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How Long Do You Tan On Each Side

by Tatiana Plesco

We love to tan outdoors. Soaking up the bright, happy rays of the sun is an amazing way to achieve the envious golden tan. Plus, it helps your bodies make Vitamin D, a well-known vitamin that strengthens bones, builds immunity, and balances hormones. Sunlight exposure also releases dopamine, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter in our body.

While these are all the pros of being outside, there are some icky cons as well, like sunburn and sun damage. Besides, if you don’t tan on a timely basis, you will be left with a lopsided tan and an increased risk of sunburn on the side you bared to the sun longer on.

What is the best time to tan outdoors?

The best time to tan is in the mornings when the sun rays are the least harsh and the circadian rhythm is at an optimal time. Further, if you go out in the morning you might be able to spend around 15 minutes tanning on both sides without sunscreen. While it’s not the safest thing to do, it’s safer than going without during the middle of the day.  You can skip sun protection at times and when the UV level index is below 3. Once the index creeps above 3, start to lather on sunscreen to protect yourself. From there. You should also reapply it after every 2 hours.

How long should you tan on each side?

As a thumb rule, you should tan about 15 to 30 minutes on each side, depending on how prone your body is to sunburn, and then turn the other way around. For anyone with a pretty fair skin tone and sensitive skin, 10 minutes of sunbathing on one side would suffice.

When tanning on the front, keep your arms facing the same way, and when you are on your belly, turn the arms to the opposite side. Also, try to keep the sun’s rays parallel to the body and rotate your towel or the chaise lounge as the sun moves in the sky. If you feel drowsy, curl up under an umbrella, so you don’t expose any one of your sides for longer.

How long does it take to tan safely in the sun?

After you have slathered yourself well with sunblocks and tanning oils, here’s how long you can tan in the sun safely:

  • Darker Skin Shades: 25 minutes to around an hour. Depending on your skin’s sun sensitivity and how long you feel comfortable in the sun without feeling burnt, devise a time interval for you. Let’s say it’s 30 minutes. So, sunbathe for 30 minutes and take a shower or rest in the shade to calm your skin. Safely go out again after a good 10-minute break, or longer if you need to.
  • Lighter Skin Shades: Fairer skin shades are more likely to get sunburnt and experience sun damage. For them, an average time interval is 15 to 30 minutes in the sun. It’s best to take some time out to recover before going back outdoors.

It takes a good 2 hours in the Sun to get a beautiful tan. You’ll not see the tan immediately. For some people, it will take a few hours, and for others, the beautiful bronze color will appear the next morning. It’s best to be patient and get a solid tan over a course of a few weeks, then be in the sun all day long and end with a beet-red burn so intense that it hurts to lie down in the bed.

Sunblock Is A Must, Always!

Applying sunscreen is a common piece of advice, but the one that needs to be reiterated the most. Sunblocks prevent you from the harmful damage of UV radiation, lowers your skin’s sensitivity to the sun rays, and protects your skin from a painful sunburn. You might be under the impression that not using sunscreen, and just tanning oils will tan you faster and longer. Well, nothing can be further from the truth.

Studies show that sunscreens are effective at preventing sunburn. Therefore, you’ll be able to tan longer outdoors and will be left with a gorgeous golden tan, and not an awkward red one. Moreover, your skin renews itself every 10 days, so the slower you tan, the longer it will last.

How much sunscreen should you use though? The target should be about 7 teaspoons of lotion for an average-sized person. This is a much greater quantity than most people generally use. Use 1 teaspoon for your face and neck, 1 teaspoon for each arm and leg, and 1 teaspoon each for the back and the front portion.

If you’re using a spray, the rule is to spray until it glistens and rub it well onto your skin. Pick a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher look for the word ‘broad spectrum’ for maximum protection.

Should I apply the sunscreen first or the tanning lotion?

Tanning lotions speed up the tanning process and give a darker, long-lasting result. Use sunscreen first and wait for about 10 minutes before applying tanning accelerating lotion. Another good tanning rule is to not shower immediately if you’re using these lotions and oils. Wait for around an hour or two to darken the skin well. Just use normal water and moisturize your skin afterward.


Everyone’s body is sensitive to the sun’s rays to varying degrees. Pick a time period that feels the most right for you- a balanced scale that allows you to bask in the sun’s rays without burning your skin or making it prone to damage by ultraviolet rays. This can be anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes for one side before moving to the other. Use a good sunscreen to block the harmful effects of the sunlight while aiding to build a beautiful, natural, even tan.

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