Strategies for Using Lotion Before and After Tanning


Using a tanning lotion is important to protect the skin, even while exposing it to the sun. Tanning lotion is used instead of sunblock to get a healthy glow, yet it still adds a block to harmful UVA and UBA rays. The higher SPF a lotion has, the more protection there is against the sun. After water activities, be sure to re-apply tanning lotion for sunburn prevention.

Before Tanning

One of the most important things to remember when applying tanning lotion is to be thorough and make sure it is evenly spread out. Before a day outside, at the pool or on the beach, take a shower to wash off any skin oils or exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. This will help the tanning lotion to soak into the skin, providing better coverage and protection. If you will be exposed to the sun, take sunglasses to protect the eyes from sun rays, as well as a hat and shoes to keep from burning your feet on the sand or pavement.

Applying Lotion

Use a dime-size amount, and concentrate on one part of the body at a time. Apply the lotion in a circular motion to rub it in and provide ample coverage. Have a friend add lotion to the back and shoulders, keeping in mind the need to go all the way into the base of the neck to prevent sunburn. Apply lotion on the entire body, concentrating on often-forgotten parts that are susceptible to sunburn such as the back of the knees, tops of the feet, ears and nose.


No matter what formula you use, you will need to re-apply it throughout the day for protection, including waterproof lotions. If you are swimming or sweating, lotion may wear off without you being aware, leaving you badly sunburned after a long day. Re-apply lotion at least three times in the course of the day, waiting about 20 minutes after an application to go back into the water. The key to getting a golden tan is to allow the skin to get a bronze color without burning, so re-application is important.

Children should use a tanning lotion with no less than SPF 15, and it should be re-applied many times throughout the day to protect their skin. Spray lotions are easy to use on children, since they are quicker to apply without compromising protection.

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