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Best Sunscreens For Tanning Plus Your Essential Safety Guide

In this article, let’s take a look at the best sunscreens for tanning and some more fun facts about sunscreen and safe tanning.

Now, to save your time, here we have our top 3 picks beforehand:

Best Sunscreens For Tanning: Our Top Protective tanning sunscreen

The best sunscreens for tanning will help you based on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which is the indication of the efficiency of a given sunscreen.

It blocks the sun’s rays and will allow you to stay longer and more safely under the sun.

Read Also: Can You Still Tan With Sunscreen On?

1. Sun Bum Sunscreen Review (Best Sunscreens For Tanning)

Sun Bum, our first best sunscreen for tanning is good for you and good for the environment.

Sun Lotion

It’s free from oils, gluten, parabens, and PABA. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free if you care about it.

It has Vitamin E in the composition, meaning that it can help prevent aging factors from the sun and it is all formulated with natural ingredients and is indicated to all skin types.

Having a very attractive list of benefits, it gets better when I learned that this UVA/B Sunscreen combines moisturizing with sun protection at the same time with a smell that I love.

Sun Bum Sun Bum Original Spf 30…
  • Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection
  • Water Resistant / 80 Minutes
  • Paraben Free / PABA Free / Oil Free

How to Use Sun Bum?

If you keep on reading the other sections of this article, you will see whether the way you apply your sunscreen will guarantee a safer tan or not.

Thankfully the Sun Bun has clear guidelines on how to use it. Here is how:

  • Apply it 15 minutes BEFORE you go to the sun
  • Apply a generous amount of Sun Bum to all areas of the skin
  • Avoid eye contact

To get the most of it, apply sunscreen every 2 hours to be sure you are protected.

If you have been swimming or sweating, apply it after 1hour and 20 minutes. 

The many types of Sun Bum

Sun bum has a few different versions for all tastes. From tinted sunscreens to hair products, sprays, creams, lotions, and various SPF Factors.

In this review, we are going to talk about the original lotion and the tanning oil with SPF 15. 

Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 50 Lotion & SPF 15 Tanning Oil

Here is the trick. You should be able to get decent tanning with the Sun Bum SPF 50 lotion.

Sun Lotion

Sun Lotion

You can apply it as explained before (Apply it 15 minutes BEFORE you go to the sun, to all areas of the skin and avoid eye contact) and add the SPF 15 Tanning Oil to get a tanner in a shorter time.

This way, you can use the SPF 50 for maximum protection, remembering that you will still get a great tan just by using it alone.

The SPF 15 tanning oil, however, will act as a tan accelerant that will help you get tanner in a shorter time. Just apply the SPF 50 first, wait 10 minutes and then apply the tanning oil.

If you choose to combine both products, you then apply the products as follows:

– 15 minutes before going to the sun apply the SPF 50 Lotion

– 10 minutes after, apply the SPF 15 tanning oil

You definitely should be able to use both of the products separately and still achieve great results. But for an optimized than and to be on the safer side, I prefer using both together.


Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 50 Lotion


UVA/UVB Protection

Water Resistant

✓ (80 Minutes)

Available in SPF…

15, 30, 50, 70



Before and during a day in the sun

Before and during a day in the sun or 10 minutes after applying SPF lotion

A little more on the SPF 15 Tanning Oil

The SPF tanning oil will provide you with a golden brown type of tan. But I believe it will also depend very much on your skin shade.

Tanning oil

If you are very white, I strongly recommend that you apply an SPF lotion before the tanning oil and by the way, I would go for the tanning lotion before if I had any skin tone.

Of course, the final effect will vary according to your skin but be sure, not to be exposed to the sun for too long after you get the desired tan, stand on the shades, and continue topping up your sunscreen every 2 hours.

Sun Bum SPF 15 Moisturizing Tanning…
  • SPF 15 DARK TANNING OIL . For those of us who love to get golden brown but still want our skin to be…
  • MOISTURIZING SUN PROTECTION. Our water resistant and Hawaii 104 Reef Act Compliant sun protection is…
  • HOW TO USE. Spray, rub in, and then bask in those sunny rays to achieve your ultimate golden glow! Apply…

2. Australian Gold Sunscreen Lotion with Kona Coffee Infused Bronzer SPF 30

To get started straight away I can tell you that Australian Gold Sunscreen is one of the best sunscreens for tanning.

Golden Tan

It has a broad spectrum that has UVA/UVB protection.

It’s an Oil-free formula that will be quickly absorbed by the skin without feeling greasy.

You can also apply it and relax because it does not leave your clothes and stuff dirty.

The next thing to take note of is that it is water-resistant (80 minutes).

The SPF factor is 30, but it will still give you an amazing bronzing on the skin.

You can also use it in conjunction with a tanning oil or lotion if you want.

The way to apply the Australian Gold Sunscreen is by applying 1Fl Oz. onto the skin. According to their website, the tip they give is to imagine a glass shot.

Then you can think more or less about how much sunscreen fits in a shot and whether this is the right amount you can apply.

Another recommendation, as usual, is top up the sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming and sweating.

Quick Tip: Use these Lotions in conjunction with an SPF 50 to stay on the safe side!

Best sunscreens for tanning Pos

  • broad-spectrum
  • UVA/UVB protection
  • Oil-free formula
  • Great texture
  • Leaves the skin hydrated
  • Great bronzing
  • Easy to apply

Best sunscreens for tanning Cons

  • Some people didn’t like the smell
Australian Gold Spf#50 Lotion…
  • 2 Pieces – 8 Ounce (237ml)
  • Broad Spectrum Protection,
  • Water-Resistant (80 Min),

3. Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 (Best Sunscreens For Tanning)

The Coppertone (best sunscreens for tanning) pick has a very lightweight formula that will not leave the skin greasy.

Sun Protection

It is also (as it should be) water-resistant (80 minutes) and is antioxidant enriched with vitamin E, which is a great anti-aging ingredient.

It is SPF 15 sunscreen tanning lotion, but as I have already mentioned before, I always like to mix the tanning lotion with another sunscreen SPF 50 plus. So, that’s a good option.

The way to use this sunscreen is by applying a really generous amount of the product to your skin (the fabricants advise filling the entire palm of the hand). 

Coppertone SPF 15 Water Resistant…
  • Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection
  • Lightweight, non-greasy formula
  • Aloe Vera & Vitamin B which provides natural soothing, skin conditioning and moisturizing

How Does Sunscreen Help & Why To Use Sunscreen

The sunscreens will help you based on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which is the indication of the efficiency of a given sunscreen.

It blocks the sun’s rays and will allow you to stay longer and more safely under the sun.

It is recommended that you apply a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF protection and here is how it works:

  • For the sunscreen SPF 15, it will take 15 times longer than usual for you to burn
  • For the sunscreen SPF 30, it will take 30 times longer than usual for you to burn
  • For the sunscreen SPF 50, it will take 50 times longer than usual for you to burn
  • For the sunscreen SPF 60, it will take 60 times longer than usual for you to burn
  • For the sunscreen SPF 70, it will take 70 times longer than usual for you to burn

You can say to yourself, well, it is better to go for an SPF 70, for example.

I normally go to the highest I can find to be honest and won’t hurt. But there are a few considerations we can take a look at.

For example, depending on how you apply your sunscreen properly you can easily use the SPF 15 and have great protection as well.

At the same time, even if you are using an SPF 50 and do not apply it properly, you might not be getting the benefits of the sunscreen at its full capacity.

So it is really important to know how to apply your sunscreen, more precisely pay attention to the recommended amount of the product you apply to your skin. 

In this way, just to be on the safe side, read on the bottle what is the recommended amount of sunscreen is needed to get the full protection available. I normally apply a generous amount.

Another important reminder is to apply your sunscreen with patience, because how long you spend applying it will also contribute to getting the most of it.

With no rush apply your sunscreen, generously, and don’t forget to apply it to any part of the body.

I still remember the day that (I don’t know how) I forgot to apply sunscreen on my lower leg and foot.

The results were almost 2 weeks with a real discomfort in the area because I spent too much time under the sun. 

Can you use sunscreen for tanning?

Can you use sunscreen for tanning?

When talking about tanning, we first think about tanning lotions and similar products. But what about sunscreen? Can we actually get a tan while using it?

Absolutely yes and depending on the sunscreen, you can get super-duper tanning and spend a little more under the sun at the same time.

The only thing that we should be aware of is, to use it the right way and also how to find the best product so you can enjoy it more, the safe way.

You might also want to read: How long does it take to take a tan safely?

Now, that being said, it is very important to also observe the SPF factor. It should be high enough and applied properly. 

Keep on reading we are gonna discuss more how to apply the sunscreen, to take the maximum value from it.

Check For Broad-Spectrum Protection

It is very important to protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays. The UVB Radiation will tan and possibly burn your skin on the outer level and the UVA will penetrate your skin on the dermis, which can cause premature aging.   

If you don’t respect the right timing that you can tan safely, you might be putting yourself at risk of getting skin cancer.

As a precaution, all attention is important, and use a sunscreen with a high broad spectrum.

Normally the sunscreen has broad-spectrum protection and it is also indicated with high fonts on the package of the product, the degree of power.

To make sure, go and check if it is written ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B’.

Have in mind that sunscreens that are regulated as broad-spectrum are already tested and approved by law, meaning that if they are labeled as such, they are going to protect you against skin cancer and aging. 

If the sunscreen is not labeled as broad-spectrum, it will help you only on the surface level, just protecting your skin against sunburn. So, pay attention to that!

How To Choose Your Sunscreen?

How To Choose Your Sunscreen?
  • First thing, you will find a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, UVA/B. As we discussed before, the UVB will protect your skin from burning on a superficial level and the UVB will protect you on the deeper level (Dermis) helping you protect your skin from cancer and premature aging.
  • Choose a sunscreen (SPF) 30 or higher. Even though we talked about the minimal SPF recommendation being SPF 15, it is better to go to higher factors. Try to choose something higher than 30. I personally go for 50 plus.
  • It has to be resistant to water-resistant. There is no sunscreen that is waterproof and normally you have to keep on applying it if you go into the water or if you sweat too much. 
  • No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweatproof,” and manufacturers are not allowed to claim that they are. If a product’s front label makes claims of being water-resistant, it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. 

Why Is Sunscreen Important?

Sunscreen will be your best friend in protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays.

They are the UVA and UVB rays, and as we discussed before, The UVB Radiation will tan and possibly burn your skin on the outer level and the UVA will penetrate your skin on the dermis, which can cause premature aging.

 The UVA rays can penetrate the superficial of the skin and they can pass through glasses and the shades.

That means that even when you are not directly exposed to the sun, you still need sunscreen protection, preferrable UVA/B. 

Because even though It is widely said that UVA can cause cancer, the UVB can also be a representative risk of cancer to the skin.

This is one of the reasons that you should invest in sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection. 

In addition, sunscreen can help sensitive skin to stay well, and protect against sunburn and sun damage, dark spots, and wrinkles.

Is there a Best SPF for tanning?

I cannot tell what type of sunscreen SPF factor will be better, because it will depend on skin tone, and type of skin. But…

Check this article: How long does it take to tan safely?

From my own experience, I have light brown skin, used a sunscreen 50, and got pretty tanned.

So do not worry about it, be on the safe side, get a sunscreen 50 plus and you will be able to get a decent tan.

Physical VS Chemical Sunscreens

Did you know their sunscreens can be Physical or Chemical?

Normally it will be better to choose the physical over the chemical, for one simple reason: While the physical sunscreen will filter the UV rays, the chemical ones will absorb them. 

We can name the physical sunscreens as sunblocks and use ingredients such as zinc oxide and other mineral-based ingredients to do that. 

How does Sunscreen Lotion Work?

I have found this video here that is really interesting if you want to know a little more about how sunscreen lotions work.

It is kinda quick so I thought it would be interesting to share it here with you.

When to use sunscreen?

In every situation. Even on the shades, winter. 

Why is sunscreen important in winter?

Even though many people might not be aware of that, UV rays can be damaging even during winter times. 

You might be wearing a bunch of winter clothes (if you have severe winter) but you will still protect your face and neck from the UV rays. 

That being said, sunscreens are still important to help you prevent brown spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and skin cancer.

Sunscreen Sprays Vs Cream 

Did you ever ask yourself which one is better? I must confess I never stopped to think about that until I started doing research and ended up finding out that there is actually a difference between the two.

First of all, the difference is not really on the effects, because at the end of the day they are still sunscreens and will do their job as long as you apply them properly. And here is where the problem lies.

The obvious difference between sunscreen and creams and lotions is the texture and obviously, how you apply it. 

Once you opt to use a cream or a spray sunscreen will then impact how you will apply it. Stop thinking for a minute…

You must be thinking that sprays are much more practical to apply just to hit the spray and quickly you are protected and ready to sunbathe or play beach volleyball. 

On the other hand, the creams are more sticky and you need to be spreading this all around your body, and in the end, you feel dirty and sticky.

What is happening here is that if you quickly spray your tan and quickly go away you might not be using it in its full capacity.

Then it is better to read the recommendations of the fabricant on the best way to use your spray, but the longer you spray it, the more protection you get. 

On a side effect, you cannot really tell if you had been spraying enough to get the protection you need. On the other hand, it is much easier to be measured when you use the cream instead. 

For this, I consider the cream to be a better option and choose the cream over the spray. In fact, I never used spray (as far as I can remember).

Also, it would be a little weird to spray the sunscreen on my face, wouldn’t it? You will still need to have sunscreen for your face.

Sunscreen Fun fact: How was that before the sunscreens?

Do you know how the early civilizations got around during the times when sunscreens didn’t exist? They counted on the benefits of the plant extracts. 

I always knew that olive oil was great for skin but I didn’t imagine that ancient Greeks would use it to protect their sexy skin from the sun.

Now, the Ancient Egyptians were very smart as well. Guess what they used to get protected from the sun? They use nothing less than an extract of rice and jasmine for example.

Thanks for reading the best sunscreens for tanning. You might also like reading:

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