While South Asians are obsessed with whitening creams to appear fair, Americans believe tanned skin is more attractive.
Throughout the 20th century, tanning became increasingly popular in the Western world, which led to the invention of the first tanning bed in 1978. However, tanning beds emit UV rays that expose people to skin cancer, premature aging, and whatnot.
Risking life-threatening diseases isn’t a wise thing to do for the sake of getting sun-bronzed skin.
But if you really wish to achieve sun-kissed skin like Coco Chanel, soak up a little sun by stretching out on your lounge chair outdoors. So, when is the best time to bask in the sunlight and achieve the golden skin tone you’re after?
From the best tanning hours to tips you need to know to tan safely, this guide has got you covered with everything. So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into the deets!
What’s The Best Time of the Day to Tan Safely and Effectively
Presumably, you know that the whole tanning process is carried out either by artificial UV rays or sunbathing in natural sunlight.
In artificial methods, radiation is supplied in frequencies and varied intensities of UVA, UVB rays, or a combination of the two. When tanning through artificial UV radiation, the good thing is that you can control the intensity of the UV rays, which isn’t the case with natural light.
But remember, you’re exposing yourself to two types of skin cancers– basal cell carcinoma by 24% and squamous cell carcinoma by 58%.
Unfortunately, there’s no safe way to tan when it comes to artificial methods. As such, tanning booths use UVA rays that penetrate deep into the layers of the skin. UVA radiation is three times more powerful than sun rays, so it’s dangerous, and prolonged exposure might increase the chances of developing lymphoma and leukemia.
Even though sun tanning isn’t safe, it is less dangerous than artificial methods. The best time to tan outside is generally in the morning, between 7 AM and 9 AM. That’s because the sun isn’t as intense as it is during the daytime and the human circadian clock is at its optimum.
While all skin tones will benefit from the early morning sun exposure, fair-skin beauties are likely to tan faster in the morning.
But if you’re not an early bird, soaking up sunlight after 5 PM will help you get the perfect tan. Sunbathing between 10 AM and 4 PM is a big no-no because the rays of the sun are the strongest during these hours. Therefore, you’re more likely to get skin burns and damage its barrier, so avoid tanning during these hours.
Tanning In The Morning Vs. Afternoon
Unable to decide when you should lounge under the sun for a natural tan? Well, let us make it easy for you.
While you can get that bronze glow both in the morning and the afternoon, the best tanning time is before 10 AM, especially for fair and sensitive-skin beauties. In the morning, sun rays aren’t as intense as they are in the afternoon, and our body is also ready to fix DNA damage.
So, basking in the sun between 7 and 10 will ensure your skin doesn’t suffer DNA damage as much as it could during the afternoon. We aren’t the only ones saying this; in fact, a study from Science Daily backs this claim.
Tanning After 5 PM– Is It Effective Like The Morning Hours?
Do you have to rush to work before the clock strikes nine? Or, let’s say you’re a busy mom who has no time to soak in the UV rays of the sun because you’ve chores to do.
Either way, sunbathing in the morning won’t be possible for you. In such cases, the best time to tan would be after 5 PM. Though it won’t give you the golden glow you’d get otherwise in the morning hours, it will tan the skin to a great extent.
Also, if you’re trying out tanning for the first time, you must avoid laying out under the sun in the morning. For you, the best time to tan outside is after 5 PM to introduce your body to tanning gradually. This technique will help you achieve glowing skin while ensuring you don’t suffer from any skin damage that people experience after going full-fledged on day one.
Another benefit of tanning in the late afternoon is that the UV index isn’t high, so the possibility of sunburns is slim.
What Does Heat Have To Do With Tanning?
Whenever you’re soaking up some sunlight to get the perfect tan, make sure that the weather isn’t too warm. As a rule of thumb, do not step out in the sun to tan your body at noon.
Not just for light, fair, or sensitive-skinned people, but this also applies to those blessed with dark skin. That’s because the sun is at its peak during this time, so you’re more likely to suffer DNA damage. So, no matter how much the warm weather tempts you, stay indoors, or you’ll have uneven tans and skin burns.
Most people lounge outdoors during the afternoon because they believe that the hotter the sun, the faster they’ll tan. However, that’s incorrect because the air temperature has nothing to do with tanning; instead, UV rays are responsible for tanning your skin. That is to say, your skin will burn despite sitting under an umbrella, not because it’s hot but because the sun rays permeate the fabric.
So, if you think sun exposure on cloudy days won’t damage your skin, think again! Even on cloudy days, ultraviolet rays can penetrate through the clouds and cause skin damage. As such, you must apply sunscreen before leaving home to avoid getting burns from sun exposure.
How Much Time Do You Need To Spend Outdoors For Tanning?
Sun’s rays that reach the ground contain both UVA and UVB rays, which is why long exposure to them can burn your skin. Not just that, but prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can damage your DNA and lead to skin cancer.
As against artificial tanning procedures, natural tanning is a slow process, so it isn’t ideal for a quick tan.
Now, most people are often confused about how much time they should spend outdoors tanning, especially first-timers. Ideally, one to two hours is sufficient for basking in the sun to get that healthy sun-kissed glow.
However, the hours vary from individual to individual, depending on their skin tone, the shade they wish to achieve, and the intensity of the UV radiation. In short, your skin color plays a crucial role in determining whether you’ll have a tan or experience skin burns due to sun exposure.
Tips To Tan Outside Quickly And Safely
Tanning in natural sunlight is fairly easy compared to artificial methods. All you need to do is lounge outdoors and let the UV radiation take care of the rest.
However, there are a few things you can do before and after tanning for better results. They are as follows:
1. Prep Your Skin Properly
24 hours prior to heading outdoors for tanning, prep your skin by exfoliating it so that your tan can turn out smooth. Also, shaving your face after tanning is a big no-no because there’s a high possibility that the process may strip away your tan.
2. Apply Sun Protection To Minimize The Risk Of Skin Cancer
The sun’s UV rays are dangerous for humans, so you need to take precautionary measures before heading outdoors. Grab sunscreen with a suitable SPF rating and apply it all over your body; at the same time, don’t forget to use a lip balm with SPF.
3. Keep Changing Positions
People either read books or listen to podcasts while basking in the sun; hence, they forget to change positions. If a particular body part is exposed to the sun for long, it may result in skin burns. To avoid that, keep changing your position every 20 minutes.
4. Stay Hydrated
Whether you head to the beach or relax in your backyard to soak in some Vitamin D, don’t forget to carry a water bottle to stay hydrated. You can also drink fruit juices, but you mustn’t consume alcohol because it can dehydrate the body and cause discomfort.
Wrapping It Up
Exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun can damage your skin and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to skin cancer.
For all those planning to lay in the sun to tan, make sure you go outdoors either before 10 AM or after 5 PM. Never lay in the sun during the afternoon because the scorching sun can give you skin burns and uneven tans. Though the bronze glow may take some time, the results will blow your mind.
That’s all we have for you today. Don’t forget to use sun protection to minimize skin damage!