Can You still Tan with Sunscreen ?

If you like spending time in the sun, you may be concerned about whether sunscreen will stop you from tanning. While using sunscreen may help shield your skin from harmful UV rays, getting a tan isn’t always a guarantee. This essay will examine the connection between sunscreen and tanning and provide advice on how to enjoy the sun safely.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is designed to shield your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Prior to the photons penetrating your skin, it either absorbs or reflects them. In order to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB radiation, sunscreen often combines organic and inorganic substances.

Can You Tan with Sunscreen?

Yes, it is possible to get a tan while applying sunscreen, but the degree of tanning will depend on a number of variables, including the sunscreen’s SPF, the quantity applied, and the length and intensity of sun exposure.

Sunlight’s UV rays are either absorbed or reflected by sunscreen. The more SPF a product has, the more UVB radiation that causes sunburns and other skin damage that might result in skin cancer is protected against. But because no sunscreen can entirely shield the skin from UV rays, some of them will still get through.

While still acquiring a tan, you may lower your risk of sunburn and skin damage by using adequate sunscreen and reapplying it often. However, because sunscreen will reduce the quantity of UV radiation that reaches your skin, it may not be the best strategy if you want to get a deep, dark tan.

There is no such thing as a “healthy” tan, since any change in skin tone indicates skin injury. The best approach to shield your skin from UV rays and lower your chance of developing skin cancer is to wear protective clothes, seek shade during peak sun hours, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and limit your time spent in the sun.

Best SPF for Tanning

Most people connect tanning with obtaining a sun-kissed sheen on their skin. But too much sun exposure may also cause sunburn, premature aging, and even raise your chance of developing skin cancer. In order to protect your skin when tanning, it’s essential to wear sunscreen with the appropriate Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

The ideal SPF for tanning relies on a number of variables, including your skin type, the strength of the sun’s rays, and how long you spend outside. When tanning, it’s often advised that individuals apply an SPF of at least 30. Sun damage may be avoided with an SPF of 30, which protects 97% of UVB radiation from the sun.

You may want to choose a higher SPF, however, if you have fair or sensitive skin or are tanning in the middle of the day. The best defense against dangerous UV radiation is an SPF of 50 or higher. It’s important to remember that no sunscreen will completely shield you from the sun’s rays, so you must still take other safety measures when tanning, such as looking for shade and wearing protective clothes.

It’s crucial to pick a sunscreen that is made particularly for tanning in addition to the SPF level. Many sunscreens include chemicals that absorb UVB rays, but not UVA rays, which may harm skin over time. In order to defend against UVA and UVB radiation, look for sunscreen that gives broad-spectrum protection.

The kind of sunscreen you use is another factor to take into account when selecting the ideal SPF for tanning. Chemical and physical sunscreens are the two basic categories. Physical sunscreens form a barrier on the skin to deflect UV radiation, while chemical sunscreens function by absorbing UV energy and turning it into heat.

Because they provide a more constant degree of protection, are less prone to irritate the skin or trigger allergies, and are less likely to degrade when exposed to sunlight, physical sunscreens are usually thought to be preferable for tanning. They could, however, be more challenging to apply and leave a white film on your skin.

 In order to guarantee that you are fully protected when tanning, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or right away after swimming or perspiring.

Sunscreen on Face in Tanning Bed

Using sunscreen in a tanning bed is generally not recommended. Tanning bed sessions are typically time-limited and have pre-set intensity levels. However, if you wish to protect your facial skin or maintain a lighter tone, there are alternative options to consider.

Facial skin is often more sensitive, so some individuals may prefer applying sunscreen specifically to their face. However, if sensitivity is a concern, it’s advisable to spend less time on the tanning bed rather than applying sunscreen to the face.

For those desiring a lighter facial tone, using a low SPF cream on the face is an option. However, this may result in a noticeable difference between the face and the rest of the body.

To achieve a more natural-looking tan, it is recommended to apply a tanning lotion to the entire body, excluding the face. This approach allows the body to tan more evenly and produces a more cohesive appearance.

Also keep in mind that the best method to get a healthy glow is to embrace your natural skin tone and practice safe sun practices.

Sunscreen Use for Tanning: Pros and Cons


  • Reduced chance of skin damage over the long term and sunburn.
  • Protection against UVA and UVB rays, which are dangerous.
  • Lower chance of peeling or blistering.


  • Some UV rays can still penetrate your skin and cause tanning.
  • Sunscreen can be expensive and time-consuming to apply.
  • Some people may not like the texture or feel of sunscreen on their skin.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Sunscreen

  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside to give it time to absorb into your skin.
  • Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. A good rule of thumb is to use about one ounce (or a shot glass full) for each application.
  • Pay special attention to areas that are often missed, such as the ears, neck, and back of the hands.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.


So, can you still tan with sunscreen? The answer is yes, you can. Sunscreen does not completely block out UV rays, so some tanning can still occur. However, using sunscreen can help reduce your risk of sunburn and long-term skin damage caused by UV exposure. Remember to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply it every two hours when outside. Additionally, consider alternatives like self-tanners or bronzing makeup if you want a tan without the sun exposure.


  1. Can you get a tan with SPF 100? SPF 100 provides a high level of protection against UV rays, but it does not completely block them out. Tanning can still occur with SPF 100 sunscreen.
  2. How often should you apply sunscreen? It’s recommended that you reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.
  3. Is there such a thing as waterproof sunscreen? No, there is no such thing as completely waterproof sunscreen. Sunscreen labeled “water-resistant” will provide some protection while swimming or sweating, but it still needs to be reapplied every two hours.
  4. How long does it take for sunscreen to start working? Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before going outside to allow time for it to absorb into your skin and start working.
  5. Can babies and young children use sunscreen? Yes, babies and young children can use sunscreen, but it’s important to choose a product specifically designed for their delicate skin. It’s also recommended that you keep infants under six months old out of direct sunlight.