Exposure to UV is bound to happen the moment you step into the outdoors, but the garments you have on should reduce the touch of the sun to a meager, harmless amount.
The one problem is that this doesn’t apply in tanning, as your semi-nude state during the session won’t afford you that level of protection. You need a wise approach to the UV-related factors, or your health will be compromised.
We have rounded up multiple facts explaining its effects and the range causing little to no damage to the skin.
Why Is The UV Index So Important To Understand?
One thing is for sure; there is no point in trying to keep yourself away from the UV rays. They are a part of the sunlight by nature, and you have no choice but to accept that some will sink into your skin to achieve a perfect tan.
You can, however, control the exposure degree by sunbathing under a UV index good for tanning, which refers to the intensity of the UV rays. It rises and falls at different times of the day in correspondence with the changes observed in the weather.
This UV index (or UVI for short) actually has a system of measurement. The UV index scale begins at 0, but don’t try to target this in your next outdoor tan, for this low value has only been recorded at nighttime.
What follows is, of course, 1 and 2, the non-damaging levels where risks of sunburn are pretty much nonexistent. As you might have guessed, they indicate what you expose yourself to on cloudy days, the ones without heat from the sun.
3-5 translates to moderate UV rays, 6-7 is high, and 8-10 is close to the alarming level. Anything above 11 falls in the extreme zone where you face absolute risks of sunburn.
It isn’t going to be easy predicting the UVI using human eyes, but you don’t need to anyway. Information involving these parameters should already be mentioned in the daily weather forecasts.
How Long To Tan For Each UV Index?
Is a higher UV index better for tanning? In a way, yes. We all know for a fact that with higher intensity in the sun comes darker skin in less time. That said, measures should be taken, and sunscreen of +30 SPF is the first to prepare since future sunburns are more likely to develop this way.
What the number in the UVI indicates concerning sun tolerance.
- UV index 1 tan time (low): 60 minutes or so until skin reddening
- UV index 3 – UV index 5 tan time (moderate): 45 minutes or so until skin reddening (sunscreen reapplication is recommended after 2 hours)
- UV index 6 – UV index 7 tan time (high): 30 minutes or so until skin reddening (sunscreen reapplication is recommended after 2 hours)
- UV index 9 tan time (very high): 15-20 minutes or so until skin reddening (sunscreen reapplication is recommended after 2 hours)
- UV index 11+ : 10 minutes or so until skin reddening (sunscreen reapplication is recommended after 2 hours)
Which UV Index Is Best To Tan?
If you want to play it safe instead of speeding it up, limit what your skin contacts to 3-5 UVI only, and rub yourself in tan accelerating body lotion beforehand.
This is a trick to fuel the making of pigment, allowing you to shorten the time spent tanning in the sun regardless of the low UVI (a UV index of 2 for example)
Not all skins are made equal, and failing to differentiate them increases the chance of seeing serious burns on your arms or legs a day or two later.
Fair complexion, or something beige-like, is susceptible to this issue due to their sensitivity to sunlight, leading to the lowest UV index to tan (Index 1) being their finest choice.
A UV index of 5 or above still works, as long as you don’t let your pale skin stay out for longer than 15 minutes, and use sunscreen to avoid the damaging effects of the radiation.
There is little need to maintain a cautious attitude like this when your skin is on the browner end of the spectrum. The olive shade makes sunburn quite a challenge, and it’s a breeze to tan that already close-to-perfect look.
Then again, we’re on the topic of UV radiation, one of the potential factors of future skin cancer once you step over the line with the exposure, so it’s imperative for the session to be brief (about 20 minutes).
In case you prefer some relaxation under the warm caress of the sunlight, 30 minutes are all you should spend in that comfy spot.
3 to 7 UVI is best for tanning. Basking in the sun has its perks as you can see, evident the most in the attractive skin tone it rewards you with later on. Let it be that way.
Learn the ideal UV index for tanning that actually works out for you, and the hours it takes to transform your untanned body as desired. Be aware of the side effects. Grab yourself a sunscreen with efficient SPF ratings to minimize the chance of sunburns. That’s how you step up your tanning game!