Can You Get Tan With Sunscreen On?

The Importance of Sunscreen

As we all know, sunscreen is a crucial component of any skincare routine. It protects our skin from the harmful UV rays that can cause skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer. However, many people wonder if using sunscreen will prevent them from getting a tan. The short answer is no, but let’s dive deeper into the science behind it.

How Sunscreen Works

Sunscreen works by blocking or absorbing UV rays, which are responsible for causing sunburns and skin damage. The SPF (sun protection factor) of a sunscreen indicates how much protection it provides against UVB rays, which are the primary cause of sunburn. However, it’s important to note that no sunscreen can completely block all UV rays.

Tanning and Sunscreen

Tanning occurs when the skin produces more melanin, a pigment that gives skin its color, in response to UV exposure. Sunscreen does not prevent the skin from producing melanin, so it is still possible to get a tan while wearing sunscreen. However, the level of protection provided by the sunscreen will affect the intensity of the tan.

SPF and Tanning

The higher the SPF of a sunscreen, the more protection it provides against UVB rays. This means that using a higher SPF sunscreen will result in a slower and more gradual tan. However, it’s important to remember that even with a high SPF sunscreen, it is still possible to get a tan.

UVA Rays and Tanning

UVA rays are another type of UV ray that can penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays. They are responsible for causing skin aging and can also contribute to skin cancer. While sunscreen can protect against UVA rays, not all sunscreens provide adequate UVA protection. Look for a sunscreen that is labeled “broad-spectrum” to ensure that it provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Sunscreen and Skin Damage

While sunscreen can help protect against skin damage, it’s important to remember that it is not a complete solution. It’s still important to practice sun safety by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding midday sun when UV rays are the strongest.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with an SPF of at least 30 and one that is labeled “broad-spectrum.” It’s also important to choose a sunscreen that is appropriate for your skin type and activities. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the water, choose a water-resistant sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, look for a sunscreen that is formulated for sensitive skin.


In conclusion, wearing sunscreen does not prevent you from getting a tan. However, it does provide protection against the harmful UV rays that can cause skin damage and skin cancer. By choosing the right sunscreen and practicing sun safety, you can enjoy the sun while still protecting your skin.

Additional Tips:

  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, in addition to sunscreen.
  • Seek shade during midday when UV rays are strongest.