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How Long Should I Lay Outside to Get a Tan?

by Caroline Romero ; Updated September 28, 2017

Tanners should never spend more than three hours in the sun.

tanning on sobe image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com

Safe Tanning

It is important to protect skin from sun damage. When tanning, a person should wear a sunscreen with a low SPF and gradually build up to longer periods in the sun. Tanners should never spend more than three hours in the sun and exposure should be limited when the sun is at its hottest.

Too Much Sun Exposure

The concept of a healthy tan is a myth. Too much sun exposure is associated with skin cancer. If a person is fair skinned, under age 16, has freckles or moles or has a family history of skin cancer it is important to spend less time tanning and always wear sunscreen.

Bottom Line

A tan is associated with health and beauty, but too much sun exposure is damaging to skin and has health risks. A suntan is the body's reaction to prevent further skin damage from the sun's UVA rays. Just getting sunburned once can greatly increase a person's chances of developing skin cancer.

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