When is the best time to tan? Do I need Sunscreen or Sunblock? Do I need to get a sunburn before I get a tan?
Understanding sun rays and sun tanning lotions will help you get the best tan.
There are two main types of UV light that comes from the sun:
UVA – These sun rays are the ‘tanning’ rays. These penetrate deeper into the skin where the ‘tanning’ occurs. Least associated with causing skin cancer.
UVB – These sun rays are the more damaging “burning” rays. These affect the surface of the skin. UVB rays help your body produce Vitamin D but over exposure to these rays can cause skin cancer – Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancers.
Fact: A sunburn does NOT turn into a sun tan.
There are basically two types of lotions to protect from the suns rays:
Sunscreen – This typically will ‘screen’ the sun rays, blocking out the harmful UVB rays. Prevents burning and ALLOWS sun tanning.
Sunblock – This type of lotion will block both the UVA and UVB rays. This prevents sun burning AND sun tanning.
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The SPF number is used in a simple formula to calculate how much longer you can stay in the sun without getting a sunburn.
If you typically get a sunburn after 10 minutes in the sun and plan on staying in the sun for about 60 minutes you could use SPF 6:
10 minutes x SPF 6 = 60 minutes
Minutes to burn x SPF = Total minutes protection
Everyone has a different time frame as to when they will show signs of a sunburn. An average time before you experience a sunburn is about 30 minutes. The higher the SPF number doesn’t necessarily mean that much better of a protection, it means a longer duration of protection.
Typical Sunscreen Ingredients:
Typical Sunblock Ingredients:
The ingredients of sunblock and sunscreen products can vary, as well as the % of each ingredient. Both UVA and UVB rays are harmful – But if you MUST tan use a SUNSCREEN to block the UVB rays.
From 10am to 2pm – this is when the sun will be at its ideal strength for tanning.
Note: You may tan more quickly on the beach due to the reflective quality of the sand.
One important thing to note: You will not notice a sunburn until hours after you have the sunburn so ALWAYS keep track of time in relation to the application of sunscreen.
A sunburn does NOT help a suntan, and getting a sunburn will make it painful to return to the sun the next day.
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