The Top Tanning Disasters & How to Stop Them Dead

tan mom Oh boy. Tanning disasters. We've all been there. Remember Tan Mom? Whatever our best intentions, we've all inadvertently bungled and either felt the burn in a big way or walked around looking like Streak-a-Saurus Rex. It's a tough line to walk. Do we savor the sun on our skins even if we've forgotten to SPF? Do we embrace our paleness and say damn to the beauty-man? Do we try every product on the market and get a low-risk glow that doesn't leave us looking like an oompa-loompa? 

Obviously, the most foolproof method of avoiding a sunburn is wearing an SPF. "At least 30," says Marla Attenborg, a New Jersey-based dermatologist. "Though," she adds, "I would go higher -- or avoid laying out altogether." Harsh words, but true. If you get a sunburn trying to perfect your tan, you aren't worrying about a little bit of discomfort. The dangers of melanoma are very real. 


If you'd rather not risk the ire of the sun (or the tanning bed), you might go the route of using a sunless tanner. There are countless versions out there -- towels, foams, and sprays. The biggest mistake people make with these is simply not reading the directions thoroughly. Always read the directions, ALWAYS exfoliate away dead skin before you use, and ALWAYS wash your hands with soap and water when you are done. 

Lest you feel too alone in your tanning disaster, we asked some members of our community to share with us their own tales of tanning woe. They'll have you reaching for the aloe and laughing all at the same time. Learn from each other, guys! 

Here's one way to ruin a vacation:

On our last day in Hawaii, I decided I wanted to take surfing lessons. I wore a long sleeve shirt and my bikini bottoms. I put on an SPF 75 and then went out for the next 4 hours and had a blast!  

Turns out -- I completely missed the BACKS of my legs with the sun block! I was SO burnt that I had blisters and was a deep purple color. It was awful. And oh dear God. Our flight left that night -- 6 1/2 hours back to Alaska. I wanted to die! 

I'm not quite sure ... how this is even possible!

Yes, when I was 16 I got burnt right under my boobs. I couldn't wear a bra for a week. Same thing just happened to my sister last week.

This is almost like a remake of Carrie. Almost. 

Yes! My sister told me about a tan in the can she bought. I was going to my first day on a job to sit in orientation. She sprayed me down a nice tan color. She didn't feel good so I told her I'll finish it up at home, I only needed help with the back. I never bothered reading the directions, how hard could it be. I have gotten spray tans before.

I got dressed up in a cream dress shirt and navy skirt. I was sitting in a room full of 50 people listening to the dos and don'ts and the company policy. I had washed my hands earlier and got my shirt wet. Right where the shirt was wet, the spray tan was bleeding through, a rusty orange color. I got up and immediately went to the bathroom to try and rinse it. It made it worse. It went from a penny-sized rusty stain to a stain the size of a man hole cover. My whole shirt got wet and the tan bled through my whole shirt. I walked back into the orientation and didn't make eye contact with anyone. My armpits and shirt front were bright orange stained. My sister never mentioned I needed to shower after the application.

Yeesh! Have you ever had any tanning disasters?


Image via Alex Liivet/Splash News

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