Natural Tanning: Reasons To Not Use Tanning Products!

Most of your tanning can be done in the sun. Here are some reasons and great tips for tanning the natural way.

Why To Tan Without Products

#1 Reason: Save Money!

You can burn through about $20-30 bucks in tanning products if you get some of the high-end stuff. I'm not arguing that their stuff is bad but it is extremely expensive for something that is just going to peel off a few days later.

Some people even go out and get their tans sprayed on by experts. Professional spray tans are going to be even more expensive than just regular sunless tanners and can run you about $20 each time you go!

#2 Reason: Sunless Tanners Malfunction.

I'll say that this has happened to me a few times where my fake tan begins to peel and it really took points off my presentation.

The fact is that no product out there is perfect and to work for months/years training for a show and then to have your tan just malfunction on you is pretty depressing. My advice is to do it without products so there's no chance of your tan malfunctioning.

#3 Reason: Less Hassle.

If you have a nice dark tan year round then it is less of a hassle at contest time. Having to space out my shaving days and tanning days and dealing with all the hassle of getting friends to spray my back is just a constant annoyance and bodybuilding is supposed to be enjoyable and not a burden.

Plus, being dark helps everyone know year round that you are a bodybuilder; everyone knows that bodybuilders get the ladies.

Competition Color

Is it possible to get a competition color without any products?

Yes and no. If you are naturally dark skinned then it is arguable that no products will be required, though many darker people still use some tanners to bring out a nicer complexion.

For the rest of us light skinned folks we can get by with a nice base tan and using a water soluble competition tanner. The difference between the water soluble product and the regular sunless tanners is that with the water soluble one you don't have to put it on until competition day and it is a lot easier to work with because you can wash it off.

With the other sunless tanners they can peel and go on unevenly, which you don't have to worry about with the water-soluble type. You can just keep adding more and more layers if you need to be darker.

Tanning Beds

This is a great way to start if you live in a place without much sun or if you just don't have as much time. Just remember that tanning beds are not completely safe and that you can still burn if you aren't careful. Here are some things to keep in mind (from the FTC).

Protect Yourself:

1. Limit Your Exposure To Avoid Sunburn.

If you tan with a device, ask whether the manufacturer or the salon staff recommend exposure limits for your skin type. Set a timer on the tanning device that automatically shuts off the lights or somehow signals that you've reached your exposure time.

Remember that exposure time affects burning and that your age at the time of exposure is important relative to burning. Studies suggest that children and adolescents are harmed more by equivalent amounts of UVB rays than adults. The earlier you start tanning, the earlier skin injury may occur.

2. Use Goggles To Protect Your Eyes.

Ask whether safety goggles are provided and if their use is mandatory. Make sure the goggles fit snugly. Check to see that the salon sterilizes the goggles after each use to prevent the spread of eye infections.

3. Consider Your Medical History.

If you are undergoing treatment for lupus or diabetes or are susceptible to cold sores, be aware that these conditions can be aggravated through exposure to ultraviolet radiation from tanning devices, sunlamps, or natural sunlight.

In addition, your skin may be more sensitive to artificial light or sunlight if you use certain medications - for example, antihistamines, tranquilizers or birth control pills.

Your tanning salon may keep a file with information on your medical history, medications, and treatments. Make sure you update it as necessary.

Getting Started

Now here's how to do it the old fashioned outdoor way.

Remember To Start Out Slow:

If you're extremely pale then you obviously are going to need to build a nice base tan before spending any long periods of time in the sun. If your just starting out shoot for around 20 minutes later in the afternoon and gradually increase exposure time and move your tanning time to earlier in the day.

Bring Some Music:

This is actually very important because it can get extremely boring sitting in the sun after a few minutes. It helps to bring something that will keep you awake. My personal favorites are books on tape or sermons on CDs.

Find Some Sun:

Best places to go are the beach, the park and swimming pools. These areas usually have nice open areas that allow you to tan without the obstruction of trees or buildings.

It doesn't matter where you go but just make sure that you are not close to a shady area because the sun does move and if you fall asleep then you might find yourself in the shade and wasting your time.

Turn Often:

One thing to be careful of is that you don't expose one side of your body for too long. What I like to do is to flip at least twice during my session.

If you plan to tan for about 40 minutes then you flip from your stomach to your back about every 10 minutes.

Wear Sunscreen On Your Face:

Depending on your complexion you might have to really watch out for your face because the sun will definitely burn your face more easily than the other parts of your body because of the thinner skin there.

If you end up having a really pale face after the many weeks of tanning then you can always use a face bronzer.

Skin Type 1 hr 2 hr 3 hr 4 hr 5+ hr
Very Fair /
Extremely Sensitive
Fair / Sensitive

Finishing Up The Tan For Competition

Now after a few weeks you should have a very nice and smooth base tan but competition color might take a little more work.

Like I said earlier a good way to finish the tan is with a one-time application of an instant tan. Make sure to really smooth out the instant tan and to not leave streaks.

Enjoy your new tan and good luck in your show!