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What are the Best Tips for Beach Tanning?

Anna T.
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best tips for beach tanning may include tanning during peak sun hours, applying oil before a session, and positioning the body on the sand directly in line with the suns rays. It may also be a good idea to check the UV index beforehand. Chances of tanning are normally greater when the UV index for the day is six or above. Exfoliating the skin before tanning can slough off dead skin cells, which is beneficial because it can leave the skin with a smooth surface to build a more attractive-looking tan.

In most areas, the peak hours for the sun are between noon and 2 p.m. During this time frame, the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Beach tanning is typically most successful during these hours, but it is still possible to tan at any time during the day. If a person stands up with the sun behind him, he should be able to easily see where his shadow falls on the sand. Lying down on the area where the shadow falls should put that person in the ideal spot for absorbing the suns rays.

The purpose of applying tanning oil or lotion before tanning is to help the skin heat up quickly. This may allow the tan to form faster than if a person doesn't use some type of moisturizer. Most tanning oils are recommended for people who already have a good base tan in place. Using tanning oils or tanning accelerator lotions on fair, untanned skin might result in severe burns.

When a person is just beginning to work on a tan, beach tanning should be limited to no longer than 10 or 15 minutes about three times a week. It may also be a good idea to skip a few days between sessions so the skin can properly build up tolerance to the rays. After a base tan has formed, it may be safe to work up to 20 or 25 minutes of beach tanning at a time. Gradual building up of sun exposure should result in a person being able to tan for 35 to 45 minutes at a time without burning. Once the desired skin tone has been reached, tanning should be limited to twice a week to maintain the color.

It is important to keep in mind that the suns rays are typically much more intense on the beach. For this reason, beach tanning should be a gradual process. Sunburns from tanning at the beach are a possibility for practically everyone, even people who already have dark skin. Many people who want to tan at the beach believe that wearing sunscreen will keep them from getting a tan, but this is not always true. If a sunscreen has an SPF level of no higher than 15, tanning is likely still possible.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By Pippinwhite — On Mar 06, 2014

Beach tanning can be dangerous. It's easier to get a bad sunburn at the beach because you're lying on light colored sand next to water, both of which reflect rays right on you. You can get a sunburn on a cloudy day at the beach. I've done it.

Tanning can be dangerous anyway. It really does prematurely age the skin and can make people more prone to developing skin cancer later on.

Use some wisdom when tanning at the beach. Don't go to far, and if you think you're burning, go ahead and get in the shade. Don't cook just because you think you might get a good tan from it.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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