Which is the best tan accelerator for outdoor tanning? Can you use indoor tanning lotion outside?
How do you use tan accelerator with sunscreen?
We’re going to answer those questions and more in the reviews below.
Let’s start with a little background information about suntan accelerators.
How can I speed up my outdoor tanning?
You can tan more rapidly outdoors with tanning lotion. The trick is keeping your skin hydrated and making it easier for it to create pigment.
The pigment in the skin is called melanin. It appears as a defense against UV radiation (1). Melanin makes the skin darker to protect it against burning.
Both indoor and outdoor tanning lotions contain accelerators like the amino acid l-tyrosine, which stimulates melanin production. Some tanning intensifiers contain melanin, too.
To get the best results possible while tanning outdoors, try these tips:
- Get in the habit of exfoliating dry skin and wearing moisturizer. Hydrated skin bronzes easier. But don’t exfoliate the day you tan to avoid sensitizing the skin.
- Lay out before 11 AM or after 4 PM. Avoid developing a base tan during the hours of 11 to 4 PM. The UV radiation is strongest at that time, and you’re likely to burn.
- If you decide to soak up the sun during the hottest part of the day, keep it brief. Don’t stay out for more than 15 minutes unless you have a naturally dark skin tone or wear sunscreen. The tanning accelerator will give you sunburn. Unfortunately, sunburn doesn’t lead to a tan (2).
- Keep your exposure brief because there’s a point where your body will stop creating melanin.
- Use sunscreen in combination with a tanning accelerator to avoid burning.
- Remember to roll over or change positions to ensure even coverage. Take into account reflection off surfaces like the water.
- Increase the number of carrots, kale, and sweet potatoes in your diet. These all contain beta carotene, which helps develop a suntan.
Take it slow, be patient, and you will bronze. You can always look darker if you use a tanning lotion with bronzer. Cosmetic bronzers will give you a golden glow right out of the bottle. Then, natural bronzers like DHA will deepen your color while your tan develops.
Best Tan Accelerator for Outdoor Tanning in 2023
Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator
Australian Gold is an American company that specializes in tanning products and sunscreen. They use ingredients harvested from down under like kakadu plum and tea tree oil.
This tanning accelerator allows you to develop natural color all on your own. It has no bronzers in it.
It contains antioxidants like vitamins A and E to prevent premature aging caused by sun damage. It also has natural oils to keep the skin comfortable and moisturized.
The fragrance is their signature scent called Cocoa Dreams. It smells like an orange creamsicle with a little coconut.
Reviewers say this tanning accelerator has helped them enjoy a natural tan faster than they can achieve independently of lotion. Most see results after the first application.
Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator with Bronzer
If you use a tanning accelerator with bronzer, it deepens your color more than sun exposure alone. Although you must be careful to apply it evenly to prevent streaking, it shouldn’t turn you orange. Instead, it will disguise that pale winter skin and make your swimsuit-ready.
It has the classic Cocoa Dreams scent as well as plenty of moisturizers and vitamins.
Australian Gold Bronzing Intensifier Dry Oil Spray
If you like the shimmer of well-oiled skin, you might enjoy this bronzing oil. It intensifies the sun’s rays to speed up outdoor tanning.
It’s based on natural carrot and walnut oils. Walnut and caramel provide a sun-kissed glow as soon as you apply it. Then, carrot and tea tree oil will maximize every moment in the sunshine.
It will keep skin soft and supple with aloe and banana, too. The fragrance is Cocoa Dreams, a blend of vanilla, orange, and coconut.
Australian Gold Gelee Dark Tanning Accelerator
If you prefer lotion that doesn’t leave you greasy, try this gel tanning accelerator. It has no mineral oil and no bronzer. It absorbs quickly while it moisturizes with hemp seed.
It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor tanning. If you use it in a tanning bed, the Cocoa Dreams aroma prevents the burned odor afterward.
Sun Bum Browning Lotion
What is browning lotion? It depends on the brand, but typically it contains cosmetic bronzer.
In this case, it has coffee extract and caramel for instant color. Although the bronze will wash off in the water, it will make you look like a sun god at first. It also smells lovely, like tropical coffee.
In the meantime, it hydrates with argan, marula, and coconut oil. Carrot seed oil works behind the scenes to speed up melanin production and get you dark quickly.
On the downside, be sure to let the lotion absorb completely before dressing or lying down on the towel. Otherwise, it may stain.
Maui Babe Browning Lotion
Maui Babe makes one of the original browning lotions in Hawaii. It’s based on light mineral oil, so it’s not appropriate for indoor tanning. (However, there is a version with sunflower oil for tanning beds).
Fair-skinned tourists who discovered this gem found that it deepens their tan in record time. For safety’s sake, they recommend applying sunscreen first, then the browning lotion. Otherwise, it works so well it’s likely to give you a nasty sunburn.
The instant bronzing comes from Kona coffee plant extract and potassium iodide. Then, the rich skin conditioning is provided by Kukui nut oil, aloe, and antioxidants.
One reviewer commented that it comes out thick, smells like coffee, and melts into the skin.
Maui Island Secret Browning Formula
This product is labeled as a “browning lotion,” but it has no bronzer or stain in it. Some prefer it because it won’t stain their swimsuit or towel. It’s also not greasy or sticky once it absorbs.
It’s based on Kukui and macadamia nut oils, Maui coffee bean extract, green tea, and aloe. These are rich in nutrients and moisturizers that keep the skin healthy. Wear it when you walk along the beach to soak up the sun.
The Fox Tan Originals Pack | Natural Tanning Lotion & Accelerator
If you know ahead of time when you plan to tan, this kit will help you make the most of every moment. It contains elixir to prepare the skin and mist to maximize the tan. It was developed by an Australian company in Melbourne, where bright sunshine is an everyday bonus.
The elixir acts as a daily moisturizer. It kickstarts melanin production to help you get a base tan ahead of time. It relies on delicious natural ingredients like aloe, almond oil, and cocoa butter.
Then, on the day that you tan, apply a generous dose of the mist. It’s the tanning intensifier.
To protect pale skin, apply sunscreen, then the mist.
Ocean Potion Dark Tanning Intensifier Lotion
This drugstore tanning accelerator is appropriate for outdoor use and tanning beds, too. It’s a lot less expensive than many options on the market.
It features tea tree oil, aloe, and vitamins to maximize the sun’s effects and minimize the damage.
I’ve heard the scent compared to Fruity Pebbles.
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
One of the best-selling tanning lotions of all time is Coconut Kisses. It offers several crucial benefits for tanning enthusiasts. Feel free to use it indoors or outside.
First, it increases melanin with the Quad Tyrosine Blend, Nouritan, and Melano Bronze. It does not contain bronzers. Therefore, the tan you develop is all your own.
Next, it protects tattoos and keeps them vibrant. Part of the magic here comes from the rich moisturizers like coconut milk and cocoa butter. These ingredients help give it the delicious coconut fragrance.
Finally, it has the trademarked Body Fit formula that makes cellulite fade while it firms the skin.
Ed Hardy #Beachtime
Here’s another tan accelerator without bronzer. People with tattoos sometimes avoid bronzer because it can make their ink look muddy.
Beachtime is enriched with hibiscus, passionfruit, and coconut oil to darken the skin naturally. It uses seaweed and vitamins to improve elasticity and texture.
It also defends tattoos against fading.
Tanovations SUN DAY FUN DAY Indoor/Outdoor Tanning Cocktail
Why not get a tanning lotion that you can use indoors or outside, depending on your mood? This one has dark tanning activators that increase melanin in the skin to get you dark ASAP.
It has an appealing creamy texture that melts into the skin like butter. In fact, it’s based on cocoa and shea butter, plus coconut oil, yet it’s not greasy.
The subtle scent is tropical coconut.
Devoted Creations #TANLIFE Tanning Butter
If you have sensitive skin, check out this tan accelerator with a hypoallergenic formula. It avoids harsh ingredients in favor of shea butter and nutrients.
It has no bronzer, but it’s packed with anti-aging benefits. It contains proven ingredients that smooth wrinkles like Advanced Matrixyl Synthe 6 and Body Fit.
Moreover, it keeps tattoo ink bright while it prevents the after-tanning odor.
Somewhere on a Beach, Indoor Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion
If you would like to look like you have a base tan already, try this tan accelerator with bronzer. It doesn’t contain DHA, so it doesn’t have that self-tanner odor. In fact, the aroma is called Tropical Tantini.
While it nourishes the skin with coconut and walnut oil, it also reduces fine lines with Advanced Matrixyl Synthe 6.
Why all the fuss about tanning lotions taking care of wrinkles and lines? UV radiation breaks down collagen and elastin, which leads to premature aging. Antioxidants and moisturizers help counteract that consequence.
Pro Tan Radically Hemp 10X Tanning Gelee Accelerator
Pro Tan has been making tanning products for bodybuilders and models since 1987. They tend to be less expensive than the competition and worth your attention if you’re on a budget.
They use a proven tan accelerator called Unipertan in many of their lotions. It’s no wonder that professionals turn to this company when they need to have a perfect golden glow.
This tan accelerator smells like sweet almond and has a gel-like texture. It’s fortified with vitamins and exotic botanicals to keep the skin healthy and soft.
Furthermore, the 10X formula is ideal for building a base tan and for those with light skin tones.
Fiesta Sun Coconut Dream Ultra Dark Tanning with Clear Bronzers
Here’s a lotion with clear bronzers, but what does that even mean? I wish I could tell you, but I was unable to get a list of ingredients.
I suspect it contains DHA, which is the primary bronzer in sunless tanning products. It will take anywhere from an hour to a day to darken the skin.
Excellent moisturizers like Monoi de Tahiti, coconut oil, and aloe keep the color going up to seven days after you tan. Not surprisingly, it has a Coconut Dreams scent.
Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, SPF 6
It’s still smart for those with medium and dark skin tones to use sunscreen when tanning outdoors. It won’t cancel out the tanning accelerator. Even SPF 50 sunscreen lets some UV rays through.
With sunscreen like this one, you get the best of both worlds. It’s also a tanning oil (and it is somewhat oily).
It filters out some of the harmful UVB and UVA rays that damage the skin. Meanwhile, it seals in moisture and provides a dose of antioxidants.
Australian Gold Spray Gel Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer SPF 15
Higher SPF allows you to stay out longer in the sun. It filters out most damaging radiation. But ask anyone who wears it and works outdoors. They’ll tell you that you will still tan, just not as fast. You’ll also avoid burning.
This spray is quick to apply, plus it provides immediate color with caramel bronzer. Just be sure to wipe your hands after rubbing it in. Happily, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
You’ll get the fastest bronze you ever had with tan accelerator. Even those with pale skin get results from using it.
Remember that tanning outdoors can have unpredictable effects. Prevent sunburn by wearing sunscreen and tanning lotion. Then, you can enjoy the sunshine longer.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345932/ A Review of Common Tanning Methods by Michael Garone, Jr., et al., published February 2015 in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, accessed October 26, 2020
2. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-tan-faster by Grace Gallagher, published on January 2, 2020, accessed October 26, 2020