Can You Tan With Makeup On

Can You Tan With Makeup On?

Tanning has been a sought-after beauty trend for ages.

The allure of a sun-kissed glow is undeniable. Yet, a frequently posed question is: Can you tan with makeup on?

What is Tanning?

Tanning refers to the skin’s process of darkening due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. There are various methods of tanning:

  • Sun tanning
  • Tanning beds
  • Spray tanning

Below images shows a tanning bed and how the spray tanning is doing.

A Tanning Bed
Spray Tanning
Spray Tanning

The science of tanning revolves around the skin producing more melanin, a pigment responsible for skin color, as a response to UV radiation.

Can You Tan with Makeup On?

Yes, but with caveats. While makeup can enhance our features and boost confidence, it can also act as a barrier when it comes to tanning.

Most makeup products contain chemicals that are hard to break down, preventing UV rays from effectively penetrating the skin and producing melanin.

This means that while some parts of your skin might tan, areas covered with makeup might not tan as effectively, leading to uneven or blotchy results.

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The Science Behind Tanning with Makeup

When UV rays interact with makeup-covered skin, the results differ from that of bare skin.

Makeup, especially those with SPF, can block some of these rays, hindering the tanning process.

For instance, a foundation might block UVB rays but not UVA rays, leading to uneven tanning in certain areas.

Furthermore, certain makeup ingredients can react with the sun, causing skin irritations or allergies.

Risks and Concerns

Tanning with makeup on is not without its risks:

  • Clogged Pores: Makeup can trap dirt and oil, leading to clogged pores. When combined with sweat from sun exposure, this can cause breakouts and skin irritation.
  • Uneven Tan Lines: Makeup can act as a barrier, leading to blotchy and uneven tans.
  • Skin Damage: Certain makeup ingredients can react adversely under the sun, leading to potential skin damage or increased sensitivity.
Risk and Concerns due to skin tanning with makeup on
Risk and Concerns due to Skin Tanning with Makeup On

How to Tan with Makeup On (If One Chooses To)

If you’re adamant about tanning with some coverage:

  • SPF Makeup: Opt for makeup products with SPF30+ such as tinted sunscreen, tinted moisturizer with SPF, or an oil-free, lightweight foundation with SPF.
  • Layering: Consider makeup as an additional layer, not the primary protection against UV rays.
  • Reapplication: It’s crucial to reapply SPF products regularly throughout the day for continuous

Best Practices for Tanning with Makeup

To ensure a safe and even tan:

  • Light Makeup: Choose light, non-comedogenic makeup that won’t clog pores.
  • High SPF: Ensure makeup products have a high SPF for added protection.
  • Sunscreen Over Makeup: Consider reapplying sunscreen over makeup for added protection.
  • Setting Sprays: Use makeup setting sprays to ensure longevity and prevent makeup from melting off.
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Alternatives to Tanning with Makeup On

For those who want the glow without the sun:

  • Bronzers and Self-Tanners: These products can give a sun-kissed look without the need for sun exposure.
  • Makeup with Built-in Tanners: Some makeup products come with built-in tanners, offering a gradual tan while providing coverage.

Expert Opinions

Dermatologists and makeup artists generally advise against tanning with makeup due to the associated risks.

It’s always best to consult with a professional before making a decision.

Some experts suggest that if one must wear makeup, it’s better to opt for mineral-based products as they are less likely to react with the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Should I take my makeup off to tan?

It’s recommended to remove makeup before tanning for an even tan.

2. Can I put makeup on and after tan on my face?

Yes, but it’s best to wait until the tan has fully developed.

3. Can I tan in the sun with makeup on?

While possible, it’s not recommended due to potential risks.


Tanning with makeup on is a personal choice.

However, understanding the science and risks involved can help individuals make informed decisions.

Always prioritize skin health and safety.