Sunbeds vs Sunbathing – Tanning Time Comparisons

sunbeds vs sunbathing tanning time comparisons featured

When it comes to getting that perfect tan, there are two main options: hitting the sunbed or soaking up some natural rays through sunbathing. Both have their pros and cons, and they’re pretty popular among tanning enthusiasts.

In this article,
The Sunshine Co. is breaking down sunbeds vs sunbathing, exploring their differences in tanning time, safety measures, and overall effectiveness. So, let’s dive in and shed some light on sunbeds and sunbathing.

Understanding Sunbed Tanning

Sunbeds, or indoor tanning devices, provide a convenient way to tan indoors by emitting UV radiation in a controlled environment. While some may worry about the safety of artificial UV light, it’s important to note that sunbeds produce UVA and UVB rays similar to those emitted by the sun. A report from the World Health Organization confirms that the physical properties of UV light from sunbeds are comparable to natural sunlight.

 

Modern sunbeds usually emit UVA and UVB rays in proportions similar to sunlight, with about 95% UVA and 5% UVB. Some models emit even stronger UV light, up to three times more intense than the sun. This means shorter tanning sessions can be effective, with studies showing that just 20 minutes on a sunbed can give results equivalent to four hours in the sun.

 

The effectiveness of sunbed tanning depends on factors like skin type, UV intensity, and the type of tanning bed. Skin type plays a pivotal role, as individuals with fairer skin typically require shorter exposure times compared to those with darker skin tones. UV intensity, determined by the specific sunbed model and its settings, directly impacts the rate of tanning and the potential for skin damage if not regulated responsibly.

 

For tips on how to use a tanning bed safely and effectively, check out our blog post on How To Use A Tanning Bed.

Sunbathing: Natural Sun Exposure

Direct exposure to sunlight provides a natural source of UV radiation, essential for stimulating the production of melanin in the skin, resulting in that sought-after tan. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the variability in natural sunlight. 

 

The time of day plays a significant role in sunbathing. Midday sun tends to be more intense, offering a shorter window for effective tanning compared to earlier or later in the day. Cloud cover can also impact the intensity of UV rays, affecting the rate at which your skin tans.

 

Weather conditions, such as humidity and pollution levels, can also influence the tanning process. Clear skies allow more UV radiation to penetrate the atmosphere, enhancing tanning potential, while overcast conditions may diffuse UV rays, requiring longer exposure times to achieve comparable results.

 

Geographical location further contributes to the variability of sun exposure. Countries closer to the equator like Brazil and Indonesia, experience more intense sunlight year-round, facilitating quicker tanning compared to regions farther out.

 

While sunbathing offers a natural and enjoyable way to achieve a tan, it’s essential to prioritise sun protection. Sunscreen with a high SPF, along with protective clothing and seeking shade during peak sunlight hours, helps minimise the risk of sunburn and long-term skin damage.

 

By understanding the details of sun exposure and adopting sun-safe practices, you can enjoy the benefits of natural tanning while safeguarding your skin’s health and vitality.

Comparing Tanning Times

Typical tanning times for sunbeds vary depending on factors such as skin type and desired tan levels. For instance, individuals with fair to medium skin tones may achieve satisfactory results in approximately 6 minutes on a sunbed. However, it’s crucial to adjust the duration based on skin sensitivity and tanning goals.

 

Several aspects influence tanning time in sunbeds, including UV intensity, skin type, and the use of tanning accelerators. Higher UV intensity and the use of accelerators can shorten tanning time, while individuals with fairer skin may need to limit exposure to prevent burning. It’s essential to consider these factors when determining the optimal duration for a sunbed session. In contrast, achieving a comparable tan through natural sun exposure via sunbathing typically requires longer exposure.

 

When considering tanning times, it’s essential to understand the differences between sunbeds and sunbathing. When you’re thinking “what is x minutes on a sunbed equivalent to?”, consider the following table as a general guide.

Sunbed Tanning

Time

Sunbathing Tanning Time

1 Minute

12 Minutes

2 Minutes

24 Minutes

3 Minutes

36 Minutes

4 Minutes

48 Minutes

5 Minutes

1 hour

6 Minutes

1 hour 12 Minutes

7 Minutes

1 hour 24 Minutes

8 Minutes

1 hour 36 Minutes

9 Minutes

1 hour 48 Minutes

10 Minutes

2 hours

Sunbed Tanning Time

Sunbathing Tanning Time

1 Minute

12 Minutes

2 Minutes

24 Minutes

3 Minutes

36 Minutes

4 Minutes

48 Minutes

5 Minutes

1 Hour

6 Minutes

1 Hour 12 Minutes

7 Minutes

1 Hour 24 Minutes

8 Minutes

1 Hour 36 Minutes

9 Minutes

1 hour 48 Minutes

10 Minutes

2 Hours

Benefits Of Sunbeds

Sunbeds offer a controlled environment for tanning, ensuring consistent results regardless of weather conditions. The convenience of sunbeds, with accessible locations and adjustable settings, makes them a preferred choice for many tanning enthusiasts.

According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, sunbed users report experiencing perceived psychological benefits, including enhanced well-being, and increased confidence.

Furthermore, sunbeds can provide physical benefits, such as improvement in skin conditions like acne, as well as aiding in acquiring vitamin D and preventing sunburn. 

Benefits of Sunbathing

Sunbathing outdoors offers the advantage of natural vitamin D synthesis. Exposure to sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the skin, essential for maintaining healthy bones, supporting the immune system, and regulating mood.

A study conducted by
Cancer Research UK demonstrates that even low levels of ultraviolet radiation (UV) can significantly boost vitamin D production in the skin, regardless of skin type. 

Additionally, sunbathing allows one to enjoy the outdoors, relax, and soak up natural surroundings, potentially boosting mood and overall well-being.

Plus, when the sun is out, it’s a free activity, allowing individuals to bask in nature’s beauty, whether on the grass or at the beach.

Personal Preferences and Lifestyle Factors

People often consider what’s easiest: going outdoors or finding a nearby tanning salon. They think about whether they’d rather be at a beach or park or have the convenience of a salon close by.

Accessibility matters too, popping into a nearby salon during a break or after work might appeal to those looking for a quick tan. But others might prefer the natural feel of outdoor spaces.

And then there’s the type of tan they want. Some like a slow, natural tan from sunbathing, while others prefer the quick, consistent tan from sunbeds. Lifestyle factors, like how much time they have and the weather, also play a role. Sunbeds offer a fast way to tan, which can be handy for people with busy lives. 

Tanning accelerator creams can also be a helpful solution for those with hectic schedules, it can provide a faster tan without needing as much time under the sun or in a sunbed. Explore our selection of moisturising tanning creams infused with mela boost to enhance skin radiance and deepen your tan. 

Making The Right Choice

Whether you opt for the natural method of sunbathing or the controlled environment of sunbeds, achieving your desired tan is well within reach. By considering personal preferences and lifestyle factors, you can make an informed choice that suits you best. 

For expert tanning advice and access to the highest-quality indoor tanning technology, visit The Sunshine Co. and discover one of our tanning salons conveniently located near you.

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