Best Time to Tan Outside – What Is the Safest Time to Be In the Sun?

Does tanning time make a difference really? Time matters in general for most of us, even and especially when tanning. What time you tan under the sun changes the speed at which your skin tans and even how much you tan. And if you’re opting for sun-tanning, which is a comparatively safer option than tanning beds, then you better know when to tan!

UV rays of the sun are harmful, period. So how about tanning at a time when these harsh UV rays are not the strongest or the most intense? Doesn’t that sound like a good idea when you want your body to bask in all that sun-glory and, at the same time, not also encourage the possibility of sunburn?

Best and Safest Time to Be In the Sun

What is the best time of day to tan? Ask any dermatologist or medical expert and they’ll tell you that THAT TIME IS NEVER. UV rays and skin health are no buddies, that’s for sure. Even when that sun drops i.e. when those rays are a little less direct, even then there is some UV radiation.

Once you know this ugly truth about tanning, you can go ahead and find out when’s the best time to tan in the sun. The worst time to be in the sun is between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. So the safest time would be before noon and after 4 p.m. (the former is the better option).

However, the worst and best times under the sun overlap. Sun’s UV rays are indeed the strongest between 12 and 4 in the day, thus also the perfect time to get that perfect sun-kissed, glowy tan.

And now you should also note that your tan is influenced by other factors as well. Such as altitude (higher altitude = faster, darker tan), latitude (closer to the equator = faster, darker tan), and length of sun exposure (more time in the sun = darker tan and increased chances of sunburn).

Good Tanning Weather – What’s the Best Weather for Tanning?

Season plays a role indeed. So what is the best temperature to tan outside?

Based on seasons and months, May to August is the best for tanning because throughout these four summer months the UV rays are the strongest in comparison.

Tanning When It’s Cloudy

Just because clouds are getting in the way doesn’t mean UV rays of the sun aren’t getting through. They still carve a path out for themselves, lucky for you.

But only 25-percent of UV rays end up passing through, based on how thick the clouds are of course. However, even if those clouds are thin, some UV rays do get blocked. Now you should also know that due to this, the light gets scattered. And this very scattering itself sometimes enhances UV levels.

So now it’s plain as day why even on cloudy days, sunburns cannot be avoided.

Tanning During Winter

Can you tan in the winter? Yes, strangely enough, it is absolutely possible for your skin to tan during the winter months unless you’re living in this Norwegian town where the sun literally does not come up. But if you get enough sunlight during the winter season, you can get a good tan indeed.

What about sunlight when it’s snowy? Snow tends to reflect the sun’s rays. So, just like on cloudy days, the intensity of the sunlight in snowy winter is comparatively more powerful than the summer. That’s why it’s equally important to put on sunscreen when winter hiking, skiing, etc.

Tips On How to Get A Glowy, Safe Tan In the Sun

Best Time to Tan Outside

Here’s how to sunbathe safely and for a tan that looks its best and even lasts for a longer time…

Exfoliate Before Tanning

When you exfoliate prior to tanning you’re getting rid of dead skin cells, unclogging congested pores, and simply just refreshing/rejuvenating your skin. And now these new skin cells then help to form a more evenly distributed and longer-lasting tan that also fades evenly and slowly.

Apply Sunscreen

The best sunscreen formula would be broad-spectrum with a high SPF rating of course. Broad-spectrum means protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And a higher SPF (30 or higher) makes way for spending a good amount of time relaxing on the beach on a beautiful, sunny day without it leading to any “extra” skin damage.

And don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen every few hours if you’re planning to bake on that beach for a longer time.

Also, don’t leave out lip balm equipped with sun protection. As for hair protection (especially those with fair skin), there are hair conditioners formulated with UV protectants.

Pick the Best Time to Tan

Tanning at a time when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest definitely produces the most desirable-looking tan. However, bear in mind that, at this time, the UV rays are also the most damaging. So don’t spend more than half an hour per session/day in the sun between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m for the purpose of tanning.

Wear A Hat and Shades

A wide-brimmed hat will protect the face, neck, and scalp.

As for protecting your precious, delicate eyes from harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun, put on sunglasses too. The skin around the eyes is supposed to be very delicate (precisely why eyeliners for older women are easier to glide on without pulling or tugging). So you have all the more reason to keep them well-protected!

Stay Under the Shade

No need to spend all day just to achieve that perfect tan, meaning take breaks as that minimizes the chances of sunburns. And it builds up a tan that’s longer-lasting and healthier.

Exposing your body to harsh UV rays the entire day is most likely to cause dehydration and more serious skin damage. Let’s also not eliminate the possibility of blood pressure drop, heatstroke, premature aging, DNA damage, and skin cancer as well.

Beach umbrellas should be available. This way, you can spend more time on that beautiful beach without being under direct sunlight.

Best Hours of the Day for Tanning Outside

Since skin-damaging UV rays of the sun are at their strongest between 12 and 4 in the day, the best time of day to tan is before 12 p.m. (from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and after 4 p.m.

If your skin type is very sensitive, then avoid sun exposure during peak hours. Otherwise, be prepared for sunburns and some serious skin damage too.

UV Index Explained – Best UV Index for Tanning

Best UV Index for Tanning

UV index, as you might be able to guess, is how strong or weak are the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Needless to say, the UV index differs from place to place. And also depends on what time of the year it is. Weather forecasters around the globe make use of this UV index scale itself (between 0 and 11) to make accurate predictions about the climate.

As for what is the best UV index to get a tan, ‘medium’ is the right choice in terms of both safety and effectiveness.

  • The highest value (9-11) means the highest level of UV radiation, which, when simply put, implies ‘stay indoors.’
  • 7-8 UV index is also quite high, though not the highest. During this time, limit your sun exposure to around 20 minutes per session and apply sunscreen with an SPF rating higher than 50.
  • 5-6 is the “medium” zone. Thus, 30 minutes can be spent in the sun with SPF 30!
  • Then you have the UV index of 3-4. This seems like a much safer time of day to tan without the UV rays wreaking complete havoc, so you can lay on the beach for almost an hour.
  • 0-2 being the lowest means the sunlight is the least damaging. Therefore, those with fair skin shouldn’t expect to achieve the darkest tan color when the UV rays’ intensity is the lowest like this. Nevertheless, sunscreen protection (SPF 15 rating) is still a must.

Potential Risks Associated with Tanning In the Sun

Agreed that those with a very pale or fair complexion feel like they look more attractive (hence, more human) after getting a tan. In that case, why not opt for sunless tanning with these self-tanners specifically formulated for fair skin!

And then you also have the very compelling yet justifiable excuse of soaking all that Vitamin D into your skin through sun exposure. Whatever your reason or reasons, tanning is extremely risky.

  • Tanning might lead to skin cancer (melanoma) because UVA rays are linked to DNA-level skin damage.
  • Tanning causes premature aging (wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, etc.) by weakening your skin’s elasticity.
  • Tanning results in dehydration, heat rashes, sunburns, and the like.
  • Tanning can also damage your eyes (thus, wearing sunglasses for UV protection is a must).
  • Tanning leaves your immune system feeling more vulnerable as well. Immunity gets suppressed through sun exposure. Hence, higher chances of falling sick.

How Long to Tan Under the Sun?

Start by spending not more than 10-15 minutes in the sun. Do this for a week and then increase your sun exposure time to about 20-25 minutes for another week. You can lengthen the time even more for the next week. So here’s a quick post about how long should you tan for to get that perfect and safe sun-kissed glow.

And obviously, never skip that sunscreen!

How Long to Tan On Each Side?

Around 15-20 minutes on each side is more than enough time for a lustrous tan to develop while also preventing sunburns.

Naturally, this also depends on your skin complexion. Fair-skinned women AND men will take longer than just 15-20 minutes (maybe about 30 minutes or so). And yes, MEN also like to tan! Here are some high-quality tanning lotions for men.

Summing It Up Then!

When it comes to tanning, indoors or outdoors, myths and doubts are plenty. But you cannot refute the fact that TANNING IS NOT SAFE, no matter from what angle you look at it. Regardless, people still do it. And you can too if you just know how to do it right!

On top of that, you don’t always have to sun-tan. Meaning there are other ways too – tanning beds, spray tanning, self-tanners, etc. But if sunbathing is something you really look forward to, then pick the right time. And by right, I don’t mean there is a “right” time. It just means tanning when the sun’s UV rays are the least damaging.

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