While UV rays are essential to our health, helping with acne and providing vitamin D, too much exposure can lead to cataracts, sunburn, and even cancer. Luckily, in 1995 scientists devised the UV Index to give the general public valuable information to prevent skin cancer.
So, what UV Index is best for tanning? Keep reading for all you need to know.
What Is the UV Index?
UV Index stands for ultraviolet index and is used to predict and communicate daily ultraviolet radiation levels. On the scale, a rating of 1-2 is considered low, 3-5 is moderate, 6-7 is high, 8-10 is very high, and 11+ is extreme.
These predictions vary per city because the rating takes local conditions such as weather and pollution into consideration.
How to Use the UV Index
The UV Index helps people plan outdoor events safely, so it is essential to check it regularly to protect yourself from the dangers of sun damage.
The safest time to be outside is during a low-rated UV Index A moderate rating indicates the need to take precautions, while a high rating means you need to use protection and seek shade during midday hours.
Very high and extreme ratings require extra protection and advise avoiding the outdoors unless necessary. The UV Index Alert on the government website is an excellent place to keep informed.
What UV Index Is Best for Tanning?
Ultimately, the best UV Index for tanning depends on the tanning individual’s skin type. To tan, the skin needs UVA rays to darken pigment cells and UVB rays to generate more pigment cells. Your skin type determines the ability and speed at which you soak in these rays.
Generally, the best UV Index for all skin types is low (1-2) or moderate (3-5). Regardless, the safest tanning conditions are a UV Index of 2-4, paired with the use of a low-grade sunscreen made for tanning.
Ideally, you should always use a tanning sunscreen or lotion when suntanning. Since sunburn can be counterproductive to tanning, it is necessary to use SPF 30+ if you burn easily or plan to be outside for an extended period.
Typically, a person only needs to spend 40-60 minutes in the sun to tan. One sure way to get an even tan is by spending ten minutes on each side for a total of 40 minutes in the sun.
Tanning Cautions and Concerns
While many people desire a “good tan” aesthetic, it is essential to remember that there is “no such thing as a healthy tan,” according to the FDA. Too much UV exposure can result in sunburns, cataracts, or even cancers. It is always essential to check the UV Index when planning outdoor activities, as the higher the UV rays, the quicker skin burns.
Especially at the beach since reflective sand and can double UV rays. While the best sunscreen depends on a person’s tendency to burn, a good SPF rule of thumb is SPF 15+ for a low UV Index rating, SPF 30+ for a moderate or high UV Index rating, and SPF 50+ for a very high or extreme UV Index rating.