Let the Sunshine In: More Tanning Advertising from the 1960s-1980s

16 Magazine - August 1985

16 Magazine – August 1985

A few years back, we brought you a cornucopia of tanning adverts from yesteryear.  Well, here’s another supply of products for life under the sun (or sun lamp).  Our concept of what level of melanin is considered beautiful, whether it’s lily white to leathery brown, certainly changes over the years.  What hasn’t changed is advertisements selling us stuff to get that skin hue “just right” for the times. Let’s have a look at some interesting examples from around the world from decades past…

1976 coppertone and tanning bed advert

(L) 1976 Coppertone ad, (R) an apparatus that will give you cancer, but it’s worth it because it’ll make your friends jealous

17 Magazine 1982

From a 1982 issue of Seventeen Magazine

141_Woman's Day magazine

From a 1981 issue of Woman’s Day magazine


Swedish Tanning Secret ad from 1972

1976 tanning lamp

1976 tanning lamp advertisement from Spain


The Philips Sunpanel from 1981.


Hawaiian Tropic ad from 1985 featuring Teresa Blake from Alabama, U.S. Grand Finalist in the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Pageant.


Hawaiian Tropic ad from 1987 featuring Katrina Ray, finalist in the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Pageant.

House & Garden (Nov 1973) (12)

Sperti Sunlamps advertisement from the November 1973 issue of House & Garden magazine.

solarcaine vintage ad

Ouch! That’s one helluva sunburn.  This may be out of Solarcaine’s league; I think this may require a trip to the ER.

philips sunlamp ad

More UV blasters from Philips.

Ladies Home Journal June 1963_ladiesthings_2

Ladies Home Journal 1963 – featuring stars from the Sinatra flick, Come Blow Your Horn.

Les Produits Ambre Solaire 1969

Two-page Ambre Solaire ad from 1969

solarcaine ad vintage

From Parade Magazine (a US newspaper insert) from May 27, 1973.  Again, that is one godawful burn.  Seek medical attention immediately.

sudden tan advert

It’s been several decades since this advertisement in Redbook, and insta-tans still look fake (as evidenced by our orange president).

Playboy FRG-May 1981_0193_result

From a 1981 German edition of Playboy

Publicité Advertising 1970 Cosmétique crème Solaire Skol

A couple French advertisements from 1970

Publicité advertising 1970 Cosmétique Crème Solaire Vichy

tan catalog page

Sun lamps from a catalog

bergasol suntan advert

Bergasol water-resistant suntan oil

tan advertising vintage

What a difference a couple decades can make! What skin tone looked beautiful in 1983 (L) is a far cry from twenty years prior (R).

delial sun tan advert

And finally, some interesting sun tan ads from Yugoslavia…

balkan vintage advert sun tan

croatian vintage ad

You wouldn’t think there would have been much of a suntan market in the former Yugoslavia, but these ads prove otherwise.

balkan sun tan advert yugoslavia

yugoslav sun tan advert

And we’ll end with some tanning humor from Dave Berg’s “Lighter Side” strip from a 1970s MAD Magazine.  Cheers!

Mad Magazine tan humor

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