Everyone knows that a spray tan gives you that perfect sun-kissed look without even having to step a single foot outside, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to enjoy the heat while it’s there. If you’re wondering if a spray tan will protect your skin from the Sun, read on to find out everything you need to know.
Does spray tan protect you from the Sun?
In short, no, a spray tan will not protect you or your skin from the Sun in any way, as it does not contain the necessary ingredients to shield the harmful UV rays which are emitted. Despite the fact that you have beautiful bronzed skin, don’t be fooled as you could still burn, but you’re just less likely to notice it, which is arguably more dangerous.
Firstly, it’s important to know how the Sun and sunburn work in relation to each other, and what they can do to your skin.
From all the way out in space, the Sun is essentially a raging ball of fire which is what provides light and heat to our planet, both incredibly crucial for life on Earth. There are lots of different types of light which are emitted by the Sun, but only some of them make it through the Earth’s atmosphere and onto the surface, where they affect us. The type of light which causes sunburn is UV (ultraviolet light).
UV light comes in two different types, UVA and UVB, which both have different wavelengths and so they affect us, and our skin, in different ways. UVA rays are responsible for most long-term damage, such as skin aging and they penetrate more deeply into the skin, meaning they cause more damage beneath the surface. On the other hand, UVB rays are the cause of damage which mostly affects the skin’s surface, such as sunburn.
The effects of sunburn and other skin conditions caused by UV light are more severe than a temporary red burn mark. Not all, but some, types of damage can cause cell DNA mutation, which can eventually develop into melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer at a later stage in life. The more damage your skin suffers as a result of the Sun, the more likely you are to develop these conditions.
The ingredients of spray tans are there purely for their abilities to make your skin look darker or more glowy, or for other purposes like preserving the product. In other words, spray tans don’t include ingredients which have been scientifically proven to protect your skin from the Sun.
Some spray tans will market themselves as being protective from the Sun when, in reality, this is not the case, as any ingredients which have been included don’t last as long as the spray tan itself. Not to mention, they are usually proven ineffective when they react with other ingredients in the product anyway, so they weren’t even helpful in the first place. For these reasons, you should always protect your skin from the Sun using a separate sunscreen.
I got a spray tan and I don’t want to get sunburned. What can I do?
If you are looking for ways to prevent any unnecessary sun damage, you’ve come to the right place! Looking for ways to protect your skin is very wise and, the sooner you start, the more damage you’ll be able to prevent. Any sunscreen is better than none but choosing the best one for you makes the whole process much more effective and give you the best skin possible!
One of the first things you will have noticed when picking out sunscreens is that they have different SPF ratings. SPF stands for Sun protection factor, and it determines how much UVB light is filtered away from your skin during use. A higher SPF equals less UVB rays which come into contact with your skin.
Something interesting to keep in mind is that an SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB (so you should ideally use something higher than this), SPF 30 blocks out 97% and SPF 50 blocks out 98%, just 1% more than SPF 30. This means that, for most people, an SPF 30 sunscreen is the best option for sufficient protection and wear.
However, SPF has nothing to do with your protection from UVA rays, which are just as dangerous, so you should definitely find a sunscreen which has UVA protection as well. Usually, a sunscreen like this will have a label which says something like ‘broad-spectrum’ which means you’re protected from UVA, while others may have a star rating out of 5 for UVA protection.
- 6.7-ounce bottle of Neutrogena Beach Defense Water Resistant Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 70 that helps prevent sunburn and decrease the risk of skin cancer caused by the sun when used as directed
- Stabilized with Helioplex sunscreen technology that provides superior broad spectrum protection against skin-aging UVA rays and skin-burning UVB rays
- 3-fluid ounces of Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 to provide water-resistant skin protection from sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays in a convenient, TSA compliant travel-friendly size
- Formulated to be gentle and non-irritating, even on sensitive skin, this sheer mineral sunscreen is easy to apply and is made with naturally-sourced 100% zinc oxide active ingredient and nourishing oat
- 2 in 1 body lotion: Moisturizes dry skin while helping protect from sun exposure
- Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection helps defend against sunburn and the damaging effects of the sun
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is water-resistant
- Apply to wet or dry skin
- 3-fluid ounce bottle of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Non-Greasy Sunscreen with SPF 100 that helps defend against the signs of sun and decrease the risk of skin cancer caused by the sun when used as directed
- This lightweight & sheer sunscreen is fast-absorbing with Dry-Touch technology for a non-greasy, matte finish and is formulated with Helioplex for superior sun protection for your skin
If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.If you’ve got a spray tan, the process of using a sunscreen isn’t much different to normal, and most sunscreens should be fine. If you’re looking for best results, find something which is oil-free so there is no danger of it interfering with your tan, and one with moisturising properties built in is a bonus!
The only thing you have to make sure is that you don’t use a sunscreen during the development period between your spray tan application and first shower. As you can probably guess, this is because the sunscreen has the same effect as water, and it can cause streaks or patches in the tan. After this period is over and you’ve taken your first shower, though, you are good to go with your sunscreen.
Will sunscreen and spray tan wash down in water?
There wouldn’t be anything more annoying than using a sunscreen to protect your skin whilst you’ve got a spray tan and then finding out that it has broken down your beautiful bronze and left patches and streaks everywhere. Luckily, this is not the case, and you can use a sunscreen confidently whilst you’ve got a spray tan.
As mentioned, you should avoid using a sunscreen during the few hours development time directly after your spray tan application but use of sunscreen after that shouldn’t affect your spray tan in any way.
There is, however, a risk that any oil-based sunscreens could potentially interfere with your spray tan, as the oil molecules can break down the ingredients in the tan and leave it faded or even streaky, both of which you don’t want. To avoid this, simply choose something water-based and oil-free and you’re safe.
In the water, if you are swimming in the sea or a swimming pool, your spray tan can gradually fade slightly faster than normal, depending on how long you are submerged. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this other than not going in the water for so long and the sunscreen does not affect this in any way whatsoever.
Also, the sunscreen can wash off in the water, so make sure to apply an extra layer every time you come out of the pool or sea.
Why should I protect my skin from the Sun?
If you’ve already got that summer glow, you may be wondering why you should even bother protecting your skin from the Sun – I mean, what’s the point?
Even if you aren’t choosing to sunbathe or you just don’t seem to burn you should always protect your skin from the Sun. On days where the weather isn’t even very nice, the Sun is still out – otherwise there wouldn’t be any light – and so its rays are still reaching the Earth. Aside from damage like sunburn, some of the deeper damage that occurs as a result of the Sun can be unnoticeable at first, but appear gradually over the years, such as skin aging. The only way to prevent these effects is by using sunscreen.
Even though you’ve already got that stunning glow going for you, there is still a risk of sunburn if you decide to spend the day outside when it’s sunny or even when you might not notice it. In a way, a spray tan can be a sort of trap into thinking your skin is protected when it really isn’t, so be sure to use any necessary sun protection when going outside, even on not-so-sunny days to protect your skin as much as you can and to prevent premature aging.