Summer vacation means it’s time to get outside and thoroughly enjoy the weather. Spending time in the sun has a lot of incredible effects outside of just a very nice tan. With just 15 minutes of sunshine a day, you can take advantage of many of its benefits. The easiest way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is just by spending a little time in the sun. Vitamin D can help strengthen your immune system and maintain your body’s calcium.
In addition to strong bones and a healthy immune system, sunlight triggers the creation of serotonin which will reduce stress and anxiety and help fight off depression. And if that all wasn’t enough, the sun can even improve your sleep by stimulating your body’s natural melatonin production.
All of these benefits come with brief, daily exposure to the sun. But if you’re interested in a little suntanning while you’re on this summer’s RV vacation, here are some of our tips on the best way to safely maximize your skin’s glow.
Enticing as it may sound, you shouldn’t just lay out directly in the sunlight all day. It’s no secret that prolonged sun exposure can lead to a wide range of critical complications. Most people have experienced a painful sunburn, but the sun’s rays also contribute to heat rash, dehydration, eye damage, premature skin aging, and skin cancer.
To reduce your risk of long-term skin damage, it’s important to know how to tan responsibly. Make the most out of your vacation by sticking to these easy tips on getting and keeping your tan.
Before Your Trip
Common belief says that you should get a base tan before your vacation. Some just want to have that look before getting to their vacation destination. Others believe that a base tan is important to make it easier to tan during your trip. If getting a base tan is important to you, the most important thing to remember is to
Stay away from the tanning booth!
Always avoid tanning beds! The UVA rays in tanning booths are all of the worst parts of UV rays, with none of the benefits of sunshine such as vitamin D. The level of UVA rays in a tanning bed is triple that which you are exposed to in natural light and has been shown to dramatically increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
If you do want to kickstart your summer-tanned look, stick to fake tan products in the bottle or spray. These products have come a long way and aren’t guaranteed to leave you looking orangey.
Prepare Your Skin
The best way to start your summer tan is with healthy, moisturized skin. Make sure to wash thoroughly and exfoliate your skin. This step will take off dry, dead skin cells and lead to a tan that lasts as long as possible. You can maintain your tanned skin by staying moisturized and taking cool showers, as the heat can encourage cracking or peeling skin.
Use aloe vera gel after tanning (even if you aren’t burnt) as a way to continue nourishing your skin. Don’t just nourish your skin from the outside. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well!
Suntanning on the Road
With your skin prepped and ready, it’s time to hit the road and enjoy suntanning as just one of the unlimited ways to enjoy time spent outdoors and with the people you like most. The first step to a perfect suntan starts the same way you should always prepare for being in the sun.
Put on Your Sunscreen!
That’s right — even if you’re trying to get a suntan, you still have to protect your skin. Wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label. This means that your sunscreen is designed to protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to sensitive areas such as any exposed scalp or the tops of your feet or ears. These areas can be easily neglected but can lead to painful burns. Your face deserves a face-specific SPF product that will be extra gentle on your skin. And if you’re staying outside for a while or all day, be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after being in the water.
Know Your Limits
Did you know that your skin can only get a certain amount darker on any given day? Exposure to sunlight creates melanin in your skin which is responsible for making you look tan. But you can’t make an unlimited amount of melanin by staying in the sun longer. Everyone has a specific point after which their body just won’t make any more — usually after just 2-3 hours. After that time, you’re only putting yourself at increased risk with none of the benefits of being in the sun.
Managing your Tan Time
If you’re on an extended vacation, you have time to tan just a little bit each day. If you are trying to cram in sun time over a shorter stint, then maybe you can approach the 2-3 hour limit that your body imposes. The sun is strongest between about 12-3 pm, also usually the hottest part of the day, and those with fair skin should be sure to tan outside of those hours to reduce the risk of sunburn.
No matter what time of day you choose to focus on being in the sun, it’s important to change positions frequently to both tan evenly and also reduce the risk of burning in a particular spot. If you do already have a burn, it’s vital to cover up that area to protect it from further harm.
A hat and sunglasses will also help to protect your face and eyes, which are more sensitive. If you can take breaks, do so! You’ll lower the overall UV intensity you’re exposed to as well as your sunburn risk. Together, this can lead to a longer-lasting and healthier tan, even though it’ll take a little longer to achieve it.
Tan All Summer Long With Cruise America
Armed with these tips, you’ll be ready to get as healthy of a tan as possible throughout your summer RV vacation. If you’re still not as tan as maybe you’d hoped, there’s one last little trick to try: wear light-colored clothes. Lighter colors, such as white or pastels, will make your skin appear darker by contrast. Take control of your summer glow by practicing safe sunshine habits so you can enjoy as many benefits as possible with as few dangerous side effects. See you on the beach!
Looking to take an RV road trip? Get an RV rental from Cruise America today and get your vacation started!