Tanning is not the safest activity to do. However, you might still want to go for tanned skin.

Here are some steps and tips on how to tan safely to follow. This article will also answer questions like tanning on a cloudy day or what is the safest form of tanning.

What are Some of the Risks?

Skin gets tanned when ultraviolet (UV) light encounters surface-level skin cells. This process produces a pigment responsible for darkening skin called melanin.

Before getting into the tips, let us discuss some risks of tanning.

There are health benefits to being in the sun, such as vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure can harm your skin greatly.

The first risk is sunburn. This is the most common and least harmful side effect of tanning. While not life-threatening nor does it last long, it will sting and hurt when anything touches your skin.

One of the other worse symptoms is heat rash. The heat can be so intense that it could turn your sunburn into a rash. This may take more time to heal and hurts even more than a regular sunburn.

Dehydration is also something you should be wary about. Heat absorbs moisture, and loss of moisture can affect you greatly.

Not only will this make your skin look dry, but it will also affect other aspects of your health. Apply moisturizer and drink water before and after your tanning session.

Damaged melanocytes can cause melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer.

What You Can Do

Now that you are familiar with the risks, here are some things you can do before your tanning session.

tanning session

Know Your Skin

The first thing to figure out is your skin tone and type. Lighter skin tones can burn more easily than darker ones.

As for skin type, find out whether your skin is sensitive to tanning. This will determine what moisturizers and tanners you will use.

Prepare Your Skin

Your skin will need some prep time before tanning, regardless of how you tan.

Tanning takes away some moisture due to the light absorbing it. Putting on moisturizer will help you become more hydrated which is important to keep your skin looking healthy.

Exfoliating is also a vital step. This is to ensure you do not have dead skin cells left on the surface of your skin. While not much of a safety precaution, it is still necessary.


Sunscreen is your number one source of protection from the harsh effects of ultraviolet (UV) light.

It is necessary to put on sunscreen before your tanning session. Always put it on before tanning, regardless of what kind of tanning you are doing.

The SPF level of your sunscreen should be around 30 to 50. It is best to go for SPF50 (plus โ€œbroad spectrumโ€) for guaranteed protection.

Apply a few minutes before tanning to let the sunscreen settle in your skin. The heat can also dry it up, rendering it useless.

Wear Goggles

Another important piece of gear you should wear is goggles. This is to protect your eyes from UV light. The rays can negatively affect your vision, so bring goggles to protect them.

If you are sun tanning, you can get away with just wearing shades. Keep in mind to always wear protective eyewear before hitting the tan.

Sun Tanning or Tanning Bed

As much as possible, choose sun tanning over tanning beds. While both involve UV light, sun tanning is still safer than staying inside a tanning bed.

Keeping your skin safe is much more manageable in the sun since you can avoid peak hours.

sun tanning

Peak hours are when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. This is when you should avoid lying down under the sun. These span from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Knowing what hours to avoid will make the tanning process a lot safer.

You are also given more movement space as compared to a tanning bed. Staying in one place will lead your skin to burn and irritate. Apart from keeping your tan consistent, switching positions from time to time will save your skin from further damage.

Cloud Tanning

Cloud tanning is also another way of tanning. Sometimes the sun will not be shining when you are free to tan. So long as it does not rain, it is still good to go.

But will UV light still be present even with the clouds blocking the way? The answer is yes.

UV light will still hit your skin. It is just absorbed by the clouds, so you will need to tan a bit longer than in clearer skies.

So, does that mean it is safer because there is less UV light? That is not true.

The effects are delayed but not taken out. The effects of UV light still stand even with clouds present, so always practice safety and caution before tanning on a cloudy day.

Other Ways to Tan?

The safest option out there is to use fake tanning or self-tanners.

This does not require going outside or to a tanning bed. All you need is a self-tanner and patience. They do not require the process of melatonin creation and rely on coating instead.

Self-tanners that are being sold usually come with no complications and are FDA-approved.

The tan lasts for about a week, so this minimizes the time for you to do the process. You won’t have to worry about going outside or to a tanning bed every other day of the week to maintain your tanned skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Tan Underwater?

Tanning underwater or by the poolside is also possible. UV light reflects when it hits the water, sand, and anything sunlight comes into contact with.

The same thing applies to this method, as you should not spend too much time tanning even if you are not directly below the sun.


How to Treat Bed Rash?

To remedy tanning bed rash, you can soothe your skin with chilled water. Another way to soothe the skin is by applying sunscreen that has aloe vera.

Can Eat Food Speed Up Tanning?

Some foods increase the production of melanin. You can incorporate them into your diet during your tanning period. This will also help reduce the number of times you have to go out sun tanning.


Getting out into the sun has health benefits. We must spend some time outside to keep a healthy lifestyle.

There should be a balance, as too much time outside can also be detrimental to our health.

In the case of tanning, it is crucial to know the risks involved in doing it properly and safely. We hope this cleared some things up and helped you gain insight before your tanning sessions.

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