Develop Your Tan: How to get the Best Tan for You

A Sun Tan City Faster tanning bed. Just one of the many options to get a fast tan.

Photo by Callie Hazel

A Sun Tan City “Faster” tanning bed. Just one of the many options to get a fast tan.

What is the best way to get tan? What are the pro’s and con’s of each? Prom, and Summer is fast approaching, here is the information you need before deciding the best way to develop a tan for you.

There are going to be positives and negatives for each of the options, but any of these ways are going to help you achieve the tan you want, hopefully all while being safe and not breaking the bank.

Self-Tanner– Overall this is the safest and cheapest way to tan. There is no contact with harmful UV Rays and products will last about 2-3 months depending on how often you tan. Downsides are the maintenance, your tan will fade after 5-7 days with one application, reapplying will be necessary for maintaining the tan. Most tanners also require rinsing off after application, and some might even stain clothes or bed sheets. This is also a great way to not get those pesky tan lines. Most name brand options range from $30-50 dollars, but of course there are cheaper options at Walmart,Target, Walgreens, and even Ulta for $10-20. My favorite dupes are the St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse  $10 at Ulta and the Jergen’s Natural Glow building self- tanner $8 on Amazon for a more natural look.

Spray Tan- Next best option for a sunless tan is a spray tan. Average length of a spray tan is usually about 10-12 days, but it depends on how dark, or light you want to be. A common fear with this method is being blotchy or looking “orange”  however going to a reputable salon should alleviate some of these concerns, as well as not going too dark too soon. Costs vary depending upon the salon, and if you have a membership or not, but on average spray tans can cost anywhere between $25-50 per visit.

Outdoor Tanning- Depending on weather this is a great way to get a tan and some vitamin D. However the weather doesn’t always cooperate on your tanning schedule, and it can be hard to get instant results. In Iowa the sun won’t be powerful or out long enough to lay out tanning until late May or early June. A downside to outdoor tanning is the tan lines. unless you are in a completely private area, I wouldn’t recommend tanning nude. Of course this method is practically free, except maybe tanning oils or lotions and sunscreen you use when outside.  One of the best tanning oil methods I have tried is Coconut Oil, it works very well but will leave you quite sweaty, and oily after 30-60 min in the sun so a shower after is definitely needed. A tanning Lotion I would recommend is the Maui Babe Browning Lotion , and the SunBum Natural Browning Lotion. A common misconception that affects outdoor tanning is whether or not you should wear sunscreen. Sunscreen itself can’t prevent 100% of UV rays from the sun, so even while wearing sunscreen you are still exposed to the sun’s rays. This means your skin will still darken or burn even if you applied sunscreen and the sun is powerful enough. I personally wear SPF 30 on my face and sensitive areas like my shoulders and chest in the beginning of the summer, and slowly move to SPF 15 for my body as I build my tan. As for safety concerns, if you are worried about the affect on your skin, tanning less often or for small amounts of time would be best, or using a non-UV ray method.

Tanning Beds- The most controversial method is using a tanning bed. Average cost is about $10-15 per visit depending on which salon you go to. If you are considering using one, memberships are a better deal. Most people tan nude, to avoid tan lines but of course you can wear what makes you feel comfortable. At salons they usually provide the protective eye wear that you should wear at all times, and tanning lotions to try to enhance your tan. Lotions at salons are usually very expensive, try using samples to see which one you like and buy it off Amazon or Ebay for better prices. You should also know the risks before starting, it is important to know the risk factor before beginning. You are exposed to UV rays and it can be harmful for your skin whether you are inside or outside.

If you are seeking a tan always take into account being responsible and safe with your skin and remember that moderation is key. However you tan, take care of  your skin. With or without a tan you are beautiful. But if you are looking for a something a little extra keep these methods in mind.