Sunbathing tips, what sunscreen SPF to use for tanning and sunburn remedies

sun tipsThe heat has arrived in Malaga. Over the next days and months temperatures will still rise; so this year we will advance our tips for enjoying the sun and beach without suffering afterwards unpleasant side effects on health.

Most foreigners, who come on these dates to the Costa del Sol, are crazy for enjoying the summer weather at the beach and also acquire a nice tan, which causes most of them to stay for hours under a blazing sun with an unaccustomed skin.


There, as always, our first tip: Get protection! Fair skin, little accustomed skins and children need high protection with a factor of between 30 and 50. Get protection at least 30 minutes before sun exposure.

When to avoid sun exposure?

When is the worst time for sun exposure? Avoid exposure to the sun during midday between 12 and 4 pm and use additional devices such as a hat, sunglasses and parasols. If you are near a beach bar with parasols with esparto, even better; as through the fabric umbrellas penetrates over 30% of ultraviolet radiation. Apply cream again after each bath. Above all, do not underestimate the sun in these latitudes.

With this heat, you may now understand that the Siesta has its raison d’etre: Although you do not fancy sleeping, in the hot hours of the day you should slow down a bit and stay in a cool place in the shade. Those who come here for vacation, we suggest the old trick of closing all the windows of the house at mid-morning, so the rooms stay cool.

A Heat stroke is next to the burns the most unpleasant aspect of excessive exposure to sunlight. Here again we repeat: Limit sun exposure time, adequately protected yourself and above all drink lots of water, do not wait to be thirsty. This applies especially to the elderly, children and sick and overweight people.

By the end of the day, remember to use a skin moisturizer.

What sunscreen to use and what SPF for tanning?

With regard to sun creams and taking into account the solar radiation that predominates here, it is advisable to choose one with a high SPF.

The sun cream should be applied at least half an hour before exposure to the sun. Do not skimp on the amount applied and repeat the application every 2 hours, especially after bathing.

Sun cream SPF 50+
A sun cream with SPF 50+ is ideal for children and people with high sensitivity to the sun.

The area most prone to sunburns, especially in children, is the back, shoulders and face.

There are sunscreens of different intensity, from SPF 5 to SPF 50+, the latter being recommended for children and people that are sensitive to sunburns, it is more like a sunblock.

Those who wish to sunbathe in order to tan their skin should do so progressively and apply sunscreen from the first day to the last.

If it’s your thing to be under an umbrella while drinking your favourite soda, make no mistake; it’s wrong to consider that you don’t need sun protection under an umbrella when the day is cloudy or in the water.

Buy one sunscreen with a SPF adapted to your skin, not to your desire of getting a faster tan.

So what SPF to use for tanning?

To get a tan, you can choose a sunscreen with a lower SPF. I personally would not recommend one below the Factor 30 on the Costa del Sol in the middle of August; and that does not mean that you should not avoid prolonged exposure. If your skin is white I would recommend not lowering from SPF 40/50 during the first week.

If you are trying to get a good tan in October or before June you could use a lower factor sun cream. Wondering about when to visit Malaga?

There are also tanning oil moisturisers but I can’t personally recommend them, even more if your skin is not used to the sun. Another option would be a fake or a gradual tan moisturizer, but if you are visiting Malaga you can just take a safe sunbathing for a perfect tan.

When buying a sun cream take in consideration that many of them are for people whose skin is already adapted to the sun, and this does not happen in a few weeks. Using a very low SPF cream will not make you get a beautiful golden tan but severe sunburns. Buy one sunscreen with a SPF adapted to your skin, not to your desire of getting a faster tan.


What to do in case of sunburn?

If you sunbathe unprotected or with inadequate protection, your skin is likely to get sunburned.

Sunburn like a champion

The first thing to do is to lower the temperature of the skin, keep in mind that the worst stage of a burn can appear up to 24 hours later.

The pharmacy may sell lotions to help cure the burn and relieve pain. Some basic advice:

  • To lower the temperature you must apply cold water to the affected area.
  • Avoid using a sponge when showering in the affected area.
  • Avoid using creams or oils that prevent the skin from sweating.

Keep that part of your body out of the sun and apply moisturizer at all times, especially at bedtime and in the morning. It is a good idea to have this area of the body well hydrated so that it can be repaired as soon as possible and thus maintain  a healthy skin.

There are several types of burns depending on the length of exposure and all have skin consequences:

First-degree sunburn

A first degree sunburn will affect the outer layer of skin and are treated with sunburn or erythema sun creams. They are caused by more exposure than is recommended without protection or with a SPF lower than recommended.

Sometimes the simple touch of a T-shirt can cause pain, the sensation if treated correctly will disappear after a few days.

The most important is not to expose this area to the sun, you must avoid it absolutely if you don’t want it to get worse. Some people bathe with their shirts on, it’s an option, but remember that when you get out of the water you must return to the shade.

If your skin is peeling, it is best to avoid pulling on the skin and letting the scales fall off on their own.

Second-degree sunburn

Second-degree sunburn can cause blisters on the skin. This type of burn can cause skin tissue loss, so it may be advisable to visit your doctor or buy a specific cream to treat burns.

If you have blisters, you should not explode them. You can use cold water cloths to relieve pain and lower the temperature of the skin.

Severe reactions may occur from prolonged exposure to the sun, including fever, chills, and nausea. In these cases it is advisable to visit the doctor.

Natural home remedies for sunburn

If you haven’t been able to avoid getting sunburned, you may find some natural home remedies for sunburn helpful.

Aloe Vera and sunburn

You can apply the gel found in the leaves of the aloe vera and apply it directly on the burn. The skin will absorb it, you can do it several times a day.

Apple vinegar

Apple vinegar can provide immediate relief after application to the affected area. You can mix it with water in equal parts and spray it on the affected area several times a day.

When the skin dries out, you must rehydrate it.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil helps to relieve the pain and inflammation of the burn in just a few hours. You can mix it with aloe vera to improve its effectiveness.

It is important not to use oils just after a burn as it will prevent the skin from releasing the retained heat, it is advisable to wait at least one day.

Cucumber for sunburn

You can place cucumber slices on the affected area for half an hour or make a paste and apply it for about 20 minutes.

The action of the cucumber on the skin will bring relief to the area.


Potato starch has pain-relieving properties. To use them you can cut them into slices and apply them on the affected area.

Transfers from the airport

More tips for enjoying the summer

And last but not least: Never leave a person, child or animal in a parked car with the windows closed, it is very dangerous and can lead to death.

If you consider these simple tips, you can enjoy lots of beach in Malaga. Off to the water!

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Published by

Raúl G.T

Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.

2 thoughts on “Sunbathing tips, what sunscreen SPF to use for tanning and sunburn remedies”

  1. Hi Raúl, hope you are well. I stumbled onto your site while looking into car rentals for the autumn. I am hoping -fingers crossed- that i will be allowed to visit Andalucia to spend time with a dear friend in Malaga. We will also make excursions to other destinations in the province, including Granada, Cordoba, Nerja and El Chorro where i lived for two months in the winter of 1989-90. I am very fond of Andalucia- its plucky people, lively music, amazing food culture and stunning landscapes.
    I have enjoyed reading your article on the Terral wind and several others. You write with an engaging style that draws the reader. Have you considered enlisting the help of an editor/proofreader? Maybe we could work out some arrangement. I am working on a book based on my 3 years of driving for Uber and fun side gigs are very appealing to me now. Let me know. Kind regards, Christopher.

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