Sun Tanning Products

Wondering if “You Can Tan with SPF 50” (Explained)

Written by: Anastasija

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Although you can try to catch a tan while wearing SPF 50, it is not recommended. SPF 50 blocks 98% of the sun’s UVB rays. Without exposure to these UVB rays, you will not be able to bronze your skin as well as you would with a low SPF sunscreen.

With that said, using a high SPF sunscreen has a lot of benefits, and we’re here to walk you through them in detail.

Continue reading to learn more about why you should use SPF 50 sunscreen.

Benefits of SPF 50

ingredients in sunscreen

Regularly applying sunscreen while you are spending time outdoors is the best way to reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer. According to experts, you should use sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 15 to protect your skin against sun damage. But the best way to ensure that your skin is safe against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays is to use sunscreen that has SPF 50 or better.

Also read: What Do the Numbers Mean on Sunscreen? (Explained)

Is SPF 50 The Maximum That You Can Get?

The short answer is no, SPF 50 is not the maximum that you can buy. In fact, you can purchase sunscreen with protection up to SPF 110. The higher SPF that you purchase, the more protective it is against UVA and UVB rays. With that said, SPF 50 already blocks over 98% of the sun’s UVB rays, so some dermatologists argue that it is not necessary to use more than SPF 50.

SPF LevelSunburn ProtectionTanning Potential
SPF 15HighModerate
SPF 30Very HighLimited
SPF 50Extremely HighMinimal
SPF 50+Extremely HighMinimal
Table 1: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and Sunburn Protection
Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 110, Oil-Free & Non-Comedogenic Moisturizing Sunscreen to Prevent Signs of Aging, 3 fl. oz
  • 3-fluid ounces of Neutrogena Age Shield Oil-Free Face Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 110 helps shield skin from sun damage while also preventing the signs of skin aging
  • Made with Helioplex, a sunscreen technology with Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection to help combat the signs of skin aging

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How Often Should You Re-Apply SPF 50?

sunscreen spray

Wearing sunscreen daily is essential to protecting your skin against the sun’s harmful radiation. But did you know there is another rule that is just as important? That’s right! You should also ensure that you are reapplying your sunscreen regularly throughout the day. This goes for any sort of sunscreen, no matter how high the SPF is.

A general rule of thumb is to reapply your sunscreen once every two hours. This will ensure that you remain protected against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. However, if you are spending time indoors and away from windows, you may not need to reapply your sunscreen as frequently.

FactorInfluence on Tanning Potential with SPF 50
UV IntensityHigher intensity may still lead to some tanning despite SPF 50
Skin TypeSome skin types may tan more easily even with high SPF protection
Application and ReapplicationProper application and reapplication of SPF 50 can reduce tanning potential
Sun Exposure DurationLonger exposure may increase the chance of tanning, even with SPF 50
Table 2: Factors Affecting Tanning Potential with SPF 50

If you are working up a sweat while playing beach volleyball or swimming out to sea, you will need to re-apply your sunscreen more frequently. Most sunscreens can last anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes in water. For that reason, it’s a good idea to reapply your sunscreen at least once per hour, if not more.

Also read: What SPF Sunscreen Should You Wear to Exercise Outside? (Explained)

What Are the Risks of Not Using SPF?

Zinc Oxide in Sunscreen

One of the most obvious effects of not using SPF is painful sunburns. The agony of reddened, blistered skin after too much sun is something that almost everyone has experienced at least once in their life. Thankfully, when you apply SPF properly, you will never experience a painful sunburn again.

Skin TypeRecommended SPF Level
Very fairSPF 50+
FairSPF 50
LightSPF 30-50
MediumSPF 15-30
DarkSPF 15 or lower
Table 3: Recommended SPF Levels for Different Skin Types

Choosing not to wear sunscreen can result in a higher risk of sun damage to your skin. In severe cases, this can lead to serious health problems including an inability to fight off diseases and skin cancers, such as melanoma. However, decreasing your risk of cancer isn’t the only reason that you should always protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Here are some of the visible signs of sun damage that you may experience over time:

Hyper Pigmentation and Dark Spots

Ultraviolet radiation can cause an excess of melanin production. Too much melanin production in a specific area can result in dark spots or hyperpigmentation. This is one of the most common side-effects of excessive sun exposure.

Fine Lines

Frequent exposure to UV radiation can also diminish the natural collagen levels of your skin. Over time, this can cause your skin to become dry, crepey, and wrinkled. Most people will acquire fine lines at some point in their lifetime. However, protecting your skin with SPF lotion can help to prevent this.

Deep-Set Wrinkles

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can result in deep-set wrinkles and frown lines. These stubborn lines are difficult to get rid of, even if you start taking excellent care of your skin after they appear. For that reason, it is important to take preventative measures against deep-set wrinkles by applying SPF when you encounter the harmful rays of the sun.

Spider Veins

After years of exposing your skin to ultraviolet radiation without using SPF, your skin will become thin and sun damaged. This can make you more susceptible to visible capillaries referred to as spider veins or thread veins. Although there are treatments that can help to reverse the appearance of these capillaries, it is best to prevent them by using protection against the sun’s rays.

My Top Picks

If you’re in need of a great SPF 50 sunscreen, we’ve got you covered! Here are my top picks:

Pipette Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50

On Sale - $8.39
Pipette Mineral Sunscreen - SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Baby Sunblock with Non-Nano Zinc, UVB/UVA Non-Toxic Sun Protection for Kids & Sensitive Skin, 4 fl oz
2,853 Reviews
Pipette Mineral Sunscreen - SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Baby Sunblock with Non-Nano Zinc, UVB/UVA Non-Toxic Sun Protection for Kids & Sensitive Skin, 4 fl oz
  • USE PIPETTE SUNSCREEN FOR BABIES: Apply our SPF 50 to protect your baby’s delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays. This baby-friendly, reef-friendly natural sunscreen uses 100% mineral, non-nano zinc oxide for broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection, making it a perfect infant sunscreen.
  • USE PIPETTE SUNSCREEN FOR TODDLERS: The lightweight, fast-absorbing, non-sticky formula of this toddler sunscreen rubs in easily—crucial for on-the-move little ones! Plant extracts also moisturize and calm the effect of infrared rays.

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This sunscreen is excellent at providing protection against the sun’s harmful rays. It is hypoallergenic, making it perfect for those of us with sensitive skin. Another bonus is that this product is cruelty-free and vegan. This sunscreen is formulated with sugarcane-derived squalene which is known to be a nourishing moisturizer for even the driest skin. Although this sunscreen was formulated for baby skin, plenty of adult users love and recommend this product.

Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion, SPF 50

Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50-2.4 fl oz - Broad Spectrum Body & Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin - Great for Active Days - Fast Absorbing, Water & Sweat Resistant
5,444 Reviews
Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50-2.4 fl oz - Broad Spectrum Body & Face Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin - Great for Active Days - Fast Absorbing, Water & Sweat Resistant
  • SUPERPOWERED SPF - This lightweight & hydrating broad spectrum sunscreen absorbs both UVA (aging) & UVB (burning) rays so your skin doesn’t.
  • NO “WHITE CAST” - Our SPF 50 sunscreen lotion has a light, refreshing scent & absorbs easily without feeling sticky or leaving a “white cast”.

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Supergoop! is a brand that stands out for its nourishing skincare products, including its high-quality sunscreens. The PLAY Everyday Lotion is perfect for active days on the beach because it is water and sweat-resistant, lightweight, and comfortable on the skin. It features a hydrating formula that will quickly absorb into your skin leaving you effortlessly protected against the sun’s harmful rays. It’s no surprise that this is one of the best selling sunscreens on the market.

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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