When gearing up for some fun in the sun, it is important to protect your skin. Skin protection often involves getting a base tan before going outside to get a deeper tan.

Josh Casey, who works at Amazon Tan in Denison, said that tanning before a vacation is very important for everyone, including those that already have melanin-rich skin.

“About 40 percent of the people that come here tan all year round,” he says of the customers he sees at Amazon Tan. “But, during the spring, summer and fall seasons, we have a lot of people that come in trying to prepare for prom, vacations and weddings.”

When traveling to other countries, Casey says sun rays can be more powerful. And so, it is really important to be prepared.

“For those with skin tones that already have a lot of melanin in it, tanning can help with vitamin D and mood,” he explains. “We have research that says that people are less happy during the winter months because they are spending less time outdoors getting natural vitamin D. Tanning can help with that.”

And for those that have already hit their color plateau, spray tanning can help the tan become even more bronze.

“It boosts the color,” he says. “So when you are somewhere like Italy or Rome, you can make sure that you do not burn and do not dry out your skin.” 

Here are some tips for acquiring a tan before a big or small vacation:

1. Plan ahead

“Tan for seven consecutive days in a red bed,” Casey says. “This can help influence the melanin counts in your skin. This will help get the tan started, as well as keep your skin from burning in the future.”

2. Bronzer can work on top of a tan

“Using a bronzer after getting a base tan can help you keep the color that you are going for because tans do fade over time,” Casey says.

3. Hitting the color plateau is not the end

“After you get your base tan, I recommend that even people with the palest skin tones use the step one lotion,” Casey says. “This protects the third layer of skin. It has sunscreen in it and the likelihood of burning while using it is lessened than without using it.”

4. Spray tans are not good for all vacations

“If you are going to be getting in salt water, then a spray tan will not work,” Casey says. “It will be scrubbed off by the salt. So if you are going to a beach, I recommend using a tanning bed and if you are vacationing somewhere where you are not planning on getting in salt water, go with the spray tan on top of the base tan.”

One month of tanning at Amazon Tan costs $40 and includes access to all the beds in the salon. Three months at Amazon Tan costs $108.

“Some people even come for a month straight and then suspend their subscription until they get back from vacation,” Casey says. “That way they can continue or keep up their tan throughout the year.