Get the Perfect Florida Sun Tan
Florida is a top international destination for sunny weather, beaches, and fun. Tourists from everywhere come here not only for rest and relaxation but also for that sought-after bronze glow from the Florida sun. It’s no secret that getting the perfect sun tan can be a frustrating process of trial and error. Either you fail to get enough color or you get so much color that you get that dreaded “toasty” look. There are also health concerns with sun tanning like skin cancer, sun burns, and premature skin aging. We all want that sun-varnished look, but not if it means sagging, leathery-looking skin or poor health later in life.
Through those bouts of tanning trial and error, sun bathers have sought and tried countless tips, tricks, products to achieve that golden glow while protecting and nourishing their skin. Through some research, we’ve narrowed down those measures to the top 7 effective strategies that seem to help tanners get the most even-toned, safest sun tan. These 7 steps together make up what we call the Florida Sun Tan Formula, and we’ve actually put this formula to the test. Take careful note of each step below and keep reading to find out what happened when we faithfully applied each step of this Florida Sun Tan Formula.
1. Pre-Tan Hydration & Prep
Your skin will respond better to tanning if it is clean and moisturized. Take a shower first and be sure to use an exfoliant. Exfoliating the skin sloughs off dead skin cells that not only make your skin look flaky and dull but also interfere with getting an even, longer-lasting tan. Try exfoliating with a loofah, brush, or exfoliating scrub like Tyler Madison’s Bushwhacker No. 1975 Salt Polish. This salt polish will not only refresh your skin but also detoxify it with salts, minerals and avocado oil. Follow up with a moisturizing lotion like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter.
2. Sunscreen Protection
The sun gives off two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both types of rays. There are two types of skin-protecting ingredients in sunscreens: chemical and physical. Chemical ingredients are absorbed into the skin and they themselves absorb UV rays before they can reach and damage deep layers of your skin. Common chemical ingredients include avobenzone and benzophenone. The physical ingredients do not penetrate the skin but instead sit on top of it while absorbing, reflecting, and scattering both types of UV rays. Nowadays, there are sunscreen formulas that contain both chemical and physical ingredients. However, sunscreens with only physical ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are also good alternatives for sunbathers who are allergic to chemical sunscreens. Use a screen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The higher the SPF, the higher the protection level, but do not assume that higher SPF sunscreens are a license to sun bathe for excessively long periods of time. If you tan for too long, you can harm your skin, with or without sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before tanning to give it time to take effect. Apply the sunscreen generously and evenly, making sure you don’t miss any spots like areas by your ears and around your underarms.
For an all-in-one sunscreen, try Banana Boat’s Ultra Mist Performance Broad Spectrum Sun Care Sunscreen spray. It protects against both UVA and UVB rays, provides 80-minute water resistance, and has an SPF of 30.
3. Keep Moving
Once you’ve found the perfect spot in the sand or by the pool to soak in the sun’s rays, be sure not to stay still. You don’t want one side of your body to be bronzed while the other side is pale and white. Try changing positions every 10 to 15 minutes. Flip from resting on your back to resting on your belly so that you get a full 360-degree tan. If you want to tan without being stationary, try jogging or walking around.
4. Prime Time Tanning
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, which also means that’s the time span for the highest risk of sun damage. Sun bathe before or after this time range to minimize your risks, whether it’s cloudy outside or not. Aside from the 10 am – 4 pm time span, another way to tell if you should dodge the sun is by the Shadow Rule. According to this rule, if your shadow is shorter than your height, then the sun’s rays are at a high intensity level and therefore more likely to cause sun damage.
5. Take Breaks
One way to avoid being burnt to a crisp in the sun is to take frequent sun breaks while tanning. So maybe in between your position rotations, step out of the sun in small 10-15 minute segments. Also wear protective clothing like hats, beach cover ups, blankets, and jackets.
It is also vital to protect your eyes from the sun. Your eyes and the skin around them are very vulnerable to sun damage. Believe it or not, your eyes can actually get “sunburned,” in which case the sunburn would be called photokeratitis. UV exposure to eyes has also been shown to worsen cataracts, an eye disease that clouds the eye lens and deteriorates vision. Protect your eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and/or sunglasses with UV400 protection or higher. Sunglasses with UV400 ratings or higher like Tyler Madison’s Bamboo Pilot Shades block 99.9% of UVA and UVB light.
Even with breaks, make sure you do not spend too much time in the sun. According to a Brown University study, the skin starts producing melanin in response to UV rays within a few hours. This melanin, which is what gives skin its tan color, is actually a response to injury from the UV rays to protect the skin from further damage. What this means, unfortunately, is that technically, your skin, even if you don’t feel or see any damage, has been damaged by the sun.
The sun protection level factor of a sunscreen can be used to get an idea of how much protection you’re getting from the sunscreen and also how often you may need to reapply or take a break. For instance, if it takes about 10 minutes for you to get sunburned without any protection, then if you use an SPF 15 sunscreen, you’ll have about 15 x 10 = 150 minutes of protection. If you burn in 20 minutes without protection, then you’ll have 30 x 20 = 600 minutes of protection with an SPF 30 sunscreen.
Overall though, there is no definitive time limit rule on sun tanning, but it is highly recommended that several hours should not be spent in the sun. 20 minutes to 1 hour is usually the time span recommended by dermatologists and medical professionals.
6. Don’t Forget to Reapply
Using sunscreen is pointless if you do not reapply when necessary. Reapply one ounce of sunscreen every two hours. Be sure to reapply more often than that during swimming or heavy sweating. This rule applies even if you’re using a waterproof sunscreen, as water, sweat, or toweling off can remove the product. Remember, you’re still exposed to the sun even in the water and can still get sunburned. To help you remember to reapply, try wearing in a UV detection wristband. These wristbands work by measuring UV ray intensity and change color when you’ve been exposed to the sun for a certain amount of time. You can either reapply sunscreen, take a sun break, or retire from tanning for the day.
7. Post-Tan Care
After exposure to the sun, you want to soothe and replenish your skin of any lost moisture to avoid flaking. Aloe vera is excellent for healing and restoring skin. It contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and anti-fungal properties that reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, and maintain healthy skin. Lather up with a lotion that contains aloe, like Tyler Madison’s FROTH Skin Shade. This cream not only contains aloe but also natural skin softening emollients like shea butter and sunflower oil. FROTH Skin Shade also doubles as a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15.
BONUS TIP: Inside Out
For optimal sun tan results and healthy skin period, you need to take care of your skin from the inside as well as the outside. Not only do you want to feed and protect your skin with topical products like sunscreens and moisturizers, but you also want to nourish it by consuming healthy foods and supplements that work internally at a cellular level to renew and protect your skin. Again, aloe vera is a go-to choice not only as a topical skin care ingredient but also as a supplement. Aloe vera contains Vitamins A, C, and E, which are known to protect internally against inflammation, wrinkling, and cell aging. Another well-known supplement for skin health is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a pigment that is a type of carotenoid, a nutrient found in plants. Beta-carotene contains antioxidants including Vitamin A that protect against cell damage. By protecting against cell damage, this carotenoid helps prevent skin irritations like sunburn that are caused by UV light. Try a natural beta-carotene supplement like Now Natural Beta Carotene that also contains Vitamin E, another antioxidant that fights cell damage. If you don’t like taking pills, you can’t go wrong with getting beta-carotene from foods like spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and mangoes.
Try it Out!
With the Florida Sun Tan Formula, you’ll cover all the bases for what you need to protect and maintain youthful skin will getting the best sun tan possible. For optimal results, try to carry out all of the steps but do not overdo them (e.g., do not exfoliate skin too aggressively). As for sun exposure, remember that moderation is the key; do not spend several hours or an entire day in the sun. Sunscreen may provide sun protection, but even with reapplication, it cannot protect against overexposure.