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Effets alimentation bronzage.

Healthy and Nutritious Foods for Tanning.

A tanned complexion depends not only on sun exposure or the application of self-tanning products. There is also said to exist a certain tan diet. Specific nutrient compounds are found in foods that help you tan. But what's the truth?

Published March 4, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 6 min read

Nutrients That Promote Tanning.

A bronzed skin doesn't just depend on sun exposure. There is also said to exist a certain tan diet. In fact, eating “tan foods”, rich in specific nutrients, is a natural way to optimize your sun-kissed complexion.

Nutrients for a tanned complexion.

The main allies of tanning are molecules belonging to the carotenoid family: beta-carotenes, alpha-carotenes, lycopenes and zeaxanthins. Biologically speaking, beta-carotene is converted into retinol, the active form of vitamin A, in the intestinal mucosa. The presence of retinol in the blood stimulates melanogenesis, the synthesis of melanin. The other carotenoids have not yet been shown to stimulate tanning. Nevertheless, like beta-carotenes, they all have antioxidant properties.

For your information, a self-tanning cure involving the daily intake of a capsule containing 7 mg beta-carotene lasts 100 days. We can therefore extrapolate and assume that you'll start to achieve a tanned complexion after consuming around 700 mg of beta-carotene.

It's also advisable to include copper-rich foods in your meals. This trace element is a co-factor of tyrosinase, the key enzyme in melanin production. If we look at the mechanism, tyrosinase is responsible for activating tyrosine, an amino acid, into melanin. For a luminous, tanned complexion, tyrosine consumption is also recommended.

Antioxidants to protect the skin.

For a beautiful, even tan, don't hesitate to fill up on antioxidants. By donating an electron, these molecules are able to neutralize the free radicals generated in excess by the body following prolonged exposure to the sun. Free radicals are unstable species that damage DNA, cells and proteins, and can cause skin disorders such as sunburn and hyperpigmentation. So, to avoid skin reddened by the sun, opt for a diet rich in vitamins A, C and E, polyphenols and trace elements such as zinc, copper, and selenium.

Foods with a high water content.

For a hydrated, tanned complexion, we recommend foods with a high water content. This reduces the risk of skin dryness caused by exposure to the sun. Dehydrated skin is more vulnerable to UV rays, and more likely to develop sunburn rather than a tan.

What Are the Specific Foods for Tanning?

Now that we've determined which elements promote a tanned complexion, we can turn our attention to the “tan foods” containing them. Most of these are listed in the table below, along with their content of the element of interest.

Fruits and vegetables.

In addition to its benefits for the body, a diet rich in tan vegetables and fruits helps to achieve bronzed skin. Carrots, tomatoes, peaches and mangoes, for example, are excellent sources of carotenoids. What's more, they're often bursting with water, helping to prevent skin dehydration. Other fruits include guavas and blackcurrants, which are high in vitamin C (surprisingly higher than citrus fruits). Finally, strawberries, lychees and grapes contain polyphenols.

Legumes and oilseeds.

Some oilseeds and legumes contain high levels of copper. Lentils, almonds, walnuts… Don't hesitate to include these foods that help you tan in your menu a few weeks before sun exposure, as they will help protect your skin.

Dairy products.

Dairy products such as cow's milk, butter and Parmesan-type cheeses are a valuable source of tyrosine, the amino acid precursor to melanogenesis. Their consumption is therefore recommended when pursuing a tan diet.


As well as being a source of protein, eggs contain tyrosine and zinc. Therefore, as one of the tan foods, they have a dual action: protecting the skin and stimulating tanning.

Certain seafood and meat products.

Zinc is also found in oysters and certain red meats such as liver. These foods are also considered to be protecting the skin from UV rays.

Carrot15 mg carotenoids (including 10 mg beta-carotenes)
Medium tomato3.6 mg carotenoids
Strawberry 26.4 mg polyphenols
Guava220 mg vitamin C
Orange70 mg vitamin C
Almonds (100 g) 1.07 mg copper
Hazelnuts (100 g)1.57 mg copper
Parmesan (100 g)2.34 g tyrosine
Eggs1.58 g tyrosine
Oyster20 mg zinc


  • LANERI S. & al. Nutricosmetics: A brief review. Phytotherapy Research (2019).

  • HEVERTS H. & al. Vitamin A in skin and hair: an update. Nutrients (2022).


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