What UV index is Good for Tanning?


You can’t be too careful when it comes to regulating your exposure to the sun, especially when tanning! But, how do you know how much sunlight is enough? Are there any health risks? And, what are the necessary precautions you can take to protect yourself and your kids? No worries, we’re going to answer all of your questions about tanning and UV index in this guide.

What is the UV index?

UV index scale

The UV index (UVI) tells us how strong the ultraviolet rays are at any given time and place. This value ranges from 0 to 11 and varies throughout the year depending on how close you are to the sun. Overall, the higher the value, the greater the risk of damaging your skin. And, the best place to know the UV index of your area is through Google or your smartphone’s weather app.

Best UV Index for Tanning?

mom and daughter sunbathing on sea beach

If you want to tan or sunbathe safely, we recommend only tanning during moderate UV conditions which range from 3 to 5 on the UV scale and only within 1 to 2 hours. The higher the UV index, the faster your skin can get damaged. So, it’s important to know how long you plan on staying outside what you should wear to minimize the risk for you and your family. 

Besides using sunscreen, the best thing you can do is to find the right clothes for tanning. And, if your little girl wants to join you, simply visit BabyOutlet to get your daughter a cute summer outfit to keep her safe while also looking stylish when tanning. The organic cotton in their clothes not only makes them super comfortable to wear but also works amazingly well when it comes to blocking harmful or extreme UV rays.

Why Do We Tan & Is It Healthy?

Tanning by exposure to UV light helps to increase the pigment melanin in your skin, resulting in beautiful and attractive tanned skin. In order to get a suntan, the UV radiation level needs to be safe to avoid sunburn and also high enough to affect the level of melanin in your skin. However, it’s worth noting that even just getting a tan is still a sign of sun damage. That’s why a healthy tan is still a myth until now.

Here are recommended times for sunbathing & sun exposure you might want to know:

  • UV index 0 – 2: At this low exposure level, an average person can lay in the sun for 60 minutes without getting burnt.
  • UV Index 3 – 5: This is a moderate level of exposure and the recommended time to spend outdoors is around 45 minutes.
  • UV Index 6 – 7: It only takes just 30 minutes for your skin to get damaged at this level. So, it’s ideal to wear light and long sleeve clothes to protect your skin if possible.
  • UV Index 8 – 10: The average burn time is 15 – 25 minutes and can be harmful to tan without enough protection. We highly recommend seeking shade, wearing sunglasses, and long sleeve clothes at this level.
  • UV Index 11+: This exposure level is extreme and outdoor time should be limited.

Note: Exposure to high UV radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, eye damage, and even skin cancer.

Is Sun Tanning Bad for Children?

For kids, exposure to sunlight is not only beneficial to thin their sputum, reduce jaundice but also activate the formation of vitamin D in the body. Even though it has many benefits, experts only recommend letting your kids sunbathe between 06.00 AM – 07.30 AM. And, of course, no tanning for children.

Try to keep it short for too long, between 10 to a maximum of 30 minutes a time. Also, you should avoid sun exposure between 10.00 AM – 4.00 PM since that is the time with the highest UV radiation. Additionally, if your family member has a history of skin issues, make sure you always consult your doctor first.

What Areas of Skin Need the Most Protection?

Applying more sunscreen on skin areas that need the most protection

When tanning, make sure you have sunscreen, clothes, and other accessories to protect sensitive areas such as your eyes, lips, and neck. You might want to consider sunscreen and other sun protection products with at least SPF 30. On top of that, sunscreen in a spray bottle is great to get even the hard-to-reach spots covered. Make sure you apply sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure your skin benefits from continuous protection.

Tips to Tan Safely

Tips to Tan Safely

Luckily, there are ways to tan or sunbathe safely and prevent skin damage. Here are some tips from WHO for safe tanning you should know:

  • Reduce the amount of time if you decide to tan or sunbathe from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Always check the sunlight intensity or the UV index first.
  • Use a shade like trees and umbrellas to protect the skin in high UV index.
  • Wear protective clothing such as loose-fitted clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen. Ensure that you cover the exposed parts of the skin with a thick layer and always reapply after some time because it may wear off.
  • Stay hydrated.

Understanding what the UV index represents is crucial before you start tanning. We hope this guide can help you know the basics about UV index and tanning in order to help you tan correctly and safely. 

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