December 7, 2023

We all know the dangers of getting too much sun and I wrote about both how to get rid of a sunburn as well as the danger of getting too much sun.

Today I wanted to live out a bit of a dream and write about how to get your best suntan ever.

Why get the best suntan possible? Well as Chris Stephens, the DJ on the television show Northern Exposure once said

“Sometimes you have to do something bad – just to know you’re alive.”

My Suntan History

How to get a Great Suntan
How to get a Great Suntan

Back when I was 15 to 20 I tried every Summer to get the greatest suntan ever and I used to tell my buddy Darin White and I would one day write a book about how to get the best suntan.

Well, this is not a book but it is an opportunity to spill everything I ever learned over the years about how to get the best suntan.

I believe that there are 10 steps and then I will end with a bunch of tips of what I think are important tips on how to get the best tan this summer that you have ever had.

Here are the 10 steps first that you will need to do in the first place to get a good tan.

Lufa and Exfoliate

Exfoliating your skin is a very good idea. When you are getting a suntan the color that you get is a result of the skin reacting to the sun.

If you have dead skin on top of your good skin then it will be blocking the sun.

When exfoliating your skin be sure not to scrub hard, you may want to get the dead skin off but you do not want to hurt your good skin underneath so be sure to just lightly scrub your skin.

Lather on the Suntan Lotion

I know that you may think that using suntan lotion may be against the idea of getting a dark tan it is really a requirement.

First of all, choose a suntan lotion that has a lot of moisturizer in it.

What I would recommend if you want to get a dark tan is to make sure that you have about an SPF factor of 8 or 10 and make sure that you spread it all over, do not miss any spots.

The good thing about wearing a suntan lotion is that it allows your body to gradually get a tan instead of tanning very quickly and then getting a burn.

You want to go slow getting a great tan as it will last longer and be easier to get dark without burning. Remember that suntan lotion does not do anything for about a half an hour so you must but the sun tan lotion on a little while before you go out.

Tan For Only One To Two Hours Per Day

You do not need a lot of hours of sun but it is important if you want a good tan to make sure that you get one to two hours a day EVERY day as the consecutive days are going to give you that good tan not the number of hours in one day.

The important thing in your suntanning time is to make sure that you are getting your whole body tanned. Do not miss any spots and make sure that you follow this for at least a few days so that you body can gradually get color.

Tan Your Whole Body

If at all possible get some kind of reflective blanket to lie on when you are suntanning so that your sides, as well as the insides and outsides of your legs, get a tan.

The sun comes from above and the most impressive tan is one that is smooth and even around your whole body.

It is easy enough to get your front and back tanned but how about your sides and the back of your arms?

When tanning your front have your arms up and your head slightly back so that you can tan under your arms as well as the back of your arms and get your neck tanned as well.

When on your stomach keep your arms out as well so that you are tanning the tops of your forearms and shoulders. Flip every 15 minutes to half hour.

Shower After Your Suntanning Time

Do not over shower. This means that if you have a shower in the morning and then suntan in the afternoon have only a very quick shower to wash off the suntan lotion.

If at all possible do not have a shower in the day until after you have had your suntanning time so on the weekends perhaps you can tan in the morning instead of the afternoon.

Also, when you shower never use soap except on stinky areas such as your underarms I say no soap on your skin as soap will dry your skin and may peel off some of that skin that are getting color.

Moisturize Day and Night

Moisturizers are very important for keeping your skin healthy. Use a good moisturizer when you get up in the morning as well as after your sun tanning session and then at night before you go to bed.

The more moist that your skin is the more radiant is look and feels and the longer that you will be able to keep your tan as your skin will stay alive and healthier for longer.

Drink lots of water

Sun tanning is all about the outer layer of your skin so make sure that skin is healthy. One of the best things that you can do for your skin is to drink a lot of water.

Water will keep your body hydrated and therefore will keep your skin hydrated as well.

Do not just drink water while you are out in the sun working on that tan but make sure that you start your day with a big glass of water and drink water throughout your day.

Tan for consecutive days

One day of sun will not do a lot and a long day of sun will just lead to a burn. Have you ever noticed that when people go skiing in the winter and get a suntan or sunburn that it goes away in just a couple of days?

The important thing to do to get a deep tan and to have it last is to get suntanning time for as many consecutive days as possible.

If you tan one day and then again a couple of days later then that first day’s base tan has been wasted, this is why most people can not get a deep tan, all they do is get suntime on the weekends and do not try to get sun during the week.

Never get a sunburn

A sunburn is a condition that will kill the skin cells that you are trying to get color for. Never ever let you skin get burned as you will need to wait for this skin to naturally lose its color and then start your consecutive days of sun again.

I have failed at this point time and time again by not being patient about my suntanning and by being careless with my suntan lotion. Don’t make that mistake, it is really up to you to be careful.

Stay Away From Extra Sun

You have a plan that you can follow for getting a suntan and on the weekends what will happen is that you will have plenty of opportunities to get extra sun and this can and will inevitably lead to getting too much sun and a sunburn.

The best way to avoid this extra sun is to plan ahead. Have a very strong SPF 30 suntan lotion that you put on often, wear a hat, wear well covering but loose fitting clothes and of course sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Some Extra Sun Safe Tips to Remember

Now that you have the 10 point plan to get a good suntan I thought I could get a few tips in that do not really fit into those ten points for suntanning but nonetheless are important anyway.

When tanning cover your head when tanning your back. This is important because when you tan your face it gets enough sun. When you are tanning your back you do not want your face to get yet more sun.

The most sensitive parts of your body are the neck, backs of legs and on the face are the nose, forehead and under the eyes, make sure that you always have a good layer suntan lotion on theses spots so that you can get a tan before these areas would burn.

Watch your waistband. Try to make sure that you legs and waistband are in the same spot in each of your tanning sessions, this way you will have a pronounced tan line and will also be able to tell how tanned you have got.

I know some people that will let the waistband move an inch up or down on consecutive days so that they can tell how today is tanning compared to yesterday.

Your full tan will not show up for four hours or more. When you are out in the sun do not get too concerned about how little color you are getting, the bulk of it will show up four to six hours later. As you probably remember from the past if you get a burn that sunburns will not sometimes show up or will definitely get worse in the evening after you were out.

I hope these tips all help you this year to get your best suntan ever.

66 thoughts on “How To Get A Great Suntan

  1. i whant to get a tan , and this is realy good advice
    but i live in florida and it is sunny all the time so instead of laying on a blancket could i just walk around in my bathing suit

  2. Since a very young age i have spent as much time outdoors as i could. playing with school friends we would all take our shirts off as much as we could we never had sun creams then we just kept cool by juping into a lake. and i can honestly say i never got burnt i have average skin and red hair.

    i still work outdoors 30 years on and often spend 12 hours a day in the sun during summer months, my girlfriend burns real easy and she is jealous when we are on our holiday as she sits under shade looking at me and the boys in the sun. if we go somewhere real hot like last year we went to Cuba in august it was 40c most days i used a spf 3 or 4 for the first couple of days— the british summer had been bad before we went. but after the first few days i used no sun or tanning lotions and i got a great tan at the end of the three week holiday.

    i think if you eat healthy, plenty of melons peaches and carrots for the month before you go on holiday it helps and make sure to drink plenty of water whilst you are in the sun, sweating the water out will slow the burning down.

    everyone is different and tans at different rates it is just a matter of finding which method is best for you, i can sit or work in the sun all day long and get no burns yet others spend an hour outdoors and are badly burned

  3. Please Bob, and Simon, don’t be ignorant fools yourselves. The original poster specifically said not to burn. And you DON’T want to use too much SPF protection either (as Simon stated above), because you WANT a good balance between UVA and UVB exposure in order to produce enough vitamin D for your health. The UVB is also there as a safety net to keep us from just going out and laying in the Sun carelessly all day. Bob (above reader comment) is running a much higher chance of getting some type of organ cancer at a younger age by not getting sufficient Sunlight-produced Vitamin-D. Human skin does a much better job of making it using the Sun than supplements can provide. I was deficient for years and had an ankle fusion surgery in 2009 that failed on me the first time because my Vitamin D was low (19). I had been taking 5000 UI of liquid D3 supplement for a year and my D levels only made it up to 28, and 30 is considered the low-side of what a person needs in your blood levels. Finally, I more recently bought a real commercial tanning bed (a generation 1 model which had higher levels of UVB – 5%), and now my D levels are finally up to 50+ and my second ankle fusion surgery I had 9 months later in 2010 finally grew the bone together. So I’m a believer in Vitamin D now.

    The biggest thing to remember here when reading articles about this controversial subject of tanning/sun exposure (THAT NO ARTICLE OR READER COMMENT EVER SEEM TO REMIND US ABOUT), is that there are 4-6 basic skin-types (depending on who you ask) for human beings. It is important to understand that Joe Moreno (Dark) whom tans easily with little exposure to the Sun can tolerate more Sun without having to worry as much about cancer, whereas Susie Redhead over there with albino complexion cannot tolerate much if any Sun. Typically Susie does not need as much Sun though to get vitamin D production either as Joe Moreno needs, since his dark pigment is blocking some UVB from getting in as easy.

    These are the 4-6 skin types (depending on whom you ask):

    Skin Type 1 – Sensitive skin, burns easily and severely and does not tan.
    Skin Type 2 – Light skin, burns easily and tans minimally.
    Skin Type 3 – Normal, burns moderately and tans average.
    Skin Type 4 – Dark, burns minimally and tans easily and above average.

    …and if you ask the FDA, they say there are 6 types:

    I – White skin, easily burns, never tans.
    II – Sensitive light skin, rarely tans, burns more often
    III – Light skin, tans more, burns equally
    IV – Light dark skin, tans more than burns
    V – Darker skin, rarely burns, tans darkly
    VI – Dark skin, never burns, dark even tans

    (reference:,com_myblog/Itemid,257/show,The-Four-or-Six-Skin-Types-for-Indoor-Tanning.html/ )

    So please people, please understand that the people whom wrote articles like this saying to tan and lay in the Sun, are speaking this stuff because they likely have the Type IV,V, or VI skin, whereas the people whom always whine and complain that we’re all going to die of skin cancer if we lay in the Sun for 5 mins a day are the people whom likely have the Type I, II, or III skin-type. We are not all built the same. Please do not make comments and cast judgement on us to imply that we all need to do the same thing or act in the same way in our environment in which we live. They don’t call it ‘Smart Tanning’ for nothing.

    Know YOUR skin type, and don’t be afraid to get even a little Sun to up your Vitamin D. Go to the doctor and get your D levels tested with a blood test and if you are low, even a simple 10-20 mins in the Sun or 3 mins in a Gen 1 tanning bed (with 5% UVB bulbs) with Type I skin can produce 10,000 – 15,000 IU of Vitamin D and doing this a couple times a week or even every other day can really help you keep strong cells and bones throughout your lifetime. They even make special bulbs that will not make you tan at all, but are focused for Vitamin D production. The light has a pink color to it. Go look it up. Not all tanning beds are “of the devil” you know…

    My grandparents-in-law are 89, and 95 years old (respectively) and both live in Mexico and are both in the Sun constantly and are both alive and living active and well. However, my own direct Grandparents on both sides of my parents never saw the Sun much after retiring and all died in their 60s, all of organ cancers of various types.

    I always tell people that I’ve found the ‘Sun of God’ (that he’s been around all the whole time when people were skeptical) and that he shines his power upon us everyday of every year. We just need to be intelligent about how much exposure is healthy, and at what point it becomes toxic for each of us. Drinking too much water can kill you too. Part of living life as a human being is to learn your own proper ‘balance’ of all things. All things in excess can be bad for you. Too much alcohol, too much drugs, too much sex, too much food, too much of one type of food, too much water, too much Sun, too much darkness, etc. It is each individuals job to balance these many wonders of life and be healthy all along.

    1. I have light skin and i have never really tanned intensly at all, so im not sure if i burn easily, but i have never really been tan and im always outside in the summer. sooo im gussing i dont tan easily. but never really burn either…so im not sure what to do. any advice? thanks alot. (:

  4. look here dude we didnt evolve from no mushrooms!!!!!!!!!!! we came from god!!!!!!!!!!! ya dumba**!!! ppl lik u make me soooo sick!!!!!!!!!!!! you idiot!!!! read the bible!!!!! you can prove gods real cuz u kan c him work!!!!!! u messed up boy!

    1. I think you are the one who needs to read the bible… Since you are such a believer, then stop fighting, and love your enemies… And forgive.

      No wonder a lot of people don’t believe any more, when the “believers” are usually the most intolerants and “un-Godly”

      By the way, I’m a believer, but I don’t impose it.

  5. Hi I have fair skin and i’d really like to get a nice, deep tan this year. My face never seems to tan though, only the freckles on my face do. I wear a higer SPF on my face because i do not want more freckles. Any advice?

    1. My daughter has very fair skin and some freckles as well. I am not sure what the solution would be. I will check around and see what I can find

  6. I took the Pure Aloe Skin Treatment from Made from Earth skincare on a recent vacation to Barbados. I usually burn on my face, shoulders and arms. My skin is quite painful and I peel for two weeks after I get home, which is never a pretty sight. This time, I applied the Made from Earth Aloe every evening after getting back to my hotel room. The first thing you notice is how immediately soothing it is. Also, my skin recovered more quickly the next day. I was done peeling within only a couple days after getting home, and had a great tan as well. I’m never going on vacation without it again.

  7. The Sun Will Kill you, it’s very dangerous – humans are not supposed to have direct exposure to sunlight. We evolved from mushrooms, we need a dark damp place to safely exist.
    Be safe never never go outside.. it’s not natural out of doors…

  8. thanks heaaps this is great advice. when im sun tanning i like to wear swimmers with thin straps so i dont get strap lines. andi lay on the roof on a blaack towel


  10. The main article is very sensible and full of great tips, some of the follow up comments however are nothing short of embarrassingly ignorant and dangerous. Someone really needs to caution against the advice of some of these posters. For a start tanning without any kind of SPF lotion is as stupid as it is pointless. SPF lotion blocks the most damaging rays that cause burns, they still allow the deep penetrating UVA rays which produce a deep long lasting tan, to get through. Not wearing any protection is just a gateway to skin cancer. Even worse some people are suggesting to lay out for several hours or more whilst wearing tanning agents such as baby oil. You are essentially cooking your skin if you do this. If you are that retarded that you think this is a good idea then you really deserve everything that’s coming to you. Fact is, as the original author says, anyone can build a nice deep long lasting natural tan safely with just a little patience. Follow a plan and don’t listen to some of the idiots who have posted their “tips” on here.

    The sun is an essential part of life on our planet, so despite what the scarmongers say, exposure is not bad for you. However overexposure is. I agree with all the tips the author makes. Tanning beds on the other hand should be avoided if possible. They are useless for vitamin D boosts as tanning salons set their bulbs to about 95% Uva. Only Uvb causes your body to produce vitamin D. If you are lacking go in the actual sun or take some cod liver oil. Tanning booth bulbs also vary wildly in strength so it is easy to over expose. One habit many people have is to go naked into booths. This is dangerous because the skin around our buttocks and especially our genitals is much more sensitive and less resilient to UV exposure. This accounts for a decent proportion of the surge if skin cancers in recent years. And whatever you do, don’t take the advice of the person working at the tanning booth. They don’t have your best interests at heart!

    On a final note, always protect your face. Sun damage is the primary cause of premature aging. Nit much point having a nice tan if your face looks like a leather bag by the time you are 40.

    Happy tanning!

  11. these are some really nice tips im really white and just read all these tips and im thinking of tryin them out 1 day so anyway thanks!!!!

  12. hey guys! i was wondering what soaps n stuff to wash my skin with b4 i tan and also what are some super good moisturizers? thanks million!![:

  13. hey guys! i was wondering what soaps n stuff to wash my skin with b4 i tan and also what are some super good moisturizers? thanks million!![:

  14. For the “hottest” tan ever: Start off with only twenty minutes on each side increasing ten minutes each day (or as much as you can safely tolerate). I use olive oil on my skin, it keeps it soooo healthy looking and I love that bit of glow it adds when massaged into the skin. Summers are hot here in AZ so I turn the sprinkler on very low and tan in the garden so as not to waste the water. Besides helping to stay cool in 100+ degree weather, the water reflects and helps to produce that killer tan. I always get compliments on my tan everywhere I go.

  15. I’ve got a great tan. The sun here in Miami is wonderful.
    About 2 hours 3 times a week over a period of 6 months
    should produce good results for the average ‘ghost’ from
    up north. The key is to get the tan gradually, that will
    prevent sunburn. I use a good moisturizer, before and after sun exposure, no suntan oil or lotion. Good luck and remember to take it slow and easy.

  16. Haha. Thanks for the tips, I’ve got it.

    But recently the weather in singapore is not really nice. The sun is covered by all the haze and stuffs, And I’m really itching for not tanning after 5 days. ):

    @Brown gal: Tanning indoors does not allow your tan to stay on for long still. Even though its fast and guranteed a change of colour[Not mentioning what colour it will change to]

    Hahas. Anyway, really thanks for it, I’m trying to follow on.

  17. I do not use any lotion at all…..get a nice deep tan quick. Problem living in Wisconsin is trying to maintain the tan.

    First day out, pick up 3-4 hours. After day one, all day in sun is OK for me

    1. I also live in Wisconsin during the summer I go swimming all the time with my friends we all use tanning oil and sun oil boosters were all super tan with or without sun:) people think where from Hawaii

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