How to Get a Quick Tan Without a Tanning Salon

Ali Farid at

Not only can you get a quick tan without a tanning salon, but you can also get a safer tan. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that all Americans avoid tanning beds, since they can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Luckily, you can get a quick and safe tan by using one of the numerous sunless tanning products on the market today. These products contain DHA, a compound that reacts with skin cells to temporarily darken the color of the skin. Self-tanning products come in lotions, foams and sprays and can give you a quick tan in as little as two hours.

Visit your local grocery or drug store to purchase a sunless tanning product. Depending on your preferences, select a lotion, foam or spray in the skin tone of your choice. Most products are designed for either light, medium or dark skin tones. If you have fair skin, start with the lightest shade available.

Take a shower to clean and exfoliate your skin using a loofah or body scrub. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells from your skin and will help ensure an even tan. Rub your damp skin lightly with the loofah or body scrub and rinse. If you shave your legs, give them a fresh shave to create a smoother surface for the self-tanner.

Dry your skin with a towel and wait at least 15 minutes before applying the sunless tanner. Take a small dab of body moisturizer and rub it into your ankles, knees and elbows. Dry skin will absorb more of the self-tanner, so the moisturizer prevents these areas from getting too tan.

Apply the product according to the directions. For creams or gels, rub the product evenly into your skin as you would a body lotion. For the aerosol tanning products, spray the product quickly over your skin. Do not spray your face. Rather, spray some of tanning product into your hands and rub it gently onto your face.

Wash your hands as soon as you are finished to avoid dark palms. Allow the product to dry at least 15 minutes before you get dressed. Your tan should develop within two hours, depending on the product, and could last for up to five to seven days. To maintain an even glow, reapply the self-tanner once your tan begins to fade.