fair skin means you’re already used to avoiding lengthy exposure times, right? And after all, you’ve been given a curfew.


The Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing Sunscreen already gives you a head-start on keeping your skin moisturized while in the sun, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. You still want to apply your regular moisturizer after hours, when you come in from the sun and especially at night before bed. If you haven’t already made it a habit, keep your cream easily accessible during the day, and apply first thing in the morning and right before bed too.

And it goes without saying that you need to keep hydrated, of course. Drinking lots of water don’t just stop your body from becoming dehydrated as a whole, but also helps promote a healthy tan. How so? By preventing your skin from becoming rubbery.

Tanning Tips


But even with proper moisturizing, some of your skin cells are still going to be slowly dying. It’s a natural fact of human biology.

Those dead skin cells can get in the way of your summer tan though, so you want to get rid of them to make way for healthy, tanned cells. The best way to do so is to keep using your exfoliating scrub. A weekly option works wonders.

Stay Away from the Sunbeds

If you’re in earnest about having a healthy, beautiful tan to match your hot summer bod, then stick to the sun. Stay away from sunbeds, even though they’re aggressively marketed as the safer alternative.

It may be tempting, but when you realize your skin is aging a lot faster than it should be, you’ll wish you’d kept things natural.

All in All

Just because you’re fair-skinned doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bronze summer glow. It just takes a lot of patience and dedication.

Don’t feel that your 15-30 minute curfew means you can’t enjoy a day at the beach or beside the pool with your friends though. Keep a summer umbrella, floppy hat, and pair of sunglasses with you so that you can throw some friendly shade and stay with your friends while they laze in the sun. Who knows —you might inspire them to start thinking healthier about their tans too!

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