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Tanning is everywhere. We’ve seen it reflected in the ‘heavy blush’ trend online, on the set of Love Island and in the booming global tanning market. Yet, amidst the allure of tanned skin, many fair-skinned individuals might find themselves experiencing a twinge of FOMO (fear of missing out), feeling as though they cannot fully participate in the craze and tan with fair skin.

But fear not! Fair-skinned beach babes, pale-skinned sun-worshippers, and everyone in between, achieving that coveted bronzed look is within reach. With a little patience, care, and understanding of safe tanning practices, you too can attain the dewy skin you aspire to.

Understanding the tanning process

To understand how to tan with fair skin, it’s a good idea to get a grounding of what exactly the process involves.

When the skin is exposed to sunlight or artificial sources of UV radiation, such as tanning beds, it absorbs UVB rays. These rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.

Within the epidermis are specialised cells called melanocytes that create melanin, which is the body’s natural defence mechanism against UV radiation, absorbing and dispersing UV rays. This shows up as a layer of pigment, the visible tan.

This means that a suntan is basically the skin protecting itself from UV rays – and by extension – that it’s possible to over-tan. As a result, you’ve got to be extra careful when cultivating your summer glow.

a woman who is preparing how to tan with fair skin

How to Tan Safely with Fair Skin in 10 Steps

Fair skin has its charm, but it also comes with its challenges, particularly when it comes to tanning. The key is to tan safely and gradually to avoid sunburn and premature ageing. But how do you go about it? Let’s delve into the 10 essential steps.

1.      Choose the Right Cream

When it comes to sunbathing, sunscreen is your best friend. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF level you choose should depend on your skin tone and the duration of sun exposure. Remember, SPF 15 filters out around 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97%, and SPF 50 keeps out 98%.

2.      Apply it Correctly

Proper application of sunscreen is key to effective protection. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 15 to 30 minutes during prolonged sun exposure, especially after swimming or sweating.

3.      Build it Gradually

Resist the urge to binge tan. Gradually build your tan by starting with short sessions of sun exposure, gradually increasing the duration. This not only helps your tan last longer but also reduces the risk of skin cancer associated with intense, intermittent exposure.

4.      Try Building a Base Tan

Before jetting off to sunny destinations, you might consider building a base tan to prepare your fair skin for the holidays with an effortlessly bronzed look. This not only helps you achieve a deeper, more even tan abroad but also keeps you from sticking out like a sore, albeit pale thumb.

Plus, remember what we said about binge tanning? If you have already acquired a healthy glow, it’ll be easier to limit your exposure and avoid over-tanning.

5.      Stay Hydrated

Keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Dry, dehydrated skin can appear wrinkly, affecting the quality of your tan.

6.      Tanning in the Shade

Take regular breaks in the shade to give your skin a rest from direct sunlight. While UV rays can still reach you in the shade, it offers additional protection compared to direct exposure.

7.      Fake it ‘til you make it?

With fair skin, often the best choice is creating a glow suited to your individual skin tone that adds luminosity where it’s needed, rather than a deep, showy tan. For this reason, some fair-skinned individuals opt for the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ route, using faux tan products and applying them in ways that would replicate the way the sun would naturally hit á la Jimmy CoCo.

For others, this is too much hassle – especially as sunbeds compared to spray tan provide a mindless retreat akin to a spa visit. There’s no worry about staining or an uneven finish.

8.      Timing is Key

Avoid sun exposure during peak hours, typically between 10 am and 3 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Opt for sunbathing during morning or late afternoon hours for safer tanning.

9.      Limit Sun Exposure

Set a timer to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Your body will stop producing melanin after a certain time, so excessive sun exposure may lead to skin damage rather than tanning.

10.    Protective Accessories

Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunhat! Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV damage, while a sunhat shields your scalp from sunburn. These accessories are not only stylish but also essential for safe sunbathing.

By following these tips, you can achieve a beautiful, golden tan while keeping your fair skin safe and healthy. Remember, moderation is key, so enjoy the sun responsibly and embrace your radiant glow!

a woman who has learnt how to tan with fair skin

What About Using Sunbeds with Fair Skin?

For those who prefer a controlled environment, sunbeds can be a viable option to gradually build up a tan. Contrary to popular belief, sunbeds, when used responsibly, can offer benefits such as their ability to support skin treatment. However, it’s crucial to limit your sessions as per the expert guidance and follow the safety procedures of your chosen tanning bed to minimise the risk of UV damage.

While “pale skin” and “sunbed” aren’t usually words you use in a sentence together, it is important to note that you can absolutely use sunbeds as someone with a fair complexion. The only catch is that you have to be extra careful about UV exposure, ensuring you opt for a high SPF suncream not only when you tan naturally via the sun’s rays but also during your sunbed sessions, and remember to wear the protective eye gear.

Choosing the Right Sunbed Model for Your Skin

Another aspect of indoor tanning with fair skin is getting your choice of sunbed right. First, you might want to look into the type of tubes used and the sunbed’s versatility. Often, you will be able to control the intensity to your liking and, of course, keep your skin safe. There’s also the decision between a single or double canopy model and a vertical model – in other words, types of sunbeds where you’re required to stand up or lie down.

Then there are the extras; after all, the devil is in the detail. The possibility of connecting your favourite tanning playlist via Bluetooth can elevate your session from pleasant to utterly peaceful, and paired with the addition of a gentle breeze via a fan, you won’t want to leave the contraption once the timer is up.

How Many Sunbed Sessions Does it Take to Get a Tan with Fair Skin?

The number of sunbed sessions needed to achieve a tan varies depending on individual skin types and the intensity of the sunbed, among other factors. For fair or pale skin, it’s essential to start with short sessions lasting no more than a few minutes. Gradually increase the duration over time, allowing your skin to acclimatise to the UV rays.

For those exploring rental tanning bed options for the first time, we recommend reading our complete beginner’s guide before you get started. There’s so much to learn!

Some Final Words of Wisdom

To tan with fair skin requires patience, caution, and a thorough understanding of your skin’s limitations. Whether you choose to build a base tan naturally or opt for a number of sunbed sessions, prioritise safety at all times. Remember to wear sunscreen, limit sun exposure during peak hours, and moisturise your skin regularly to maintain a healthy glow.

In the quest for the perfect tan, always prioritise your skin’s health and well-being. With the right approach and a little patience, you can achieve that coveted golden glow while keeping your naturally fair skin safe and radiant.

Ready to embark on your tanning journey? Explore our range of sunbed home rental options and start your path to a sun-kissed complexion today.

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