Saturday, May 11, 2013
The Techniques of Sunbathing
Yes, there are techniques, and yes, I am a sunbathing expert. It is by far one of my favorite activities, and as soon as the weather starts warming up after a rainy spring, I'm immediately out on the lawn ready to soak in some sun. So here is how to get the perfect tan:
1. Find the perfect location. Ideally this would be somewhere on the equator or southern California (where I am right now!), but that's not always possible. So instead, find a sunny spot in a park, your back yard, a roof-top pool, etc.
2. Bring your toolkit. This includes a sheet/blanket (larger than a towel for laying out), sunscreen, sun glasses, hair ties, a book or magazine, a water bottle (to prevent dehydration), and snacks. If you want the perfect tan, you want to be prepared and have everything with you.
3. Get the right angle. When you're standing up, see where your shadow lands on the ground. Wherever it does, put your blanket down there, and then face towards the sun if you're on your back, away from the sun if you're laying on your stomach. This way, you're getting the most coverage of the sun on your body. If you face the wrong way, shadows will cover you, and those parts won't get tan.
4. Rotisserie-style. I usually sunbathe in 30-minute increments, flipping from my back to my stomach (and then vice versa) every half hour. You could do longer or shorter, but sometimes it can be hard to sit still for too long. Just make sure you do the same amount of time for both sides: you don't want your stomach to be tan but your back to be pale! So bring a timer, or use the alarm clock on your phone, to make sure your timing is accurate. And you can stay out all day, or just do an hour. Any time in the sun is better than no sun at all!
5. Use sunscreen! I always put sunscreen on my face even before I head out to take in some rays. The skin on your face is very delicate, so you really want to protect it! I usually don't put sunscreen on the rest of my body for the first hour, just so I can get a strong base tan. But after that, I put it on all over (and re-apply if necessary). If you notice after one day you got really pink, make sure to put extra sunscreen on those places the next time you lay out. And don't forget chapstick for your lips (most have SPF 4 in them)! Burnt lips are not cute.
6. Prevent tan-lines. Unless you're sunbathing in the nude, tan-lines are inevitable. But you can prevent some of them. I wear a bandeau bikini top so I don't have straps to leave lines on my top. I never wear jewelry (no rings or watches especially), and I only wear sunglasses when I'm laying on my back so that I'm not getting direct sunlight on my face and therefore setting myself up for raccoon eyes. I also usually get a smaller size in bikini bottoms so that more of my bum can get tan. Just a thought...
If you follow these steps, by the end of the summer you will be perfectly bronzed!