Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning?

Sunscreen can limit tanning effects on the skin, depending on the sun protection factor, or SPF, of the product. The higher the SPF of the sunscreen, the less likely a person is to tan and experience skin discoloration.

People with any type of skin can experience a tan, sunburn or discoloration and consequently are at risk for skin cancer. Applying sunscreen before exposure to the sun can assist in decreasing the chance of these negative consequences. The higher the SPF level of the sunscreen, the longer it protects the skin from the sun's damaging effects. People with fairer skin are at higher risk than those with darker skin; however, everyone is affected. The lower the SPF level of the sunscreen, the more likely it is that tanning occurs.