The time is takes to tan depends on several factors including your skin color, your climate, and how close you are to the equator. Keep in mind that these factors also impact how quickly you’ll get a sunburn.

There are risks involved with tanning and prolonged sun exposure, but some people still tan because they prefer how their skin looks or they enjoy tanning as a hobby.

If you decide to spend time tanning in the sun, you can reduce some of the risks by learning to tan quickly. Read on to learn how long it takes to get a tan and how to reduce the risks.

You may burn or tan in as little as 10 minutes if you’re not wearing sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor). Most people will tan within a few hours.

Sometimes, you will not see a tan right away. In response to sun exposure, the skin produces melanin, which can take time. This eventually changes the color of the skin.

How long it takes you to tan outside will depend on your skin type and the climate in which you’re tanning. For example, consider two people sitting on a beach: one with light skin and one with darker skin. The light-skinned person may burn while the darker-skinned person tans (which still damages the skin).

According to the American Academy Of Dermatology, skin color is a major indicator of whether a person will burn or tan.

There are many factors that will influence the length of time it takes a person to tan. Some are related to the individual and others are tied to the climate in which you’re sunbathing. Here are six factors that influence tanning:

  • The sun’s rays are stronger at higher altitudes, which can make tanning and burning happen more quickly.
  • People with darker skin will tan faster because they have more melanin in their skin. This may make them tan more because sun triggers cells called melanocytes to produce melanin, which makes the skin darker.
  • Humid climates have more moisture in the air, which can keep a tan from fading and may make tanning happen faster.
  • The angle of the sun and time of day also matter. The closer you are to the equator, the more likely you are to tan or burn.
  • The more direct sun exposure you have without a break in the shade, the more likely you are to burn or tan.
  • A sunscreen’s SPF can influence how much you tan, and the higher the SPF, the longer you should have until you start to burn. For example, an SPF of 30 protects your skin 30 times more than if you were not wearing anything.

If you’re interested in tanning, learning how to tan faster may reduce the time you need to spend in the sun, thereby reducing your exposure to harmful rays.

Keep in mind that getting a “base tan” does not reduce your risk of sunburn or other skin damage. In addition, sunless tanning pills are not safe according to the Mayo Clinic and the Food and Drug Administration.

Here are six tips for faster tanning:

  • Exfoliate before tanning so your tan doesn’t flake off.
  • Use at least 1 ounce of SFP 30, which is low enough that you still should tan, but should not burn quickly.
  • Change positions frequently so you don’t burn one part of your body.
  • Eat foods that contain beta-carotene like carrots that can naturally darken the skin.
  • Eat lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes, tomato paste, and watermelon, which can help naturally fight UV rays (but should not replace SPF).
  • Tan between noon and 3 p.m. when UV rays are strongest. However, this time of day is also the most dangerous and damaging for your skin. Use caution during this period.

Tanning beds are very harmful and should be avoided. One indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing melanoma by as much 20 percent.

Tanning beds expose to the body to high levels of UVA rays that are linked to skin cancer. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorizes tanning beds as carcinogenic.

You can achieve the look of a tan by getting a spray tan or using a bronzing lotion that includes DHA.

Tanning has risks, especially if you don’t wear sunscreen. Even when wearing SPF, UV rays can still be damaging. Risks associated with tanning include:

Most people will tan within 1 to 2 hours in the sun.

It’s important to remember that both burns and tans may take a while to set in, so if you don’t see color immediately, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting any color or should use lower SPF.

Any type of tanning has risks, including skin cancer. If you decide to tan outdoors, doing so for a shorter time period may reduce the risk of damage. Remember to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and drink plenty of water.

Tanning beds are classified as carcinogenic and deliver a very high dose of UVA rays, which are very harmful and should be avoided.