Sunscreen is a staple no matter what time of year it is, because sun protection is paramount to your skin's health. But while you're protecting yourself from burning, you may still desire a bronze-y glow. Getting a tan is still something a lot of people go outdoors for. And if you're one of those people, you're probably looking for the best sunscreens for tanning — SPFs with numbers that are high enough to protect you from the sun, but low enough that you can still get some kind of color.
That said, there's something important that you should recognize. Even if you don't get a sunburn, tanning is still considered a form of skin damage. That's why dermatologists recommend spending time in the shade and wearing a sunscreen with a high SPF as often as possible. Any coloring of your skin by the sun puts you at risk for skin cancer — whether you turn red or brown.
A few tips? Look for a sunscreen with high SPF that pairs with a browning lotion. Or find one that applies in oil-form. Just ensure the lowest SPF you're reaching for is 15 — those oils with SPFs of 5 or 8 are dangerous, and offer basically no protection.
If tan skin is still something you're aiming for, scroll on. We've rounded up the best sunscreens for tanning that you can shop right now. Just remember — the SPF in these sunscreens is lower, so they require regular reapplication. Have safe sun, and your skin will thank you.
1A Great Sunscreen/Browning Lotion Combo
Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion and Moisturizing Browning & Tanning Lotion
The best way to combat potential burns is with a combo like Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion and Moisturizing Browning & Tanning Lotion. The SPF 15 protects your skin from the sun, while the browning and tanning lotion acts like a tan accelerant. That means you'll get tanner in a shorter amount of time than you would if you didn't apply the browning lotion. The lotion itself if packed with moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, marula oil, and aloe vera. Both formulas are made to be hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and reef-friendly, so you can feel good about swiping them on your skin. Here's a tip: Apply your SPF at least 10 minutes before your browning lotion to get maximum results.
2A Dry Oil With SPF 30
Hawaiian Tropic Protective Tanning Oil Spray SPF 30
Oil is the classic go-to formula for most tanners, and Hawaiian Tropic Protective Tanning Oil Spray SPF 30 is one of the best around. It has that oil texture to attract the sun's rays for a gorgeous tan, but instead of a measly SPF like most tanning oils, this one has an SPF of 30, which means you're way more protected. The formula is also jam-packed with antioxidants to protect your skin and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The brand recommends reapplying every hour to ensure good protection. The bonus? Adding more oil means your tan will be that much darker.
3An Oil-Free Lotion That Still Helps You Tan
Australian Gold SPF 15 Lotion Sunscreen With Kona Bronzers
Even though oil is synonymous with tanning, people with oily skin might want to stay away from those types of formulas, since they can be pore-clogging. Enter: Australian Gold SPF 15 Lotion Sunscreen With Kona Bronzers. It's an oil-free lotion, which means it shouldn't clog your pores. And since its a low SPF, it gives your skin the ability to tan. What's more? The lotion is infused with Kona coffee bronzers, which gives your skin an instant glowing sheen the second you swipe it on. And with tea tree oil and aloe vera, the formula itself is intensely moisturizing. This is one sunscreen you won't forget to reapply over and over again.
4A Lightweight Milk That's Formulated For Tanning
Lancaster Sun Beauty Sublime Tan Melting Milk
The beauty of Lancaster Sun Beauty Sublime Tan Melting Milk was that it was especially formulated for a deep, rich tan. It's formulated with a tan activating complex that protects your skin while promoting a healthy glow. Thanks to its SPF of 15, it protects your skin from infrared rays — just don't forget to reapply often. Lancaster Sun's formula is also water-resistant and dermatologically-tested, meaning it's healthy for your skin and shouldn't cause any irritation. Swipe it on and watch that tan develop.
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