While I may have inherited a seriously Italian last name, I am unfortunately the only one of my siblings who missed out on that perfect olive skin that darkens to a perfect tan in the summer. Instead, my skin has two shades: pale and burnt – there is really no in-between for me, and to be honest, I’d pretty much given up on tanning altogether. Luckily, it turns out that there actually are ways to decrease your likelihood of getting burnt – and you might even achieve that tan you never thought you could get.
1. Timing is everything
If you can, try to hit the beach or pool sometime before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Because the sun’s rays are less harsh, you have a better chance of actually getting a tan instead of getting full-on burnt. The more you can avoid exposing your skin to damaging direct UV rays, the better.
2. Be extra careful in the water
If you plan to swim, make sure to take into account the fact that water will accelerate your sun exposure, since sunlight reflects off of it and onto your skin. Before taking a quick dip, always reapply – and maybe even consider increasing the SPF you use while you swim.
3. Take your time
If you do want to get a tan, the trick is to tan in small increments each day. Especially if you’re already sensitive to sun exposure, your skin isn’t going to go four shades darker in one day. Take it easy by spending 20-30 minutes in the sun each day. (With SPF of course!) Unfortunately, there’s just no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to tanning, especially for you.
4. Exfoliate regularly
Getting rid of dead skin will make way for a healthy, even tan – and if you’re anything like me, and your skin always seems to go straight from pale to burnt, regular exfoliation will decrease the likelihood that this will happen.
5. Eat your way to a tan
It turns out that there are actually foods that boost your skin’s natural SPF. Foods high in lycopene, like tomatoes and carrots, are some of the best things to eat if you want to avoid getting burnt. I know, I know – as if you needed another reason why eating your veggies is super important!