Increasing exposure to the sun, exfoliating the skin and eating foods that enhance skin tones are the best ways to achieve a dark tan naturally. Each of these methods results in a smooth, even tan without sunless tanning agents or other forms of chemical intervention.
Exposing the skin to ultraviolet light can lead to premature aging, skin cancer and other negative side effects. Sun exposure can be healthy because it increases vitamin D levels and promotes mental health, but it is important for tanners to practice moderation.
Step 1: Spend More Time in the Sun
The only way to achieve a completely natural tan is to expose the skin's surface to sunlight. This increases melanin production in the skin as a defense against UV light. The melanin darkens the surface of the skin, which results in a tan.
Step 2: Exfoliate the Skin
When the skin is exfoliated, dead and dry skin cells are eliminated from the skin's surface, providing the healthy skin below it with more exposure to the sun. This helps a natural tan last longer, and allows the tan to form more evenly.
Step 2: Eat Orange and Yellow Foods
Research shows that orange and yellow foods enhance the skin's pigment and darken a tan naturally. Carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots are three popular examples. Additionally, increasing one's intake of fruits and vegetables will improve the skin's quality and accentuate the tan.