For a lot of people, winter is not as great as its sunny counterpart.

The skin and hair are always dryGetting outside is a chore on itself, and you might get a jab of flu once in a whileEven if the first fall of snow is a delight to see, there are things that you can’t enjoy during the icy months.

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Among those things is sporting a sun-kissed skin. Tanning in winter is not an easy feat, because there are fewer sun rays to get the tan. You can still get a tan during winters, but that’s not via lying under the sun. In this article, we will discuss different options for tanning in winter. But first, let’s find out how tanning works.

Factors that affect sun tanning

Tanning usually happens when the UVA radiation touches your skin. The dark color appears because of the increased melanocytes in the body, which produces the brown pigment called melanin. Two major rays in the Sun kickstart tanning: UVA and UVB rays. Since the sun rays are not that strong during the winter, the UVA and UVB rays are also weaker.

  • UVA Rays – They are the major tanning element. They penetrate the low epidermis, causing melanocyte production. Overexposure to this ray can lead to serious skin damage.
  • UVB Rays – UVB rays can only reach the upper epidermis. These rays are responsible for causing sunburn to the skin.
  • Skin Type – Six skin types affect tanning. Type 1 skin (extremely fair skin) is the skin type with the least chance of tanning, while Type III (medium skin), Type IV (olive skin), Type V (brown skin), and type VI (black skin) will always tan.
  • Exposure Time – Longer time under the sun will kickstart even more melanocytes. Unfortunately, long exposures can lead to skin damage, or even worst, skin cancer.

Is tanning in winter possible?

Tanning is still possible even in winter, but it is harder to achieve. Since the UV index is lower during the winter, tanning will require more time under the sun. Set your tanning session when the UV index is the highest. This sun time session is usually limited to morning until later afternoon. As always, with prolonged activity under the sun, a high-quality sunscreen is recommended.

Take note that whether its summer or winter, UV rays are still harmful if you’re not protected properly. Although the temperature is not as hot, the UV rays are present all year round. Albeit at a lower level, the danger of getting your skin damaged is still present. This is especially true in places with high altitudes and covered with thick blankets of snow.

The problematic part here is this: almost 80% of the UV rays that hit the ice is reflected. This means that even with a lower UV index, the rays can hit you twice, amplifying the effect. It is the reason why there are skiers who develop tan lines between their lower face and where they wear their masks.

If you have a patio or a sunroom, you can use it to get a nice tan. Make sure that there’s no big patch of snow near you to reflect the UV rays. Do this in the highest point of the day, as basking in lower temperatures needs more exposure. And last but not least, apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 for your skin’s protection.

Ways to get a tan during the winter

Can’t wait for the sun to shine up? There are different ways to get that sun-kissed skin as soon as you want them. The result will not be as good (or as cheap) as the real thing, but it will do justice to your tanning fix. Here are some of the best ways to get winter tan lines.

  1. Travel to a hotter place

If you’re looking for the natural and authentic tan, the best (and probably the most expensive) option you have is taking a vacation to a warmer place. Countries and places near the equator have a tropical climate, which means their weather is almost always sunny. This might not be the most affordable option, but this option will truly give you the best result. Take your unused vacation leave and get the best out of it under the sun.

  1. Spray tanning

Spray tanning is one of the quickest options to have tan during the winter. It’s also easy and effortless because you have to let the staff spray the tanning stuff on you. It’s fast, affordable, and a very convenient option. However, it is a recommended option only if you want to get a tan for a short period. Most spray tans can last up to 10 days for darker shades. The result for lighter shades can fade after five days.

  1. Use self-tanning serums

For people who like a more home-based remedy, using a tanning serum is a great alternative. The user would only need to apply the self-tanning serum evenly. Along with daily skin regimen (cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing), the effect of this serum is great. You might have to focus on the area where you apply it to get a realistic effect. We recommend using these serums for usage on the face.

  1. Use self-tanning lotions/mousse

People often use self-tanning lotions or mousse for tanning the body (arms, legs, backside, etc.). With its viscosity, lotion and mousse can cover more surface. Shaving before applying the tanner is optional. Exfoliating the skin before applying moisturizer is required. Once done, apply the mousse or lotion to your body.

  1. Add bronzing makeup

People consider bronzing makeup as a complimentary beauty product. Its sole purpose is to enhance a tan and darken the skin without masking. These products are not usually used on their own, because once removed, the result will be gone, too. For a quick tanned look, using a bronzing makeup alone is acceptable. However, we don’t recommend this for long-term use.

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