Do You Tan Faster In Water Or Laying Out?

Nothing says summer more than laying in the sun and achieving a golden brown tan! Whether you’re getting ready for your tropical holiday or just spending your time at home, tanning could be one of the best ways to boost your confidence! Do you tan faster in water or lying out?

Depending on factors, you may tan faster in water than lying out. This becomes especially true if you don’t protect yourself with sunscreen. Although your tan may look different when you’re tanning in the water and not laying out, the sun’s reflection on the water will result in an even tan.

When you’re trying to achieve sun-kissed skin for the summer, how fast and effective you tan will depend on your skin type. However, when you need to choose between tanning in the water or laying out, you’ll be surprised at what you might read!

Why You May Tan Faster In Water Than Laying Out

when you lay outside of water, chances are, you are wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen is essential to protect our skin while not only tanning but spending any amount of time in the sun. When you decide to go into the water, the layer of sunscreen applied to your body may be removed from the constant time you spend in the water.

Although several sunscreens that claim to be waterproof are readily available, it would never be a good idea to rely on the statement. When you spend most of your time in the water, you must constantly reapply the sunscreen to ensure it protects your skin.

However, the protection will wash off and weaken once you get into the water. This could be due to not waiting long enough for your sunscreen to set into your skin, or the sunscreen may not be fully waterproof. This will lead to your skin being more exposed when you’re spending time in the water, causing you to tan faster.

Another reason you tan faster in water is the sun’s reflection on the water’s surface. This will result in your skin being exposed to direct UV rays while also being exposed to the UV rays which are reflecting from the water.

This could be described as double sun damage, which will result in a faster tan but could also cause severe sunburn.

Remember that if you’re sitting in the water with your upper body exposed, your shoulders and face will most often be hit with the reflective UV rays from the water’s surface, causing double damage to these areas.

Does Water Depth Make A Difference In How Fast You Tan?

UV rays, which are responsible for tanning, get absorbed by water. However, it is not fully absorbed until a few meters down. This results in your skin becoming tanned or burned when you spend time on the upper surface of the water.

Water will only reflect 30% of UV rays from the sun, but at the surface, if the water, up to 70% of UV rays are reflected.

Sitting on the surface of the water without any sunscreen protecting you could lead to you getting sunburned, similar to when you’re lying out of the water.

When it comes to deeper water, around half a meter deep, the water will still reflect about 40% of UV rays, which could still result in a tan. However, the only difference is when you’re sitting in deeper water, you may not realize you’re becoming tanned, as the water will constantly cool your skin.

The deeper the water becomes, the less likely it would be to become tanned. This is primarily due to the water’s amount of light absorption. The further down you go, the less light will be available.

However, this doesn’t mean sunscreen isn’t needed, as there is still a chance of you becoming sunburnt. This could happen from UV rays reaching into the water or from the UV rays’ reflection at the upper parts of the water.

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Does The Water Type Make A Difference In How Fast You Tan?

When you consider the type of water, such as ocean water, pool water, lake or pond water, how quickly you become tanned will be significantly affected. Clearwater, such as chlorinated pool water or ocean water, will result in a much quicker tan than murkier bodies of water.

This means that ponds, lakes, and dams will have a much more difficult time reflecting the Uv rays of the sun. The excess debris and mud in these types of water will stop the sun from fully penetrating the water. This will result in your skin not being exposed to enough UV rays to become tanned.

However, when it comes to chlorinated pool water, the tanning result will be better than murkier water, as the water is clean and clear, allowing UV rays to penetrate through and come into contact with your skin successfully. Tanning with seawater is the best way to tan.

Constantly coming in contact with saltwater and laying out to tan with wet skin will significantly boost your skin’s color. Sea salt is the best way to attract direct sunlight to your skin, and the breeze will help keep your skin cool simultaneously.

Remember that if you mix water and salt and pour it on your skin, it won’t have the same effect. Sea water is most effective for tanning, as the water contains crucial minerals that contribute to faster and more effective tanning.

The ability of light absorption of these different types of water will play a significant role in how quickly you become tanned.

UV rays will always be absorbed more in darker and murkier types of water, whereas they will be absorbed much less in clear water, which needs to be considered when you want a quick tan!


If you want a quick and easy tan, why not ditch the towel and relax in the cool water instead? Always protect your skin using adequate sunscreen to prevent severe burns, and get that golden brown skin for the summer!