Best UV Index for Tanning: How to Get a Tan Fast and Safe?

What is the first thing you think about when you want to tan? Surely there are thoughts about how not to burn and get a golden skin tone. The correct UV index for tanning will help you with this. 

Of course, we all want to get a beautiful tan as quickly as possible, but many are hesitant about their tanning methods, knowing that you can get skin burns or even cancer. 

Today, we will give you important tips about UV index tanning that can keep your skin healthy while getting a beautiful tan.

What is the UV index for tanning?

The ultraviolet index is a measure of ultraviolet radiation on the earth's surface and is an indicator of potential skin hazards. Awareness of people's UV index values during the hot months helps alert them to the need for protective measures against exposure to UV radiation.

UV index ranges
The main UV index ranges

The UV index can range between 0 and 11+

UV index 1 counts as the lowest and safest index value, and therefore harmless to the skin. Index values of 11+ are already too high and dangerous for the skin and the human body as a whole. If it is high, exposure to sunlight isnโ€™t recommended to avoid burns and other skin conditions.

In case the UV index is higher than 6-7, it is best to stay home between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you do have to go outdoors during those times of the day, be sure to wear protective clothing, namely covering the exposed parts of the body, and sunscreen with a high SPF of 30-50+.

UV indices also have their period of action, when they occur more frequently:

  • Low (1-2) ใƒผ expected on cloudy days in winter;
  • Moderate (3-5) ใƒผ on cloudy days in spring and fall;
  • High (6-7) ใƒผ on sunny days in spring or fall;
  • Very high (8-10) ใƒผ on very sunny days in summer;
  • Extreme (11+) ใƒผ on very sunny days in tropical areas or at high altitudes.

It is also important to note that the intensity of UV rays is different in summer and winter. The sun shines during the day in winter just as it does in summer, but you cannot get a tan in this case. This is because the UVA rays, which are responsible for tanning and aging the skin, change.

What UV index is good for tanning?

Only by exposure to ultraviolet rays can you get a tan in the sun. Different intensities of the rays can give dissimilar degrees of tanning, where the higher the UV index, the more intense the sun's effect on the skin will be.  

girl tanning

Let's look at the main groups of UV index tanning to determine the right one for a good tan.

UV index 1-2

This rating indicates low UV radiation, which will specify that humans wonโ€™t be harmed by the sun's rays even when they are out in the sun without any protection. Usually, the rating will be displayed initially early in the morning or during the nighttime in many locations from the middle of summer right up into the winter. 

It is possible to tan with such indexes, but it may take much longer for the result to be more noticeable. However, this is the safest option and will allow you to stay in the sun longer.

UV index 3-5

The UV index between 3 and 5 denotes moderate exposure when outdoors. 

If you are outdoors in this UV index range, we recommend using a low SPF sun blocker for a softer tan and skin protection. At a low UV index range, your skin is less at risk of sunburn and the risk of skin damage is very low.

This means that a UV index of 3-5 is good for tanning without severe damage to the skin. So try to always sunbathe at such indicators of ultraviolet radiation. 

UV index 6-7

This range indicates that the current level of UV radiation is high, and such an index is usually in the summer, during the day. 

When going outside with a higher UV index, it's important to protect yourself from the potential harm caused by exposure. Also, ensure you're wearing sunscreen with a high enough 30 SPF. People with fair to medium skin are more likely to damage their skin at high index values.

This UV index is more suitable for those who have already sunbathed, as the skin is already accustomed to such exposure to the sun. However, it is still worth limiting a long stay under the such sun so as not to harm the skin.

UV index 8-10

Typically, this is almost the highest level of UV radiation you can encounter, mostly during the summer months, and it can reach this mark in the middle of the day.  

This level of UV index indicates a fairly high volume of sensitivity and intensity to the sun's rays. It also means that additional good protection is needed when outdoors at these measures.

With such a high level of UV radiation, you can tan very quickly, and if you stay in the sun for a long time, it can injure the skin. To avoid this, it is worth applying for protection with high 50-70 SPF protection and reapplying it regularly.

UV index 11+

UV 11 and above is the highest level of radiation, which medics and dermatologists consider the level of radiation at which the skin can get severe burns and other diseases in consequence, such as melanoma and skin cancer. It is a rare case where medical professionals recommend staying indoors without going out in the sun at these levels of ultraviolet light. 

Given this, it is better not to sunbathe at such indicators and be in the shade or in a room where the rays wonโ€™t hit the skin. This is necessary because even the best sunscreen isnโ€™t able to protect against such UV radiation.

How to quickly get a beautiful tan and not burn out?

 get a beautiful tan

If you're looking to get a beautiful tan in a short amount of time, follow these simple tips:

  1. Always use sunscreen with an SPF

No matter what time you go outdoors, use 30+ SPF sunscreen. You should do this several times a day if you go outdoors frequently. 

  1. Change your body position regularly

It is important to remember this to maintain an even tan and prevent skin burns. 

  1. Eat foods that contain beta-carotene

Beta-carotene-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale are known for blocking UV rays. Research suggests that beta-carotene may be beneficial for people with sensory deficits and skin conditions.

  1. Try using oils with naturally occurring SPF

Certain natural oils, such as those in avocado, coconut, raspberry, and carrot, can be used as an alternative source of SPF and hydration, though they shouldnโ€™t be a complete substitute for your sunscreen.

  1. Don't wait longer than your skin can tan

Melanin is what causes your skin to brown. Everyone has a melanin cutoff, which should be between 2 and 3 hours. After this duration, your skin wonโ€™t become darker throughout the day. If you tan past that point, you could significantly damage your skin.

  1. Eat lycopene-rich foods

Include lycopene-fortified foods, such as tomatoes, guava, and watermelon. Researchers discovered that eating lycopene is effective in helping to prevent sunburn, which takes place by itself skin.

  1. Choose your sunbathing time wisely

If you're just trying to get a tan, your goal for the day is usually from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. It is worth remembering that bright sunlight can cause skin damage, so you need the sufficient protection on the skin and face.

  1. Seek some shade

Taking a break will lessen your risk of overheating, and your skin will obtain rest from the heat of the sun.

  1. Prepare for a tan

Make sure your skin is prepared before going outdoors to achieve a tan. Exfoliate your skin before sunbathing so that the tan lasts longer. After, you can apply aloe vera gel to prolong the golden tone. Also, don't forget to moisturize your skin before and after tanning by applying creams.


The best UV index for tanning is usually between 3 and 5. 

When choosing a place on the beach, be sure to find out about the UV index and select the one that suits your skin and the tan you already have. Take precautions, such as wearing sunscreen and protective clothing while tanning.

Stick to our tips for a fast and beautiful tan, as well as healthy skin in the heat. And then you'll be as prepared as possible. 


๐Ÿ˜Ž What is the UV index?

Such an indicator shows the level of ultraviolet radiation. It can be more than 11 indices, ranging from minimal exposure to the skin, to unsafe.

๐Ÿ‘ Why is the UV index useful?

Ultraviolet rays have strong biological activity. Moreover, they can even change the chemical structure of skin cells. When receiving UV radiation, our skin can produce vitamin D, oxidative processes are accelerated, and tissues are better able to receive oxygen and release breakdown products.

๐ŸŒž What can protect against UV radiation?

UV-B radiation is almost completely blocked by protective creams, unlike UV-A, which penetrates through such protection and even partially through clothing. This says that even if you wear long clothing, it is important to apply protective cream regularly underneath as well. Also, try to look for shade, so you don't overheat in the sun.

๐Ÿ๏ธ What color of clothing provides the best protection from the sun?

It turned out that the fabric of blue and red is the best protection from the sun. Scientists advise manufacturers to use these “sun-protective” colors more often to create summer clothes.

Jose Diego Mier

Dermatology Expert

Dr. Jose Diego Mier is a board-certified dermatologist with over a decade of experience in light therapy, dermatology, and skin care. As the founder of the Heliotherapy Research Institute, Dr. Mier has dedicated his career to the study and application of light-based therapies for various skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, eczema, and skin aging. He is renowned for his extensive research contributions, numerous publications in leading dermatology journals, and his work has been recognized with awards for excellence in research and innovation. He has been invited to speak at national and international conferences, sharing his expertise and insights on light therapy and skin care.

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