Does Sunscreen Prevents Tanning: 7 Tips To Wear Sunscreen

If you expose too much to the sun, you will be a victim of tan. However, even if you avoid exposing yourself to the sun, it does not mean it will prevent tanning.

Even if we want to prevent sun exposure, we cannot stop ourselves from getting close to nature, visiting a park, or even spending some time at the beach. So, we get exposed to the sun and cannot hide from the sun’s rays.

However, several products ensure to protect from harmful UV rays. But the question is, does sunscreen prevents tanning? Are they outstanding enough and protect your skin from skin damage. Even though the sun gives us tan, it also helps produce Vitamin D, which is an essential aspect of our lives.

What Are SPF and SPF Numbers?

Skin cancer is mainly caused due to the sun’s UV rays. SPF or Sun Protection Factor is essential for protecting your skin against them. It is a factorial measurement that detects how much UV exposure is required for sunburn 1on the skin if it is wearing sunscreen.

If the SPF number increases, then the sunburn protection increases directly. In short higher SPF means better sun-protective clothing2. With the help of this SPF value, you can find how much time you can stay under the sun’s rays without getting the effect of harmful UV rays.

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Almost all people get sunburn before they reach the age of 18 due to sun exposure. The number of SPF can detect if the sunscreen product can protect the skin layer or not. However, four types of SPF ratings can prevent skin cancer3.

  • SPF Factor 15

Such values indicate that the product is at least 93.3 % potent in absorbing or reflecting the UVB rays.

  • SPF Factor 30

It indicates that the sunscreen product is 96.7% effective in reflecting and absorbing the UVB rays.

  • SPF Factor 45

Products with an SPF value of 45 shows 97.8% effectiveness against UVB rays.

  • SPF Factor 50

These products have high SPF and are most potent since they have 98% potential to absorb or reflect the UVB rays.

However, choosing broad-spectrum sunscreen over the SPF value is more beneficial since it can protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. Also, you must know what an ideal SPF is and how and how to choose your SPF value.

If you stay for too long outdoors, it is recommended to use a higher SPF sunscreen. Since sunscreen prevents tanning, it is found that with an SPF rating of 30, only three percent of UVB rays can penetrate your skin. Moreover, if you apply SPF 50 sunscreen, only two percent of UVB rays can penetrate your skin.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Mainly there are two different types of sunscreen. The sunscreen protects from UVA and UVB rays. The chemical sunscreens are mainly octisalate and oxybenzone, and they can help you from sun damage. These sunscreens act as barriers to the sun’s harmful rays, but they do not come without any harmful side effects.

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Natural sunscreens have fewer side effects than chemical sunscreen. However, the products made with natural materials provide zinc oxide, which is better and gives an extra layer to the skin and stops the UV rays from reaching the skin.

The blocking agents in the natural sunscreen are designated as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective4) and approved by FDA(Food and Drug Administration).

Does Sunscreen Prevents Tanning?

Some people like the skin tone when they start developing a tan. People start worrying when they wear sunscreen. However, you must know that sunscreen does not prevent you from tanning. There is no such thing that can protect your skin from tanning.

Wearing sunscreen will keep you away from sun exposure and protect your skin from harmful UVB rays since it can cause skin cancer. But it would help if you accepted that sunscreen is not stopping you from getting tanned.

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Even the UVA rays that are stopped by the sunscreen trigger the production of Vitamin D in our body. The vitamin produced helps regulate phosphate and some amount of calcium levels. Though Vitamin D can keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, it is not required in massive amounts.

If you stand in the sun just for 30 minutes a week, the body can accumulate enough Vitamin D required to regulate calcium in our body. However, if you have many calcium-based foods, you do not need the sun’s UV rays to produce Vitamin D.

Can Sunscreen Prevent Sunburn?

Sunscreen products allow people to stay out of the sun for a longer time. However, sun protection cannot last long. Even a sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 50 tends to lose its effectiveness quite fast. So, it would help if you reapplied the sunscreen frequently.

Often you can face sunburn due to reflection and scattering of UVB rays. It can damage the skin and cause premature aging. So, sunscreen does not only limit tanning, but it can protect your skin cells from UV light from getting sun damage.

How To Prevent Tanning?

There are many options that people can try to prevent sun tanning.

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  1. You can avoid UV exposure by scheduling your outdoor activities before 10:00 A.M and after 4:00 P.M.

  2. Also, it would be best if you tried to avoid the sun by walking in the shade.

  3. Even you can try fabricated clothes specially designed to protect skin from the sun’s UV radiation.

  4. Try to wear a wide-brimmed hat. It helps cover the exposed skin of the head, face, neck, and ears and stops from getting tan.

How to Wear Sunscreen – 7 Tips

When you apply sunscreen for outdoor activities, using it properly is essential.

Young woman using sunscreen on the sea background
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You should know to put the sunscreen correctly to get optimal protection against the UV rays and avoid skin cancers.

  1. You must wear sunscreen daily, even if the weather is not so humid. Since this is a protective layer, you must wear it daily to avoid UV damage.

  2. To avoid getting a tan, you must apply sunscreen on the face and other areas exposed to the sun.

  3. While you purchase sunscreen, make sure it has a minimum SPF value of 30.

  4. If you have planned to go outside, apply the sunscreen before 30 minutes.

  5. Reapply the sunscreen after every two hours.

  6. When you go outside, make sure to cover your skin with some clothes to avoid skin aging and skin damage.

  7. The last, you should put sunscreen on your lips.

Choose Your Sunscreen

If you already know how sunscreens are a safe tan measure, you should know how to purchase your sunscreen. What precautions you must follow while choosing your sunscreen product.

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  • Try getting sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.

  • You can opt for higher SPF ratings or broad-spectrum sunscreen if you have sensitive skin.

  • Mineral sunscreens use only natural ingredients which don’t penetrate your skin. Wearing SPF sits on top of your skin and protects you from ultraviolet light.

  • You can even go with sunscreen with bronzer for the sun-kissed look.

When Should You Talk To An Expert?

Speaking to a dermatologist about SPF use is a must. Your advisor may even recommend using sunscreen with different SPF throughout the year.

Since high altitudes can push to a significant risk of UV exposure and skin damage, it becomes imperative to go and review your status with your dermatologist every year, especially when your stay is in higher altitudes.

Does Sunscreen Prevents Tanning
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Moreover, if you find any moles or bumps on your skin or any unusual skin lesion, you must run to your doctor. Also, if you find any change in your skin color, unusual bleeding, or itching due to the product, you have to pass through a biopsy.

You will get better treatment for skin cancer if your doctor can detect the skin cancer fast.

Sunscreen acts as a protective layer to your skin and can protect you from skin cancer like Melanoma. It is essential to keep your skin healthy, so do not hesitate to ask your dermatologist for help.


Most fair people seek out the sunscreen, which has a higher SPF number. However, if you have fair skin, you should wear some protective clothing to prevent sunburn.

Even people who love swimming must check how long their sunscreen prevents tanning. Also, you must check that does sunscreen prevents tanning UVA rays and UVB rays.

Young woman applying sunscreen lotion on the beach
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Also, do not forget to avoid going out during peak sunlight hours. Since it can significantly affect your skin, you must take preventions not only to prevent tanning but also to avoid sun damage.

Since sunscreen prevents tanning, you must take up a higher SPF sunscreen with better results history. However, do not forget to get a review from your dermatologist about your sunscreen.


1. Do SPF 30 and SPF 50 stop tanning?

With an SPF of 30, only 3% of UVB rays can reach your skin. Around 2% of those rays can pass through sunscreen with an SPF of 50. Until you realise that the SPF 30 permits 50% more UV rays onto your skin, it may seem like a negligible difference.

2. Can sunscreen make skin lighter?

Sunscreen reflects UV radiation using physics. It doesn’t naturally whiten the skin because that is the result of chemicals.

  1. Pinault, Lauren, and Vitali Fioletov. Sun exposure, sun protection and sunburn among Canadian adults. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2017. ↩︎
  2. Adam, John. “Sun-protective clothing.” Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery 3.1 (1998): 50-53. ↩︎
  3. Saraiya, Mona, et al. “Interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation: a systematic review.” American journal of preventive medicine 27.5 (2004): 422-466. ↩︎
  4. Beyranevand, Laurie J. “Generally Recognized as Safe: Analyzing Flaws in the FDA’s Approach to Gras Additives.” Vt. L. Rev. 37 (2012): 887. ↩︎
  5. Zayat, Marcos, Pilar Garcia-Parejo, and David Levy. “Preventing UV-light damage of light sensitive materials using a highly protective UV-absorbing coating.” Chemical Society Reviews 36.8 (2007): 1270-1281. ↩︎

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Susanta Biswas

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