Nobody likes bad tan lines. If you choose to head to the coast for your spring break, you may be able to find some time between drinking, dancing, partying, drinking, and drinking to actually enjoy the sun and sand.  It would be a shame to go all the way to the beach and not leave with some semblance of a tan… it may be the only tangible thing you manage to bring back to school with you.  Here are some tips to get a tan that will make your home-bound friends even more jealous than those pictures you don’t remember taking.

1. Wear Sunscreen (!!!)

I hate to sound like your mom, but seriously.  In the short term, a severe sunburn could ruin your break.  In the long term, it could lead to skin cancer, scarring, wrinkles, and any number of other issues.  It may not seem like a big deal, or you might not think you can tan as well with it on.  Leave this kind of thinking on campus.  I’m a big wuss when it comes to sunburns, so I roll with SPF 30, but if you’re really interested in tanning, something between 8 and 15 should hit the sweet spot.

 

2. Hydrate and Moisturize

If you read Mike’s recent post, you know should already be drinking at least a gallon of water per day.  If you need another reason to do so, keeping yourself hydrated will keep your skin from drying out after your tanning sessions.  You should also consider a moisturizer.  Many sunscreens have them built right in.  Look for the ones with aloe; they make any burns feel better and even help keep your tan longer.

 

3. Timing is Everything

 

You can get a tan at any point of the day, but the sun’s harmful UV rays are most dangerous between 10 AM and 2 PM.  If you manage to wake up early try to hit the beach for an hour in the morning.  If not, then try to limit your exposure until later in the afternoon.  As an added bonus, the beaches won’t be nearly as crowded, and it will be easier to spread out.

 

4. Multitask

There is no rule against drinking while you tan. There is also no rule against napping.  You’ll likely be doing plenty of both during your week away.  If you drink, do so in moderation.  The alcohol and the sun will team up to dehydrate you very quickly.  If you nap, be sure to use your phone’s alarm clock to limit your exposure. Laying in one position for more than half an hour or so is just begging for a sunburn.

Did I miss something? Have any funny tanning stories? Leave them in the comments.