why am i not tanning in the sun

Why am I not tanning in the sun? You may ask this question when you do not seem to tan despite all your efforts.

It is quite interesting that so many people go to great lengths to make their skin look a tad darker. 

But, what they often forget is that the sun can have a different effect on different skin tones.

And that could have something to do with the answer to, “Why am I not tanning in the sun anymore?”

But, there can be many other factors at play here.

You may not be tanning because of factors like using too much sunscreen, hitting a plateau, using an expired bronzer, and becoming dehydrated. 

Why Do People Love Tanning in the Sun?

people love tanning in the sun

Different people tan in the sun for different reasons, but it is mainly because they correlate a sun-kissed complexion with attractiveness, good health, and vitality.

You cannot also ignore the fact that sunbathing can help you feel relaxed.

It may have to do something with the vitamin-D you get from the sun. Also, the warmth you feel rejuvenates you in a subtle way.

And if you look at it from a different perspective, you will notice that tanning in the sun has a social side to it.

Really, it can be a great activity to spend time out in the sun with friends and family. 

Is Tanning in the Sun Healthy?

is tanning in the sun healthy

Well, it is hard to give a plain answer because your skin may react differently to the sun as compared to your friend.

But in most cases, moderate exposure to sunlight is harmless.

In fact, it may be a bit healthy, especially considering you get loads of vitamin D from the sun. 

It is essential for healthy bones as well as a strong immune system.

It can also help regulate your internal clock and make it easier to sleep at night. 

Consider the Other Side of the Picture

While you may be interested in tanning, you should also know the downsides of going overboard with this idea.

Understand that excessive exposure can be damaging to your skin and cause problems such as:

  • Premature aging
  • Sunburn
  • Eye damage
  • Skin cancer
consider the other side of the picture

To avoid these issues, you should keep a few important points in mind.

For instance:

  • Do not expose yourself to the sun during peak hours when the rays are strongest.
  • Consider wearing protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and hats.
  • Make use of sunscreen with an SPF of no less than 30.
  • Be sure to keep yourself in the shade especially in peak sun hours. 

Why Am I Not Tanning in the Sun?

When you are fixated on getting a tanned look and cannot seem to get it, it is natural to irritate you.

Why am I not tanning or burning in the sun? Should I increase my time in the sun? Or is there something else going on here?

Lots of questions, but the truth is that many different things could be keeping you from getting that coveted tanned look.

For instance: 

You Have Hit a Tanning Plateau

you have hit a tanning plateau

Believe it or not, everyone will eventually hit a point where they cannot be tanned anymore.

And for some people, that point arrives early than expected.

Once you hit that tanning plateau, you will not get any darker even if you spend more time in the sun.

And unfortunately, you cannot overcome this issue.

That is the reason why you may not get good results even after hours upon hours in the sun.

It may eventually damage your skin but would not darken it.

What to Do?

what to do

The best thing is to stay content with the color you have achieved. But sometimes, you can try a few tricks to improve your results.

For instance:

  • Try different tanning lotions or bronzers to darken your skin.
  • Make use of different types of tanning, like using a tanning bed.
Fact: For so many people, the only feasible option to get a tanned look is through a spray tan, and you can consider that too. 

You are Using Too Much Sunscreen

you are using too much sunscreen

Using sunscreen is beneficial because it helps prevent skin cancer, sunburn, and accelerated aging.

But, sometimes it can also stop you from acquiring the tan you have hoped for.

Irrespective of what skin tone you desire, using sunscreen is a good idea. 

However, as your skin darkens from spending more time in the sun , you may need to change the strength and type of sunscreen you use.

While a higher SPF sunscreen will provide longer-lasting protection, it is not always necessary if you are only looking to get a tan

What to Do?

Unless you get a foundation tan or feel comfortable going out into the sun for brief periods without burning, you should use a higher SPF sunscreen.

After that, you can lower the SPF rating.

Lowering the SPF rating lets your skin absorb some UV rays so that a healthy tan can develop while still protecting the skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

Fact: While trying to get a tan, cutting back on sunscreen means avoiding sun exposure during the warmest portions of the day and for extended periods. 

You Have an Outdated Bronzer

you have an outdated bronzer

Bronzers are widely used cosmetics for artificial and natural tanning.

In order to darken the skin more quickly and guarantee that the tan is absorbed into the skin, bronzers must be triggered by the sun or the bulbs of a tanning bed.

Bronzers come in a wide variety of formulations, some of which are specific to the method of tanning in question.

Not using the right bronzer or using an outdated one can directly affect your results.

It is possible that bronzers made for use in tanning beds will not be as effective when used outdoors, and vice versa.

And if it has gone bad, it would obviously become ineffective. 

What to Do?

track your bronzer usage duration

Keep track of how long you have been using your bronzer. There is a shelf life for bronzers, but it might be difficult to tell if yours has expired.

Getting skin reactions like rashes, etc., also indicate you have an outdated bronzer.

Remember, the bronzer will lose its effectiveness and not provide the desired dark tan once it has expired.

Therefore, it is better to toss it out every six months to ensure you get good results.

Fact: Lotions, sprays, and even tanning oils and sunscreens can benefit from the addition of bronzers to their formulas.

You have Developed a Base Tan

A base tan is a color achieved by gradually increasing the duration and frequency of tanning sessions.

A base tan can help your skin react naturally to the sun or UV rays, which is why it is suggested for anyone who wants to tan.

you have developed a base tan

Tanning novices or those with fair skin should stay out of the sun and away from UV radiation for extended periods of time.

Instead, you should spend very little time (if any) sunbathing each day.

Keep a watchful eye on your skin and get out of the sun before you start to get a burn.

This makes the skin darker, allowing you to spend more time in the sun and improve your tan.

However, a base tan can make further tanning more challenging, which could be why you no longer see any change in your skin tone after tanning in the sun. 

What to Do?

There is no point in spending more time in the sun once you have developed a nice base tan.

Going overboard is only going to hurt you in the long run.

If you are unhappy with the tan, you can always spend more time having indoor tanning sessions.

Or, you may consider making use of a bronzer to help get better results. 

You are Dehydrated

you are dehydrated

Without adequate hydration, you just cannot make your skin look healthy.

And it becomes even more important when you spend more time out in the sun trying to get the skin tone you truly love.

You will notice your skin dries out quickly when you begin to dehydrate.

And instead of getting a nice tanned look, you will end up damaging your skin.

In fact, it is common for dehydrated skin to become scaly, dry, and flaky.

And it makes you more susceptible to getting a sunburn instead of getting a nice tan.

It also means you won’t be able to spend as much time in the sun as you would like, which keeps you from getting the tanned look you desire. 

What to Do?

Be sure to drink plenty of water when out in the sun. Keeping your skin healthy through hydration will make your tan last longer as well.

Fact: It is essential to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your tanning session to get better results. 


using too much sunscreen

Why am I not tanning in the sun?

It could be because you are not spending enough time out in the sun, but that is certainly not always the case.

Sometimes, using too much sunscreen, trying an outdated bronzer, developing a base tan, or hitting a plateau too soon could be the reasons.

Just take your time to know the underlying factor so you can resolve it to get the tan you desire.