11 Best Practice Tips for Tanning at the Beach

woman tanning on beach

Tanning at the beach is often done by beachgoers. Often debated as to whether this practice is worth doing is a controversial topic. It is important to know the risks associated with tanning at the beach.

We put together our top 12 best practice tips to help you with tanning at the beach in the safest way possible. Let’s dig in.

Tips for Tanning at the Beach

Tanning at the beach is quite different than indoor tanning which usually takes place on a tanning bed. One is not better than the other. Both emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation onto your body.

Overexposure to UV radiation in the long run to the body leads to wrinkles, aging, and even skin cancer. Some people prefer tanning at the beach than indoor tanning.

For those preferring to use natural sunlight remember that your skin is still susceptible to the sun’s rays, but we put together these best practices for tanning at the beach in the best safest way.

1. Moisturize that Skin

Before tanning at the beach make sure your skin is moisturized. By this I mean every single part of your body! This normally is done in the mornings and night times after you shower.

If this isn’t a daily ritual for you then you should make it a priority. Moisturizer helps protect your skin from drying along with maintaining its balance. Though the sun is an amazing part of our lives it is also a foe on its own.

When we are outside for long periods of time the sun will dehydrate the skin. Being outside will cause your skin to be thirsty. It’s best to prepare it when deciding to tan at the beach by moisturizing it.

This will give it somewhat of defense amongst the sun.  I use to moisturize my skin the Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Lotion. It glides smoothly on my skin and doesn’t irritate it. I suffer from eczema so my skin is really sensitive to most lotions.

2. Hydration is Key

This is often an overlooked one, but it is important. Your body is mostly composed of water. An adult human is precisely made up of 60% water. If we were to dig deeper into these stats we find that our lungs are made up of 83% water and our skin is 64% water.


When you decide to tan at the beach you are exposing your skin to the sun which in turn can cause dryness of the skin. This holds more true when you are outside when temperatures are high.

Your skin is prone to lose its moisture and proteins like collagen. Collagen keeps your skin firm thus decreasing wrinkles. Make sure you are hydrated before tanning at the beach. 

3. Sunscreen is your best friend while tanning at the beach

This one may be a no-brainer, but often some people assume that since they are tanning at the beach why wear sunscreen?  If we go back for a second and see what happens to our skin during sun exposure we can better answer this question.

When our skin comes in contact with the sun our bodies will start to produce melanin. Human have 3 types of melanin

  • Eumelanin
  • Pheomelanin
  • neuromelanin

The amount of melanin in our bodies is determined through our genes. Hence, fair-skinned individuals will often carry more melanin than fair-skinned individuals.

Melanin in a sense acts as sunscreen. It doesn’t have the properties of an SPF 30 (sun protection factor) sunscreen, but it tries its best to do what it can to protect your DNA from the ultraviolet (UV)  radiation.

The longer you’re exposed to the sun the more melanin will be produced giving you that “suntan or sunburn look.” Basically, at this point, your skin is suffering from sun damage

4. Know your body’s limit

As previously mentioned the amount of melanin will vary amongst different different ethnicities. For instance, dark-skinned individuals tend to produce more melanin than fair-skinned individuals.

This means that for dark-skinned individuals it takes a longer time than a fair-skinned individual to have sun-induced damage. The reason being is that fair-skinned individuals don’t produce as much of melanin that is able to help absorb the UV radiation.

Understanding where your skin-color stands can give you a better idea of what is your tolerant limit to the sun. In the end, the sun doesn’t discriminate against color overtime of long periods of exposure will lead to sunspots, wrinkles, and even cancer. 

5. Avoid Tanning at the Beach on Hottest Times

Research tells us that certain times throughout the day the magnificently radiant sun is known to carry it’s strongest UV rays. The time of the day along with the season and even destination all play a role.

For instance, often between 10am to 4pm the sun’s rays are at the strongest

These times are often recommended to avoid if possible from being outdoors. Summertime months such as June, July, and August are known to have hot climates.

And of course, countries (Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, and  Uganda to name a few) that live near the equators often continuously experience the strong presence of the sun throughout the year.

woman tanning on beach
Photo by Marvin Meyer

6. No Perfume while tanning at the beach

As a female, I often enjoy wearing perfume. It smells nice and makes me happy when I wear it. If you plan on tanning at the beach avoid putting on perfume that day. Most perfumes carry a mixture of alcohol in them.

Sometimes when wearing perfume during sun exposure can cause Poikiloderma of Civatte (PC). This is a condition in which the skin becomes discolored featuring red-brown patches.

It is usually found around the neck area, but can also vary in other parts of the body as well. It’s best practice to avoid wearing perfume if you plan on lying out in the sun. 

Photo by Point Blanq

7. Don’t forget about your eyes, and scalp

While tanning at the beach we often forget to protect the eyes and the head from the sun. This becomes even more important if you are out during the hottest times of the day.

The scalp can become sunburned. Be sure to wear a sunhat that offers at least moderate protection and having SPF protection is just a plus.

Our favorite is the Furtalk Wide Brim Sun Straw Hat with UPF50 sun protection. It’s lightweight, fashionable, and foldable making it a great choice to take to the beach.

In addition, your eyes are delicate as well to the sun. Protect them while tanning at the beach by wearing sunglasses. Make sure that the sunglasses you decide to wear at the beach are polarized. One of  the leading sunglasses brands out there are

8. Remember: Reapply while tanning at the beach

Remember when you are tanning at the beach – don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen! Most sunscreens can offer protection up to a certain time.

For instance, wearing SPF of 30 indicates that it will take 30 times longer for the UVB rays to penetrate your skin than not wearing any sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests sunscreens that are:  

  • Water-resistant
  • Have both UVA and UVB protection
  • Minimum of SPFof 30

They mention that sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours. However, when sweating or swimming it should be applied more frequently.

If you’re not sure what sunscreens are best we got you covered. We put together a guide to the best safe vegan sunscreens for you worth owning

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

9. Make sure your moving

It’s imperative to keep moving your body around to avoid it getting burnt on one side. Setting a timer for every 30 minutes can be a reminder to change positions.

A better idea for this though is participating in a beach game with your loved ones. If you’re not sure what are some games to bring at the beach we put together a list of our top 20 fun beach game ideas.

Not only are you bound to get in a workout from playing, but you can rest assured your body will be tanning evenly.

10. Wear Protective Clothing if Possible while tanning at the beach

There exists sun-protected swimwear. These pieces of clothing are specifically designed to help block UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Be sure to look out for the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) label.

The UV Skinz UPF 50+ Racerback Swim Tank offers the highest UVA and UVB protection. Wearing UV protective clothing while tanning at the beach gives you the best defense along with sunscreen in protecting your skin.

11. Don’t forget after care

After heading home from the beach be sure to wash up. By this time once arriving home you can guarantee your body would be sweaty, burnt, and dry from the beach.

Having a lukewarm bath allows you to cleanse it up. Once you are done showering be sure to moisturize that skin. If you are sunburnt then anything with Aloe vera is sure to help soothe the skin.


How do I get a tan at the beach?

Getting a tan at the beach is quite simple. Remember that though perceived as relaxing to some there are risks associated with this activity. It’s not recommended to tan constantly for you are exposing your skin to UV radiation and in time this can lead to potential skin cancer. We outlined previously some of the best practices for tanning at the beach for you.

How long should you tan at the beach?

Tanning at the beach will vary from person to person. As previously mentioned the amount of melanin produced can be traced back to our genetic makeup.

Dark-skinned individuals produce more melanin and hardly get sunburnt, unlike light-skinned individuals.

Why do I tan faster at the beach?

Most individuals tan faster at the beach due to the fact that they visit during the summertime. Usually, during this time the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Giving you a faster tan.

Anytime you are outside for long periods of time when the sun is present you can expect your body to be susceptible to darkening or getting sunburnt. Remember still apply sunscreen over your body.

Can you wear a fake tan at the beach?

You can wear a fake tan at the beach, however, understand that wearing a fake tan does not protect you against the sun. It’s important to understand that sunscreen should be still applied to your body still before being outdoors.


Tanning at the beach is a relaxing activity some partake in the summer. Remember though that the safest way to protect your body is to limit your exposure times and wear sunscreen.

Fake tans serve as a better alternative for those individuals wanting to avoid being out in the sun. Not only will you be getting a tan, but you won’t have to worry about running the risk of getting sunburnt.

Let us know in the comments below what are some of your favorite tips for tanning at the beach.

Until, next time, be safe outdoors.

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️



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