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Safe Suntanning Tips

When suntanning, being fair skinned and blue eyed I have always been conscious of the need to be careful, having only ever had a tan when going on annual holidays to mediterranean countries, I wondered how I would cope with the very hot days I was going to experience in Cyprus when we moved here from the U.K last year. We have been here for eighteen months now and I have a golden tan and have not once had any sunburn, further. I hope these tips help you achieve the same, but first some information about sun exposure.

The Sun's Rays

The sun emits two kinds of ultraviolet rays:

  • UVA- which penetrate deeply into the skin and can trigger allergies and cause premature ageing and wrinkling.
  • UVB- these effect the upper layers of the skin and trigger the production of melanin which causes tanning. Too much causes burning, freckling and thickening of the skin. they can also cause cancers.

Both rays are present when the sun shines and can both penetrate through cloud and water can reflect the rays which can cause sun damage to the skin. When the rays are reflected through water they can be magnified so it is important to make sure you do not stay in the water too long because even though you may feel cool, you can still easily burn.


Precautions To Take When Suntanning.

Always avoid the midday sun ( remember the song about mad dogs and Englishmen!) In fact in the height of the summer here in Cyprus I avoid sitting in the sun between 10.00am and 4.00pm as I can feel it burning my skin if I do.

Fair skinned people especially those who often have red or white hair and blue eyes are especially vulnerable. People on certain medications, people who have a lot of moles and those with skin conditions such as eczema need to take special care in the sun as do the elderly and babies and young children.

Suntanning and Sun Factor Preparations

These work by reducing or blocking the effects of the sun allowing the person to stay in the sun longer. They absorb untraviolet B rays (UVB) and to a lesser extent ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the protection against UVB and will be marked on the outside of the container. Factors range from 2 to as high as 50. The average persons skin will burn after about ten minutes exposure to the sun. The SPF allows you to sunbathe for longer without burning eg. an SPF 8 allows approx. 8 times longer sun exposure, an SPF 15 allows 15 times longer etc.

Always re-apply lotions after swimming, even if they are waterproof as the effectiveness decreases after immersion in water.

Suntanning Tips Which Worked For Me

When lying on the sunbed make sure that when you start to feel the sun is too hot on your skin, immediately get into the pool. Do this even if it is only after five mins. as a burning sensation means your skin is being harmed. You will feeel cool again when you get out of the pool but will probably have to get in again after five mins. if that is your limit. This worked for me when we moved to Cyprus from the U.K. and after two weeks I had a golden tan with no burning.

Always wear a hat when walking any distance and make sure you have a top on that sits high at the at the back of your neck as this is vulnerable to burning.

When the temperature is in the late 20c's or 30c's stay out of the sun between 10.00am and 4.00pm.

Wear good quality sunglasses to protect you eyes even when in the pool.


If you do get sunburn, get out of the sun and cool the skin with cold running water or a luke warm bath. Avoid direct pressure on the burnt area. Apply calamine lotion or after sun lotion which is cooling and helps prevent peeling. Do not lie in the sun again until all skin redness has gone.


This page is for information only and not to be construed as medical advice, please consult a medical practitioner for expert medical help.

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