Tanning Time Chart. How Does It Work?

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There’s no doubt about it, some of us love the feeling a great tan gives us. Having a tan makes us feel more confident, attractive, sexy, and even more alive! No matter how many times you hear that you should be scared of the sun, you can’t help but feel the pull to grab your bikini as soon as the temperatures rise.

And with summer poking its head around the corner, you can’t stop thinking about that good feeling. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a way of timing your sun exposure that will leave you with a delicious tan without causing damage to your skin.

Find out more below through the tanning time chart.


The Feel Good Factor

There is a big reason why we feel so much better when we have a golden tan. And it’s even backed by science.

Many studies have shown that when skin is exposed to UV rays, vitamin D and Nitric Oxide, are activated and endorphins are released into the body. Endorphins are the chemicals produced in the brain that allow the body to cope with any stress or pain.

They carry signals across your nervous system to the parts of the body experiencing stress, pain or the “fight or flight” response. The benefits of a rush of endorphins include feelings of pleasure, euphoria, motivation, and pain relief. It’s exactly the reason why runners experience a high.

Researchers have also measured that the release of endorphins into the bloodstream causes blood pressure to drop and the body to relax, which affects your mood in a positive way. So feeling better after tanning is a natural process that our bodies recognise — well, the human race did start out wearing no clothes after all!

This combination of endorphin rush and vitamin D boost has proven time and again to scientists why so many people choose to chase the sun.

Feeling more confident, more attractive and better in your body as the result means most will chose having a tan, regardless of the cancer risks we all know about.

To be clear, there are well-known risks to tanning including skin cancer, wrinkles, and premature aging.

To be clear, there are well-known risks to tanning including skin cancer, wrinkles, and premature aging.

So if you’re someone who feels much better when you have a golden glow, then incorporating healthier ways to get tanned skin will help you achieve this. And the best way to do this without risking damage to your skin is by following the tanning time chart.

Tanning Time Chart

Fitzpatrick Scale Source: Wikipedia

Thomas Fitzpatrick was an American world-leading dermatologist, who, in 1975, simplified the way in which to measure the skin’s photosensitivity, or how it reacts when exposed to the sun’s UV light.

Known as the Fitzpatrick scale, it is used by dermatologists today to classify different skin types and assess the premature risk of aging from sun exposure.

The skin types are:

  • Type 1: Always burns, never tans
  • Type 2: Usually burns and tans minimally
  • Type 3: Sometimes burns, tans uniformly
  • Type 4: Burns minimally, tans easily
  • Type 5: Rarely burns, tans profusely
  • Type 6: Never burns, tans profusely

Although the above tells you what the guidelines are for a particular skin type, because everyone is different, you may feel that you don’t fit into any category.

Also, there are no hard and fast rules, because you might have fair skin but tan easily.

This means it’s also difficult to give exact timings on how long you can tolerate the sun without burning.

But don’t fret, because there IS an easy way to find out the exact timing for your skin. The dminder app provides your own unique tracking of vitamin D in your body and how much sun exposure you can tolerate.

It alerts you when you are prone to burn and takes into account how much UV you are absorbing, depending on your location.

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health issue, so getting the right amount is crucial to your body’s healthy function.

You can look up the UV Index forecast of your area to see how powerful the sun will be. You want to minimize your sun exposure when the UV Index is above 3 unless you’re wearing sunscreen. See The Best UV Index For Tanning for more information.

UV Index Source: Wikipeida

The dminder app takes into account your Fitzpatrick score as well as you age, weight, height and gender to calculate your vitamin D levels, letting you know when you need to top up and tracking the time.

Available for both iPhone and android devices.

Water Play

If you’re bearing it all in a bikini, then choose a non-toxic sunscreen with adequate SPF. Keep in mind our outdoor tanning tips, try to tan during the morning, and remember: you can tan with sunscreen on.

Try to choose a sunscreen that is reef-safe if you’re going to be in the ocean.

Unfortunately, most brands of sunscreen included harmful chemicals that are not only toxic to the ocean but can also cause your skin harm eventually.

The questionable chemicals to look out for include oxybenzone, PABA, nano-titanium dioxide, octinoxate and octocrylene.

These synthetic chemicals cause harm to algae by impairing their growth, bleaching and killing coral, causing male fish to turn female and poisoning the offspring of dolphins.

So make the environmentally aware decision to not only help yourself, but also the planet by buying a sunscreen that will do less harm, such as:

Badger’s SPF 30 Lavender Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream 

This protective cream comes from a brand that makes some of the safest sunscreens on the market. It’s a mineral formulation sunscreen that only has six ingredients, which include clear zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic lavender oil, sunflower vitamin E, and organic sea buckthorn extract.

Therefore, it is free of parabens, perfumes and other synthetic ingredients that cause skin irritation and damage.  

Badger rubs in clear, so is suitable for most skin tones when applied, while its organic ingredients protect sensitive and other skin types with antioxidants and moisture. Plus the light lavender scent will help to calm the body.

Will last for at least 40 minutes after exposure to water or sweat before needing to be reapplied.

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen 

Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Daily Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 50 100 Zinc Oxide NonGreasy Sweat WaterResistant Sheer Sunscreen for Face Body TravelSize, Unscented, 3 Fl Oz
  • 3-fluid ounces of Aveeno Positively...
  • Formulated to be gentle and...
  • Its lightweight, fast-absorbing formula...
  • From a dermatologist-recommended brand,...
  • The TSA-friendly travel size means you...

This product is a lotion formulation that offers a broad spectrum SPF of 50. The lightweight lotion is both water and sweat-resistant and protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Formulated for sensitive skins, it is a fast-absorbing formula that is free of parabens, phthalates and fragrances and is also hypoallergenic.

It should be applied 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.


Now that you’ve identified your skin type from the Fitzpatrick tanning time chart, downloaded your dminder app, and have products that will further protect your skin, you can enjoy the sun to top up your vitamin D and enjoy those feel-good chemicals that give you life.

Happy tanning!

See also:

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).