As soon as the sun rears its head, we all flock to the beach and try to soak it up. There’s nothing better than feeling the sand in your toes and the sun on your skin, or going for a dip in the pool when the weather is glorious.
If you’re anything like us, then you love to get a bronzed look during the summer, and tanning is an important part of your summer routine. However, the sun’s UV rays can be very strong, and you will want to ensure that you are always tanning well, but in a way that is safe for your skin.
A natural tan is always better than artificial, but it can be hard to do it right. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there with those red marks and tanlines…it’s not a good look!
Your skin can burn so easily and so quickly when the sun is at its hottest, so it is vital that you protect your skin, and know exactly when the best time to tan is.
When is the Best Time of Day to Tan?
The best time of the day to tan is always in the morning hours as this is when the sun’s rays are at their weakest. This is even more important to remember if you have lighter skin, as this type of skin will burn or damage the quickest.
If you want to build up a tan, you will have to start with a regular, short burst of exposure to build up a base tan, and restrict the chances of burning or damaging your skin. This is best done in the morning, where the sun’s UV rays are weaker, and so it will be a little more sensitive on your skin.
That being said, you should still always wear sunscreen, even if you think the weather is not that hot or sunny, as improper skin care can lead to skin cancer or long lasting skin damage.
Related: How to get a tan faster?
Risks of Tanning
There are so many risks when it comes to tanning, so it is vital that you know how to protect yourself from the sun. We know that you’re probably fed up of being told to cover everything up and sit in the shade, which just is not practical.
You do not have to shy away from the sun, but you should take the necessary precautions to protect your skin.
Without protection, and with too much exposure to UVA rays from the sun, you can damage the DNA in your skin cells beyond repair, which can potentially lead to skin cancer in the future.
In addition, you and your skin can become dehydrated at a dangerous level, or you can develop heat rash and a sunburn. If your skin is damaged by the sun, you can also develop premature skin ageing, which can cause your skin to wrinkle, lose elasticity and develop dark spots in many areas.
Some people also forget to cover areas of their skin that can catch sunburn really easily, these include the ears, and the eyelids- which can lead to eye damage if not protected from the sun’s UV rays.
In the worst cases of sunburn, you may experience deep, itching pains called hell’s itch. This is a persisting skin condition that can cause pain for days until your skin has fully healed from sun damage.
To ensure that you are fully away of the best practises when it comes to protecting your skin, take a look at The Skin Cancer Foundation for some more information: skincancer.org
Benefits of the Sun
Remember it’s not all doom and gloom, as the sun can provide various health benefits too!
Being outside whilst the sun is shining can be very beneficial for you, as you can retain more vitamin D, whilst also elevating your mood, and reaping the psychological benefits of being outside in the sun.
Bright, sunny weather is proven to improve many people’s moods, and lift their spirits, and your mental health is just as important as your physical health. You just need to know the best ways to enjoy the sun whilst it shines!
Is it Better to Tan in the Morning or Afternoon?
You may think that the best time to bronze up is when the sun is at its highest in the sky, but this can be too powerful, and may cause sunburn. Therefore, the best time to catch a tan is in the morning, between the hours of 8am and 11am.
After this, the sun will be more powerful from 12pm onwards and up until 3pm, which can be more damaging to sensitive skin.
Is it Safe to Tan When the Sun is at its Peak?
It is better to avoid the sun when it is at its peak as the UV rays can be really intense, and can cause sunburn much quicker than if it is earlier in the day.
The best time to tan would be in the early morning as this coincides with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which affects how it will react to sun exposure.
In addition, if you have fair, or light skin then tanning in the morning will be far more beneficial to you and your skin.
You will want to start a tanning schedule in the morning hours for a little while to build up your skin’s strength, and get a good base tan before you attempt to catch some sun in the afternoon safely.
If you do choose to tan during peak hours, then make sure that you have a strong SFP of 30 or above, or even sunblock, and never use tanning accelerators or oils as these will attract harmful UV rays.
If you are engaging in sport activities where you will have to be out in the sun all day, and this is unavoidable, then you will have to use sunblock to protect your skin from UV rays at the brightest part of the day:
SPF 50 Sunscreens: Our Top 3 Picks
1. Best Overall: Banana Boat Ultra Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50
2. Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen SPF 50
3. Aveeno Sensitive Skin SPF 50 Sunscreen
Can You Tan on Cloudy Days?
You may be surprised to find that you can still catch a tan when the weather is not so sunny, and there are lots of clouds in the sky. This is because the sun’s UV rays are actually so powerful that they can still penetrate your skin through the clouds.
Sometimes, your skin can be more prone to sunburn on cloudy days as the sun and UV levels are scattered.
This is why it is so vital that you wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from being harmed by UV rays, which can also help your skin look much younger, and prevent aging. We recommend using a morning moisturizer with SPF 30 in, so that you never forget to protect your face again:
How to Protect Yourself While Tanning
When you are tanning, it is so important that you wear sunscreen for your skin. A common misconception is that you will not catch a tan with a sunscreen on, which is actually untrue.
Sunscreen does not completely shield your skin from the sun, it just protects your skin against damage and harmful UV rays. For general tanning, you will want to use an SPF 30 sunscreen.
Related: What is the best outdoor tanning lotion?
SPF 30 Sunscreens: Our Top 3 Picks
1. Best Overall: Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
2. CeraVe Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF 30
3. Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Sunscreen SPF 30
How Long Should You Tan For?
How long you tan for will depend on how used to the sun your skin is, and your natural skin tone. Those of us with paler skin will burn much more quickly than others with olive or darker skin tones. However, you will still need to start with a base tan before you start laying in the sun for hours!
If you have light skin, then you are best off tanning early in the morning before the sun gets too strong and intense. Start with 10-15 minutes in the sun whilst wearing sunscreen, and increase the time slowly each time once you begin building your tan.
After about a week of doing so, you can start tanning for 15-20 minutes at a time, and once you are used to this, you can try tanning for about 30 minutes with a good sunscreen.
If you already have a good base tan, or you have darker skin, then you can tan during the peak hours of the day, but you have to wear sunscreen or sunblock. If you do start to feel like your skin is too hot, then seek some shade and reapply sunscreen. Again, you should still build up over time your base tan before sitting in the sun for prolonged periods of time.