The Tan Command

Tanning facts can be hard to separate from tanning fiction. Fabled asked leading suncare experts to tell us their golden rules.

Everyone needs SPF15 or Above

‘An SPF6 filters out 75 per cent of the sun's rays,’ explains leading pharmacist Dr Emma Meredith. ‘Then it takes a jump as SPF15 filters out 93 per cent, so we recommend everyone uses at least this. Above that the difference is small, with SPF30 filtering out 97 per cent of the sun's rays and SPF50 filtering out 98 per cent.’

It’s All About Location

‘The sun is stronger the closer you are to the equator, says dermatology expert Professor Mark Birch-Machin. 'You're exposed to more UVB rays, which is why you burn more quickly in tropical places,' he says, 'but ageing UVA rays are constant, and present wherever there is natural light.'

Expensive Doesn’t Always Equal Better

‘A product claiming a certain level of protection is legally required to contain that amount,’ says Dr Meredith. Where cost can matter is in the wearability of a sunscreen. ‘Many years of extensive research into a product, and how it feels on the skin or under make-up, or the speed at which it is absorbed, might make it more expensive,’ she explains.

All Rays Were Not Created Equal

‘There are two types of UV light,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams. ‘UVB rays cause burning and skin cancer, UVA rays cause wrinkles.’ SPF numbers refer to a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB only, so you're only protected from UVA if it's stated on the bottle.

Some Skins Don’t Tan. End Of.

‘If you're pale, you can begin your holiday with SPF50 and then wean yourself onto SPF30,’ says Dr Meredith. But the truth is that some skins will never tan.

You’re Probably Not Using Enough Sun-Screen

Most of us use half the amount of sunscreen we need. ‘The average person needs two teaspoons to cover their head, arms and neck,’ says Dr Clare Knight of Cancer Research UK.

Smart Tanning

Don’t Forget Your Legs ‘In women, skin cancer is most commonly found on the legs because they rarely apply sunscreen to their lower halves;’ says Dr Jen Jones.

Get Your Timing Right Set your phone's alarm to go off every two hours so you know when to reapply your sunscreen. If you're swimming or working out, reapply straight afterwards.

Boost Your Bronze FactorAfter you're 30, tanning takes longer as the skin's natural melanin drops by 20 per cent.

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“After you’re 30, tanning takes longer as the skin’s natural melanin drops by 20 percent”