Can you Tan with Sunscreen? How safe is it for the skin?

Summer is the time for most people when they plan their vacations for the beautiful beaches. Most of them are already dreaming about getting tanned by sunbathing and hearing the peaceful sound of waves while drinking fresh and chilled coconut water. But can you get that desirable tan while protecting your skin with sunscreen? If you are going out in the Sun, Sunscreen will act as your skin guard to protect it from UV rays.

This detailed blog looks into the complex interplay between tanning and sunscreen. We’ll look at the mechanism underlying sunscreen’s protection against UV radiation, bust tanning misconceptions, and offer practical advice on selecting the proper SPF and formulation.

What does Tanning have to do with Sunscreen?

What does Tanning have to do with Sunscreen?

Tanning is a procedure when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and the UV rays penetrate the layers of your skin. To protect the skin, the body generates more melanin, a pigment that gives colour to the skin, and this process is called Tanning.

When UV rays penetrate your skin, it’s also dangerous as they can burn your skin and cause skin cancer. To protect your skin from this damage, apply a sunscreen that absorbs or reflects the UV rays, saving you from this damage. However, it can not stop the UV rays from reaching your skin, but it reduces it, and you still get the colour from the Sun.

How does Sunscreen Work?

If you are going out in the Sun, Sunscreen will act as your skin guard to protect it from UV rays. Sunscreens contain ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Avobenzone, and octinoxate. These ingredients work as chemicals that absorb and block the UV rays physically.

There are two types of sunscreens.

  1. Chemical Absorbers
  2. Physical Blockers

Chemical Absorbers

Sunscreens contain chemicals like Avobenzone and Octinoxate, creating a thin film between the UV rays and your skin that absorbs the UV rays before reaching the skin layers.

Physical Blockers

Titanium Dioxide and zinc oxide are the essential sunscreen ingredients that block UV rays. These ingredients reflect or scatter the UV rays physically from reaching your skin.  

Can you Tan with Sunscreen?

Sunscreens are made to block UV rays from reaching your skin. Because of that, there is a common myth that sunscreens prevent you from getting a tan, which is not entirely accurate.

No sunscreens can block the UV rays reaching your skin by 100 %, so it’s evident that when the UV rays reach your skin, it will produce the tanning effect, but that will not be the same amount of tanning effect you get with no sunscreen applied. So you can still get tanned while sunscreens used.

Why is it Essential to Use Sunscreen?

It is essential to use Sunscreen when going out on a beach to get a sun tan or on a daily work routine. Because UV rays can damage your skin through sunburns, signs of ageing, and wrinkles, using sunscreens while going out in the Sun is essential. There is also a high risk of skin cancer if you don’t take precautions.

When you wear Sunscreen and go out in the Sun, whether it’s for the tanning purpose or your daily routine work, Sunscreen reflects or absorbs the UV rays before reaching your skin and protects you from skin cancer, early signs of ageing, wrinkles, and sunburns which can be painful for you. Sunscreens can also give you an even and glowing skin tone.

Can I Tan with SPF 50?

Can I Tan with SPF 50?

Can I tan with sunscreen containing SPF 50? The simple answer to this question is, yes, you can tan with SPF 50. SPF (Sun protection factor) varies from product to product. Multiple products are available, going from SPF 15 to SPF 100. It is a common thought that above SPF 50, there is little to offer and choosing a product range from 15 to 50 is more important. 

Generally, without Sunscreen or protection, the skin starts showing signs of burning after 10 minutes. Now, if we start using Sunscreen with SPF 50, it would block almost 98% of UVB rays which causes cancer and let only UVA rays pass. It increases the time to tan, decreases the tan’s colour, and protects your skin from damage. 

Per a report, SPF 50 takes 50 more times than without Sunscreen, equating to 500 minutes. Although it seems fantastic, you have to remember that Sunscreen needs to be refreshed after every two hours as it dries out. It makes it much safer to Tanning without Sunscreen, but it is much more challenging.

How to choose Sunscreen?

It would be best to look up different factors before choosing a sunscreen that suits your skin.

How to choose Sunscreen?


Choosing Sunscreen with a suitable SPF is essential. Most people wanting a sun tan prefer to go without Sunscreen, which can be dangerous and cause skin damage and ageing. The minimum recommendation per FDA for staying in the Sun long term is SPF 15 or more. Also, keep your skin colour, type, and history in mind. 

If you have fairer or more sensitive skin, use a higher SPF of 30 to 50 or more. The same is for if you have a family history of skin diseases.

Ingredients of Sunscreen

Prefer to choose Sunscreen with fewer chemicals and more natural products. Always go for sunscreens that are considered broad spectrum, as they can block UVA and UVB rays. 

Typically minimum SPF sunscreens offer protection against UVB (causes cancer) rays and minimum protection against UVA rays, which provoke skin tanning and ageing.

Budget and Added Benefits

Whenever choosing a product, always keep budgeting in mind. Always focus on what you need in Sunscreen. Not every Sunscreen will be in your budget, so always remember which SPF you need. Once that is done, you can look for additional benefits in the products in your price range. Features like moisturizers in Sunscreen are beneficial, but don’t let go of what you need.

Key Takeaways

Ø  Always take care of your skin using Sunscreen, especially on vacations. Staying under
sunlight for an extended period can cause skin ageing and cancer.

Ø  Tanning and Sunscreens are relatively close because UV rays cause the skin to burn and
leave behind a tan colour. Sunscreens block the UV rays from the Sun, which
causes the tanning effect to delay and protects your skin from damage.

Ø  There are two types of sunscreens. 1) Physical blockers and 2) chemical absorbers.

Ø  Physical blockers are preferred over chemical absorbers as they scatter the UV light and
prevent it from reaching the skin.

Ø  Chemical absorbers form a layer between the skin layers and the UV rays, which are
absorbed by the chemical coating.

Ø  Can I tan with sunscreen on? Sunscreens cannot block 100% of the UV rays,
so those rays that pass through will cause you to tan. So yes, you can get tan with Sunscreen on.

Ø  Sunscreens slow down the tanning process, but it dramatically improves your health and
safety. It allows a limited amount of UV rays to pass, thus giving a natural
tan with better health benefits.

Ø  There is a misconception that one cannot get tan if using SPF 50 or above. SPF 50
blocks up to 98% UVA rays but allows UVB rays to pass through. We advise
using Sunscreen that covers a broad spectrum.

Ø  SPF 50 lets your skin get tanned at a much slower rate. It would take 50 times more
time to get tanned.

Ø  Whenever looking for Sunscreen, choose the one that would help by your skin type. If you
have pale skin, use a higher SPF sunscreen to protect yourself from sun rays.

Ø  Always remember to choose physical blockers and Sunscreen with natural ingredients.

Ø  Another critical factor is to remember the budget allocated for it. Choose the most
valued person to make hi to, and apply.

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