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Two players, one with a level 4 tan.

During the summer the player can get a tan, which makes the player's skin color darker. In order to do this, the player must stand in the sun long enough (note that there must be a clear sky outside and it must be during daytime), the player's skin will go up through levels. There are five different levels, each one having a darker hue than the other. Tanning first appeared in Animal Crossing.

In New Leaf, the player will start to notice the tan right away, but the player can only achieve 1 level per day, unlike in City Folk and Wild World where the player can achieve a level 3 tan in one day.

Getting a Tan

The player can get a darker tan in the summer by standing in the sun for long enough (approximately 15 minutes in New Leaf). If a player has the darkest tan (Level 5), it will stay Level 5 and will not get any darker. But if they take a break and don't go into the sun, their tan will change into Level 4 and so on. A tan will disappear a little bit every day if the player hasn't been walking around in the sun each day. Also, a tan will begin to disappear on rainy or cloudy days.

The player can get a tan from July 16 to September 15. There must be a clear sky outside and it must be during daylight hours. In New Leaf, the player can get a tan anytime in the year, as long as they visit Tortimer Island in the morning. The only thing that stops a tan from appearing is an umbrella.

The second option for the player to get a tan is to use a Mii Mask. If the player uses a Mii Mask the player's face skin color (depending on what skin color the Mii Mask is) will change but not the player's arms or legs. (In the new update, Welcome Amiibo, the Mii Mask will also change the arms and legs to match.) The player can obtain one by paying 3,000 Bells for a makeover at Shampoodle. In City Folk the player can get a free mii mask from Shampoodle if they don't already have one. Every time the player changes the Mii from the Mii Channel/Mii Maker, the Mii's face changes so it is not necessary to use 3,000 bells on purchasing a new one.

A tip for knowing if the player is actually tanning is to make a plain pattern that is pale colored (Palette 10/16) and wear it as a shirt while the player stands in the sun (without an umbrella). As the player tans, they will start to notice that their character's skin becomes gradually darker than the shirt, becoming very noticeable after about 2 to 3 hours.

When getting a tan on New Leaf, it's best to wear clothing that can expose some of the arm and leg. Wearing a hat, facial adornment, long-sleeved top or dress can prevent the tan or make it take longer to appear. For best effect, the player should wear a short-sleeved top or a tank with a pair of shorts or a skirt. An alternative method is to wade in the ocean with a wetsuit on for about 15 minutes.

Tips and Warnings

Preventing a Tan

To prevent a tan, the player should go out with an umbrella, or stay inside. Drastic measures include time traveling or staying off the game for long periods of time. Hats will not stop tans from appearing in WW and CF, but in NL it has been proven wide-brimmed hats, such as a straw hat, will prevent tanning.

Animal Crossing CF 018

A player going outside with an umbrella. The umbrella will help the player remove the tan.

Removing the Tan

  • Take precautions. When going outside on sunny days, the player should use an umbrella or anything that will block out the sun completely.
  • Wait. Tans will fade after a while, and with some extra help, it should be gone in no time.
  • Stay in a building for long periods of times. Leaving the 3DS/Wii/DS on while the player is inside a building will help remove the tan.
  • Time traveling fifteen days will totally remove a level 5 tan and make the player a level zero tan.
  • Time traveling ten days will remove a level 4 tan and make the player a level zero tan.

Keeping the Tan

  • In the afternoon, 10 am - 4 pm is the best time for tanning.
  • If the player decides to leave their character outside, unattended for a tan, make sure to leave the gaming console on otherwise there will be no effect.
  • To get a tan in the town, it has to be between the 16th of July and the 15th of September.
  • The player should go outside as much as they can without an umbrella.

Levels of Tan


Different levels of tan on a color palette.

Shade Time (spent tanning) Result
TanColor1 0 days Tan1
TanColor2 1 day Tan2
TanColor3 2+ days Tan3
TanColor4 3+ days Tan3
TanColor5 4+ days Tan5
TanColor6 5+ days Tan6
Tanning in New Leaf- Levels 0-4
Tanning in New Leaf- Level 5 (Final)
Shades are slightly different in New Leaf.

NL: Player (left) - no tan Player (right) - lvl 5 tan

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