How to Get a Suntan

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How to Get a Suntan. Since Coco Chanel appeared with a suntan on her vacation yacht in the 1920s, suntans have been all the rage! Prior to this, white skin was seen as "in vogue," because it was thought that only lower-class citizens such as farm workers sported tan skin. However, Miss Chanel started a sun-worshipping trend that is not going out of style any time soon.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or higher
  • A sunny spot
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat (optional)
  • Towel
  • Wristwatch to time your suntan

Find an area where you can lay out, which is a good place where the sun's rays shine. A place where there is no obstruction of the sun's light is ideal.

Apply sunscreen at all times. Using an sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher is recommended. You can use a higher SPF, but this may impact the darkness of your tan. However, going higher in SPF is safer. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before your first exposure to the sun.

Lay out. For your first time out, limit the maximum tanning time to one hour. You can gradually build up sunbathing times, but start with one hour every other day until you get the tan you desire.

Flip it over. Don't forget to divide your total sunbathing time by two. Spend half of the time sun tanning your front side and the other half of the time sun tanning your back side to achieve an even, all-over suntan.

Protect your eyes with a good pair of sunglasses. Also, wearing a hat will protect your hair from fading, especially if you color it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look up your town's ultraviolet (UV) index at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. The UV index tells you how strong the sun's rays are on a specific day in a specific region. If the UV index is too high, you may want to think about getting a suntan on a day when the sun's UV rays aren't as strong.
  • You can always use a sunless tanning product to get the same tan effect. This is a safer route than traditional suntanning, and you can also gauge the color of your tan with a sunless tanning product.
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun has been linked to skin cancer. Use caution when outdoors, and tan at your own risk.
  • The sun's rays are strongest and the most harmful from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Use caution if you are outdoors during these hours, and suntan outside of this time window, if possible.

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