How To Tan If You Have Pale Skin

by Annie Crawford

Fair skinned beach babes, don't suffer in the summer months. Use these tanning tips for pale people and get a golden glow without all the tomato red drama. For those of us more prone to sunburn, the summer can be a tricky time. We want a healthy, happy, bronze, but our tender skin isn't up to the challenge of a suntan session.

Even ladies blessed with greater sun exposure super powers shouldn't be baking away at the beach or in a tanning salon. Sun damage caused by exposure to UV rays creates serious outcomes including increased risk of skin cancer and extrinsic aging of your epidermis (aka premature wrinkles and spots).

If you have fair skin, take it slow. Imagine this is the 1950s and you are courting your suntan, cautiously and with great respect. Sunscreen is your constant chaperone. If you play all your card right, your golden tone will be a sure thing in a couple short weeks.

The American Cancer Society encourages you to employ their elegant catchphrase, “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap," to remember slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat, and wrapping on your sunnies. The sexiness of this slogan notwithstanding, we have a few extra tips that might be more copacetic with your glam lady summer life.


Go Slow

A base tan is built slow and steady. Start out by spending 10-15 minutes a day laying out in the sun. Wearing sunscreen (always) with a minimum SPF 30. After a few days, increase to 15-20 minutes. After about a week, cap out at 30 minutes. There is no reason to be laying in the sun any longer.

Seriously. A suntan is not the time for instant gratification. If you need to have a tan yesterday, thank the baby Jesus for sunless tanning lotion. Don't trick yourself into thinking an initial burn will fade into golden glory. It will fade into prematurely aged skin and wrinkles. Please trust us. Go slow.

Get Smart About Sun Hours

Sun exposure before 10am or after 4pm is not as damaging to the skin. Think of the slow and steady acquisition of your sun tan as your Vitamin D happy hour.

Exfoliate and Moisturize

Gently slough off old skin cells and make way for a healthy tan with a weekly exfoliating scrub. And moisturize like your life depends on it. Apply lotion each morning and evening to keep skin nourished. Along with quenching your skin, you need to quench your thirst. Keep your insides moisturized and drink a lot of water while you're in the sun and out. This will keep your skin from getting dehydrated and rubbery.

Protect Your Lips

Dry, chapped lips are a bummer if you're on the makeout circuit. Keep your lips smooth and soft with a lip balm with SPF. Not only do burned lips look bad, they hurt like a mother.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Throw Shade

This may seem counterintuitive, but shade is your best friend while getting a tan. Your lily white behind can't handle the heat. You're only going to be exposed to the sun for about 30 minutes max (once you've gone pro), but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the day with your friends. Find a cute umbrella and throw friendly shade wherever you go.

Sand and Water Increase Sun's Wattage

If you are at the beach, lake, or river side (or have a backyard filled with sand), be mindful of your sun time. The reflection of the sun off water or sand ramp up your exposure to harmful rays, even under an umbrella. Sometimes even clouds can increase sunburn-ability, so don't use a cloudy day as an excuse to sunbathe without sunscreen. The Environmental Protection Agency has a cool app that shows the UV Index in your area. A higher UV Index means more sun risk, so take that into account before you hit the surf.

Protect Your Locks

If your skin is sensitive to sun, you can bet your scalp and hair are, too. Find a fun, floppy hat and use a conditioner or styling product with UV protectant.

Off you go, little beach baby! You're all set to get a lovely gold glow using these healthy tanning tips for pale people.

Images: @nicoterie/Instagram; Pexels;