A natural, golden tan is something many Americans strive for, especially during the warm summer months. When laying out in the sun, extreme caution must be taken, as too much sun exposure can cause painful burns. A common mistake people make is laying out in the sun for hours in hopes of achieving a dark tan in a very short period. This not only causes burns, but increases risks of skin cancer. With the right technique, you can get the quickest and safest tan possible.

Things You'll Need


Take a shower before you go to lay out in the sun. Exfoliate your skin with a loofah to remove dead skin cells. Smooth skin helps promote an even tan.

Apply an SPF 15 sunscreen to your skin. If you are fair-skinned or burn easily, you should use an SPF 30 sunscreen. Using sunscreen may sound counterproductive, but you can still tan while wearing it.

Go out in the sun during the prime hours, which are between noon and 4 p.m. Line your body up with the angle of the sun to get the strongest rays. The easiest way to do this is to look at your shadow. Try to lie down directly on top of your shadow without any of the shadow peering out.

Lie on your back for 10 minutes, then flip over and lie on your stomach for another 10 minutes. Do not exceed this time on the first day. Add two to three minutes to your time each day until you reach 30 minutes on each side. If you are fair-skinned, you may not be able to tan very well and should not exceed 20 minutes on each side.

Wash your body and apply a moisturizer immediately after you get inside. Sun bathing can dry out your skin and make it appear old, but moisturizer can keep it looking young.