Download Article Download Article

😳😊😌 If you like how your tanned skin looks or you just love to lounge outside on a beautiful day, considering your skin’s safety is super important. Learning how to tan quickly can limit your time in the sun and reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays. Keep reading to answer your questions about tanning and how long you need to spend in the sun.

Question 1 of 8:
Is 30 minutes in the sun long enough to tan?

  1. 1
    Yes, if you have fair to light skin. If you have light skin or very light skin, 10 to 30 minutes in the sun is a perfect amount of time for a tan. Much longer than that, and you could start to develop a sunburn.[1]
  2. 2
    No, not if you have light brown to dark brown skin. If your skin is olive-colored to dark brown, you’re probably going to need 40 to 60 minutes in the sun to start tanning. After that, you may develop a sunburn.[2]
    • If you have dark brown or black skin, you may not notice a change in your skin color after tanning. However, you can still develop a sunburn after 40 to 60 minutes.
  3. Advertisement

Question 5 of 8:
How safe is it to tan?

  1. Tanning in short bursts is generally okay, but there is no "healthy" way to tan. Dermatologists warn that tanning in any form will cause injury to your skin, even if it’s just a small tan. Every time you get a tan, you are hurting your skin a little bit—that’s why it’s so important to wear SPF and avoid sun exposure when you can.[6]
    • If you tan often and for long periods of time, you could experience leathery skin, wrinkled skin, or dark spots. Tanning too much also increases your risk of skin cancer.[7]
  2. Advertisement

Question 6 of 8:
What is the safest way to tan?

  1. 1
    Use a broad-spectrum SPF 15 to 30 sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA rays and UVB rays, which is important when you’re in the sun. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours, or more often if you’ve been swimming.[8][9]
    • There are 2 types of sunscreen: physical blocking and chemical. Physical blocking sunscreens have zinc and titanium, and start protecting your skin right away. Chemical sunscreen takes 20 minutes to soak into your skin, and doesn't provide instant protection.[10]
  2. 2
    Stay out of the sun when it’s most intense. For most of the United States, this is between 10 am and 3 pm. During this time, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and you might not even feel it happening until it’s too late.[11]
  3. 3
    Try a self-tanning lotion for a sunless tan. If you love the look of tanned skin but you want to skip the harmful UV rays, self-tanning lotion is the way to go. These lotions temporarily stain your skin, making it look like you’ve been tanning for a while. Keep in mind that self-tanning lotion doesn’t protect against the sun, so you’ll still need to wear sunscreen when you go out.[12]
  4. Advertisement

Community Q&A

Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Submit
      Advertisement

      Warnings

      • Sun exposure puts you at a higher risk for skin cancer. If you notice any new moles or lesions on your skin, make an appointment with your doctor right away.[15]
      Advertisement

      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Board Certified Dermatologist
      This article was co-authored by Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Dr. Margareth Pierre-Louis is a board certified Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist, Physician Entrepreneur, and the Founder of Twin Cities Dermatology Center and Equation Skin Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twin Cities Dermatology Center is a comprehensive dermatology clinic treating patients of all ages through clinical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and telemedicine. Equation Skin Care was created to provide the best in evidence-based, natural skin care products. Dr. Pierre-Louis earned a BS in Biology and an MBA from Duke University, an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and completed a dermatopathology fellowship at Washington University in St Louis. Dr. Pierre-Louis is board certified in dermatology, cutaneous surgery, and dermatopathology by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pathology. This article has been viewed 127,114 times.
      19 votes - 100%
      Co-authors: 10
      Updated: May 23, 2022
      Views: 127,114
      Categories: Tanning
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 127,114 times.

      Did this article help you?

      Advertisement