tan skin with necklaces
Image: Luna Skye

3 Natural Ways To Tan Skin (Without UV Rays)

With summer on the way, you may be wanting to get started on that tan early. Maybe you have a spring vacation coming up, or are just sick of deathly pale winter skin. Yet we all hear about the dangers of UV rays. They age skin at the best of times and cause skin cancer at the worst. Luckily, there a number of ways to get sun-kissed skin without the UV exposure. Continue reading for the best natural ways to tan skin.

Eat Right

According to a British study, people who eat the most fruits and vegetables get something akin to a natural tan. Their skin looks healthy and glowing, just like a light tan. The secret is the antioxidant carotenoids in produce like spinach, carrots and tomatoes. There are the well-known antioxidant benefits that fight off skin-damaging free radicals, but carotenoids are stored in fat cells just below the skin. The pigment shows through just slightly to give you a healthy, slightly tanned glow. So remember your fruits and veggies.

Tea Sunless Tan

No, this doesn’t involve drinking tea. This is actually a method that uses tea in an external application to give your skin a slightly darker hue. Which is fine. Who wants to overdo it and end up looking orange?

To start, make sure your legs are in good shape: exfoliate with a washcloth and moisturize a couple hours before application. Having fresh and moisturized skin will help with pigment uptake.

Then you’ll want to brew a super-strong tea. Eight tea bags to two cups of water strong. Steep for about 10 minutes. Let the tea cool. Add any optional essential oils for scent, just a few drops will do.

Spray the tea onto your legs with a basic spray bottle, rub it in evenly and let it dry. You’ll need to repeat this process several times until you see the desired result. The color should last through your next shower or another encounter with water.

Cocoa Powder Tanning Lotion

Another option is the combination of cocoa powder and a basic, white lotion. Combine equal parts cocoa powder to equal parts lotion. Feel free to adjust the mixture if you want a darker or lighter shade. Again, make sure your legs are well exfoliated before application.

Apply the lotion and let it absorb completely. Then apply again if you want a darker shade. Let it dry before putting on clothes. Applying this lotion every day will layer on more color.

However, this won’t keep forever or look too drastic. It will give you a natural tint, which can help after winter has sapped your skin of summery tones. You’ll end up with a bronze sort of shade, with none of the orangey undertones of commercial sunless tans.

These natural ways to tan skin will have you looking naturally bronze and sun-kissed and far from the fake, orange-like color of store-bought self-tanners.