Tanning outdoors can be an extremely relaxing pastime and many people love the way that their skin looks when it has been tanned a golden bronze.
It is also the ideal way in which to get in some Vitamin D which has various health benefits.
The problem, however, is that while being in the sun for a moderate amount of time can have many pros, there are also many cons associated with outdoor tanning.
This is especially true if a person exposes themselves to UV rays from the sun frequently.
Too much UV exposure can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
In this article, we will discover the benefits of spending time outdoors in the sun as well as the risks and what precautions should be taken to tan responsibly.
Outdoor Tanning: The Risks
There has always been significant evidence to back up the fact that prolonged outdoor tanning does come with risk.
This is especially true if you have a fair skin tone.
People with fair skin tones should ideally keep their time in the sun to a minimum and always protect themselves with sunblock to prevent sunburn.
It is important to bear in mind that even if you have a darker skin tone that it does not mean that you are safe from the UV rays causing wrinkles and premature aging.
In short, no matter what kind of skin a person has, some form of sunblock is essential to prevent sunburn, melanoma, and other skin disorders.
Precautions that should be taken when tanning outdoors:
There are many ways in which to protect yourself from the wrath of the sun’s UV rays.
One of the most important things is to bathe in the sun for short periods, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
How to protect from sunburn whilst sun tanning:
- Keep your time in the sun to a minimum and seek shade periodically.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Do not fall asleep under the sun.
- Always use eye protection such as sunglasses.
- Do not drink alcohol as this can dehydrate the body.
- Reapply sunscreen at regular intervals
- The Benefits of Outdoor UV Tanning
While many doctors and other associations strongly advise against spending time in the sun, there are several benefits to outdoor tanning.
In recent years there has been a lot of controversy around tanning outdoors and research has been revised many times over to try and determine just how dangerous the sun’s UV rays can be to human skin.
While it can be argued that UV rays may cause a higher risk of skin cancer, research has shown that in some cases those who have more sun exposure are less at risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, and high blood pressure.
Due to this controversy, a lot of countries have started to slightly change their recommendations when it comes to UV exposure.
Watch How To Use Sunlight As Medicine For Your Body to find out some of the benefits of tanning outdoors.
The Best of Both Worlds: Tips on Tanning Safely
While sunbathing may not be for everyone, there are still many people who would like to achieve a naturally glowing tan by soaking up the UV rays of the sun.
Here are some ways in which to make sure that you can tan safely and effectively.
Always Check For The Days UV Index
In some cases, you know that you are going to be outside in the sun for an extended period, especially if you are spending a day at the beach or the pool.
If you have a day outdoors planned, then it is always a good idea to check the UV index of the area that you are going to be in.
If you find that the UV index for the day is going to be above 3 then sunscreen should be worn.
Following the guidelines as set out by the UV index of the day will empower you to know when enough is enough as well as when it is time to put on some more sunscreen.
Don’t Be Scared Just Be Prepared
As has already been stated, those with fair skin should only tan outside when the UV rays are at their mildest.
Going outside in the morning or late afternoon before and after the peak UV index times is the best way to start tanning your skin especially if a person is relatively new to outdoor tanning.
Doing this increases the chances of developing a gradual base tan without causing sunburn or skin damage.
To build a base tan it is advised that when tanning a person should tan for about 20 minutes on each side of the body if they have fair skin.
For those with darker skin, no more than 30 minutes is recommended.
When the UV index starts to rise above 3 then a broad-spectrum sunblock should be used if tanning is to continue.
Always remember that even if a broad spectrum subblock is used, a person is still able to obtain a tan safely and effectively.
Work with Your Skin Tone
The body created a substance called melanin to protect the deepest layers of skin from any skin damage.
The problem is that every person is different and people with lighter-toned skin will find themselves burning faster than those with darker-toned skin.
The reason for this is that people who have fair skin, hair, and eyes produce less melanin than their darker-toned counterparts.
Producing less melanin means that the skin will burn quicker when it is exposed to UV rays.
In comparison, people who have a naturally darker skin tone produce more melanin which naturally will give them more protection from the sun.
These people can spend more time in the sun without getting a sunburn, but this does not mean that they can evade the risk of the sun damaging their skin and skin cancer.
There has been some research to show that a few countries have started to make different recommendations when it comes to UV exposure depending on a person’s skin tone.
Where Are You Going To be Tanning?
There is a difference between tanning in the back garden amongst the rose bushes or tanning next to the pool or on the beach.
The reason for this is because tanning near water, especially when at the beach the sea and sand are extremely reflective and can nearly double the number of UV rays penetrating the skin.
If this is the case, then the best solution is to double up on the sunscreen to prevent the day from ending up with a nasty sunburn.
Bearing in mind that the UV index levels are lower in the early morning and late afternoon, there have been a few countries that have said that it may be safe to go outdoors during these times without sunscreen.
The reason is that when the UV index is 3 or below it is the perfect time to get in some Vitamin D without running the risk of sunburn.
This being said, it is important to remember that sunscreen should always be used during peak hours.
How Much Sunscreen Should Be Used At A Time?
This can easily be measured by teaspoons. The consensus is to use one teaspoon of sunscreen per body part.
For example, use one teaspoon of sunscreen for a leg and one spoon of sunscreen for an arm.
The same would go for the face and the neck as well as the torso and back.
Bear in mind that putting on too little sunscreen can cause sunburn and skin damage.
Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen is just one of the many sunscreens that can be used to protect the skin while allowing it to tan at the same time.
This lightweight sunscreen will not make the skin greasy and is filled with Vitamin E to protect the skin whilst tanning.
Bronzers and Tanning Lotions
Bronzers and tanners can be used to help accelerate the tan.
Although these products are not as essential as sunscreen, they can help a person to develop a tan quicker than if they were using only sunscreen.
If the UV index is over 3 then bronzers and tanners must be worn together with sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin damage.
This tanning lotion contains sesame oil, walnut extract, and tamanu oil, all of which contribute to tan acceleration when the skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun.
This lightweight lotion is perfect to use together with sunscreen.
It is also affordable, making it one of the most popular tanning lotions on the market.
Make Sure to Pack Extra Clothing for Protection
Packing some extra clothing for a trip to the pool or beach is essential.
Protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt or even a sundress can provide some relief when the sun is at its harshest.
These clothing items can be brought along in a bag as extra protection should it be needed so it is better to be prepared and pack them into the beach bag.
Interestingly enough, clothing provides a UPF rating of 5 and can be helpful, especially when tanning in the morning or late afternoon without sunblock.
Don’t Forget About The Lips
Lip protection should not be forgotten when it comes to outside tanning.
Sunburned lips can be painful and when they start to peel can look extremely unattractive.
On the other hand, many people may not fancy the idea of putting sunscreen on their lips.
Luckily, there are plenty of SPF lip products on the market.
Neutrogena SPF Lip balm is the perfect way to protect your lips from UV sun rays while at the same time caring for dry chapped lips.
This wonderful lip balm can be applied for protection as well as relief after a day of sunbathing.
Change Positions Often
For safety as well as cosmetic reasons, it is best to tan with the body parallel to the sun’s rays and change positions often.
This will help the skin to tan evenly.
A good idea is to follow the sun as it starts to move across the sky and place towels or chairs in the direction of the sun’s rays.
Face and Eye Protection
Protecting the eyes and the face during a tanning session is probably the most important precaution that has to be taken and cannot be overemphasized enough.
Here is how to protect the face and eyes when tanning outdoors:
Sunglasses are the best protection for the eyes when tanning outdoors.
The only problem is that sometimes wearing sunglasses throughout the entire day in the sun it is very easy to get a sunglass tan.
This can be overcome by periodically taking off the sunglasses and closing the eyes for a few minutes at a time before putting the sunglasses back on.
Make sure to keep your eyes closed when the sunglasses are off.
Hats are a wonderful way to protect the face from the UV rays of the sun.
A wide-brimmed hat is always the best option as it protects the whole face from the sun.
Try to find a good tanning spot that has a mixture of both sun and some shade nearby.
When going to the beach take an umbrella or beach shelter along to have easy access to some shade if needed.
Staying hydrated while tanning is extremely important, and a lot of water should be consumed during the outdoor tanning process.
Sweating in the hot sun will cause a significant loss of water through the skin.
This needs to be replenished to keep the skin healthy and prevent any dizziness or dehydration when tanning.
Remember that drinking alcohol does not replace water and causes more dehydration.
This being said, especially if the tanning session is taking place at a holiday resort, alcoholic beverages can still be consumed as long as a large amount of water is being consumed at the same time.
Periodically Cool Yourself Down in The Shade or The Water
If a tanning accelerator or bronzer has been used while tanning, then it is a good idea to keep the skin dry and resist any temptation to cool off in the pool.
The reason for this is that tanning accelerators should be kept on the skin for a few hours before they are rinsed off.
Tanning accelerators and bronzers stay active for a few hours after a tanning session, so it is good practice to keep away from water for a few hours before rinsing the product off the skin.
If, however, it is getting too hot for comfort then find a shady spot and cool off for a while before resuming the tanning session.
If you are just wearing sunscreen then jumping into the pool at any given time to cool down will not affect your tan.
Just remember to put on some more sunscreen after every swim.
Always Re-Apply Your Sunscreen
If a day of tanning includes swimming and getting wet, then it is essential to reapply sunscreen.
Remember that even though a sunscreen says it is waterproof it should still be reapplied every few hours especially after cooling off in the pool.
The reason for this is that most times after a person has been in the water, they will dry themselves off with a towel.
By doing this, they are removing all traces of sunscreen that has been put on to protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun.
Exfoliate When You Get Home
At the end of the day, it is time to go home and exfoliate the skin using a good-quality exfoliator.
Exfoliating the skin helps to get rid of dead skin cells and improves the health and tone of the skin after tanning.
Bliss Exfoliator can be found on Amazon and is a wonderful product to use after being in the sun.
It uses the process of gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells.
Bliss Exfoliator also hydrates the skin and deep cleans it and is free from sulfates and parabens.
Moisturize Your Skin
Exfoliation is always followed by moisturizing. Moisturizer helps to soothe the skin as well as set the tan that you received.
Remember to reapply often to keep the skin hydrated and ready for your next stint in the sun.
Hawaiian Tropic Lime Body Lotion from Amazon is a hydrating rich and creamy lotion that will help to replenish the moisture lost by the skin during tanning.
This product smells beautifully tropical and can be used every day whether you are in the sun or not.
Go for Regular Check-Ups With A Dermatologist
If you are a regular sunbather, then it is important to get your skin checked regularly by a dermatologist to make sure that your skin stays healthy and cancer-free.
How to Tan Faster Without Spending Hours in the Sun
The ideal way to tan is to make sure that your tan faster whilst spending less time in the sun.
There are many ways in which to obtain a tan quicker than normal without spending hours and hours under the sun’s UV rays.
Here are a few ways in which to get a tan quickly and avoid long stints of sun exposure:
1. Use an SPF 30 Sunscreen or Higher
This is non-negotiable if you are committed to tanning safely.
A broad-spectrum UV sunscreen of at least 30 SPF should be worn at all times.
It is important to note that you are still able to achieve a beautiful tan when using an SPF of 30.
This will block any harmful UVA and UVB rays but still allow your skin to tan.
2. Use Natural Oils Together With Sunscreen
Using natural oils such as carrot oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil can add extra protection and hydration to the skin when tanning.
Remember though, that these are not a substitute for sunscreen and should be used in conjunction with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
3. Eat Foods Rich In Beta Carotene and Lycopene
Many foods contain beta carotene. Beta carotene has been found to reduce sun sensitivity.
This substance can be found in foods such as carrots, kale, and sweet potatoes.
Lycopene can also be consumed in foods such as tomatoes and watermelon and bears testament to help naturally protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun.
4. Stick to the Melanin Cut off Point
Everybody has a Melanin cut-off point. Melanin is the pigment found in the skin that causes it to tan.
Usually, the melanin production cut-off point happens after about 3 hours and if you continue to tan past this point then the chances are that you are going to cause damage to your skin.
5. Choose the Best Times To Tan
Alright, so you have your heart set on tanning quickly.
If this is the case, then the best times to tan are between midday and 4 pm. This is when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
Bear in mind, however, that if you are tanning during these times the strength of the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn and skin damage so a good sunscreen should be used at all times.
You should also take regular breaks and seek some shade if you start to feel that you may be burning.
Those who have fair skin should forget this idea altogether and stick to tanning in the morning and after 3 pm to avoid bad sunburn and an increased chance of skin cancer.
6. Preparation is Important
Preparing the skin before tanning outdoors can help to keep your tan for longer.
It is good practice to exfoliate the skin before setting off on a whole day tanning expedition as this will make the chance of the skin peeling substantially less.
Once you have been in the sun a cooling aloe vera gel can also help to rejuvenate the skin and make your tan last much longer.