Does sunscreen prevent tanning? Yes or No?

Does sunscreen prevent tanning? Yes or No?

An SPF a day keeps the tanning away! Really? Does sunscreen prevent tanning? Sunscreens play an important role in your skincare regime whether you stay indoors or outdoors. It has several benefits when it comes to taking care of your skin. Even top celebs don’t stop gushing about the benefits of using sunscreen. For instance, ask any of the celebrities about their daily beauty secrets. Everyone replies that they don’t forget to carry and wear sunscreen

However, everyone’s skin is different and their need for sunscreen is also a bit different. In this post, we will be discussing everything you need to know about wearing sunscreen and how it prevents tanning. In detail, you will learn about:

  • What is sunscreen?
  • What are the types of sunscreen?
  • Importance of wearing sunscreen
  • How does sunscreen work?
  • What should be the ideal SPF for your skin?
  • What is tanning? How your skin gets tanned?
  • Does sunscreen prevent tanning?
  • Does a sunscreen remove tanning?

Let’s start and learn everything you need to know about sunscreens. Here we go!

What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen, commonly called sun cream or sunblock, is a substance that protects your skin from harmful sun rays. These creams or lotions have photoprotective topical substance for the skin that reflect the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and helps to protect your skin against sunburn or tanning. Hence, it's always recommended by dermatologists or skin experts to wear sunscreen every single day. 

Also, it's ideally advised to wear sunscreen whether you are staying indoors or not stepping outside. Why? The ultra rays of mobiles or laptops also harm your skin the same way as the sun does. Hence, it is necessary to wear sunscreen throughout the day irrespective of the place.

What is the importance of using sunscreen? 

Sunscreen is the most essential part of your skincare routine. The sunrays consist of UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays that can cause critical damage to your skin. Mostly, UVA causes higher production of harmful free radicals that form dark spots, age spots, wrinkles and even age your skin whereas UVB burns your skin. 

Sunburn can be an early sign of ageing. Hence, to avoid this, it's highly recommended to wear sunscreens. There are several types of sunscreen with variant SPF that helps to protect your skin as per your needs. 

What are the types of sunscreens? 

There are mostly two types of sunscreens designed with active ingredients to create UV filters to keep harmful rays from penetrating the skin. The two types are - Mineral Sunscreens and Chemical Sunscreens. Both types have different mechanisms for filtering UV rays when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage. 

Mineral Sunscreens

When mineral sunscreen is applied to your skin, it acts as a physical blocker by scattering UV rays from the skin line like tiny mirrors. Mineral sunscreens are good at blocking both UVA and UVB rays at the surface level. The moment you apply them, they act as a physical barrier without any delay. 

However, they tend to have a white-ish cast and can be visible on the skin. Since they sit on the surface of your skin, the mineral sunscreens can be rubbed, rinsed or sweated off easily which requires repeated application. Mineral sunscreens are highly recommended for daily use purposes.   

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens are more prone to get absorbed deeply into your skin and sit in the deepest layers. They absorb UV rays and convert them into heat. At the same time, release the heat from the skin. It takes at least 20 minutes to start working and be effective. Hence, to use chemical sunscreens, proper planning is required. 

These sunscreens are mostly used during swimming sessions. Though, the chemical sunscreens don’t protect you from UVA rays due to their chemical formula. Hence, using it on regular basis can cause damage to the deeper layers of the skin. 

What is the ideal SPF?

Whether you use a mineral or chemical sunscreen, each sunscreen contains an SPF (Sun Protection Factor). The definition of an ideal SPF depends on your level of exposure to the sun. There are several types of sunscreens available in the market that contains lower to higher SPF. You will find sunscreens with 15 SPF, 20 SPF, 30 SPF, 40 SPF, 50 SPF and so on. 

It is necessary to understand the working and importance of these SPF numbers before incorporating them in your day and night face care routine. Ideally, they refer to the time your skin will take to get damaged after using the sunscreen, rather than stating a specific level of protection. 

For instance, if you are using an SPF of 40, it means your skin could take 40 times longer period to get a burn if it stays unprotected by other means. Similarly, if you are using an SPF of 20, it means your skin will take 20 times longer to get damaged. And, that can only work if you apply sunscreen in the right amount, in the right way. 

For regular use, Dermatologists recommend using at least SPF 30 whenever you are going out in the sun. However, during swimming sessions or near beach areas, it's advised to use SPF 50 or SPF100. That is to be reapplied frequently to avoid tanning or burn. 

Hence, choosing an ideal SPF depends on your daily routine or the choice of activities. Also, we advise choosing sunscreen depending on your skin type. For instance, if you have oily skin, buy sunscreen for oily skin. However, if you are more prone to direct sun exposure, then you may need sunscreen with 40 or 50 SPF. 


What is tanning? How your skin gets tanned?

Tanning or sun tanning is the process where skin colour gets darkened due to sun exposure. It results when your skin comes in direct contact with ultraviolet sun rays. 

Once your skin comes in direct contact with sun rays, your skin increases the production of melanin (a dark brown to black pigment) with a motive to protect the skin from getting damaged. Melanin is a type of pigment that also colours your hair and eyes. Thus, an increase of melanin pigment in your skin starts darkening your skin tone in 48 hours. 

Does sunscreen prevent tanning?

TBH, there is no perfect answer to this statement. Why? Because you can still tan with sunscreen on. Yes. The level of tanning depends on various factors such as how easily your skin gets tan, the skin tone you are having, the SPF you are wearing, the place where you are living, what was the UV index at the time of your sun explore and many more. 

SPF denotes the measure of the number of UV rays required to tan or burn your skin. It is possible to get tan with sunscreen on but using sunscreen creates a barrier on your skin that takes a longer dose of UV radiation to burn skin.  

Most people don’t understand the amount of SPF that should be used to protect your skin. And, they even don’t reapply the SPF to achieve the SPF level as stated on their product. Thus, UV rays get able to go through and tan your skin easily. Therefore, even after wearing sunscreen, you tend to get tanned. 

Does sunscreen remove tanning?

The answer is NO! Sunscreen does not remove tanning. It helps to protect from the damage by the sun so that your skin gets a chance to delay tanning. In simple words, sunscreen does protect your skin from UV rays but it doesn’t remove tanning or stop your skin from changing colour. 



Wearing sunscreen is important. It is one of the skincare products for daily needs. You can't avoid the fact that sunscreen protects your skin from UV radiation but you need to keep a tab on the SPF and make sure to reapply the sunscreen on a regular basis. 

Sunscreens create a barrier that delays the time of tanning but doesn’t mean you will never get tanned. Wearing it regularly is essential to protect your skin. If you are more prone to stay in the sun, then reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Irrespective of wearing sunscreen, we recommend taking other preventive measures such as wearing full clothes, hats, sunglasses, etc. 



What is the main purpose of wearing sunscreen?

Wearing sunscreen helps to protect your skin. They play an important role in creating a barrier to block harmful UV rays that can be absorbed into your skin and create sunburns resulting in tanning. 

What does sunscreen do to your face?

Wearing sunscreen helps in protecting your face from harmful UV rays and prevent discolouration. It maintains an even skin tone. 

Can I use sunscreen directly on my skin?

It's recommended to use sunscreen directly on the skin. That means you can apply it directly to your face. Before applying make sure your face is dirt or oil-free for better results.

Does sunscreen remove tanning?

No, it doesn’t remove. It prevents from getting tanned. There is a high chance to get tanned even if you are wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen creates a barrier and delays the time to get tanned. 

Does sunscreen lighten the skin?

Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays as a preventive measure to prevent your skin from getting tanned. It doesn’t whiten your skin. 

Does sunscreen reduce melanin?

Melanin is a pigment that is produced when your skin is exposed to the sun. It's a natural process by your skin to protect from harmful rays. Using sunscreen will limit the process or slow down production. 

Does SPF 50 make your tanning process slower?

The number in SPF denotes the longer time you can spend in the sun without worrying about tanning. SPF 20 denotes you can delay the process 20 times. Similarly, SPF 50 means you can delay the tan process 50 times. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get tanned ever. However, if you need to stay for longer hours in the sun, we advise reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours to delay the process.

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