How to Tan With Pale Skin – Tanning Tips For Light Skin

How to Tan With Pale Skin – Tanning Tips For Light Skin
October 1, 2021 Ellis James
Have pale skin but looking for a deep bronze tan? You may be in luck. While tanning may seem more difficult at times, the truth is that tanning light, fair or pale skin isn’t impossible. Join us as we explore our best tips for how to tan with pale skin.

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How to Tan With Pale Skin

Start Slow

First and foremost, if you’ve got pale skin you probably already know that spending a ton of time in the sun can spell trouble…quickly. Because of that, it is important that you start slow when setting out to get some rays. Start with 10-15 minutes in the sun each day, then, after about a week, you can slowly work your way up to 30 minutes. Doing this will get your skin accustomed to being exposed to UV rays a little at a time and may prevent burning from overexposure.

Slop on the Sunscreen

Thinking about skipping the sunscreen? Don’t. Using sunscreen will help banish that ever-dreaded and painful sunburn. And though the jury is still out concerning whether or not sunscreen actually prevents one from tanning or not, the truth is that going without sunscreen and allowing yourself to burn makes you more likely to develop skin cancer in the future…and no one wants that!


Dead skin cells react differently to UV rays than do new skin cells. For this reason, it is recommended that you gently exfoliate before tanning to up your chances of getting a healthy glow.

Exfoliating properly, without over or under exfoliation, can help to maintain happy and healthy skin whether you’re basking in the sun or taking it easy at home.


Along with exfoliation, go ahead and give yourself a good shave, focusing especially on areas that might have coarse or thick hair that you intend to tan. This will help ensure that your tan isn’t uneven and may be especially important for men trying to tan.

For some male-friendly pale and sensitive skin tips to acquire healthy and radiant skin, treat any shaving injuries right away with a shaving gel and moisturizer.

Watch the Clock

As you may already know, there are times in the day when the sun’s UV rays are the highest. For many, this is the optimal time to lay out, but for those with pale or fair skin, this might be the time of day to skip. Rather than tanning between the hours of 10am and 4pm, try tanning earlier in the morning or later in the evening. You may find that you burn less, won’t get as hot, can stay out longer and still achieve a healthy tan over time.

Seek Shelter

Think spending only 30 minutes (tops) in the sun means you’ve got to limit your time at the beach with family and friends? Not necessarily. Once your allotted 30 minutes is complete simply grab an umbrella to sit beneath to continue to enjoy your day!

Adjust Your Expectations

Remember, depending on your skin type, the tanning process isn’t always easy or quick. Sometimes, tanning may take several weeks, especially if you are fair skinned. Also, fair-skinned people may never achieve the level of bronze they most desire, but most people can develop some color to their skin with a little time and effort.

Seek Alternatives

If following the above tips still don’t help you achieve the bronze glow you’re looking for, you can always reach for the self-tanner. Trying tanners like Bondi Sans Self-Tanning Foam can help you achieve color in a snap, but be careful. Be sure to test a little on your skin before slopping it all over to make sure the tone isn’t too orange.

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam | Lightweight, Self-Tanner Foam Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut Provides an Even, Streak-Free Tan | 7.04 oz/200 mL

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How can I tan if I have pale skin?

How do fair skin and freckles tan?

If you have fair skin and freckles, don’t fret. Pale skin and freckles doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a beautiful bronzed glow like your buddies. But you’ll need to take it slow.

Start out spending only 10-15 minutes in the sun, then slowly increase that amount of time as your skin gets used to it. Whatever you do, don’t try to get burned in order to tan. You may be doing more harm than good.

How do you get a tan with pale skin?

In addition to the above tips, make sure that if you are trying to get a tan with pale skin that you use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin during the process. This Sun Bum SPF 30 Lotion is perfect for safeguarding your skin from harsh UV rays while also allowing enough sun to penetrate your skin to achieve a healthy glow.

Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion | Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E | 8 oz

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How long does it take for pale skin to tan?

A base tan can be achieved in under a week, though for some it may take longer. The wait time to achieve a base tan can differ from person to person, and deeper tans may take much longer. Remember, that not every pale person will be able to reach the depth of bronze they’re looking for.

Thus, bottled tanner might be a more feasible option if you desire a darker hue.


How do pale people fake tan?

A “fake tan” can be achieved by applying a self-tanner to the skin instead of roasting in the sun all day to achieve beautifully tan skin.

But take caution. Applying self tanner that isn’t the correct shade, or applying it unevenly can have your skin looking oddly orange and blotchy.

Moreover, you’ll want to make sure that you use disposable gloves when applying your self tanner to avoid staining your hands with the product.

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam | Lightweight, Self-Tanner Foam Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut Provides an Even, Streak-Free Tan | 7.04 oz/200 mL


How to Tan with pale Skin – FAQs

Why does my skin not tan?

No matter how pale your skin may appear, the truth is that everyone can tan. So rather than asking why your skin doesn’t tan, it may be better to analyze the type of skin you have. Knowing your skin type will help you better understand why your skin doesn’t always appear tan even after hours in the sun, and will also help you navigate how to achieve the healthy glow you are looking for.

Is pale skin or tan skin more attractive?

When it comes to pale and tan skin, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Like anything else related to attraction, the most desirable skin tone is something that is up to one’s personal preference and perception. While many people may want tan skin, that doesn’t at all mean that fair skin is unattractive. As always, we encourage you to embrace who you are without comparing yourself to others. If you love your pale skin and flaunt it with confidence, it doesn’t matter what others think!

Does tan look good on pale skin?

If you’ve tried to achieve tan skin but never could quite hit the level of bronze you were looking for, then there’s no doubt that you’ve given a self tanner a try. The problem, though, can be that some self tanners can make you end up looking like an orange instead of tan. Do your research and swatch a little on your skin before purchasing a tanner to ensure that your “tan” will look good on pale skin.

Can gingers tan?

Scientists agree that redheads or “gingers” can tan, but they also react negatively to the sun at the same time. Because of this, red-headed folks will need to take extra precautions when out in the sun to avoid burning and increasing their risk for skin cancer. With that said, however, there are a few gingers out there that actually do tan, though it’s rare. This is why knowing your skin type is so important…every person’s skin reacts differently to the sun.

What is the best tan for pale skin?

The votes are in and according to many rave reviews, Beauty by Earth Store Self Tanning Mousse is the perfect tanner to leave you bonze without all the orange.

Self Tanner Mousse - Self Tan with Organic Botanicals, Tanning Foam Self Tanning Mousse for a Bronzer Sunless Tan on Body or Face, Dye Free Fake Tan, Vegan & USA Made (3.3 oz, Medium to Dark)

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Can really pale skin tan?

Again, all people can technically tan, though some more than others. Most pale people will need to work up a tan which could take less than a week to up to a month. No matter what, fair-skinned people that have difficulty tanning will always need to take it slow, wear SPF and do their best to prevent getting burnt in order to best protect their skin while trying to snag that bronze-y glow.

Can you take melanin pills to get tan?

While there are quite a few melanin and tanning pills out there that claim to get you tan without the harm of UV rays, you should always proceed with caution. Many of these pills and tablets that make radical claims aren’t FDA approved and many come with less than desirable side effects. For more information, check out Do Pills for Tanning Work and Are They Safe.


Self Tanner Mousse - Self Tan with Organic Botanicals, Tanning Foam Self Tanning Mousse for a Bronzer Sunless Tan on Body or Face, Dye Free Fake Tan, Vegan & USA Made (3.3 oz, Medium to Dark)


How to Tan With Pale Skin: Let Us Count the Ways!

All in all, while it may seem that tanning with fair skin is a lost cause, the truth is that tanning will just take more time and effort for pale-skinned individuals than others. If this is you, rather than be bummed about it, you may wish to adjust your expectations, develop a base tan by slowly exposing your skin to sun a little each day and even choosing an artificial tan that can warm up your pale skin without making you look too orange. All of these combined should have you looking sun-kissed and radiant; otherwise, we recommend you work with what you got!

For even more tips for pale-skinned beauties, check out: Things Pale Girls Should Know About Makeup And Skincare.

Want even more? Check out our other tanning tips:

Comments (2)

  1. Pablo Parra (Fungi) 9 months ago

    Really great tips when it comes to achieve a tan but in a cautious way, since sun can be really dangerous if you don’t check hours and wear a proper SPF.

    For some reason my skin is really pale in certain areas, but I’ll try to apply these tips during next summer, here we are just staring fall but I know you guys are in Spring right?

    Have a fantastic season!

    • Ellis James Designs 9 months ago

      Hope this season treats you right, too, Pablo!

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