How to get a perfectly-natural tan without harming your skin

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It feels great to look at tanned skin. But, are you burning your skin in the process? (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Many people like the way their skin looks when it is tanned, especially when they return from an exotic vacation. It is believed that natural tanning is the best way to go about it. But, prolonged exposure to sun can harm the skin in many ways, given that most rays emanating from it are ultraviolet. Besides cancer, these rays can cause premature wrinkles and sunburn. But, there are some ways to get that beautiful tan, without harming your skin. Read on.

Use an SPF

Before you step out in the sun, make sure you apply some sunscreen first, preferably with UV protection of at least 30 SPF. If you, for some reason, forget to apply, do it within 20 minutes of being outside. SPF of 30 will ensure that the UV rays do not reach you, but you get tanned nonetheless.

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Natural oils

Besides sunscreen, there are some natural oils that can be used for an added layer of protection and skin hydration. These include: coconut oil, avocado oil, raspberry and carrot oils.

Don't stay outside for long

Do not overdo it. Experts say that everybody has a melanin -- the pigment responsible for tanning -- cut-off point, which is usually up to three hours for most people. Beyond this point, your skin may stop getting tanned, and instead get exposed to harmful radiation.

tanning, tanned skin, tan, natural tan, how to get naturally tanned, skin, sunburn, SPF, sun, ultraviolet rays, melanin, indian express, indian express news

Before you step out in the sun, make sure you apply some sunscreen first, preferably with UV protection of at least 30 SPF. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Choose your time

Make sure you choose your time wisely. The key is to get a quick tan. Remember that the sun is strongest around noon. But, is also means your skin is at risk of getting harmed. Choose a time depending upon your skin colour, type and texture. If you are light skinned, experts suggest you get tanned sometime in the morning or after 3pm, so as to avoid redness and sunburn.

Eat foods with beta carotene

Additionally, you can eat carrots and sweet potatoes that are rich in beta carotene -- a compound that gives them their colour -- so as to get a tan without burning your skin. While more science-backed research is needed, some studies conducted in the past have suggested that beta carotene can help reduce sun sensitivity in people.

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Prep well

When you decide to get tanned, prepare well. You can make the tan last longer by exfoliating your skin in advance. Additionally, using an aloe vera gel after you have tanned, can also help retain it.