With summer just around the corner, it's time to get that tanned skin you've been waiting for all year! But the problem with tanning under the sun is that you have to cut out all the UV rays to get a real tan. UV rays are known to cause many skin problems, especially skin cancer due to the reaction of UV with the skin. This makes tanning safely impossible. That's why the beauty industry created something known as self-tanners so you can still get that tan you want!
However, can you put sunscreen on instead of self-tanning? You see, the problem with tanning is that it doesn't protect your skin from harmful UV rays, so you definitely need some sunscreen to keep your skin well protected. But some beauty experts say that sunscreen over self-tanners is actually bad! So let's dive into this and see exactly why this claim was made and if it is possible to combine both products together for safe and healthy skin!
How to protect your skin from...
Table of Contents
- Combining sunscreen and self-tanning: problems
- Self-tanners with SPF: good or bad?
- Apply sunscreen after tanning
- Metallic sunscreen
- Spray sunscreen
- Tanning without DHA
- Frequent questions
- Final thoughts
- Basic points
Combining sunscreen and self-tanning: problems
The main problem with combining sunscreen and self-tanning is that it destroys the protection of the sunscreen. Self tanners' tan comes from an active ingredient known as DHA or dihydroxyacetone. This chemical reacts with the amino acid on the surface of the skin and causes your skin to tan. This is ultimately the color that develops in your skin thanks to the formation of melanoids in the skin.
It takes some time for this reaction to be fully completed and lasts from 4 to 8 hours depending on the color you want to achieve on your skin. This works on the surface of the skin, where the sunscreen will need to be applied. The problem with this is that there are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB. UVB is responsible for sunburn and skin cancer (malignant melanoma) and UVA causes all the photoaging and wrinkling of your skin and can even cause skin cancer!
The problem is that broad-spectrum sunscreen helps block both UVA and UVB. But when combined with the DHA found in self-tanners, it's known to reduce the UVA protection effects of sunscreen, so you're still at risk for problems even if you combine them together. So if you're going to use self-tanner, don't use sunscreen with it, as it's ineffective and exposes you to harmful UVA rays! However, this is for the first 8 hours or so when the DHA is still active on the surface of your skin and not after the tan has fully developed. I'll get into that part about how to apply sunscreen after tanning later.
Self-tanners with SPF: good or bad?
There are products on the market that have both self-tanner and SPF. The thing is, self tanner has a little bit of SPF in it, but it's only about 2 to 3 SPF. The real problem with self-tanning and sunscreen ingredients is that DHA, the main tanning ingredient, is an active ingredient. As an active ingredient, it reacts with sunscreen ingredients and causes some problems.
When DHA reacts with sunscreen ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, it reacts in a way that reduces tanning and sun protection properties. As I mentioned earlier, DHA reduces the UVA protection of broad spectrum sunscreens. The same goes for self-tanners that contain this sunscreen. The longer the bottle sits unused, the less likely the self-tanner will provide any UVA protection.
There is another method that people use to apply a tanning ingredient with sunscreen, by using tanning drops on top of the sunscreen and then applying it to their skin. The same problem arises here, because if the tanning drop contains DHA, it will react with the sunscreen and not give you good sun protection.
So if you use an SPF self-tanner or mix tanning drops with sunscreen, you still need sunscreen to provide full protection from all UV rays. But it will react on the skin itself, drastically reducing UVA protection. That's why self-tanners can't replace sunscreen, not even with sunscreen! This is only possible after the self-tanner has tanned your skin. So after all, self-tanning with sunscreen is a bad idea. Instead, you can use sunscreen after your tan is fully developed!
Apply sunscreen after tanning
The DHA response in your skin takes anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to fully work to produce the tan. This happens when the DHA from the self-tanner has reacted with the amino acids in your skin and is not present in your skin. Only after that can you put sunscreen on your newly tanned skin!
There are two types of sunscreens that you can use after self-tanning, namely mineral sunscreens and spray sunscreens. For mineral sunscreens, you need one that is oil, alcohol and paraben free so it won't affect your tan. The same goes for spray tan where you need to make sure it is alcohol free or it will definitely smudge your tan. So let's get to the part where you apply sunscreen after self-tanning.
For mineral sunscreen, you need about 1 ounce of sunscreen to effectively cover the entire body. So for the face, take enough to cover two fingers or about 1 tablespoon of sunscreen. Next, apply it to your face, making sure to pat it gently onto your face, then rub it lightly in circular motions to cover your face in a thin, even layer. For the rest of the body, you should be careful not to smear your tan with sunscreen, so using it on your skin after 24 hours is the best option. This is when the color is fully developed and rubbing your skin won't smudge your color. After covering your entire body with sunscreen, leave it for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the cream to absorb into the skin and leave the mineral sunscreen on your skin to protect your skin.
Sunscreen spray is easier to spread on the body because the spray does not run after you spread it on your skin. So make sure to cover the skin with the spray until you get a glow on your skin. At that point, you know the sunscreen has been fully applied to your skin. To get more even coverage of the sunscreen, gently rub the skin and spread it over all areas of your skin. The same goes for the face where you can't apply it directly to your skin. Instead, you should spray on your hand and then apply it to your face by tapping it, then gently smooth it over your face until you get a thin layer of sunscreen on your face. Then, let it dry for 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
For both mineral and spray sunscreens, be sure to reapply every 2 hours. The problem with sunscreen is that the level of protection decreases over time and after 2 hours there is no sunscreen left on the skin. So reapply every 2 hours to be fully protected from the sun! If you apply after 24 hours, you won't have any problem with the sunscreen smudging or streaking your tan, so you can apply the sunscreen liberally.
Tanning without DHA
Since DHA can cause side effects on sensitive skin, there are no products that are DHA-free but can create a tan on the skin! The main ingredient that helps provide the color in these products is erythrylose. This self-tanning ingredient works in much the same way as DHA combined with amino acids on the skin, but it takes much longer for the tan to develop.
This won't protect you from the sun's UV rays, but it's safe to wear with sunscreen, which is the most important thing! Erythrulose gives you a longer tan than DHA, even if it takes longer to develop. But you can use sunscreen with erythritol while the tan is developing to protect your skin from the sun! It may cause an uneven tan because the sunscreen has to be rubbed into the skin, but at least it will give your skin full protection from both UVA and UVB rays!
1.Will sunscreen ruin a spray tan?
If you apply sunscreen to a spray tan 24 hours before, the sunscreen will ruin the spray tan and cause your skin to tan unevenly.
2.How do you get a dark tan with sunscreen?
For a darker tan with sunscreen, you need to spend more time in the sun because only 2% of the UV rays responsible for tanning can reach the skin. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when using sunscreen.
3.Can I apply sunscreen without moisturizer?
While it's possible, moisturizer helps keep the skin hydrated and protected from UV rays. Even better is to use a moisturizing sunscreen to get both benefits at the same time!
4.Can I use self tanner on my lips?
It is possible, but you should not apply self-tanner to your lips because of the possibility of swallowing the self-tanner. So don't put self-tanner on your lips!
5.How long does a self tan last?
Most self tanners last about 7 days. It mostly depends on how much you sweat, as this can remove the tan from your skin over time.
Sunscreen and self-tanners cannot be used together due to the active ingredient DHA present in self-tanners. Even with self-tanners that advertise their SPF rating, you should be aware that this protection is only limited to UVB and not UVA, even if you combined the sunscreen with a drop of tanner. That's why it's important to let your tan develop fully and then apply sunscreen to your skin to fully protect yourself from the sun! If you prefer, you can also use erythrylose tanning products with sunscreen, but you must apply the sunscreen so that the tan does not spoil as it develops. I hope this gives you a complete idea of self tanners and sunscreens together and avoid using them together until the color is fully developed.
- Combining a self-tanner with sunscreen is a bad idea, as it has the potential to ruin both the effects of the sunscreen and the tan itself.
- Applying sunscreen after using self-tanner is easy as long as you let the self-tanner darken the skin for up to 24 hours.
- Self tanners with SPF values are bad because they only protect against UVB rays and not UVA rays.
- Even with a tan, your skin is not protected from the sun. That's why it's important to wear sunscreen over the skin to properly protect it.
- You can use mineral or spray sunscreen, but be careful not to ruin the tan itself by rubbing the sunscreen into your skin.
- There are self-tanning products that give you a tan without DHA. These are made with erythrylose, which is good even for sensitive skin and can be used with sunscreen without reducing the sunscreen's sun protection properties.
Can you apply sunscreen over self-tanner? ›
So, wearing a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is essential. Even in winter, as ageing UVA rays are consistently strong throughout the year3. You might be wondering, “can you put sunscreen over self tanner?” Of course!What happens if you put on fake tanner and then go in the sun? ›
The answer is yes! The self-tanner does not block UV rays, so you can still get a tan even if you're using a self-tanner. While the self-tanner will make your skin look like you've spent some time in the sun it won't actually block the UV rays from reaching your skin.What goes first sunscreen or tanner? ›
For this reason, we strongly advise using tanning oil along with other sun protection products. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF before tanning oil, offers a layer of protection. The higher the SPF, the more protection you will have from UV rays.Will sunscreen remove spray tan? ›
Oil-based sunscreens will soften the dead skin cells, and cause them to detach easier, thus fading the spray tan. Aerosol sunscreens contain alcohol, which is known to be drying to the skin and will deplete the skins natural components. Using an aerosol sunscreen will result in a faded or blotchy spray tan.What not to do when you have self-tanner on? ›
Sweating, jumping in a pool or even taking a shower too quickly after using a self-tanner can ruin the look. Avoid streaks and premature fading by not getting your new tan wet for about eight hours after applying. When the time's up, take a warm (read: not hot) shower and rinse with clean water before lathering up.What happens if you put moisturizer over fake tan? ›
Applying a moisturiser may interfere with the flawless result you so perfectly applied. We want your tan to be 20/10 and unfortunately if moisturiser is applied it can leave blotches, marks and strip the tan in certain spots on the skin.Does fake tan get darker the next day? ›
If you showered after just a few hours, you might notice your skin is not as tanned as you'd expected. Don't fret! Your colour will continue to develop and darken for a few hours (and a spray tan takes up to 24 hours to develop fully). That brown water disappearing down the drain?What sunscreen is best for fake tan? ›
The best sunscreen safe for your spray tan is oil-free and alcohol-free, at least an SPF 30, and a broad-spectrum formula, which protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Stay away from the aerosol type of sunblock as they can dry out your skin and sunless tan. Opt for a lotion or creme formula instead.How long does fake tan last for? ›
Luckily for you, with good preparation and careful application, self tanner can last up to 10 days.What is the best order to put on sunscreen? ›
If you're using a chemical sunscreen, it needs to be applied first. This is because chemical sunscreen needs to penetrate the skin in order to provide protection. However, if you're using a physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen), sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer.
Does sunscreen make fake tan patchy? ›
It is possible that sunscreen can take off a spray tan, especially if the sunscreen is oil-based. Oil-based products can dissolve the DHA (dihydroxyacetone) in spray tan, which is the ingredient that gives the skin its color. This can cause the fake tan to fade faster and appear more patchy or uneven.What will ruin a spray tan? ›
Makeup remover, cleaning preparation or oils can fade a tan (avoid mineral oils). Rough wash implement for daily washing (loofah, scrub mitts or scrub gloves, etc.) Insect repellent. Anti-acne products can cause faster fading, peeling, and blotchiness.Why don t I tan with sunscreen? ›
But if you're asking “does sunscreen prevent tanning at all?” The answer is no. That's because it doesn't protect you 100%. Sunscreen acts like a shield for your skin, but that doesn't mean it's impenetrable. UV rays can still reach your skin and cause a tan, even when you're wearing plenty of sunscreen.Is it bad to apply self-tanner everyday? ›
When you're just starting out with self-tanner and want to build up a deeply rich color, you can apply self-tanner more frequently than once a week. Depending on the specific product and the look you're hoping to achieve, you can apply certain products every day as needed.Are you supposed to put self-tanner on your face? ›
If your skin isn't sensitive or prone to breakouts, you can use a self-tan formulated for the body — but Evans recommends diluting it with your favorite facial moisturizer before application. Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, agrees.Can I leave self-tanner on all day? ›
The Short Answer
The good news, in brief, is that you can have fake tan overnight, providing there isn't an excessive amount of guide color in the tanner. What is this? In fact, leaving fake tan on overnight will help the color develop, giving you a better finish.
Because the tanning solution takes a little while to develop, you shouldn't start moisturizing until after your first shower, which should be at least eight hours after your tan but no more than 24 hours later.How do you shower with fake tan? ›
Shower lightly in cold – lukewarm water for 45 seconds ONLY after your desired development time. Use plain water, don't use shower gels, scrubs, shampoos or loofah during the first 24 hours after your treatment. Pat your skin dry. Do not rub or scrub your skin.How long do you leave Jergens self-tanner on before showering? ›
If you aren't able to apply before bed, you just need to wait 4-5 hours before showering or getting wet. JERGENS® Natural Glow® Instant Sun® Sunless Tanning Mousse is a one day application, so after the color develops, you will have a nice natural tan. If you want a deeper color, you can apply again the next day.What day does fake tan look the best? ›
No one wants to awake on the day of a special event, wash off their tan and reveal a streaky, blotchy-looking fake tan. We'd recommend tanning a couple of days before your special occasion. This will give your golden colour time to settle and offers an opportunity to rectify any potential mistakes.
Is it better to fake tan in the morning or afternoon? ›
The best time to self tan your face is in the evening, as it allows the product to develop overnight. Consider it a part of your evening skincare routine. Start by cleansing the skin and removing all traces of makeup.Is it better to fake tan in the morning or night? ›
Immediately after tanning, let it dry completely before putting on some loose, dark clothing to prevent your tan transferring. Either apply your self tan in the morning for daytime development, or apply before you go to bed to wake up looking bronzed and beautiful.What not to use with fake tan? ›
However, like any moisture, you want to try and avoid applying any makeup for at least 6 to 8 hours after a spray tan. Applying makeup or any other types of moisturizer can alter the color of a fresh spray tan or cause blotches.
Coola Sun Care Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen, Matte Finish
This sunscreen is also rich in vitamin C, flaxseed, and primrose. This sunscreen will protect you while basking in the sun and won't ruin your beautiful spray tan.
In 2019, Kourtney revealed the go-to goodies she can't live without to New York Magazine's The Strategist. One of her must-haves is the EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44. “So I used to use the original version, but this is a newer formula that has hyaluronic acid in it,” the mom of three said.How do celebrities stay tan? ›
So to keep that healthy tan glow, celebrities have flocked to self tanning products in droves. Some do spray tanning, some use self tanning lotions, gels, mousses, and creams at home. But regardless of what they use, self tanning products are now the #1 choice of most celebrities when it comes to tanning.Why does my fake tan only last 2 days? ›
Forgetting to moisturise daily is one of the key reasons that your sunless tan has faded faster than you'd hoped. When your skin becomes too dry, the skin cells on the surface begin to flake off, taking your golden colour that sits within them away!What happens if you leave self-tanner on too long? ›
If you leave a self tanner on for too long, it can start to look patchy and uneven. No one wants to be walking around with a lingering tan. It can also cause your skin to become dry and flaky. If you're starting to see these signs, it's time to exfoliate and remove the fake tan.What is the 3 1 1 rule for sunscreen? ›
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.Is SPF 30 or 50 better? ›
A sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you from around 96.7% of UVB rays, whereas an SPF of 50 means protection from about 98% of UVB rays. Anything beyond SPF 50 makes very little difference in terms of risk of sun damage, and no sunscreens offer 100% protection from UVB rays.
Should you rub sunscreen in? ›
Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen.How do I keep my self-tanner from getting blotchy? ›
- Prepare your skin properly before applying any tan. ...
- Don't apply too much tan. ...
- Lightly exfoliate every day. ...
- Use an oil free moisturiser everyday.
While fake tans are great at recreating the results of several hours under the hot Australian sun, they're not very good at protecting you from the effects of sun exposure. Unless your fake tanning products contain SPF, you can still get a few shades darker under a fake tan.Does fake tan make you look older? ›
In other words, when you regularly use self-tanner, the oxidation happening on the surface of your skin increases by nearly double. That might mean more blackheads on acneic skin, and more oxidative stress to cause visible signs of aging.Do you fake tan armpits? ›
Don't avoid applying self tanner to your armpits, just wipe lightly with a damp washrag or baby wipe after application to give a lighter, more realistic look.
You can, however, tan while wearing sunscreen. According to ABC Australia, if your unprotected skin would take 10 minutes to show signs of burning, properly applying SPF 50 sunscreen would extend this rate by 50 times – meaning you could sit in the sun for 500 minutes before burning.Does sunscreen slow down tanning? ›
No, but this myth continues to prevail. When you look at the science, sunscreens allow people to stay out in the sun longer and protect against the UV rays that can cause skin cancer, but they do not prevent the skin from developing a tan. There are plenty of things people can do to prevent a tan.Why do I get more tan with sunscreen? ›
An SPF also means that a certain percentage of skin-aging UVB rays are still allowed to penetrate the skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 3% of UVB rays can enter your skin with SPF 30, and 2% with SPF 50. This is also how you can still get tan while wearing sunscreen.Is self-tanning lotion or mousse better? ›
I recommend using a lotion when you already have a base tan and you want to maintain it or gradually have a darker tan. A lotion is gradual, meaning it will take 5-7 days to give you a dark tan. If you prefer something very subtle this could be a good option for you, you can also purchase a light self tan mousse.Does self-tanner cause weight gain? ›
But the latest evidence suggests they have a negative impact on metabolism – prompting the body to store more belly fat as they disrupt the hormone balance.
How often should you shower with fake tan? ›
Don't Shower for 8-10 Hours.
After your session, you'll want to wait a minimum of 8-10 hours before hopping in the shower. If you leave your tan on longer than that, even better! The maximum amount of time you want to leave the solution on your skin, however, is 24 hours.
Using an exfoliating product also will help remove dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating where your skin is thickest, on the elbows, knees and ankles. Dry your skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.How many layers of fake tan should I put on? ›
"With all tans, apply two coats to the body and one to the face. Starting at the ankles and working your way up means that tan will be dry enough to apply a second coat after a couple of minutes; just start again at the ankles for the second layer," Jules told us.Is it okay to apply self-tanner with your hands? ›
The reality is many people use their hands to apply self-tanner and have great results. If you can apply evenly with just your hands and not have a big mess to clean up afterward, this strategy may work for you. Once you're finished putting the tanner on, thoroughly remove the tanner and clean your hands off.How long after self tanning can I shower? ›
We recommend waiting at least 4-8 hours after your spray tan before you shower for the first time, but don't wait more than 24 hours.Will my fake tan get darker overnight? ›
As soon as you are done with your spray tan, you have a beautiful glow. As the day or night goes on, your spray tan gets darker and darker. The reason it gets darker, is because the DHA is reacting to the skins amino acids.Can heat mess up fake tan? ›
We all know that spray tanning in wet weather can potentially mark and damage your tan, but did you know that spray tanning in excessively hot weather can be equally as damaging to the fresh tan you have been planning for weeks to get.Does fake tan sweat off in the sun? ›
Sweat itself won't fade your fake tan – this is more to do with friction, which we'll discuss in a sec. Perspiration can, however, wreak some serious havoc if you don't give your self-tan time to develop.What happens if fake tan gets too hot? ›
As fake tan reacts with the amino acids in the dead layer of your skin to turn you a temporary bronzed colour. If the tan is exposed to oxygen or to too much heat, the guide colour can turn green.How do you keep fake tan on vacation? ›
- 1) It's all about timing. Try to organise your spray tan as close to your departure date as possible. ...
- 2) Pamper before you tan. ...
- 3) Have cool showers. ...
- 4) Avoid oily lotions. ...
- 5) Top it up.
How do you keep fake tan in the summer? ›
- Lock in the hydration. The self tanning agent DHA is known for drying the skin. ...
- No hot baths. Avoid long soaks and stick to quick cool showers as hot water can naturally loosen the tan. ...
- Avoid oils on the skin. ...
- Use talc if you're exercising. ...
- Use products to top it up.
For years, many experts have used the baby powder hack to prevent self tan transfer. Lightly dusting your tan with a large makeup brush will help prevent sweat and other moisture from building up and lifting the tanning product off your skin. It will also help remove any sticky feeling left from applying the product.Is it bad to fake tan every week? ›
When you're just starting out with self-tanner and want to build up a deeply rich color, you can apply self-tanner more frequently than once a week. Depending on the specific product and the look you're hoping to achieve, you can apply certain products every day as needed.Does fake tan come off every time you shower? ›
Sunless tans mimic the key characteristics of a suntan.
First things first; let's dispel a few myths – a fake tan won't simply come off in the shower. It can't be washed off in the same way as a stain on the skin unless you use a product like Instant Bronzing Gel that has been formulated for short-term wear.
Once applied you can wash the tan off after just 2 hours, but for a deeper long lasting tan leave on your skin for up 8 hours. It really is personal choice. You might have to test it out a few times, to work out what suits you the best! For best results, we recommend letting your tan develop 6-8 hours.Is hot or cold water better for fake tan? ›
Right before you apply the tan, jump in a cold shower to rinse off any moisturiser, deodorant, or sweat. The temperature is key here – cold water makes sure that your pores don't open up as much, so the guide colour won't settle in them.Do you put fake tan on wet or dry skin? ›
Fake tan can often cling to very dry areas, so make sure that your skin is well-hydrated. Use a moisturizer every day in the week leading up to tan application, then moisturize very dry areas, such as elbows, knees, ankles, feet and hands, 2 to 3 hours before tanning.Should you fake tan at night or in the morning? ›
Apply your tan
The best time to self tan your face is in the evening, as it allows the product to develop overnight. Consider it a part of your evening skincare routine. Start by cleansing the skin and removing all traces of makeup. Next, lightly moisturize around your nostrils and other dry spots.
There are different ways to go about layering, but no matter what, you want to make sure the previous tanner has dried before applying your next layer. You can put on multiple layers in one day or, my personal favorite, apply over 2 days. I like to apply, wait 8 hours, rinse (no soap), then apply another layer.