How to Get a Nice Tan Safely and Keep It All Summer Long

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Sitting in the warm summer sun can be great for getting some much-needed vitamin D, but there’s another side effect that, in our society, is just as great – a tan. For some reason or another, well-tanned skin is an attractive physical trait, but if acquired incorrectly, it can cause skin damage and even cancer. That’s why, if you’re planning on getting some tanning in this summer, you should practice safety. After all, your health is more important than how you look.

Wear Sunscreen!

This is a basic and it’s something your mother should have scolded you about constantly. Yet, you may be thinking, “Oh, I don’t tan easily, so I don’t need it,” or, “I’ll only be out in the sun for half an hour.” While you skin might not turn ten shades darker from being out in the sun for a short time, the UV rays from the sun may still damage your skin, whether your realize it at first or not.

Which sunscreen you choose will depend on your skin type and how long you plan on being outdoors, but one with an SPF of at least 15 which protects against both UVA and UVB rays is necessary to keeping your skin healthy. Keep in mind that if you plan on keeping up your tan throughout the summer, it isn’t a bad idea to go with a higher SPF so you can tan gradually as the weeks pass.

Keep It to a Minimum

Along with suntan, you can also keep your skin safer by being conscious about when and for how long you’re out in the sun. First of all, avoid lounging outside while the sun is directly overhead; the common advice here is to avoid sunbathing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it’s really the safest way to get some sun while protecting your skin.

Also, keep in mind that you’re probably in this for the long haul. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and similarly, you shouldn’t expect to become a well-tanned god or goddess within a day, either. Spend just a little time–perhaps half an hour–outdoors once or twice a week during non-peak hours and you’ll find that, eventually, your tan will come.

Consider Sunless Tanning Instead

There is one alternative way to getting a tan this summer that doesn’t involve damaging your skin. That said, you might not like it. You can achieve a similar effect to regular tanning by using special lotions or visiting your local tanning salon for what’s commonly called a “spray-on tan.” If you don’t know know much about how it works, you might be surprised to learn that not all sprays and lotions are simply bronze paint. Rather, some of the more effective products include dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which actually interacts with the cells on your top layer of skin to give a healthy, naturally darkened look.

Depending on which method you use to give your skin that darker appearance, the tan may last anywhere from a day to a little under a week. So, if you’re looking for a long-term tan, this method might require a little more maintenance than you’d hope for, but it’s miles safer for your skin’s health than baking out in the sun. A “fake tan” might not be as cool as a tan achieved by sitting out in the sun for a day, but skin damage isn’t very cool, either.

In all honesty, experts say that you’re better off not trying to get a traditional tan. By limiting your time out in the sun, you’ll be less likely to develop skin-related conditions. But, if you must have a darker shade this summer, make sure you stay safe and keep your tanning to a limit.

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