Tanning and fair skin just don’t mix, do they? Being blessed with quite possibly un-tannable skin (yes, I just made up that adjective), I’ve spent most of my summers trying to figure out how to get a proper sun-kissed glow without getting myself severely sunburned.

Time and time again, I ended up looking like an over-cooked lobster, with flaming skin that not only looks but also feels unbelievably painful. I won’t even begin to count the number of times I got my back sunburned so bad that the simple act of sleeping was as excruciating as can be.

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Here are some of the tips and tricks, I’ve learned over the years, to how one can get a flattering tan and dodge any severe sunburns and unneeded pain:

Use Sunscreen First- Yes, You Can Tan With Sunscreen On:

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Skin cancer is not joke; neither are second degree burns. To avoid all this mess, just use a layer of sunscreen before applying tanning oil. No, it won’t stop you from getting a tan; it’ll just block all the harmful UVB rays whilst still allowing your skin to darken.

Don’t Forget Your Back:

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Most of us love to tan lying with our face straight to the sun, headphones in and hoping to nap. Just make sure you don’t doze off to a light slumber, only to wake up with half your body blazingly tanned and the other still pale. Remember to turn over every 15-20 minutes to get an even tan.

Tanning’s a Process Not a One Time Action:

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You just don’t fry yourself in the sun for 4 hours straight, trying to get a quick tan. One should tan over the span of days not hours. Sit in the sun for maybe half hour to an hour a day, not more, repeat over the course of a few days and you’ll gradually (and safely) get a tan. Spending hours under the sun will just increase your chances of getting sunstroke or throbbing burns.

Your Lips Need Protection Too:

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Yes, lips can get sunburned and no, that’s not going to be a pretty sight. Make sure you apply lip balm with SPF on your lips to protect them whilst you lounge in the sun!

Moisturizing Is Key:

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Don’t forget to keep your skin hydrated before and during tanning as dehydration will just lead to chapped, dry skin. We all love to tan because it gives our bodies a healthy glow; dehydration will simply defeat the whole purpose of tanning in the first place. After you get out of the sun, make sure you apply body lotion or body butter to keep your skin smooth.

Use Tanning Oil With a Considerable SPF:

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No, SPF 2 won’t cut it. After experimenting with many products, I’d say go for tanning oil with at least SPF 10 or above, alongside sunscreen with at least SPF 25 or higher- Yes, use both together.

Reapply Your Protection After a Swim:

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I know this one’s obvious, and yes, you’ll probably cool off in the shade afterwards, but you do still need to remember to reapply sunscreen after taking a dip. Sure, the sunscreen bottle may have “water resistant” written all over it, but trust me, it probably isn’t. Do your skin a favour and remember to reapply SPF.