Quickest Way to Get a Tan

by Kay Ireland

A tan can help you look healthier and thinner, and looks great in the barely there clothes of the summer. But how do you get a tan fast? It should be said that any method of tanning using UVA and UVB rays found in natural sunlight or tanning beds can lead to skin cancer and should be done with extreme caution. There are a few options available when you're looking to get a tan quickly. Here are some ways to get the color you want in the fastest amount of time.

Self-Tanning Lotion

You can apply self-tanning lotions at home that will deposit color onto your skin without harmful UVA or UVB rays. The tan will appear within a few hours and lasts a few days, depending on how often you shower. To get the best results, begin by taking a shower and exfoliating your skin well. Towel off and apply the lotion evenly. Use a light hand when applying a self-tanner to drier areas of your body such as your knees and elbows as they tend to absorb color more and could end up being darker. Try not to get dressed until you're completely dry; self-tanner can stain clothes. Remember to wash your hands well after applying as you could end up with darker palms.

Spray Tan

Spray tan is a fairly new method of tanning that is superior due to the speed of which it is done. Spray tans are done in salons, either by a salon worker or by a booth that mists a thin layer of spray tan all over the user. Either way, when you receive a spray tan, you remove your clothes and apply barrier lotion to areas that you don't want to be as dark, such as your face, knees, elbows and the bottoms of your feet. You stand with your arms out while the spray tan is applied, and then turn around to have your backside sprayed. Spray tan dries almost immediately, so you can get dressed right away. A tan will appear in about four hours and last for a week, depending on how often you shower.

Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are a quick but dangerous way to get a tan. Using a tanning bed to receive a quick tan should not be done habitually and only for special occasions. A tanning bed is filled with lights that send UVA and UVB rays that mimic the sun at the user's skin to create a tan. Most tanning sessions last about 12 minutes, and it may take a few sessions to obtain optimum color. Tanning bed tans last the longest because they are the closest to a real tan, while the other options are artificial colors that lie on top of the skin instead of altering its color.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.