Happy young woman laying on beach

Even though suntanning carries a number of health risks there are also benefits to soaking up that vitamin D--plus it looks good! Who doesn't desire a sun-kissed, slightly bronzed complexion? (Especially in the summer). Tanned skin takes time to develop and is achieved with several periods of moderate sun exposure. If your body tends to tan faster or deeper than your face, you may need to pay special attention to your facial area . The skin on your face is delicate, so exercise care and use proper technique when exposing your face to the sun. For tips on how to protect your entire body from excess sun-exposure, go here.

Exfoliate your skin using a gentle facial sponge. Make small, circular motions to slough off dead skin cells and even the skin's surface. Smooth skin will help produce an even tan.

Massage your favorite facial moisturizer into your skin. Work the cream into your entire face, including your neck. Move softly and gently around the eye area. Wait at least 10 minutes for the moisturizer to fully penetrate your skin.

Apply a dime-sized amount of sunscreen to your palm. Dab a dot of the cream to each cheek, your forehead, bridge of the nose and chin. Gently rub the cream into your skin, careful not to rub too hard around the sensitive eye area. Sunscreen will filter most of the UVA/UVB rays but still enable your skin to tan. If you are fair-skinned or burn easily, opt for a higher SPF.

Set your clock. If you are using a tanning bed, follow the manufacturer's directions. Most tanning beds do not recommend a period of longer than 10 minutes of light exposure. If you are going outside to tan, limit your exposure to 30 minutes for fairer skin tones or 45 minutes for darker skin tones. Avoid exposure during the sun's peak hours, from noon to 3 p.m.

If using a tanning bed wear protiective eye goggles, and if tanning outdoors close your eyes or wear sunglasses. UVA/UVB rays can cause eye damage so open your eyes as little as possible when tanning.

Exposure to the sun + heat = dehydration. Replenish lost fluids by drinking at LEAST one glass of water following or during suntanning. Tanning can cause the outer layer of your skin to lose moisture, so stay hydrated with lots of fluids.

Apply moisturizer to your face following the tanning period to rehydrate your skin.

Repeat Steps 1 to 7 each day, for at least one week, or until you have achieved the level of facial tan you desire. A good tan requires repeated exposure in order to build and deepen color.


Outdoor and indoor tanning have been linked to skin cancer. Exercise extreme caution when exposing your skin to the sun and always wear sunscreen.