Does sunscreen prevent tanning? If you want to look glow in summer then sunscreen may help to prevent tanning to some degree. Doctors recommend applying sunscreen every single day before going out in summer for good reason. Always wearing a sunscreen help to avoid the sun’s rays from causing photo aging and skin cancer.
Sunscreen is specially designed to block the harmful ultraviolet rays of sun that cause damage to your skin. Dermatologists recommend starting with sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. It is not 100% sure that you will not be tanned after applying sunscreen, you may get slight amount of tan. However, no amount of considerable tanning is safe.
What is Ultraviolet Radiation?
Solar Radiation, the ultraviolet radiation comes directly from sun and creates day light are two parts one is infrared radiation (IR) and another one is ultraviolet radiation (UV). UVA, UVB and UVC these are the 3 types of Ultraviolet radiation.
The atmosphere of earth completely absorbs the UVC radiation comes from sun and it does not create any kind of threat to our skin. But UVA and UVB create some damage to our body in some other way.
The wavelength of UVB is shorter than UVA and it has more energy. For this reason it causes damage to the outer layer of the skin and it creates damage to DNA, as a result it burns the skin.
But in case of UVA it has a larger wavelength but having less energy, as a result it goes deeper in to the skin and the reason of the production free radicals which damage DNA. Due to this the damaged DNA breaks down collagen and elastin.
After the simulation of UVA and UVB it creates melanin in the skin and we called it as a “suntan”.
Generally UVA is for Ageing and UVB is for Burn.
Definition of SPF
In general sunscreens have an ability to protect the skin from the UVB radiation. SPF measures the time taken to burn the skin with or without sunscreen. SPF50 will allow the radiation to the skin 50x more than unprotected skin before burning. However the strength of UVB radiation varies throughout the day and across the seasonality.
We have some basic parameter to gauze the capability of SPF.
SPF15 blocks 93.4% of UVB rest absorbed
SPF30 blocks 96.7% of UVB rest absorbed
SPF50 blocks 98.1% of UVB rest absorbed
How UV Radiation creates Tanning?
Once you exposed to sun (Ultraviolet radiation) the chances of skin pigmentation increases and below are those three steps involved to create it.
- 1st Step:– You can notice a temporary darkening of pigment that appears instantly of UV exposure and is particularly activated by UVA radiation, we called it Immediate Pigment Darkening (IPD)
- 2nd Step:- There is a longer patch of tanning that follows on from Immediate Pigment Darkening that lasts at least 3-5 days and is more strongly activated by UVA than UVB radiation is called Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD)
- 3rd Step:- After the initial tanning that is first noticeable 2-3days after sun exposure, lasts at least 3-4 weeks before beginning to fade, and can be caused by either UVA or UVB radiation and we called it Delayed Pigment Darkening (DPD)
Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?
Generally there are two different ways that Sunscreen works. The common one chemical based sunscreens work by engrossing ultraviolet rays. Basically chemical based sunscreens are combined with oxybenzone and octisalate
Another way is physical-based versions, which reflect and distribute UV rays away from skin. Generally physical sunscreens are based of Zinc and titanium oxides.
The important part is to choose between physical and chemical sunscreens which are looking for one is broad spectrum and helps to protect against the two damaging types of UV rays. One is called ultraviolet and another is called ultraviolet B rays.
During certain activities dermatologists has advised to wear water resistant sunscreen. Remember it is important that sunscreen act like a filter. This sunscreen lotion cannot prevent your skin from sun entirely. It may cause some level of tan.
Once your skin exposed to sun it becomes inflamed, and creates sunburn by tanning your skin. The more your skin is exposed to sun the density will be severe. As a result there may be many kind of negative effect that cannot be seen in naked eye.
This type of exposure in long term leads to cancer and photo aging. But if you are applying the right SPF (>30) sunscreen that can help to minimize the damage.
Whatever sunscreen you apply it cannot prevent completely but it helps to some extent. Below are some general points that it doesn’t helps to protect tanning.
- No sunscreen blocks 100% of Ultraviolet radiation – research says the highest SPFs allows at least some percent of UV radiation to skin.
- The incorrect amount of sunscreen applied to the skin.
- Not used frequently before exposed to radiation, as it only absorb the radiation for a limited period only.
- Sunscreen does not offer adequate UVA protection
If you want the best result of the sunscreen then use it on your skin frequently before exposed to sun directly but still you get some tan. Also try to avoid direct exposure to sun that will help you much better.