How to properly sunbathe. Myths, dangers, tips

How to properly tan in the sun.

Tips for healthy tanning

How beautifully and correctly to tan on the sea? We advise how to choose a sunscreen, how much time to spend in the sun, how to prepare the skin for tanning and what to do in case of sunburn as it is possible to get burnt on a cloudy day!

We always look forward to summer, and one of the reasons is sunbathing, sunbathing and getting a nice tan. Now many people can afford to vacation in hot countries at any time of year, which means that the risks associated with prolonged exposure to the sun are increasing.

It is scientifically proved: there is more harm from the sun’s radiation than good, so do not neglect the rules of safe tanning. About this we will tell in this article.

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What is a tan

A tan is a darkening of the color of the skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun. Exposure to the sun produces the pigment melanin – it gives it a darker shade. If during your first stay in the sun it will be produced too much, then in the next days you will not darken to the desired shade.

UVA Rays

UVA-rays are the longest and can penetrate through glass and clouds. They do not cause sunburn, but they are still dangerous. They cause allergic reactions, provoke skin diseases and reduced immunity. It is these rays that are used in tanning lamps.

UVB-rays are shorter and more active during the summer. It is from them the skin turns red, and you get burns. The consequences of such radiation are numerous: premature aging, and destruction of skin cells, and vascular deterioration, and the risk of melanoma – a malignant tumor. Pigment spots in general can appear after a couple of years. Do not penetrate through clouds, clouds, and glass.

Short rays of UVC do not reach the Earth – they are absorbed by the atmosphere.

How to properly tan in the sun

(Photo: shebalso / / CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

The benefits of tanning.

Ultraviolet light increases levels of the hormone serotonin, which causes a rush of energy and boosts your mood. Not just because you are on vacation by the sea – the improvement really comes from within. Sunshine promotes the production of vitamin D in the body, and this is responsible for strong, healthy teeth and nails, and improves the immune system. Tanning also has an aesthetic component – many people think that pale skin looks painful and not as attractive.

Map of sun activity levels in different countries

How to properly tan in the sun.

The tanning bed before the sea

Many people before vacation worry about whether to go to the tanning salon to prepare for a trip to the sea.

A small dose of ultraviolet will be helpful before you go on vacation. This way you avoid sunburn and a large dose of ultraviolet at once. This is especially true for residents of those latitudes where there is little of it, and the winter gray months are much more than three. Sunbathe evenly on all sides in a solarium – and the sun will lie evenly on the sea. Do not overdo it! Artificial irradiation is strong and a lot of melanin is formed. After such “sun” the beach tan will not stick to you. If you have bought a last minute ticket and you have a couple of days before your vacation, then you will definitely benefit from one or two sunbathing sessions.

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Danger. The tanning bed is not safe because of UVA rays. Even if you use sunscreen, the action of the rays is not reduced, as the sunscreens simply do not protect from this type of radiation. Oncologists are not against artificial UVA rays in moderation! Residents of northern regions need it “for mood” and a boost of vitamin D.

How to sunbathe by the sea.

(Photo: Gerlach /

How much and when to sunbathe

The main rule of thumb is to tan gradually! In different countries, depending on the proximity to the equator and the time of year, the tan will be different in color and will also lie on you differently.

Here is a scheme of how to properly tan at sea. The first day spend in the sun no more than half an hour – 10-15 minutes before dinner and as much after. Each day, increase the time by 10-15 minutes. But even at the end of the vacation it does not make sense to sunbathe for more than 2-3 hours. The skin does not produce melanin, so you will not get a thicker tan.

When is the best time to sunbathe? It is ideal to be in the sun before 11 p.m. and after 16 p.m.. The sun is very active during the daytime and will do more harm than good.

How to sunbathe beautifully and correctly

(Photo: / @pure_virtual)

Where is the best place to sunbathe

Doctors agree – it’s ideal to tan in the shade. Being under direct rays during the first week of your vacation is undesirable. The tan will be softer and last longer if exposed to the clouds.

The water reflects the sun’s rays, so you’ll burn faster on the beach. The same goes for the snow! It reflects the sun just as well, so getting burnt in winter is not a myth.

How to sunbathe in the shade

(Photo: j-No / / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

Skin care after tanning

Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays causes the skin to dry out and the dead layer of epidermis to begin to slough off. It can’t do much damage, but it is uncomfortable. The most important care is to moisturize, as well as to avoid scrubs and harsh loofahs in the first days.

How to get a beautiful and even tan

Sunscreen and other sun care products

How to get a beautiful tan at sea? It is important to choose the right sunscreen to avoid sunburns. The most popular types of products: cream, milk, spray, stick. Consider each of them.

  • Cream is the most popular form. Creams have a dense texture, which is good for dry skin, but not for oily skin. Applied poorly, it takes a long time to be absorbed, leaving those white streaks, but it can be used as a base for makeup.
  • Fluid is a light cream. It is ideal for oily skin because it absorbs faster and has a lighter texture.
  • Milk – the most common type of body skin protector. Sometimes you get 2 in 1 – suitable for the body and face.
  • Cosmetic oil rarely has a degree of protection above SPF 15-20, because its main purpose is to give your skin the most chocolate shade, while not damaging it. Glitter, bronzer and other visual tanning enhancers are added to the oil to make the effect even more noticeable.
  • The spray is convenient to apply to your back and shoulder blades, but it is very difficult to distribute it evenly. You can get burned in places where you don’t get enough of it. A plus of face sprays is that they can be applied over makeup.
  • Stick is a small but handy thing. It looks like a tube of lipstick. Suitable for small areas of skin – lips, ears, nose. It will burn your ears and lips just as much as your neck or back, and the skin will be just as painful to remove.
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Sunblock products do not affect the speed of tanning; they only increase the safe time spent in the sun.

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What SPF stands for

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) translates as “sun protection factor” and the number indicates the degree of protection – the higher the protection, the greater it is. Virtually all sunscreens protect against UVB radiation only.

You will need different creams too: use SPF 50 the first week, then SPF 30, and after two weeks you can use SPF 15.

  • SPF 50 – your skin will only get 1/50th of the total amount of sunlight – that’s 2%. It will protect against 98% of UV rays.
  • SPF 30 – protects against 97% of the rays, i.e. will miss 1/30 of the radiation.
  • SPF 25 is 96% protection.
  • SPF 15 gives you 93% protection.

There are creams with SPF 70, 80 and even 100. Do not believe such figures, because 98% of the rays is the maximum from which the cream can protect.

How to choose a tanning cream

(Photo: / @korinori)

How to choose a sunscreen

In addition to the abbreviation SPF, you may encounter such designations:

  • UVA – the product blocks type A rays (the most dangerous). In Asian countries, it is denoted by the index PA ++ (plus can be up to four).
  • PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) – degree of protection against UVA rays. The maximum degree is 42, but 8 will suffice.
  • Broad Spectrum – the cream protects against type A and B rays.

Ingredients that should be contained in the cream are, at a minimum, vitamins C and E. Green tea extract and resveratrol would also be good additions in the composition.

In the past, sunscreens were only available for adults, at most for children from three years old. Now you can find creams for children from six months to three years.

How to sunbathe properly for children

(Photo: Ben_Kerckx /

Cream is not just for summer

For residents of countries with high sun activity, protection is needed all year round. In Russia in the fall and early winter there is no point in it – there is almost no sun. But in winter, on clear frosty days, you really should use a sunblock! In spring, the sun is getting more active, and you will need the cream very much. It is not accidentally said that people get burnt most often in late spring, when the skin is still sun-accustomed to the sun, while the radiation activity is very high.

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Choose a sunscreen according to your skin type

It is important to choose the right sunscreen. If you know your skin type, it’s simple: look for a cream for dry, oily or sensitive skin. If not, check the composition of the cream:

  • dry skin needs maximum moisturizing, aloe, glycerin, hyaluronic acid will give it;
  • oily skin needs a cream with minerals and the label “non-comedogenic.

How to quickly tan

(Photo: francisco_osorio / / CC BY 2.0 license)


There are a total of six. The first two types are the most vulnerable. They need SPF 50, the rest need SPF 20-30. How can I identify my phototype?

  • I, Celtic: light skin, light or red hair, light eyes, freckles. It is better for such people not to sunbathe at all, because they burn instantly.
  • II, light-skinned European: light hair and eyes, light skin, sometimes freckles. You can get a tan, but with difficulty.
  • III, Middle European: dark brown, brown hair, gray or light brown eyes, these people are dark enough, but it is still easy to get burnt in the sun. Tanning on this type of skin is normal.
  • IV, Mediterranean: dark hair, brown eyes, olive-colored skin. Tans well and quickly.
  • V, Asian: Very dark hair and eyes, brown or yellowish skin. Burns very rarely.
  • VI, African: black hair and eyes, dark skin. Such people don’t get burned at all (but that doesn’t mean they don’t need sunscreen).

How to choose a sunscreen

(Photo: / @carlosheviariera)

How to use the products

  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun. That way it has time to absorb and protect the deeper layers of the skin. It is ideal to apply the cream in two layers. The second layer should be applied after the first one is completely dry.
  • Refresh the cream every two hours, or follow the instructions. For example, many creams need to be updated after every bath.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there is no great difference between factors of protection 15 and 50.
  • How much cream to apply? Simply put, about a quarter teaspoon for your face and a tablespoon for each part of your body.
  • It’s also important to wash the cream off after you’ve been in the sun, otherwise you might get an allergic reaction.

How to apply sunscreen

(Photo: / @ethanrobertson)

Myths about tanning

  1. Glass and clouds protect against the sun’s rays. No, glass acts like sunscreen, trapping far from all rays (it doesn’t trap UVA ). So getting burnt sitting by the window on the bus is a real possibility! It’s even easier to get burnt on a cloudy day, because you let your guard down.
  2. Vitamin D can only be obtained through tanning. No, it’s found in many foods. Eggs, dairy and fish, for example.
  3. The sun cures facial skin. No, it can only dry out the skin a little, but you will not get a complete cure for, say, acne.
  4. In windy weather, your skin doesn’t burn. In fact, cool, windy weather is just as dangerous, despite the absence of debilitating heat. A weathered face burns even faster as the skin suffers from cold gusts.
  5. Makeup foundation can protect against burns. It can. But you have to apply it in at least 7 layers to get the protection factor that is listed on the package.
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What to do in case of a sunburn.

What should you do if you get sunburned? I share my own experience.

  • Drink plenty of water to restore balance. Drink milk and diary products, and apply kefir and sour cream to sunburned skin.
  • Take allergy pills: Loratadine, Suprastin, Diazolin as directed. Why? It saves you from swelling if your face burns.
  • Apply Panthenol, Boro+, and apply protective cream before going outdoors;
  • Move around a lot – for oxygen exchange and to reduce puffiness.

And, of course, it is important to keep sun exposure to a minimum, ideally not to be outdoors. I was saved by three days on the road by car, there was almost nowhere to go out, and by the time I returned home, the burns had almost disappeared.

How do you sunbathe properly so as not to ruin your skin? Doctor’s advice

Elena Gretzova Daria Ilkevich

In summer, many people strive to get a beautiful tan, as it makes their skin look fresher and more rested. Despite the fact that the harm of excessive UV radiation has long been known, some people still make common mistakes and get sunburns. There are conflicting opinions on tanning, but one thing is certain: sunbathing should be done sensibly to avoid the risks. Together with Elena Gretzova, cosmetologist, we tell you what rules you should follow to get a beautiful skin tone without any harm to your health.

What you should know about tanning

Under the influence of sunlight, the body produces the pigment melatonin, through which the skin acquires a darker shade. There are three types of UVA rays. The longest are UVA rays that are used in tanning beds. They can pass through glass and clouds, do not burn, but penetrate deep into the skin and may provoke a decrease in immunity and cause an allergic reaction. Shorter UVB rays do not penetrate through clouds and translucent surfaces, but they do cause sunburn and increase the risk of developing melanoma, a malignant tumor. The shortest UVC-rays cannot even penetrate through the atmosphere and simply do not reach the surface of the Earth.

Ultraviolet radiation can indeed be dangerous, but it also has positive effects. For example, UV rays contribute to the production of serotonin – “the hormone of happiness”, as well as vitamin D, which is involved in metabolism, hormone metabolism, as well as the immune system and is necessary for a person to maintain good health.

Elena: In addition to the positive effect of the sun on the synthesis of vitamin D, there is another side to the coin. It has been proven that sun radiation causes premature skin aging, called photoaging, which accounts for 70 to 80% of all causes. Skin is affected by UVA and UVB rays and infrared rays. They provoke a protective reaction in cells, which manifests as pigmentation and vascular networking. Exposure to the sun for extended periods of time also causes a temperature factor, which reduces the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. This can be seen in the appearance of wrinkles, uneven texture, flaking and loss of tone. Skin damaged by the sun looks like a “baked apple. In addition to aesthetic concerns, excessive ultraviolet radiation is fraught with the development of cancer.

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Rules for a beautiful and healthy tan

Tan gradually.

On the first day of tanning do not spend more than half an hour in the sun. Day by day, little by little increase the amount of time you spend 10-15 minutes.

In this case, says beautician, the total time spent in the sun should not exceed 1.5-2 hours a day.

Choose your time

The most dangerous time for sunbathing is from 11 to 16 hours. The safest time for sunbathing is morning and evening hours. Elena recommends the period between 8 and 11 o’clock in the morning or after 4 pm.

Do not be afraid of shade

Many people mistakenly believe that it is impossible to tan in the shade. In fact, the tan will be softer and last longer, and the risk of getting burnt is significantly reduced.

Elena: Try to spend more time in the shade, use wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, and if possible wear light, closed clothes.

Use sunscreen

The importance of SPF protection is well known, but some people still neglect it. There are all kinds of sunscreens: creams, sprays, fluids, sticks, oils. The numbers 15, 30 or 50 indicate the level of protection-the higher the number, the stronger the protection. Choose a convenient form of the product and don’t worry that the sunscreen won’t let your skin get the shade you want. Products with SPF provide safety in the sun, but do not affect the speed of tanning. Also do not forget to renew the product on your skin if it washed off with water.

Elena: In the summer period it is better to choose products with SPF filters from 30 to 50. It is necessary to use protection even in cloudy weather, as ultraviolet can easily pass through the clouds. It is recommended to apply the product of your choice 30 minutes before you go out in the sun and to add it every two hours for maximum protection.

Take care of your skin after tanning

Be sure to hydrate and drink enough water to help prevent dry skin. Moisturizing creams or face and body lotions are excellent for after-sun care. Apply them on a clean and dry skin.

Elena: After tanning do not use scrubs and lotions containing alcohol, as they make the skin more sensitive. Home care in the summer should include cleansing, toning, moisturizing and restoration. It is especially important to use products with antioxidants – vitamin E, C, ferulic acid, resveratrol. These can help fight free radicals that occur as a result of sun exposure.

Important! If you have many moles, you should consult a specialist before tanning, the doctor warns.

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