I'm your typical pale, pasty Englishman. When I worked in the USA about five years ago over time I developed a nice, even tan and looking back at pictures it was fantastic how glowing I looked. It sounds vain, but having a decent tan made me feel better about myself in general, as it also totally nuked my acne.

Now an opportunity has arisen where I'm on active duty in Afghanistan (where Sun is in no short supply as I'm sure you can imagine) and have about four months left of my tour. When I'm not doing the stuff one does in a warzone (patrols etc) I will have plenty of time to exercise and relax in the Sun.

However, due to my pale complexion sunburn is a very real risk, can affect operation effectiveness and ultimately can get me charged for negligence, so I don't want to turn into a lobster via overdoing it. I generally use SPF factor 20 but step it up to 30 or 50 when out on ops (can't risk it). I used tanning oil on holiday in Mexico and it worked a treat, but again there are fears of overdoing it. 

My nose is the main problem, while my forearms can turn brown in a matter of hours my nose turns red in minutes and then begins to peel painfully, no matter how much I moisturise it.

Do any others here who aren't blessed with natural olive skin tone have tips for gaining a tan and maintaining it over the next few months? Are there any products I should use or avoid?

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Screw the tan. Apply sunscreen and apply it often. Skin cancer is not worth the healthy tan nor is premature ageing of your skin.

Actually, new studies show the health benefits of sun exposure may outweigh the risk of skin cancer. As with everything, the key is not to over indulge.

We need sunlight. Contrary to pop science, diet has more to do with skin cancer than sunlight.

you should have been born mexican like me. haha jk it is an urban legend that one you get a tan to "moisturize" often so the shit doesn't just turn into dry skin and flake off. good luck staying dark man and thank you for your service 

Do any others here who aren't blessed with natural olive skin tone have tips for gaining a tan and maintaining it over the next few months?

Gaining a tan - self-tanner

Maintaining it - apply at least every few days

Are there any products I should use or avoid?

Use - Sunscreen, as recommended, which is actually about once every 2 hours; at least SPF 30; a consensus is forming that the titanium and zinc oxide sunscreens are better than the ones ending in -benzone. If you buy a product sold in the States, it's required by law to list the ingredients.

Avoid - SPFs lower than 15, tanning oils

These are the self-tanners for face that the women's magazines recommend most often:

Wow thanks!

Is 'self tanner' something that dyes the skin or does it just promote the tanning process?

It's a dye. The natural tanning process promotes cancer and aging. It's really not good for you. The dyes are considered safe. There are issues with the look of the "tan" and the smell of the products. Start by buying as little as possible until you're sure the brand works for you, and test it in an area your buddies don't often see (as in, not your face). For a convincing "tan," carefully follow the directions about washing and drying your face before applying the dye, etc.

Awesome, thank you very much. I'll order several to try out.

Tanning the manly way = working on your lawn and spending time outdoors.  Anything else is foppery.

You may have missed the part about him being in her Majestys' Military and serving in the middle east. 

Do you assert that there are no fops in the military?  Besides, serving in the middle east should provide ample opportunities to get lots of sunshine.


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