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Does sunblock prevent skin tanning

Skin Care By Bhadra Kamalasanan , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Sep 19, 2012
Does sunblock prevent skin tanning

People become careless while stepping out in the sun. Forgetting sun block is the most common mistake which is essential to prevent tanning and skin burns.

A golden tan is what most women and men wish they had. To flaunt it, they avert any opportunity of using sun block or sun protection lotions.

What a lot of people do not know is that there is a great deal of difference between sunscreen and sun block. Sun block protects the skin from the sun’s rays keeping it from getting burnt. Avoiding sun block will ensure the much desired tan but will avert the protective cover from your skin that helps in keeping burns and other heat induced problems away.

preventing tanning with sunblock

Ultraviolet Light Basics

The two types of ultraviolet sun light that can seep into the skin are long-wave UVA and short-wave UVB rays. The UVA rays are intense rays that not only seep deep into the skin, but also through cloud cover and glass with similar intensity throughout the day. UVA is the type of ray that leads to tanning as it affects the pigments in the skin. The UVB rays can easily burn the skin. They penetrate only the epidermal level of the skin and there the most damaging sun rays during midday hours.

UVA and UVB rays from the sun cause your skin to produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin makes your skin darker, or tan, and is your skin's defence mechanism against the damaging effects of the sun.


Sun block vs Sunscreen

The American Melanoma Foundation stresses that sunscreen and sun block are not same, though they are interchangeably used. The sole difference between the two is how their ingredients interact with the ultraviolet light. Sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing the UV rays after they have come in contact with the skin. How much protection sunscreens and sun blocks provide depends on their chemical composition.

Sun block is designed to completely prevent UV rays from getting to your skin; hence the name: sun block. Sunscreen is designed to filter UV rays and prevent sunburn, but will not prevent the production of melanin, meaning that your skin will tan.


How much and How often?

Wearing a sun block everyday will help you keep sun damage away from all those areas of the skin that you have covered the lotion with. Look for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in sun block products as these provide complete protection. Unlike sunscreen lotions that have to first seep into your skin for at least 20 minutes to be effective, sun blocks form a coat around your skin and are not washed away easily, thereby being an effective source of protection for the skin.

If you are looking forward to getting a golden tan, you should make sure that you do not stay too long in the sun without a protective layer of sunscreen or sun block on your skin. Also make sure that the skin doesn’t feel too hot when in the sun; if it does, cover yourself or move into shade.

If you want to completely protect your skin from the sun, choose a sun block with a high SPF. If you want tan skin, purchase a sunscreen with a low SPF; this will prevent sunburn but will not prevent tanning.


Image Source: Getty


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