How to Turn Sunburn Into a Tan 12 Steps

Experiencing sunburn is an all-too-common issue for those seeking that perfect sun-kissed glow. However, the discomfort and potential skin damage caused by overexposure to UV rays should not be taken lightly. This guide focuses on safely navigating the aftermath of sunburn with an aim to achieve a tan, while prioritizing skin health. By following these steps, you can help turn your sunburn into a tan while minimizing adverse effects on your skin.

how to turn sunburn into a tan 12 steps

Hydration Inside Out

When your skin is sunburned, it means that it has been damaged and is in desperate need of hydration to begin the healing process. Becoming tan after a sunburn is not a guarantee, but ensuring your skin is properly hydrated can help in the transition by reducing peeling and creating a more even skin tone.

  1. Drink plenty of water: Keeping your body hydrated helps to replenish the fluids lost due to sun exposure and supports overall skin health.
  2. Use a moisturizer: Find a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy to help soothe the burn and keep skin hydrated from the outside.

Summary: Hydrating helps in repairing your skin and potentially aids in achieving an even tan. However, remember that it’s not a miracle cure and sunburn can still lead to peeling or long-term skin damage.

Protect and Nourish

Protecting your skin from further UV damage and nourishing it with the right nutrients is essential for healing and possibly aiding the tanning process.

  1. Wear sunscreen: When you have to go outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin.
  2. Consume antioxidants: Foods rich in antioxidants can help your skin repair itself. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Summary: Protecting your skin from further damage while nourishing it with antioxidants can optimize healing. But remember, further sun exposure can aggravate the burn.

Gentle Exfoliation

Once your burn has healed and the skin starts to peel, gentle exfoliation may help in removing dead skin cells and can potentially blend the areas of peeling into a more uniform tan.

  1. Wait till the burn heals: Do not exfoliate while your skin is still burned or sensitive.
  2. Use a soft exfoliant: Choose a mild exfoliating product or a gentle loofah.

Summary: Gentle exfoliation can lead to a more even skin tone, but doing it too soon or too harshly may cause more damage to your skin.

After-Sun Care

After sun exposure, taking care of the affected areas is crucial for the healing process and might contribute to an even tan.

  1. Apply after-sun lotion: Lotions formulated for after-sun care can provide relief and support the healing process.
  2. Use products with hyaluronic acid: This ingredient can help retain moisture, which is key in healing burnt skin.

Summary: After-sun lotions soothe and hydrate, which is beneficial, but they cannot reverse the damage already done by a sunburn.

Guard Your Skin

It’s essential to prevent further damage when dealing with sunburn, as continuing to tan can be harmful to your skin.

  1. Seek shade: Avoid direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours.
  2. Dress protectively: Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible.

Summary: Staying out of the sun and wearing protective clothing can prevent further damage while your skin is healing.

Sooth with Cool Compresses

Reducing the heat from a sunburn can also reduce inflammation and discomfort, potentially leading to a more even tan.

  1. Use a cool cloth: Gently apply a cool, damp cloth to the sunburnt areas.
  2. Take cool showers: Bathing in cool water can provide overall relief.

Summary: Cooling down the skin can provide comfort and reduce inflammation but does not guarantee a tan.

Monitor Healing

It’s important to keep an eye on the skin’s healing process to address any issues promptly, and to better understand the progress towards achieving a tan.

  1. Assess skin regularly: Look for signs of severe damage or infection.
  2. Consult a dermatologist if necessary: If healing doesn’t progress, see a professional.

Summary: Monitoring helps ensure proper healing but is not a direct step towards tanning.

Keep It Gentle

Using harsh chemicals or soaps on sunburnt skin can exacerbate irritation and impede the tanning process.

  1. Choose mild cleaners: Opt for soaps that are alcohol-free and unscented.
  2. Pat skin dry: After washing, gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing.

Summary: Gentle skin care minimizes additional damage but does not affect the development of a tan.

Reassess Your Sun Time

Rethinking the time you spend in the sun can be crucial for long-term skin health and achieving the desired tan.

  1. Limit sun exposure: Gradually increase the time you spend in the sun.
  2. Choose the right time: Go outside when the sun is less intense, such as in the morning or late afternoon.

Summary: Limiting further sun exposure is necessary to prevent additional damage and may lead to a healthier tanning process.

Educate Yourself on Sun Safety

Understanding the risks associated with sunburn and UV exposure is crucial for your overall skin health and for safely developing a tan.

  1. Read up on UV risks: Become familiar with the impact of UV rays on the skin.
  2. Know the facts about tanning: Acknowledge that a safe and healthy tan is a slow process.

Summary: Being informed may help you to tan more safely, but it won’t speed up the tanning of sunburnt skin.

In conclusion, while turning a sunburn into a tan may be a common desire, it is important to consider the long-term health of your skin. Healing should always take precedence, with gradual tanning as a secondary goal. The outlined steps aim to both nurture sun-damaged skin and offer the best chance of developing a tan, understanding that this process should never compromise skin safety.


  1. Can a sunburn really turn into a tan?
    While a mild sunburn can sometimes lead to tanning as the skin heals, it’s not guaranteed and heavily depends on your skin type and the severity of the burn.

  2. How long does it usually take for sunburn to turn into a tan?
    The timeline can vary greatly depending on the individual’s skin type and the extent of the sunburn, but generally, the skin begins to heal within 48-72 hours after sunburn occurs.

  3. Is there any risk of long-term damage when trying to turn a sunburn into a tan?
    Yes, any sunburn indicates skin damage which can lead to premature aging, increased risk of skin cancer, and other complications. It’s essential to pursue a tan safely and slowly, with adequate sun protection.

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