How Long Does It Take to Tan in the Sun Safely?

Apr 283 min read

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  • Tanning or burning can happen in as little as 10 minutes. For most people, it takes a few hours for them to tan.
    TIPS TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS
  • Apply a Tan-Boosting body Lotion like Base Tan, that uses our signature tan-boosting technology. This pre-tanning lotion helps prep your skin to do its best bronzing with less UV exposure
  • Change positions often so one part doesn't get more or less sun than the others
  • Prevent the tan from flaking off by exfoliating beforehand and keeping skin hydrated after
  • Use an SPF 20 to protect your skin from burning, while still allowing UV rays to activate the melanin in your skin

Despite tanning being a practice that's been around for hundreds of years, there are still quite a few questions surrounding it. One of the biggest ones is just how long it will take to get a tan. Fear not, the experts at Tropic Labs are here to help answer this question!

Tanning Timelines

Simply put, without wearing SPF, tanning or burning can happen in as little as 10 minutes. For most people, it takes a few hours for them to tan but with that said, you might not see a tan right away.

Without getting too sciencey, simply put, your skin produces melatonin in response to sun exposure. This is what leads to skin color changing. The more melanin your skin has, the faster and darker your skin will tan.

How long it takes to get a tan will depend on your skin type and the weather outside. For instance, if you have fair skin, you may end up burning, which will fade into a tan (NOT recommended,) while someone with dark skin will end up tanning faster. The American Academy of Dermatology says skin color is a huge factor in whether a person will tan or burn.

So what can you do to ensure that you'll tan and not burn? It's first important to understand exactly what influences tanning timelines in a person?

What Influences A Tan

Several factors will affect how long it will take a person to get a tan. Some of them are personal while others are in relation to where someone lives. Here are some of the top ones:

  • Darker skin - As previously mentioned, people with darker skin tend to tan much quicker than others. This is due to the abundance of melanin in their skin. It can lead them to tan further since the sun triggers melanocytes, the cells that play a role in melanin production.
  • Direct sun exposure - The longer you sit in the sun without taking a break under some kind of shade, you're more likely to tan.
  • Higher altitudes have stronger sun rays - In those cases, tanning will happen much faster.
  • More moisture in the air when the climate is humid - A tan will be less likely to fade in a humid environment, and more likely to happen faster because fresh skin cells make for a smooth, even surface.
  • Sunscreen SPF - The higher the SPF in sunscreen is, the longer it will take until you tanning. An SPF of 20, for example, will protect your skin 20 times more than if you had no sunscreen on at all.
  • The time of day and the sun's angle - This one is pretty simple: as you go closer to the equator, you're more likely to tan.

Can Tanning Be Sped Up?

There are certain ways to tan in a shorter span of time. Some of the top ones include:

  • Apply a Tan-Boosting body Lotion like Base Tan, that uses our signature tan-boosting technology. This pre-tanning lotion helps prep your skin to do its best bronzing with less UV exposure
  • Change positions often so one part doesn't get more or less sun than the others
  • Eat foods rich in beta-carotene and lycopene.
  • Prevent the tan from flaking off by exfoliating beforehand and keeping skin hydrated after
  • Use an SPF 20 to protect your skin from burning, while still allowing UV rays to activate the melanin in your skin.

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