Everyone loves that perfectly sun-kissed skin. However, there is always a risk involved when you decide to expose your skin to the sun or tanning bed. So how long does it take to tan safely? Are there any tricks that will help you speed up the process? How can I reduce the risk?
All these questions are very important if you want to maintain your skin healthy while sunbathing. In this article, I will answer all these questions for you and hopefully prevent major skin burns and skin flaking off.
If you are ready, let’s start.
How Long Does It Take To Tan Outdoors?
Depending on your skin tone and the climate in which you are tanning, it can take from 15 minutes to a few hours to tan on a hot sunny day.
But be aware that if you do not wear any SPF and you are light-skinned, you will burn after 10 minutes, which is bad. This does not mean that darker-skinned people do not burn; they do but not so severely as light-skinned persons.
Skin color is a major indicator that will tell us if a person will burn or tan. The trick is to use darkening lotion with SPF to enhance the tanning process. Use the bronzing cream within the first 40 minutes of tanning, and after that time, top it out with sun lotion with SPF 50 and higher.
So this is the conclusion darker skin shades need 20 min to 1 hour on average to tan. The safest way to work on your tan is to sunbathe for 25 minutes and then take a cold shower and cool off the skin. After this, you are good to come back and have other intervals of sunbathing and showering.
Persons that have fair skin shades need at least 1 hour to get some tan. Just like dark skin persons, the safest way to sunbathe is to sunbathe and include shower breaks. Do not expose your skin to the sun longer than 15 minutes, and then have a shower. Repeat the process.
Keep in mind that you will usually not see a tan right away since the skin needs time to produce melanin. Overcome the desire to expose yourself to the sun for too long because it won’t help you tan more it will only damage your skin.
Can I Get A Tan While Resting In The Shade?
This is one of the most asked questions considering sunbathing. First, you need to remember that being in the shade does not mean you are protected from the harmful UV rays.
For this reason, always use a good sunscreen no matter if there is no direct contact with the sun. Luckily the answer to this question is yes; you will likely get some tan even in the shade.
Factors That Influence Tanning Time
Many factors will affect the length of time a person needs to tan. Some are related to each person individually, and others are tied to the climate you are tanning.
Here is the list of the most important factors that you need to keep in mind when tanning:
- If you didn’t know, sun rays are stronger at higher altitudes. This means you need to be careful since tanning and burning happen more quickly in these climates.
- People with dark skin tone will always tan faster since they have more melanin in their skin. When they expose their skin to the sun, they tan more because sun rays trigger melanocytes, a cell that produces melanin.
- Humid climates are great for tanning. The air in these climates has more moisture, keeping a tan from fading and speeding up the tanning process significantly.
- The time of the day and the angle of the sun also matter a lot. The closer your destination is to the equator, the stronger the sun is, so it means you have high chances to tan or burn.
- The more direct sun exposure without a break in the shade does not mean a better tan. On the contrary, it means sunburns and damaged skin.
- A sunscreen’s SPF influences how much you tan. The higher the SPF, the longer you can expose your skin to the sun until you start to burn. For instance, an SPF of 50 protects your skin 50 times more compared to when you do not wear any sun protection.
Useful Tips That Will Help You Tan Faster
It is crucial to learn how to tan faster. This way, you will reduce the time you need to spend in the sun, thereby protecting your skin and avoiding sun rays’ harmful effects. Many people think that when they get a base tan, they reduce sunburns and other skin damages. Well, this ain’t true!
Do not fall for falls advertise; tanning pills cannot give you the bronze tan or form a base tan. They won’t provide any sun protection!
You can do a few things to make your skin more sun-friendly and allow it to absorb the sun a lot better, resulting in faster tanning.
Here is the list:
- Always exfoliate your skin before tanning. This will prevent flaking off your tan.
- Drink plenty of water since water will enhance blood circulation. Dry skin can’t provide satisfying results.
- Warm-up your body. I’m serious. A heated body is more responsive.
- The right sun lotion is crucial. Make sure you use at least an ounce of SFP 30. This factor is low enough to allow you to tan but should offer enough protection and prevent burnings.
- Change positions in which you are frequently sunbathing to expose your skin to sun rays evenly. This will help you to prevent one part of your body from burning.
- Food rich in beta-carotene like carrots is great when you try to work on your tan. Beta-carotene naturally darkens the skin, so it will enhance the tanning results.
- Lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes and watermelon will help you fight harmful UV rays. But these should not replace SPF.
- If you want to achieve a great tan, you should expose your skin to the sun between noon and 5 PM since that is the time when UV rays are strongest. But we all know that this time of day is also the most dangerous and harmful for your skin, so use high SPF during this period, do not stay too long in the sun, and take frequent breaks in the shade.
Should I Work On My Tan In The Tanning Bed?
Tanning beds are harmful to your skin and should be avoided, period. Tanning beds expose your skin to high levels of UVA rays that are known to cause skin cancer. Just one short indoor tanning session of 10 minutes in this machine can increase melanoma’s risk by 20 percent! That is a risk I am not willing to take!
However, if you still want to work on your tan in a tanning bed, let’s make sure you do it the safest possible way.
How long you will need to work on your tan in the tanning bed depend on the quality of the tanning bed you use. Tanning beds have a maximum time to lie in them per session, which is from 5 to 20 minutes. Do not take more than one session per week!
Also, your tan will depend on your skin tone and genetics.
People with lighter skin tones will need several short sessions, while darker skin people can have longer sessions so they will see the first result quicker. In general, a 10-minute session for pale skin will show some results after the first session, but you should expect to see significant change after the third session.
If you only strike to achieve a light bronze skin tan, better consider getting a spray tan or using bronzing creams and lotions that include DHA than exposing your skin to the tanning bed.
How To Prepare For A Tanning Bed Session?
To improve your tanning bed sessions and make it safer, you should first get rid of dead skin, which hardly accepts the color. Exfoliate your skin with a body scrubber the night before your tanning session.
It is also crucial to remove all skin hair and apply the creams and lotions all over your body so your skin stays healthy and well hydrated. The best results will appear if you use tanning lotion 5 minutes before you enter the tanning bed.
What Are The Risks Of Tanning?
I can’t emphasize how tanning can cause major skin damage and serious health issues like skin cancer. Of course, I do not want to scare you off; I only want to make sure you are well aware of the risks, especially if you don’t wear sun protection. Even if you are wearing SPF, UV rays can still be harmful to your skin.
Here is the list of risks that are officially associated with tanning:
- Melanoma and other skin cancers
- Premature skin aging
- Eye damage
- Heat rash
- Immune system suppression
In A Nutshell
The time it takes to tan depends on your skin type and tone. The climate and how close to the equator you are, are also essential since the stronger sun will make you tan (and burn) way faster. I do not have the exact answer, but the average time you will need to spend on san to start tanning is at least an hour or two.
Any type of tanning has risks, and it can lead to skin cancer, so no matter which way you prefer to tan (naturally or in tanning beds), make sure to modify exposure time and take breaks so your skin can cool off and rest. Oh, and don’t forget to use sun lotion all the time; only hydrated skin is healthy skin.