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Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning? The Answer May Surprise You

Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning? The Answer May Surprise You

With summer at its peak and the sun beating down as hard as it can, it’s impossible to step out and not get tanned. But what exactly does ‘tanning’ mean, and how can you reduce or prevent it altogether? Simply put, tanning is a direct result of prolonged exposure of your skin to the harmful UV rays from the sun. Which leads us to one obvious skincare product to reduce tanning. Yep, you guessed it right- it’s sunscreen! If you are wondering ‘does sunscreen prevent tanning?’, we’ve got some answers for you! Read on and find out why investing in a good sunscreen is your best bet to avoid sun damage and whether it can prevent tanning. 

Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?

Sunscreens are one of the most effective ways to avoid getting tan lines on the exposed parts of your skin. But does sunscreen prevent tanning completely? The answer is no. If you apply sunscreen correctly, it will definitely limit tanning to some degree. However, it won’t stop your skin from tanning completely.

Even so, it is recommended that you wear sunscreen every single day (even when you’re at home) as it can help prevent the sun’s rays from causing sunburn, discoloration from sun damage, photoageing, and reduce the risk of skin cancer. You still might tan a little anyway, even after applying sunscreen. Sunscreen does acts as a shield between the sun’s rays and your skin, but can’t prevent your skin’s exposure to the sun 100 percent. 

How Does Sunscreen Help to Prevent Tan

how does sunscreen protect from tanning
Pexels-how does sunscreen protect from tanning

The next question you might have is, “how does sunscreen prevent tanning?” The science behind tanning is very simple. Tanning is nothing but your skin’s injury response or your body’s way of trying to protect itself from the sun. Simply put, when your skin senses UV damage, it produces extra melanin to protect itself. When your skin is left exposed to sunlight, it absorbs the UV radiation which can lead to wrinkling, discoloration, development of sunspots, or even skin cancer. So, tanning is nothing but the result of your skin’s natural defense mechanism.

Now when you apply sunscreen to those exposed areas, you provide your skin with an extra layer of protection against the UV rays which decreases the extra melanin production and as a direct result reduces tanning. Sunscreen ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, and octisalate are UV filters that shield your skin from damage, and subsequently prevent tanning. When properly applied, sunscreens can block majority of the UV rays (depending on the SPF level and type of sunscreen), however, no sunscreen can be 100 percent effective. This is the reason that while sunscreen will reduce tanning to a certain extent, you can still tan while wearing sunscreen. 

Can You Still Tan While Wearing Sunscreen?

check how does using sunscreen prevent tanning
Instagram- check how does using sunscreen prevent tanning

Yes. As mentioned above, applying sunscreen properly can reduce the severity of tanning, but can not provide complete protection against tanning. How much you tan while wearing sunscreen can depend on multiple factors. But your best bet is to opt for a sunscreen with a higher SPF and keep reapplying sunscreen after every 2 hours in case of prolonged exposure. 

Things To Know If You Want To Avoid A Sun Tan

Does sunscreen prevent tanning completely? Nope. But there are some easy tips and tricks you could use to reduce tanning or avoid getting a suntan altogether.

  • Limit exposure to the sun: While avoiding the sun rays completely may not be possible, you can try to limit going out when the sun rays are at their strongest. This is usually between 11 AM to 3 PM (depending on where you are), so you can plan your daily schedule around these timings, if possible.
  • Use SPF 30 Or Higher: Higher SPFs can block slightly more UVB rays than lower ones, even though the difference is only marginal. Before you head outside, make sure you liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 (or higher) and keep reapplying every two hours.
  • Take Additional Precautions: By this, we mean you can try staying in the shade, thereby avoiding direct sun rays altogether. Besides, you can also opt for lightweight, long-sleeved t-shirts (sun protective clothing), wide-brimmed hats,  sunglasses with UV protection, and other sun-protective accessories that can offer protection from the sun. 

POPxo Recommends Best Sunscreens

From sunscreens for dry skin, to sunscreens for acne-prone skin and more- you’ll find dozens of products in the market. But with so many choices, finding the right formula for your skin can seem really daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below, we have listed some of the best sunscreens for every budget that you can consider buying.

Organic Harvest Sunscreen – SPF 60

This 100% organic sunscreen contains the goodness of plant-derived ingredients, and has a lightweight, non-greasy, quick-absorbing formula that your skin will love! 

Avene Very High Protection Fluid Sunscreen SPF 50+

Whether you’re planning to take a dip in the pool, or just wanna enjoy a day by the beach- this sunscreen has got you covered with its high-protection sun care! The formula is water-resistant, non-greasy, and fragrance-free, and is extremely gentle, making it a good sunscreen for sensitive skin

Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreens: Zinc oxide is found in physical sunscreens and it’s basically a UV filter that blocks the UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin – like a physical shield. It is a great ingredient for those with sensitive skin as it won’t irritate your skin or cause any damage. Here’s a list of the best zinc oxide sunscreens available in India. 

Can We Apply Powder After Sunscreen?: Confused about how to layer all your skincare and makeup products? Do you apply powder or foundation over or under the sunscreen? You’ll find all the answers you need right here! 

How To Treat Sunburn: Ever wondered what is sunburn and how can it be treated with home remedies? Here’s all you need to know!

What is PA+++ In Sunscreen: You might have seen a number of sunscreens or cosmetic products with the rating on the label that reads ‘PA+++’. What does that mean exactly? Read on to find out.

Featured Image: Alaya F on Instagram

27 Apr 2022

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