With the sun coming out, and Memorial Day having marked the official start of summer, it's time to shed away the paleness of winter and obtain that golden glow you’ve been waiting for all year. While it may seem like the easiest way to tan is to lay outside all day in the sun, don’t be fooled. The sun is more of an enemy than a friend. If you’re looking to get that deep bronze this summer, make sure to follow these tips to not only obtain your desirable color, but also to maintain your health. 

1. Know Your Sun Lingo and Science

Before heading off to the beach or pool, make sure you are aware of what exactly the sun does. The sun produces ultraviolet rays in the forms of UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation. While UVC rays are unable to penetrate the ozone layer, UVA and UVB rays come through and present risk to unprotected skin such as wrinkling, sunburns, and health risks including melanoma and skin cancer. Time of day can also influence the risk UVA and UVB rays present as UV radiation strength is at its highest between 10 AM and 4 PM, so make sure to check your watch before you decide to lie down. 

2. Sunscreen Helps Your Tan

Whether it is mom or dad spraying your whole body or applying the thick, white lotion yourself, wearing sunscreen is a summer must. But when it comes to tanning, many people skip the sunscreen with the fear of it preventing any sort of bronzing from happening. This could not be more of a myth. In addition to protecting yourself from the harmful UV rays, sunscreen doesn’t interfere with the skin’s DNA production of melanin, the chemical that changes the pigment of your skin when exposed to the sun. Make sure to invest in a 1530 SPF sunscreen that is broad–spectrum so that you are protected from both UVA and UVB rays. You should also try to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after getting your skin wet. A National Health Institute finding also concluded that applying sunscreen 15–30 minutes prior to sun exposure maximizes safety for the skin, so make sure you lather on that SPF before heading out for a day at the beach.

3. Take Your Time to Tan

We all are eager to get tanner as quickly as possible and spend hours upon hours baking in the sun, but when it comes to tanning, it’s important to ease into sun exposure. Skin renews itself every ten days, so in order to obtain a solid base tan that can last you throughout the summer, spend about 10-15 minutes at a time in direct sunlight before retreating back into the shade to give your skin a break. After about a week, feel free to up the amount to 30 minutes in direct sunlight as sensitive skin will be used to sun exposure, but any amount more can pose risks that not even sunscreen can prevent.

4. Exfoliate and Moisturize

Ensuring a good tan extends to more than just lounging around outside. After spending a day in the sun, it’s essential to make sure that your skin is being treated and being treated properly. Exfoliating at the end of the day will help get rid of dead skin cells that may prevent the growth of healthy ones that lie underneath, in order to help give you that bronzy and healthy glow with just the right amount of sun. Moisturizing also helps prevent your skin from drying out quicker which can cause an uneven tan and even rubbery skin, so make sure to apply a lotion or light moisturizer at night and make sure to drink lots of water during tanning to not only keep your body hydrated, but your skin as well. 

Now go forth and obtain that natural golden glow while enjoying a day in the sun. Not only will your skin be healthy by following these guidelines, but it will thank you later for them, too.