Your Question About Tanning - The Tanning Blog
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question about tanning
Question About Tanning?
Your question about tanning – and how to get the best answer

Have a question about tanning? In that case I will personally answer any question you might have about how to tan correctly.

You can put your question about tanning to me either as a public comment to any post or in a private message from the contact page. Here is one example of a question from a reader of and my answer below.


Question about tanning From: C

Message: Hey, just wondering about something. If I am fairly light skinned andI burn easy, and get freckles, how can I maximize my chance to tan.Changing my diet has led to less freckles and more colour, but whatelse can I do to become more tan other than gradual exposure? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi C, and thank you for your question about tanning! I can read between the lines in your question that your goal with tanning is to get a darker skin-tone. In that case, and taking into account how you describe your skin-type (you match almost exactly the description of a skin-type 1), the bad news for you are that you can not and should not try to get a tan. The good news are however, that you need only very short time (<10 minutes) in sunlight (when the sun if high enough for its UVB rays to reach the earth) to get the full health effects (in the shape of Vitamin D) from sunlight. There are two kinds of melanin (the protein that is produced in the skin as a natural protection towards UV-light). One is brownish and gets even more brown when exposed to UV-light. The other kind of melanin is pink and does not change color in sunlight. Nature has given your skin an abundance of the second kind of melanin and less amount of the first (only enough to give you freckles). There is no known way (at least not to me, and I have studied this subject a lot!), to change this. Don't try to force a tan, it can create a lot of serious damage to your body. Be happy that you will quickly get a lot of Vitamin D only with a short stay in the sun. Keep in shadow the rest of the time, cover with clothes and light (max SPF 15) sun-protection lotion (see my general advice about how to tan) It will not help to take supplements. In order to change your skin-color with red vegetables and fruits (like carrots, also in concentrate), you have to eat so much that it will damage your liver. You can try a lotion with cosmetic bronzer that will make your skin a little bit darker (like coloring hair), but it is hard to find any such lotion that doesn't also contain DHA (delayed bronzer, Dihydroxyaceton) that oxidize the brownish type of melanin melanin to a darker color. But since your melanin mainly is of the light-red kind, that doesn't oxidize into a darker color, DHA is useless and will color your skin very unevenly. I hope I have answered your question about tanning, even if it maybe was not the answer you had hoped on?

6 thoughts on “Your Question About Tanning”

  1. Hi I have a question to ask you about tanning.
    I have dark blonde hair and dark blue eyes. I have fair skin, I don’t freckle, but at times I develop moles. I love the sun and I swim a lot when I can. When I go in the sun at times, It takes me 10 minutes before I turn bright pink. But other times when I swim I will get tan with reddish undertones (Without sunscreen). I’ve been using sunscreens with a SPF 50 for a long time, due to my worry of skin cancer. After reading the blog on this website about the myths of skin cancer, I feel silly because I was brainwashed by the media, and I know that because of that, I guess that my skin has a really low amount of Vitamin D. So here are my questions, First, how do I develop a good balance of Vitamin D to lower the risk of cancers and such? second, what is your best advice for me to get natural dark color for my skin type? Do you know any sun products that are naturally moisturizing and don’t contain harsh chemicals that avoid UVB rays?

    If you can help, I would appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Hi Erica, and thanks for your comment/question.

    Judging from your description of your skin and reaction to UV-light, I would say that you have skin-type 2 and it should be OK for you to tan. Just be sure to check the moles. They should definitively not “develop” like you say.
    I understand that the purpose of your tanning is maybe not to get very brown but rather to get vitamin D and a healthy skin (tone). Right?

    In that case, and when tanning in the open sun, be sure to follow my advice in this post “Do you know how to tan“.

    When the real sun is not high enough on the sky for its UVB rays to reach the earth, tanning indoors is an option. You should then use tanning beds with a rather high amount of UVB (if you are in North-America this means 6-8 % in relation to UVA) and tan in short (4-5 minutes, depending on the power of the bed) tanning sessions two or three times a week. Avoid tanning beds with high pressure lamps (if they are not equipped with special filters to give more UVB, but it is VERY rare). Tanning in this way should give you enough vitamin D as well as a nice and healthy skin-tone.

    Regarding lotions, I would recommend a lotion based upon Aloe-vera or coconut-juice. Aloe-vera is a very good moisturizer and coconut-juice is, among a lot of other things, good for the skin’s pH. If the lotion also contains Tyrosine (often in combination with other proteins), it will “kick-start” your melanin production as soon as you lay down in the sun or in the tanning-bed.

    My favorite lotions for this purpose are “Limited Couture” or “Moda Milano” from Devoted Creations (both made on Aloe-vera) and “Koi Fish” (based on coconut-juice) from Ed Hardy Tanning.

    Just remember to stay well on the safe side of burning whenever you tan. To get a good dose of vitamin D, you need only about half the time it would take for you to burn, so there is really no need to take any risks.

    Lotions with SPF are very useful if you want or need to be in the sun long enough to risk burning. However, there are rarely any need for higher SPF than 15 (which means that if you would burn after 15 minutes without protection, you can stay in the sun 15 times longer, i.e. almost 4 hours, wearing a lotion with SPF 15.

    Please let us know how you are doing with your new tanning regime.


  3. Hi you stated that self tanning lotions oxidise the melanin darker, does this last for a while or is it just staining the skin? I have noticed that when I apply tanning lotion, it looks great at first but when its going patchy my freckles look incredibly dark, more then usual.

  4. Hi Lindsay,

    Self-tanning lotions normally have two types of skin-darkening (bronzing) ingredients. One type is just immediate colors that stain the skin darker approximately like when you color your hair. Most of the color that you get from such bronzing-ingredients disappear in the first shower and what is left goes away gradually during 3-4 days (depending on how much you shower, which kind of soaps you use and how vigorously you scrub your skin).

    The other kind of darkening ingredients are bronzers with delayed effect, DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) and its “cousin” Erythrulose, that oxidize existing melanin to a darker color. How much color you will get from such delayed bronzers depends totally on how much melanin you have in the skin to start with. In principle you can say that the darker your natural skin-color is, the better effect you will get from delayed bronzers (unfair, isn’t it … :-)). The oxidation starts when you put on the lotion and continues for up to 24 hours. Then, when the dead and oxidized melanin is gradually rubbed of, the color disappears (5-7 days).

    Now, here is what I think happens to your skin and that gives the effect you describe. Most likely you use a self-tanning lotion/spray with both immediate coloring and delayed bronzers. The immediate colors makes your skin initially evenly darker and covers to a certain extent the difference between the freckles and the lighter skin between them. Then, after a couple of showers, the immediate coloring wears off while the delayed bronzing continue to develop. And since you have much more melanin in the freckle-spots, they are getting darker than the skin around them that contains less melanin.

    To be really honest, I don’t know of any way around this, except than just use immediate coloring lotions with no DHA. Of course you have to use them much more often, maybe every three days, in order keep a darker and more even skin-tone.

    Maybe some other reader has some additional proposal for you?

  5. I have a question about tanning. I find it on here. Thanks for post. That is great!

  6. Excellent page! Sunlight and vitamin also do wonders for digestion. ..absolutely amazing!

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