Self Tanning Questions

Can I Fake Tan Over Sunburn? (Recommendations Included)

Written by: Anastasija

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Sunburn is a really frustrating thing to get, especially when you’re busy enjoying you summer vacation, and it seems to show really obviously on all your photos. If this is the case for you, you may be wondering if you can cover it up using fake tan, and here is what you need to know!

What is sunburn?

In case you didn’t know before, sunburn is actually a little more complicated than you might think. Knowing all about how sunburn works and what causes it is useful information to know before considering doing anything with it, such as applying fake tan on top.

Hopefully, you should know that sunburn appears as a red, sore-looking area on your skin if it is lighter, but this is not always the case for those with darker skin. Nevertheless, they can still get sunburnt. Other symptoms of sunburn include peeling skin, warmth coming from that area and sometime even tightness or pain on the skin.

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In most cases, the cause of sunburn is too much exposure to Sun, usually when your skin has not been adequately protected through the use of sunscreen or any other protective measure. Normally, those with lighter skin tend to tan, as the body produces melanin, it’s natural pigment, faster than usual, and this provides their skin with some additional protection from the Sun which they wouldn’t normally have beforehand.  Obviously, those with darker skin tend to tan less, as their skin is already darker, so the additional pigment won’t do very much in the way of defending their body than it already does.

Table 1: Severity of Sunburn

Sunburn Severity Description
Mild Slight redness and discomfort, may include mild pain or itching sensations
Moderate More pronounced redness, tenderness, and possible blistering
Severe Intense redness, blistering, swelling, pain, and potential skin peeling

However, this protection can only provide for us to a certain extent and, once its limit is reached, our skin can no longer do anything else to protect itself, which is when sunburn occurs. Of course, this is a stage which you don’t want your skin to reach, ideally, but it occurs nevertheless if you don’t do enough yourself to prevent it (such as applying sunscreens or covering up your skin with clothes or a baseball cap).

Sunburn comes with other issues later but, the immediate effects for your skin tend to be the typical redness, warmth, pain or tightness, as mentioned before.

Also read: 7 Things A Sunscreen Does to Your Skin (Explained)

Can I fake tan over my sunburn?

Now that you know what sunburn is exactly, you may be wondering whether it is actually possible to apply fake tan over the top of it. In short, the answer is yes, you can use a fake tan on top of your sunburn, but you should be aware that there are a few conditions and things you should be cautious of.

Firstly, remember that your skin is, in fact, an organ. Just like your stomach, kidneys or any other organ in your body, your skin is the same, but just on the exterior of your body, and it’s there for a purpose, which you’re about to find out. Because the skin plays an important role in everyone’s bodies, we need to be very careful about how we treat it.

Primarily, our skin is there to protect our internal organs and systems from any dangerous pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, which could cause us problems. It also plays other important roles, and works in a very complex way, so you should be thoughtful and make careful decisions before applying anything on top of it when sunburn, to any degree, is present.

However, if you have suffered from severe sunburn, and it is blistered or flaking, you should do your best to avoid applying both self-tanners and spray tans until this has healed. The more you take care of it during this time, the faster and healthier it is likely to heal.

Also read: Best Non-Comedogenic Self-Tanner For The Face (My Top Ones)

Is it safe for the skin?

As mentioned, you can apply any type of fake tan to your skin even when it is sunburned, but you should be sensible and use your judgement before doing this, too. As mentioned, your skin is an organ, so you should treat it like one when deciding what to do in this situation, and avoiding any fake tan is obviously best, but not completely essential if you’re desperate.

In terms of safety, you do need to ensure that whatever solution you’re using is suitable for sensitive skin and avoid any harsh chemicals. If you’re looking for ways to keep your fake tan as safe as possible, take a look at the list which will come up later.

However, if your skin is so severely burned that it is blistered, flaking, peeling or feels sore to touch, you should probably hold out for this to heal before applying fake tan, or any other skincare products. This is because these symptoms are your body’s ways of telling you that there’s a problem, or that it has suffered severe damage. Putting products on top of this can be irritating so, while it’s not specifically unsafe, it can cause even more unnecessary damage to your skin.

What can make fake tan gentler on burned skin?

So, you’ve decided that you’re going to use your fake tan in the end, as you think that your skin will be healthy when doing so, but how can you go that extra step further to make sure that you’re being as safe as possible? If you’re in this situation, you’ll be relieved to hear that there are ways you can make your fake tan method more sunburn-friendly after all.

  • Avoid excessive exfoliation: before applying a self-tanner or getting a spray tan, most people go through a lengthy preparation process to get their skin ready for the products to stick to it. If your skin is repairing itself from sunburn, it’s probably best to avoid exfoliation if you can, as this can be harsh on damaged skin.
  • Keep it moisturised: it’s a fact that your self-tanner or spray tan will last much longer and look much more natural if you keep your skin moisturised and nourished. Doing so will also help to heal the sunburn faster.
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  • Avoid harsh chemicals: some self-tanners or spray tan solutions contain very harsh chemicals which can cause irritation to normal skin, even, so using them on fragile skin is a recipe for disaster. Instead, use something which has gentle ingredients, or is intended for use on sensitive skin.
  • Give it some time to heal: even just leaving your sunburn for a few days to begin healing before applying any fake tan can do your skin a world of wonders, and make a big difference to the overall healing process.

Can I Fake Tan Over Sunburn pin by thirstyfortan

Final thoughts

Essentially, it is safe for you to use fake tan on your skin if it’s sunburned, as long as the damage isn’t too severe, and you are following necessary instructions to prevent any further damage or problems. If you are still unsure about your skin exactly, it’s probably best to wait it out, of visit a dermatologist to find out their specialist opinion.

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

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