How to Start a Base Tan for Very Fair Skin

by Elyse James

People with very pale skin burn much easier than those with a darker skin tone. If you’re someone who has light skin and know that you will be exposed to the sun on a vacation or outdoor event, prevent yourself from getting burned by developing a base tan. A base tan is a very light tan that people strive to get before long-term sun exposure. The idea behind a base tan is that if you expose your skin to the sun little by little, it builds up a gradual tan so your skin won’t burn from overexposure.

Outside

Step 1

Check the UV index to select a tanning day that doesn’t have a high UV index. This helps prevent you from burning. A UV index over 5 is considered high and is not safe to tan in. Look for a UV index that is between 2 and 5 for safe tanning. Apply a high SPF sunscreen on all parts of your body that are not covered by your clothes.

Step 2

Go outside and tan for 15 minutes on each side. Then, go inside, and wait a few days before tanning again.

Step 3

Repeat the process, tanning every couple of days to build up a base tan. As you get darker, decrease the level of SPF, and increase the duration of your tanning sessions.

Tanning Bed

Step 1

Visit your local tanning salon, and purchase a lotion that has L-tyrosine and beta carotene to help moisturize your skin and prevent it from burning.

Step 2

Tan in the bed for a very short period of time. On your first session, don't tan more than five minutes on a low-level bed.

Step 3

Repeat the process, tanning every two to three days.

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.