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Does Sunscreen Stop You From Tanning? | Detailed Explanation

Does Sunscreen Stop You From Tanning

Dermatologists always recommend everyone apply sunscreen every single day. But does sunscreen stop you from tanning? Using chemical-based sunscreen can help you prevent the sun rays from causing skin cancer.

It might still be possible for you to get the slightest tan, even if you apply sunscreen to your body. But there is no deliberate amount of tanning that will be considered safe.

How Does Sunscreen Stop You From Tanning?

The sunscreens we know work in two different ways. First, the Physical based sunscreen scatters and reflects the UV rays away from the user’s skin. Titanium and zinc are the two examples of blocking agents that are incorporated in Physical based sunscreen. Both ingredients are known to be effective and safe, according to the FDA.

On the other hand, the chemical-based sunscreen, which is popular, works by absorbing the ultraviolet or UV rays, and it alters them before it has any chance to damage your skin. The examples of the chemical sunscreens come with octisalate and oxybenzone.

Perhaps the essential thing to look out for when choosing your physical and chemical-based sunscreen is checking its protection against the two different kinds of damage from UV rays or its broad spectrum.

These are known as ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet (UVA) rays. It is also advisable that you wear water-resistant sunscreen when you are going to do certain activities like swimming. It will ensure that the products you are applying to your body won’t fall off the skin.

It is still essential for you to keep in mind that the sunscreen will act as a filter. It will not prevent your skin from being exposed to the sun 100 percent. So you will still have some tan depending on the level. In the shorter term, your skin will react to the sun exposure through inflaming.

Your skin will adapt to a tan as a result of a sunburn. The longer you are exposed, the burn might be more severe. Tanned skin can also be a result of melanin that is being released by an affected area. 

The naked eyes cannot always see the adverse effects. You won’t see other long-term effects of the UV, for instance, photoaging and cancer. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains the right amount of SPF can help you minimize serious problems. 

Sunscreen stop you from tanning

What Is The Importance Of Sunscreen?

When you buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen, it means that the product will protect you against UVB and UVA rays. The UVA rays can be longer and can lead you to have burns and more severe skin cancers, while the UVB rays come with a shorter wavelength and cause wrinkles, age spots, and burns. Therefore, applying sunscreen will not only help you protect yourself from being exposed to the UV from doing outdoor activities, but it can also protect you from your daily exposure to the sun. For instance, walking, driving to the place you are working in, or having a jog at the park. 

What Is The Ideal SPF?

Every sunscreen on the market contains a different level of sun protection factor or most commonly known as SPF. The ideal SPF for your sunscreen will depend on the status of your exposure to the sun. If you are going to use sunscreen for your everyday use, you can use sunscreens that come with lower SPF, but if you will have direct exposure under the sun, it is recommended that you use higher SPF.

It is always essential for everyone to know the importance of the SPF numbers. It will refer to the time it will take for the skin to burn without wearing any sunscreen instead of offering a specific amount of protection. 

For instance, if you choose to apply an SPF 30 to your skin, it will take 30 times longer to burn more than if you are not applying any sunscreen to your skin. But this statement will only be correct if you will use the right amount of sunscreen on your skin.

SPF also means that a suitable percentage of the skin-aging UVB rays will still be allowed to pierce in your skin. So if you are planning to have a more extended amount of time in exposing your skin to the sunlight, you might want to use a higher amount of SPF for your skin. There are also cases wherein an individual is required to have a higher amount of SPF, especially if you have any albinism, skin cancer, or any immune disorder that causes your skin to burn quickly.

When Should You Consult A Dermatologist?

You might also want to talk to your dermatologist about the right amount of SPF you should apply to your skin. They might also recommend you adjust the SPF for a definite time of the year, including your location. For example, a higher altitude can cause a higher risk of UV exposure, as the area is closer to the equator.

 It is also advisable that you consult with your dermatologist every year for your skin check-up. You might also be required to see them much more if you have experienced recent skin cancer or you had frequent tanning in the past.

If you have a suspicious skin lesion, it is also advisable that you check with your dermatologist as soon as possible. Having bumps or moles that also cause a change in color, growth, itching, or bleeding may grant you a biopsy. The sooner your dermatologist detects any skin cancer, the better treatment outcome it will have. 


Applying sunscreen to your whole body will prevent you from having any skin inflammation that can lead to tanning, but this should not be your primary concern when it comes to UV rays. Applying it every day into your skin is essential because it can help your skin be protected from aging, burning, and, more severely, cancer.

It is also recommendable that you reapply your sunscreen every two hours. Also, when you are swimming or sweating. One of the deadliest cancers for the skin is called melanoma. When you are tanning without sunscreen or even sunscreen, it will still increase your chance of having this type of cancer. However, early detection of this disease may decrease the chance of dying. 

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