Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?

Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?
by Truly Beauty

Does sunscreen prevent tanning? We all desire a sun-kissed glow in summer, but it’s important not to skip sun protection. Sunscreen is an essential product in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, which can lead to photo aging and skin cancer.

As much as we want to protect our skin from the harmful effects caused by sun exposure, we all secretly want that golden bronzed glow. The question is, does sunscreen prevent you from tanning? Here’s everything you should know about sunscreen and its effects on tanning.



First, Here’s How Sunscreen Works

Does wearing sunscreen prevent tanning? In order to understand the sunscreen-tanning relationships, it’s essential to understand how sunscreen actually works.

Sunscreen functions as a protective barrier against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, otherwise known as UV rays. There are two main types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays cause premature aging, leading to the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. UVB rays, on the other hand, cause sunburn and skin damage.

Sunscreen is designed to operate as a filter or absorber of these UV rays, stopping them from penetrating your skin. In other words, sunscreen safeguards your skin from skin aging caused by UV exposure while significantly reducing your risk of skin cancer.



Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?

Yes, according to dermatologists, sunscreen does prevent tanning. Here’s why: Tanning is caused by exposure to UV radiation either by the sun or tanning beds. If you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, most people will not tan. Sunscreen works by blocking or absorbing UV radiation, which ultimately prevents skin from tanning. Mineral sunscreens block UV rays while chemical sunscreens absorb them.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight leads to higher levels of UV radiation penetrating the skin, which stimulates melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin color. When there’s a surge in melanin production, this results in a tan. Wearing a high quality sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher protects your skin from the sun’s rays, preventing melanin production and ultimately, tanning.

That being said, tanning can still occur even if you wear sunscreen for a few different reasons.



Can You Tan with Sunscreen?

If sunscreen is applied correctly and re-applied regularly, it significantly reduces the likelihood of getting a tan. However, you can still tan even if you’re wearing sunscreen—especially if you’re not applying it properly.

If you notice you’re still getting a good tan even when slathering on the SPF, it could be due to several reasons.


    • You’re Not Applying Enough: A common reason people get tan or burnt even when wearing sunscreen is because they’re simply not using enough of it. According to dermatologists, you should be using about two tablespoons worth of sunscreen to cover your body.


    • You’re Not Re-Applying it: Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours. If you’re sweating or swimming, you’ll need to re-apply it even more frequently to maintain optimal protection.


    • You Need a Higher SPF: You should be applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF like SPF 30 or SPF 50. This will ensure a higher level of protection against UV radiation and sun damage.


    • You’re Not Layering it Correctly: Sunscreen needs to be applied as the last step of your skincare routine—over your serums, lotions, and moisturizers. If you apply a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen before your serums or creams, you’ll end up weakening its efficiency. It needs to be the top layer to create a protective physical barrier against UV rays.


    • You’re Not Using the Right Sunscreen: Make sure it’s labeled as broad-spectrum to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens physically block UV rays with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and are better for sensitive skin types. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation, offering a lighter feel and clear application ideal for daily use.



    Can You Tan Safely?

    Now you know the answer to does sunscreen prevent tanning? you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to get a safe tan. In the words of dermatologists, there’s no such thing as a “safe tan.” Any amount of tanning raises your risk of getting melanoma and other skin cancers.

    Shockingly, just one indoor tanning session before age 35 increases your risk of developing life-threatening melanoma by 75%, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. That is why it’s best to avoid tanning and always slather on sunscreen before leaving the house to prevent sun damage, premature aging, and skin cancer.

    The best way to tan safely is by going faux. From self-tanner lotions to serums and spray tans, you have plenty of options for getting a natural, sunless bronze without exposing your skin to the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.



    Get a Glazed Summer Glow-Up

    You don’t need a tan when you’ve got some serious glow. Unlock your skin’s dewy, sheeny radiance with these deluxe routines.


    Step 1: Get Silky and Sheeny 

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    Shop Truly’s Glazed Donut Shave Set

    Prep your skin for gleaming perfection with this glow-enhancing shave set. It removes hair and nourishes skin with buttery hydration for the smoothest shave and an ultra-smooth, glossy finish you’ll love.


    Step 2: Glow From Head to Toe

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    Shop Truly’s Ultimate Glazed Donut Skin Set

    Get a cool girl glow with this trio of glazed donut goodies. You get: a facial serum, cream, and body oil packed with moisture-drenching natural oils to give you an instant all-over glow.



    Common Sunscreen Myths You Should Know About


    Myth #1: Sunscreen Inhibits Vitamin D Intake

    Sunscreen is designed to block harmful UV rays that increase the risk of skin cancer. While UVB rays are responsible for stimulating Vitamin D synthesis in the skin, sunscreen does not completely block UVB rays. Brief periods of sun exposure, such as walking outside during lunchtime, can still allow for adequate vitamin D production without risking sun damage.


    Myth #2: People with Darker Skin Tones Don’t Need Sunscreen

    While it’s true that darker skin tones have more natural protection against UV radiation compared to lighter skin tones, they are still susceptible to skin damage and skin cancer. Darker skin tones can still experience sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer if not properly protected. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, should use sunscreen daily.


    Myth #3: Sunscreen Ingredients Are Harmful to Your Health

    The active ingredients found in mineral sunscreens (e.g., zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) and chemical sunscreens (e.g., avobenzone, oxybenzone), have been extensively studied and regulated by health authorities worldwide. When used as directed, sunscreen is considered safe and effective in protecting against UV radiation.



    Does Sunscreen Prevent You From Tanning?

    Does sunscreen prevent tan? Sunscreen works to physically or chemically block harmful UV rays, preventing skin from tanning. That being said, it’s essential to use a high quality sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher—and ensure you’re using enough of it, regularly, and properly.

    Does sunscreen prevent tanning? Yes, sunscreen does prevent tanning as long as you apply it correctly. You can also enhance your protection against UV rays by wearing protective clothing. And if you do want to get tanned, there’s always self-tanner to give you a faux sunkissed glow.




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