When is the Best Time of Day to Tan? 7 Top Tips for Getting a Better Tan

For some people, there is nothing better than achieving a natural tan. It’s one of the great pleasures of life. A way to glow and shine along with the bright summer season. A natural tan is a gift, an achievement, and a fashion statement all in one. An absolute necessity to living a content life for those who tan.

Obviously, for serious tanners a natural tan is by far the best option. Not only do natural tans last longer than spray tans, they look more natural, and are not nearly as high maintenance as other kinds of tans. It’s a bold and satisfying tan that is built to endure and sure to impress. Everyone even remotely interested in tanning craves the unmatched beauty and power of a natural tan.

Given that you’ve stumbled onto this article, it’s safe to assume that you’re looking to get the kind of natural tan that people envy. However, you might be not sure of where to begin on your tanning journey. That’s natural. You’ve come to the right place. Our tanning experts are here to help. You might have a number of questions when it comes to tanning naturally, such as what type of lotion to use, how to avoid burning, and where to tan. That’s where we come in and what you might not realize is that these issues aren’t as important as knowing when the best time of day to tan is, as tanning at peak hours will help you tan faster. This is a secret that only the top tanners know and now that secret is yours.

So, if you truly want to improve your tan this tanning season, you’ve come to the right place. In order to get a gorgeous, natural tan that will last all summer long, follow these seven top tips about when to achieve it. You’ll find that simply changing when and how you tan will make a far more substantial difference in the quality of your bronzed skin than embracing costly lotions or machines.

1. Seek Advice from Others

If you’re just starting out with tanning, things can be difficult. From the outside tanning can seem as simple as laying in the sun and letting nature take it’s course. However, there’s more to it than that and many things aren’t intuitive as they may seem. For example, it’s difficult to know whether it’s best to lie out in the early morning, or if the sun’s rays are more optimal for getting a better tan.

Inexperienced tanners often lie out at different times of day, making the tanning inefficient or even worse, resulting in a bad burn. It’s important to set a pattern and be consistent in your tanning practices to ensure that your tan is also consistent.

If you’re unsure of the best time of day to tan, then it’s a good idea to seek out the advice of others who have experience with tanning. Tanning forums and chat boards online are your friend and can connect you with other people who tan, and they can give you a great deal of advice about optimum outdoor tanning times. This will of course vary based on where you are in the country, so it’s wise to seek out the advice of tanners who are from your area for the best results.

2. Decide How You Want to Tan

There are many different types of tan. Sure, generally speaking, you will tan if you spend any length of time outdoors, but when comes to the best times to tan, this depends on how quickly you want to build your tan. Tanning may seem simple to the inexperienced, but there are many different factors to consider.

If you’re just starting out with tanning and you have very fair skin that tends to burn easily, then you might want to lie out in the morning (before noon) to avoid getting a burn. However, when you lie out before noon or after three p.m., it will take longer for you to develop a tan. This is a more gentle time for sun exposure that that has it’s advantages and drawbacks for any tanner.

If you already have a base tan or have darker skin that is less prone to burning, then laying out when the sun is at its hottest, between noon and 3 p.m., is the best way to get a solid tan as quickly as possible. This is usually the recommended time for people to tan as it is such a potent tanning time, but in order to tan safely, you should consider your full tanning experience. Taking a little longer to develop your tan may be worth it since it’s safer on your skin.

3. Don’t Ignore Your Skin Type

While some tanning experts might tell you that laying out when the sun is at its hottest is the only way to build a good tan, you must consider your own individual skin type as well. Not all skin types are created equal and it’s important to tan in a manner that is safe for your skin.

That means that if you have fair or ruddy skin, you probably already know that you’re more prone to burning than those who have darker skin. This requires you to be more cautious than those with other skin types.  If you have sensitive skin, this also increases your chances of burning instead of tanning, especially when it comes to the skin on your face. So, you have to be careful. Because a sunburn isn’t pleasant and it certainly isn’t a substitute for any tan.

If you have fair or sensitive skin, then the best time of day to tan is in the morning or after 3 p.m. While you will tan more slowly, you risk damaging your skin if you sunbathe when the sun is at its hottest. So, that extra tanning time will be worth it in the long run.

4. Be Consistent with Your Tanning Time

Once you choose the best time of day to tan according to your skin type and experience, you should be consistent with your tanning schedule. Not only will laying at out at the same time every day help you to tan more quickly, but you will also tan more evenly because you’ll be exposing your body to the same UVB strength every time. These are important tanning factors that not everyone considers.

Tanning at different times of day or skipping days will give you a weak and uneven tan that will be difficult to even out later on. Set aside a tanning time that allows you to be free of distractions or other obligations so that you’ll never have to sacrifice your sunbathing sessions. Another advantage to setting time aside specifically for tanning is that you’ll be able to relax as you tan, which is beneficial for your health as well. Maintaining a consistent tanning schedule is vital to ensuring that you have the tan of your dreams. So make sure to factor this into any of your personal tanning plans.

5. Catch the Best Rays with the Right Body Position

If you’ve chosen to tan when the sun is at its hottest, then it’s important that you know how to position your body in order to take advantage of these peak rays. This is especially important for achieving a quick, even tan.

So what does this entail? Well, when you lie down, you should position your body so that the strong afternoon rays are directly in line with your body. To ensure this, your shadow should be directly underneath you, as if you were laying on top of it. Remember to keep this position, even when you roll over to tan your back.

6. Avoid Tanning if It’s Cloudy During Your Tanning Time

You may have heard that it’s possible to get sunburn even if it’s cloudy out, and this is actually true because the UV rays of the sun can still filter through and affect your skin. However, if you see that it’s cloudy during your best time of day to tan, you should avoid lying out.

The skin tans because of the sun’s UVB rays, not because of UV rays, and the rays that are responsible for causing your tan cannot filter through the clouds. If you sunbathe on a cloudy day, you’re not doing anything to help your tan and you’re increasing the risk of getting burned. So, even if it conflicts with your regular tanning schedule, try to avoid tanning when their are clouds in the sky to ensure that you get the rich and even tan that you deserve.

7. Don’t Rush the Tanning Process

Even when you sunbathe when the sun’s rays are at their strongest each day, you will have to be patient about seeing results. Not everyone tans at the same speed, and laying out longer may result in a bad burn that could damage your skin. Maintaining your tanning schedule and choosing the best time of day to tan according to your skin’s own individual tone are the best ways to quickly achieve the kind of tan you’ve always wanted.

Always Put Your Health First When Exposing Your Skin to the Sun’s Rays

Sure, a tan can make you look great, but it is always important to remember that getting a tan, whether out in the sunshine or in a tanning booth, may carry some risks of skin damage and, worse yet, skin cancer. Therefore, taking precautions to tan your skin gently and safely is wise.

Here are a few ways to protect your skin while working on your tan:

  • Use sunscreen every time (yes, you can tan even while wearing sunscreen, but the process will be slower). As we mentioned above, even on a cloudy day, your skin could end up getting burned, so it is recommended that you get into a routine of using a high quality sunscreen on a regular basis. And this is especially important when you are lying in the sun for an extended period of time with the intention of getting a dark tan, regardless of the time of day that you are tanning. To ensure that you are using the right sunscreen, choose one that states it provides “broad spectrum” protection against UVA and UVB rays. Also, if your skin is naturally darker, you could go with SPF15; otherwise, SPF30 is recommended for adequate protection. Also, don’t forget that there are now sunscreens that are made using more natural ingredients that aren’t as harmful to the environment, especially if you plan on going into the ocean after applying the sunscreen.
  • Take breaks to sit in the shade, rather than tanning straight through for a couple of hours. This simple step can help reduce the amount of intense UV that you are being exposed to, so you can also reduce the risk of burning your skin, which you certainly don’t want. If you can manage to get an even tan gradually, without burning your skin, it might even last longer.
  • How long is too long to lounge in the sunshine? Well, it turns out that your skin will stop producing melanin (the pigment that makes your skin darken) after about two to three hours in the sun. However, if you have fairer skin, your time limit might be even shorter. Beyond the point at which melanin is no longer being produced, you increase the risk of damaging your delicate skin.
  • Believe it or not, natural ways to protect your skin include eating the right foods. Certain compounds in healthy foods, such as tomatoes, dark chocolate, coffee, and green tea, can help your body protect itself against the sun’s harsh rays.

Bottom Line: Use Care and Caution, and Follow Smart Tips When Tanning

Getting a fabulous tan is certainly the goal that most people have, but you do need to use some caution to ensure your skin will tan rather than burn. By following the tips above regarding the best time of day to tan, as well as what you can do to protect your skin from excessive, damaging exposure to UV rays, you can achieve your goal of glowing skin that you’ll be proud to show off all summer long.


  1. Thanks for the advice. Can’t wait to get started.

  2. Going to try to get a little color

  3. I always start mine with morning sun. Usually bout 20 min on each side. And build time up till i get to 1 hr on each side. 9Am to 11am. Then bout week after that i have a great dark base tan then i do noon to 3pm

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