Naturally darkening your skin can be a bit of a challenge, as most with a year-round tan are using tanning beds (eek!) or using the much safer option of spray tans or lotions. However, it is not impossible to darken your skin naturally. Eating certain foods and carefully selecting vitamin supplements can make a difference, as can natural-based lotions. You can darken your skin safely, reducing the risk of premature aging and skin cancer.

Things You'll Need

Alter your diet. One of the most natural ways to slightly darken the skin is to eat a high amount of tomato-based foods. Your skin may take on a orange/tan color if you include tomatoes, tomato puree, carrots and vegetable juice in your diet. As a bonus, tomato-based foods have been proven to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. No matter what your skin shade, this will help promote a youthful complexion.

Include a daily supplement. If you aren’t big on carrots and tomatoes, but desire the same health and skin tone benefits, purchase some beta-carotene tablets. Your body should store the excess beta-carotene and then use it as needed. This will, like the foods, cause your skin to adopt a subtle orange shade that looks like a tan. Loading your body up with beta-carotene is usually safe, but check with your doctor before starting any sort of pill on a regular basis.

Enlist the help of natural oil. Emu oil potentially produces a higher production of melanin in the skin, which is the dark pigmentation that appears in the skin tone to form a tan. Most with a clear complexion can achieve an overall look that is approximately one half shade darker than their natural born skin tone. If you’re interested in trying emu oil, go for a natural brand such as Australian emu oil, which comes directly from the source with little to no artificial alterations.

Moisturize with purpose. Recently many moisturizers have hit the drug store shelves that also claim to naturally darken your skin. These produce a gradual, subtle tan that produces a healthy glow year-round. These lotions have been perfected over the years, though some still contain a strong smell that can outweigh the pigmented benefit. Most are affordable enough that they are worth a try if you’re looking for a natural, gradual tan.

Play outside (with SPF!). Sunshine is as natural as it gets when it comes to darkening the skin. While UV rays are undoubtedly harmful in large amounts, spending a bit of time outdoors each day can darken your skin and also increase mood stability. Always wear sunscreen outside, especially if you are prone to burn, and enjoy an hour of sun exposure on a regular basis. If you begin to freckle, burn or produce any new skin markings, decrease your level of exposure or stop it altogether. However, many can achieve at least a modest tan through a healthy level of Vitamin D from the sun.