How to Tan Faster? Most Detailed Guide

You’ve been frequenting a tanning salon for weeks, but you still don’t look like you’ve just returned from a lavish vacation in Hawaii.

When you look in the mirror all you see is pale, lifeless skin lacking a natural glow.

How do you tan faster so that you can look like Apollo himself briefly stepped down from his chariot to bless you with golden skin?

And how can you tan without burning, so that your tan doesn’t turn into a third-degree medical emergency? Tanoholic knows, and so do I.

As someone with skin as pale as a Japanese Geisha, I can tell you that I’ve tried everything, from streaky lotions and potions, too tedious tanning sessions at a salon. There is a better way.

Get ready to say goodbye to insipidly pale skin, and hello to the best tan you’ve ever had.

Are You a Good Candidate for Faster Tanning?

Almost everyone, with few exceptions, can get a tan quickly:

  • Are you healthy, though pale, and enjoy the outdoors?

    Spending time outdoors to get a tan can improve your health, your outlook, and even make you smarter.

  • Do you need a mood boost?

    You’re in luck. Sunlight helps boost the body’s mood-lifting chemical, serotonin, so you don’t just look better. You feel better with a tan, too.

  • Do your clothes look better when your skin is darker?

    You’ll also be happy to know that sunlight helps us stay a healthy weight. Recent studies have found that those with low Vitamin D levels, the primary antioxidant provided by the sun, are more likely to be overweight.

  • Do you require less makeup when your skin is more golden?

    There is a massive movement to wear less makeup, championed by celebrities like Alicia Keys, and even Kim Kardashian.

    Heavy products are usually only required when our skin is dull and lifeless or it is covered in acne. The sun helps to eradicate both of these problems. Sunlight kills much of the bacteria that causes acne. Just be careful, as over-exposure of the sun can cause an increase in sebum (skin oils) which can aggravate acne.

  • Are you taking any medications?

    Some medications can make your skin more prone to sunburn and UV damage. Among them are antihistamines sedatives such as Benadryl or Phenergan, and some antibiotics like tetracycline, fluoroquinolones like Cipro, and sulfa-drugs such as Bactrim.

  • Do you feel more beautiful with a tan?

    Many women with pale skin are fine with having white skin the winter months. It’s when the summer months arrive, that there’s a problem.

    Let’s face it, no one ever sees a woman in a Brazilian bikini and thinks, wow, she should have less of a tan. Though every color of skin is beautiful, we women with pale complexions often feel more appealing when our skin has a little color. This is especially so when we need to be seen in a swimsuit. For women with tan skin already, sometimes it’s nice to go darker.

  • Are you tanning for a special occasion?

    Whether you are planning that vacation in a tropical paradise, or want to be riveting for a wedding, getting a tan – not burning your skin – is paramount to do in advance. “I want to stay locked in my room applying Aloe Vera and peeling my skin flakes off the sheets all vacation,” says no one. EVER.

    When you tan in advance of a special occasion you can be sure to enjoy your time with the people you love, instead of recovering from a sunburn or low-quality tanning products that leave you to embarrassed to leave your room.

  • Are you already sun-burned?

    If you’re already sun-burned you aren’t a good candidate for fast tanning. Be sure that you are starting with a good base tan or a clean palate like a Renaissance master working in alabaster.

    Even the palest people can get a tan quickly, but it doesn’t work if you are already burnt like toast. Even if your burn normally turns into a tan, it is likely that it will peel off, because you have damaged the outer layer of your skin.

Why Burning Your Way to a Tan Isn’t a Good Idea

A tan is very different than a sunburn. Ultraviolet sun damage causes death to the outer layer of our skin cells contained in the epidermis. This cellular death causes oxidative damage and free radicals to run wild – the very same thing that can cause diseases like cancer.

Ironically, though the sun can cause cancer, it also prevents it. Sunlight also provides high levels of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants like Vitamin D that help to prevent cancer.

When you get tanned quickly, and correctly, you can be sure not to damage your cells, which can also cause DNA damage. This then leads to a host of additional diseases caused by inflammation.

When you peel after a sunburn this is because the body is trying to repair itself. A tan will not cause the body to react this way.

That being said, we’ve gotten a little too paranoid about getting a little tan.


Excessive UVR exposure accounts for only 0.1% of the total global burden of disease in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), according to the 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) report The Global Burden of Disease Due to Ultraviolet Radiation. In fact, we need some sun.

10 Reasons Tanning Can Be GREAT for You

The Ancient Greeks and Romans bowed to their sun God, Apollo, for good reason. He was the god of medicine and healing as well as of sun and light. Here are several more reasons to treat the sun with the respect it deserves.

1.    Light is the basis of all life. Scientists Alfred Fritz Popp and Alexander Gurwitsch discovered that our cells use biophotonic light from the sun to communicate with one another. Without light-speed information transferred from the sun, our cells start to wither and die.

2.    Sunlight is vital to your mental health. Happy hormones like serotonin are made more abundant in the body when we spend time in the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) light also stimulates epidermal cells known as keratinocytes to make beta-endorphins, which have a mood-boosting effect.

3.    The ancient yogic science called Atapa Snana proves the sun is important for our bodies and minds. Ultraviolet light is only one frequency of the sun’s rays that humans have been bathing in for centuries, but there are many more we need for good health.

4.    Time in the sun reduces heart disease. Multiple scientific journals have found that people die from heart disease in the winter months more commonly than in the summer due to a lack of Vitamin D provided by UV light.

5.    The warmth of the sun eliminates pain. Vitamin D provided by the sun, as well as the sun’s warmth, can reduce joint pain and other chronic pain suffered by people who stay indoors most often.

6.    The sun boosts the immune system. Vitamin D production helps to regulate many different metabolic processes in the body. One of them is the immune system. Sunlight creates more infection-fighting T-cells. Get more sunlight, and you’ll have fewer colds and flu.

7.    The body needs the sun to regulate your hormonal system. Our physiology, via the eyes and skin, detects the colors of the light in the environment to adapt our hormonal system to the specific needs of the time and place. For instance, the light in Antigua will be different than in Paris, and your body needs to respond to that.

8.    Tanning can help skin conditions. Acne clears up when you get a tan. Ever noticed? It also helps with conditions like eczema and psoriasis. This is because the sun’s light kills many bacterial and viral intruders which cause acne, and other skin conditions.

9.    Tanning reduces cancer risk. Though over-exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, intelligent tanning can actually reduce your chance of getting many types of cancer.

10.    Sunlight can reduce inflammation, the root cause of many diseases. UVA creates nitric oxide in your skin that influences your body in many beneficial ways. Nitric oxide stimulates up to 60 percent of your blood to move to your skin capillaries where they absorb energy and infrared radiation, thus reducing chronic inflammation.

The Best Ways to Tan Quickly

The best way to get a healthy tan is to start slowly and build up the pigment in your skin over time. Since the sun’s rays contain so many beneficial frequencies of light, aside from just UV and UVB – we’ll talk about those momentarily – it’s best to get your natural glow from the sun itself. There are other options, though, if you lack the time to build a base tan or you simply live in a place where the sun doesn’t often shine.

The sun’s rays which cause a sunburn, UVB and UVB burn the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis, however, UVA rays penetrate to the deeper layers of our skin, where they trigger cells called melanocytes. These are what produce melanin.

Some people naturally have more melanin in their skin than others, and this is why you will see people with every skin color from ebony to ivory. This very same skin pigment is what allows us to tan.

Even people with naturally high levels of melanin can still burn. Their skin may not discolor and peel, but overexposure to UVB and UV light can still damage the epidermis, which is why getting sunburned is not a great idea.

Keeping these facts in mind, here’s how you can expedite your tan safely with best-tanning practices:

–    Exfoliate your skin before hitting the beach or pool. Getting rid of the skin’s dead cells on the outer layer will make it easier to tell when you’ve been over-exposed. This will also ensure an even, and attractive tan.

–    Start with small doses of sun and increase them every day. Never get burned. Burning damages your skin and makes tanning more difficult. If you’ve accidentally over-exposed yourself, give yourself an extra day to allow your skin to repair itself.

–    Wear sunglasses and a sun hat. The skin around your eyes, especially, but the skin on all your face is more sensitive to light. If you want an even tan, know that this part of your body will absorb radiant light more quickly. Wearing protective gear will make sure that you don’t have raccoon eyes to go with a perfect tan.

–    Only go to a tanning salon if it is your last resort. Tanning beds contain high levels of UV and UVA light with virtually no UVB (the light frequency which stimulates Vitamin D production). Some experts say that they can increase your cancer risk by 75%.

Even standup tanning beds can be dangerous, even though you might get a more even tan. They also tend to have stronger bulbs to give people a tan in less time, but there are few that have a full spectrum of light that mimics the sun.

–    Look for non-toxic, full spectrum suntan lotions. We’ll explore more of the carcinogenic chemicals in many tanning lotions and blockers in a moment, but just know that if these lotions don’t block both UV and UVA light, they increase your risk of damaging your skin.

–    Everyone has their own rate of melanin production. Don’t try to force it. Your skin will reach a tanning cut-off point where the cells simply can’t produce any more melanin. That’s usually when you start to burn instead of tan. If you’ve planned on staying at the pool ALL day to force a tan, it won’t work. You’re working against your body’s natural protective mechanisms.

–    Take a break from the sun (i.e. hit the shade). Taking a break from tanning can actually reduce your sunburn risk and make your tan healthier and longer lasting. Sometimes less is actually more.

–    Skip the tan accelerators. There is no chemical concoction on earth that can help your body make more melatonin. Companies that sell pills and lotions with tryosine claim that they stimulate the production of melanin, the natural pigment that makes you look tan aren’t telling you the whole story.  Though the amino acid, tyrosine, does play a role in the tanning process, it is broken down by an enzyme called tryosinase that is formed by melanin-producing cells in your skin known as melanocytes.

This reaction converts tyrosine into a chemical called DOPA. DOPA reacts further to form Dopaquinone which then creates different types of melanin. This chain reaction is triggered when your skin is exposed to UV light.

However, tanning “accelerators” with tyrosine are not broken down in the body the same way, and the American Cancer Society says at best, they are ineffective.

–    Take a Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) supplement. Taking around 25-grams of beta-carotene daily can boost your skin’s resistance to sunburn, making it more likely you can stay in the sun longer, and thus increase your tan.

–    Drink freshly made juice. One cup of freshly made, organic carrot juice has approximately 45, 100 IU of Beta Carotene in the form of Vitamin A.  The stuff is also loaded with carotenoids (anti-cancer substance) and can fight congestion, inflammation, eyesight, and even protect your kidneys – all while boosting your tanning power.

–    Increase your lycopene intake. Lycopene is like your skin’s own SPF. It’s an antioxidant found in things like tomatoes, oranges, and other red or orange fruits and vegetables. Increasing lycopene can boost your sun protection rate a whopping 33%.

–    Eat more chocolate. You can enjoy dark chocolate while lounging at the pool. It is packed with flavonoids that help protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

–    Drink green tea. Green tea is full of antioxidants called polyphenols which help protect your skin and reduce inflammation.

–    Once you’ve got a great tan, go on maintenance. You don’t need to keep exposing your skin to tons of sunlight every day to maintain a tan once you’ve got one. Getting a moderate dose of sunlight once a week should help maintain that golden glow you worked so hard to achieve.

–    Combine a fake tan with a real one. All natural, organic bronzers can help supplement a base tan if you aren’t as dark as you want to be. Just remember that when you use a bronzer, it will make you appear to have a darker tan than you do, so don’t spend too much time, thinking that your skin can handle it. Supplement the look of having more tanned skin, but still protect against getting too much sun as you would if you still had fair (or lighter) skin.

–    Stay hydrated – and that includes your skin. The quickest way for a great tan to start to look less than beautiful is for you to be dehydrated. Drink plenty of water so that your skin stays plump and full of collagen. Also hydrate your skin by keeping it moisturized with coconut oil, Aloe Vera, kukui nut oil, or one of the many natural oils that support vibrant, glowing skin. You aren’t tanning a cowhide, you’re tanning human skin!

When You Just Can’t Find the Sun

Now that we’ve discussed all the great ways to boost your natural tanning ability, let’s talk about what to do when you just can’t wait, or there aren’t many sunny days where you live. Sometimes, you need to get your tan from a bottle, and that’s o.k.!

Chemical Toxins in Many Tanners and Tanning Lotions

Before deciding on a bronzer, or self-tanning lotion, do a little homework. You need to be a Ph.D.’d chemist to read the back of many suntan lotions, sun-blockers or tanning accelerators.

These unpronounceable ingredients are often highly carcinogenic ingredients, and many of them increase your risk for skin cancer.

They include things like:

•    Oxybenzone – a  chemical that is which is linked to hormone disruption and cell damage which can cause skin cancer.

•    Retinyl palmitate – a chemical which has now been proven as a  carcinogen.

•    Octyl-methoxycinnamate – a chemical that causes oxidative damage to the skin, which can age your face and body.

•    Butyl-Methdiebenzoylmethane – a chemical which releases free radicals in the body.

•    Benzophenone 2 (BP2) – a chemical that decreases the function of the thyroid gland, in a world that is already suffering from rampant hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Beware of Tanning Pills

Non-prescription tanning pills are another thing to be wary of. They often contain canthaxanthin. This is what causes your skin to look darker. However, this chemical compound can cause damage to the liver. These pills have also been responsible for vision loss.

Canthaxanthin is also used to reduce photo-sensitivity but can interrupt the hormonal balance of your body.

Where to Turn for an INSTANT Tan (Hooray for Sunless Tanners!)

Some topically applied products are non-toxic, non-streaking, and provide the next-best-thing to a natural tan. These are best used when you don’t have even a few weeks to try to get a good foundational tan to build upon.

There are several salon-quality, air-brushing, and/or non-streaking tanning products that you can use in the privacy of your home. They are perfect for when you just can’t get outside.  They are also very affordable.

Suggested Products:

•    Gold Mountain’s instant spray-tan does not streak, and can be applied several hours before you plan on going out – either for fun at the beach or on a date! It contains only organic ingredients and is non-toxic.

It also contains chamomile, walnut shell extract, calendula and Aloe Vera to keep your skin looking moisturized. The tan you get from this product is a very lovely bronze, and not orange like other self-tanners.

•    Beauty by Earth sells a great self-tanning product that is also non-toxic. It contains DHA, Aloe Vera, Shea butter, coconut oil, Argan oil, and green tea so you aren’t putting anything you can’t pronounce on your skin.

This is a tanning cream which you apply directly to your skin. It is best applied right after you shower and towel dry, and you can allow it to seep into your skin while your pores are open. Their product also allows you to gradually build a tan so that it looks more real, with buildable light, medium, or dark tan formulas. If you want to get darker, faster, this is the way to go.

•    Anjou Organics makes an organic tanning lotion which can give you a streak-free tan in as few as 3 hours. It contains some of the same ingredients as the Beauty by Earth and Gold Mountain products but with added Vitamin C to make your skin soft. Just be sure to exfoliate your skin with this lotion, as with any other, to get the best results. This one is nice because you can even use it on your face.

•    Bahama Tan also makes an organic sunless tanner that won’t streak. It takes a little longer to work (1 to 4 days, instead of a few hours) but it might last longer, too. It is also Eco-Certified, and has only food grade preservatives in it as well as coconut oil, Argan oil, and Monoi de Tahiti oil to keep your skin silky smooth. Click here for a $2.00 off coupon (while active).

•    One of the least expensive organic sunless tanning options is from Organitan. This product is easy on the wallet and can make your skin look like you just returned from a sunny vacation. The results from using this lotion can last up to a week without having to reapply. It is also chemical free.

Tanning Fast: Summing it Up

To get the best, fastest, most natural tan, that benefits your skin and body the most, you’ll want moderate exposure to real sunlight. There are few advancements in light technology that can mimic the full spectrum of light rays we get from the sun.

These rays not only penetrate beneath the secondary layers of our skin, they also contain biophotons which help our trillions of cells communicate, boost our immunity, and even prevent sunburn.

Spending time in natural sunlight also supports a healthy mood, decreases cancer risk, and even boosts higher intelligence.

Increasing your antioxidant intake will help you to stay in the sun longer, without burning, which means you can get a better base tan. A better base or foundational tan means that you can get a darker tan without harming your skin.

You can’t rush Mother Nature. The skin and eyes take in sunlight for important hormonal and metabolic processes that regulate everything from the immune system to how well you sleep at night.

Everyone has their own melanin set point, which means they can spend a certain amount of time in the sun before they will burn. Pay heed to what this set point is for you, and honor it. You can’t force your body to make more melanin.

Be sure to exfoliate your skin, and stay hydrated. This will result in the most beautiful tan whether you are getting it straight from the sun or from a sunless tanning product.

When you can’t get a suntan from sun-tanning, there are natural sunless tanners that can fake the real thing.

Just be sure to check the labels of self-tanning products (as well as bronzers, suntan lotions, and even sunblock) to make sure you aren’t smothering your skin with a chemical lab. There are plenty of non-toxic, organic alternatives that are much healthier.

Now you’re ready to tan!

7   Ready-Set-Go Steps to Tanning Today

1.    Get a good night’s sleep. Tired skin doesn’t look good even if it is tanned.

2.    Exfoliate. This will ensure a more even and attractive tan.

3.    Moisturize. Make sure to drink plenty of water and keep your skin hydrated with Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Kukui nut oil, or a natural product that ensures skin resilience.

4.    Eat your fruits and veggies. Increasing lycopene and other anti-oxidants will ensure you can stay in the sun as long as possible, and safely.

5.    Bring chocolate and green tea to the beach. Another great way to boost your skin’s sun-resiliency is to eat chocolate and sip on green tea.

6.    More isn’t always better. Keep your initial sun exposure to about 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day and build up from there. We all have a set point for what our skin can take. You want a fast tan, but also a long-lasting and healthy one. Find some shade when you feel over-exposed.

7.    Fake it until you make it. Use a sunless tanner in combination with your outdoor tanning to get a darker tan, faster. In cases where you can’t be outside, a sunless tanner can give you a fast tan, but will not offer you the many benefits from time in real sunlight.

Thank You For Reading

Now you know the fastest, healthiest, easiest way to get a striking, golden tan.

If you have a favorite product that works for you, we’d love to hear about it. Getting a great tan in a safe, health-supporting way is what we’re all about at Tanoholic.

We also encourage you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Show us your tan in pictures!

Also, be sure to share with anyone you know is trying to get a great tan for a special occasion, or just so they can look stunning in a bathing suit all year long! They be thankful you gave them a sure-fire way to get a tan – and fast.




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