Animal Crossing Wiki
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This page requires additional images for the following reason:
Reason: Image of a level 3 tan is inaccurate as it is from New Leaf, where shades are different. If an image of a level 3 tan from the first three games is found, please replace the picture we have now.

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. In earlier games, there are five different tan levels, with New Leaf and New Horizons having eight; 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.

In New Horizons, this feature was removed, and instead players can choose specific skin tones at any time of day at any occasion they want to. The mechanic was likely removed in order to make skin tones equally accessible for players with darker skin.

Getting a Tan[]

The player can tan if they wait (approximately 15 minutes in New Leaf) under a clear sky and without holding an umbrella during daytime, from July 16 to September 15, or on any date while visiting Animal Island or Tortimer Island. There are 5 levels of tan a player can have, which are achieved in timed intervals. If a player doesn't spend much time outside in the sun, their tan will begin to disappear, by one level at a time. Wearing a pale pattern (palette 10/16) as a shirt while tanning helps make it clear if the player is actually tanning, since the tan should begin to contrast with it more and more as time passes.

In New Leaf, wearing clothing that exposes some skin on the arms and legs helps achieve a tan. Additionally, wearing a hat, facial adornment, long-sleeved top or dress can prevent the tan or make it take longer to appear. An alternative method is to wade in the ocean with a wet suit on for about 15 minutes.

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 isn't necessary to use 3,000 bells on purchasing a new one.

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 won't 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.

Removing the Tan[]

Animal Crossing CF 018

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

NL Tan

Getting a level 8 tan in New Leaf takes eight days.