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16 Tips to Get a Perfect Tan This Summer

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

What is the best way to tan?

This is probably one of the most researched questions before the summer season. Well, how to get a perfect tan is, in fact, an art and a serious job.

If no attention is paid (and no sunscreen is applied), you might ruin your skin with a very bad sunburn and skin damage. And we really don't want that.

Me getting tan in Santorini island, Greece

Why does our skin get tan?

Unfortunately, when our skin turns brown, it means it has been damaged by UV rays. I know that when our skin turns brown we see ourselves prettier, but you have to keep in mind that this is a sign that our skin may potentially get skin cancer and melanoma.

That is why, it is essential that we take care of it, and NEVER expose our skin to the sun without protecting it with a very good and strong sunscreen.

In my hometown Muggia, Trieste, Italy

What do I know about the perfect tan?

I grew up 200 mt from the beach in a little town named Muggia, near the beautiful city of Trieste, on the northeast side of Italy.

So I have always been very tan during the summer months. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to be tanned for the whole summer when you live in the Uk (I have been living in London since 2013), and you have only a few weeks to go to the beach.

That is why I decided to share all my secrets of getting a fabulous tan while on holiday, even if you have only a few weeks available.

how t get the perfect tan
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16 Tips to Get a Perfect Tan without Burning on Holiday


eat betacarotene to help your skin to get tan

1. Eat food with beta-carotene before and while on holiday:

Betacarotene is very good for vision and it is an extraordinary antioxidant. It can increase your skin health thanks to Vitamine A. So before and while on holiday, eat carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach, kale and fruits like apricots and cantaloupe to avoid skin damage.

Also, a good way to get betacarotene is with Betacarotene tablets, which help us get ready to get the perfect tan. Check Betacarotene tablets here.

Healthy Tip: Remember to always consult your doctor before taking any kind of tablets, even if they are only vitamins.
eat watermelon to help your skin to get tan

2. Eat food rich in lycopene:

A study found that lycopene protects the skin against UV rays. You can find it in tomatoes, watermelon, red oranges, guava, apricots, pink grapefruits, and rosehip.

A good fruit salad for breakfast will help you with your tan.

prepare your skin to get tan

3. Prepare your skin by spending some time in the sun before your holiday:

Avoid going on holiday completely pale from the winter. If you can, spend some hours in a park or garden wearing a bathing suit and preparing your skin. Don't forget to apply good 50 SPF sunscreen.

can you stil get tan with sunscreen?

Can you still tan with sunscreen?

The answer is absolutely YES!

Unfortunately, a lot of people think that sunscreen will prevent your skin from tanning, but that is just a myth.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (they surely know better about it than anyone else) says that 3% of UVB rays (those ones that make our skin turn brown) can enter our skin with a sunscreen of SPF 30 and a 2% with a sunscreen with SPF 50.

The America Academy of Dermatology recommends we always use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or better a higher one (I always use an SPF 50 Aloe Vera sunscreen because I love my skin and I want to protect it).

SPF: sun protection factor.

4. Always apply an excellent sunscreen of minimum SPF 30 every couple of hours:

A high SPF doesn't mean you won't get tan as many people think. It actually protects you from sun damage. I always use sunscreen with SPF 50 made with aloe vera, and I get very dark anyway.

It is very important to apply your sunscreen every couple of hours, to make sure to protect our skin from skin cancers and melanoma.

best oil for sin to get tan

5. Add on top of it oils that naturally occur SPF:

Many oils naturally have SPF factor, and they can help your skin against sun damage:

This doesn't mean you can use only oil instead of sunscreen. Their SPF protection is too low, and you will end up full of wrinkles and permanent skin damage like skin spots.

A good way to use these oils is by adding them on top of your sunscreen to protect your skin and, most importantly, hydrate it simultaneously.

Also, a good way to protect your skin from sun damage is by tallying a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide, a natural mineral that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

6. Choose the right sunscreen for your skin:

Are you from North Europe and quickly get red and sunburned? Get an SPF 50 sunscreen with aloe vera, not less.

Have you got olive skin? Lucky you, use good sunscreen anyway, not less than SPF 30. I always advise an SPF 50, regardless. Prudence is never enough when we talk about our health.

My father got skin cancer on his back a couple of years ago because he always applied only once his sunscreen and used to spend hours under the sun.

They removed it fully (thank god), but now he cannot get tan anymore and has to stay in the shadow even at the beach because the risk of the skin cancer returning is very high.

apply sunscreen after swimming

7. Apply sunscreen after swimming:

Not every sunscreen is waterproof. For example, tanning oils are not. So make sure to reapply sunscreen every time you get out of the water.

And even if you bought a waterproof sunscreen, apply it again anyway. Protecting your skin from skin cancer is a priority.

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beach with a palm and a little boat

8. Avoid sunbath from 12 pm to 4 pm:

Between 12 pm and 4 pm are the worst hours to sunbathe, and you can risk sunburn.

Do you want to ruin your holiday and loose skin like e snake? Or end up at the end of your holiday with a face full of wrinkles and look five years older? I don't think so, so stay in the shadow. Go to a beach bar/restaurant, have lunch, get some wine spritzers, nap under a tree, and relax.

9. In the first days of the holiday, don't spend more than 3/4 hours under the sun:

Your skin needs to get used to the sun, so spend only a few hours sunbathing daily. You can always relax under a beach umbrella for the rest of the day.

Can you get sunburned on a cloudy day?

Getting a sunburn on a cloudy day is quite difficult because the clouds reduce some of the UV rays, but unfortunately, they don't reduce them all, so always wear a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.

10. Remember that you get tan even standing under a beach umbrella:

That is absolutely true. You can get a tan even standing under a beach umbrella (the cotton ones). So always apply sunscreen.

Many people think they won't get tan if they stay under the umbrella. Trust me, you can. Unless it is one of the prominent and thick leaves ones, in that case, no, you won't get tan.

how to get the perfect tan

11. Change position frequently:

Set up an alarm if it helps. Turning every 30 minutes will help you to get an equal tan in every part of your body, avoiding that ugly front side brown and white back. Also, don't forget to lift your arms to get an equal tan on your arms.

12. Wear a strapless top:

I love strapless tops. Otherwise, remove the top laces so you won't end up with white lines on the top of your body. In this way, wearing a sleeveless dress or top will make you look perfectly tan without any swimsuit marks.

13. You get tanner when you swim or walk in the shallow:

The reflection of the sun in the water makes you get tanner. So go for a walk in the shallow, swim (it also keeps you fit while on holiday), or do snorkeling.

While swimming, remember to alternate your style, a bit of freestyle, and a bit of backstroke, to get a more uniform tan. And also train all your body muscles.

14. Avoid falling asleep while at the beach:

Falling asleep while sunbathing is pretty common and likely to happen. You feel the warmth in your body and the noise of the waves crashing against the beach. Maybe you just had lunch and you feel sleepy and you think: what can goes wrong if you take a short nap?

Well, you might end up sleeping more than you thought, probably during the hottest hours of the day, ending up with a terrible sunburn. Half of your body could turn red while the other half of it will still remain white. Great idea, taking a nap.

So please, set up an alarm, make sure to turn every 30 mins and avoid spending time under the sun during the hottest hours of the day.

water glasses with fruits inside

15. Drink plenty of water:

And I mean water, not beer or anything else with alcohol inside. Keeping yourself hydrated is very important. Your skin and all your body need as much water as you can, to protect yourself from the warmth of the sun.

16. Use an aloe vera gel or an aftersun lotion:

Aloe vera gel 100% is the best aftersun lotion. It is natural, without added nasty chemicals, and a pure elixir for your skin. You can buy it in every chemist shop worldwide (or you can purchase that one I use and love here).

Just make sure that it is 100% natural. Otherwise, you can buy an aloe vera plant while on holiday and keep it in your bedroom. You need to cut a piece, leave it in water for a while to get rid of the yellow color latex (which can be bad for your digestion if you want to make a smoothie with it), then cut the leave removing the green skin.

Mix it in a blender, and then apply it to your skin. You can refrigerate it for a few days and use it after the shower daily.

If you prefer an aftersun lotion, I never travel to a summer destination without my favorite aftersun lotion with aloe vera. It keeps my skin well-hydrated and soft.

Aloe vera gel is also amazing to contrast some annoying skin reactions caused by the sun. Just apply aloe vera gel on your skin; you will be fine in a few days.

Remember that tanning can cause much damage to your body as melanoma, dehydration, eye damage (always wear sunglasses while outside), sunburn, heat rash, and premature skin aging (I am talking about wrinkles).

sunbathnig on the beach

While sunbathing, please don't forget:

  • Drink plenty of liquids to keep yourself hydrated

  • Avoid falling asleep (you can end up sleeping for hours and get a sunburn)

  • Never wear sunscreen with an SPF of less than 30.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol that can cause dehydration.

  • Apply your sunscreen every couple of hours.

  • Apply it everywhere on your body, even under your bikini.

And most importantly, avoid tanning beds. They are the worst for your skin health, much worst than the sun, because unfortunately, changing the sunbeds filters is very expensive, so many beauty centers don't buy new ones. That means skin damage for you and skin cancer.

Also, tanning beds are stronger than the sun, because the UV rays are three times stronger.

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About me

Hi! I'm Valentina,

but you can call me Vale.

I'm an Italian with a passion for well-planned travels and food.

In my Travel Guide, you will find everything you need to plan your perfect travel around the world.


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