Sunscreens That Prevent Tanning: Top 11 Picks For Outdoor Fun

Sunscreens That Prevent Tanning: Top 11 Picks for Outdoor Fun

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We all love to spend time under the sun, whether splashing around in a pool or just lying on the sand at the beach. 

a young woman wearing sunglasses is smiling happily at the camera with sun shaped sunscreen on her back

But sun exposure can lead to a lot of skin issues, like premature aging, wrinkles, and sun spots. Also, it can lead to unwanted tanning. 

That’s why it’s important to protect your delicate skin from UV radiation by using high-quality sunscreens.

To help you choose a sunscreen that gets the job done, we’ve curated a list of the top eight sunscreens that prevent tanning and keep your skin safe. 

With these products, you’ll be free to indulge in maximum outdoor fun. 

So get ready to soak up the sun without worrying about the consequences as we unveil the sunscreens that are your perfect companions for a sun-kissed yet sun-protected experience.

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
Best Overall
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Nourishes and softens skin
Banana Boat Body Sunscreen SPF 50
Budget Pick
  • Water- and sweat-resistant
  • UVA and UVB protection
  • SPF 50
  • Non-greasy 
Paula's Choice Extra Care Face & Body Sunscreen SPF 50
Premium Pick
  • Light and weightless 
  • Silky smooth matte finish
  • Ideal for sports and outdoor activities
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes

How Does Sunscreen Work To Prevent Tanning?

Sunscreen, the superhero of skin care, plays a crucial role in preventing tanning. 

Tanning occurs when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which triggers the production of melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. 

Sunscreen works to minimize this process by creating a protective barrier between the skin and the sun’s UV rays. 

How? It contains active ingredients that either block or absorb UV radiation.

With this, sunscreen is able to reduce the amount of radiation that reaches the skin’s deeper layers. 

This helps prevent the activation of melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin. When fewer melanocytes are activated, less melanin is produced, resulting in a reduced tanning response.

Additionally, some sunscreens contain skin-brightening ingredients like vitamin C or niacinamide

These components inhibit the production of melanin, help even out the skin tone and fade existing tan or dark spots over time, thus helping promote a more uniform complexion.  

Take note that the effectiveness of a sunscreen is measured by its SPF, which indicates how much UV radiation and tanning, a sunscreen can block.

For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen can block about 97% of UV radiation, while a sunscreen with SPF 50 can block about 98% of UV radiation. 

As such, the higher the SPF rating, the more protection your skin gets. 

Does Sunscreen Prevent Tanning Completely? 

But wait — does sunscreen or sunblock prevent tanning completely? No, it can’t.  

A sunscreen may act as a shield from UV radiation. But it’s not impenetrable. So it can’t stop your skin from tanning completely. 

According to experts, 3% of UV rays can still penetrate the skin even when wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 and 2% with SPF 50.

Alas, no sunscreen can offer total protection from tanning due to sun exposure. What sunscreen can do is prevent or limit tanning to a certain degree. 

Although using sunscreen is not a foolproof method against tanning, having a little protection against it is better than no protection at all! 

Read on to find out more practical tips about sunscreens. 

Top Tips When Choosing Sunscreens to Prevent Tanning

a young asian girl wearing pink is posing at the camera

Sunscreen is a crucial part of any daytime skincare routine, especially during the summer months when the sun’s rays are most intense.

However, not all products are created equal. Using the wrong kind or applying it incorrectly can leave you vulnerable to tanning and sun damage.

In this section, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to choose and apply sunscreen effectively to prevent tanning and keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Choose Between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreens — chemical and mineral sunscreens. 

While both offer decent protection against tanning and sun damage, there’s a major difference between them, namely in how they protect the skin from harmful UV rays. 

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV radiation and converting it into less harmful forms of energy, which are then released or dispersed from the skin.

These types of sunscreens contain compounds such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate. They tend to be more lightweight and easier to apply than mineral sunscreens. 

However, they may not be suitable for sensitive skin. 

As these chemicals absorb UV rays, the heat they generate can trigger irritations for people with sensitive skin.  

On the other hand, mineral sunscreens, which contain minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, sit on the skin.

They create a physical barrier that blocks, reflects, and scatters UV rays away from the skin. 

This mechanism of action makes mineral sunscreen effective at protecting your skin against sun damage and tanning.

The only drawback is that these products are expensive.

Look for Broad-Spectrum Protection

It’s important to choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA radiation.

Why? It’s because both types of radiation can damage the skin in different ways. 

UVB rays cause sunburns and damage the outermost layer of the skin.

Meanwhile, UVA rays have longer wavelengths and penetrate deeper into the skin, which contributes to skin aging and tanning. 

So it’s vital to look for products that are labeled “broad-spectrum” to ensure your skin stays protected from both types of UV radiation.

Choose a Product With the Right SPF Level

Generally, a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher is recommended for everyday use.

However, if you are planning to spend an extended amount of time in the sun, you may want the advanced protection of sunscreens with SPF 50 or higher to prevent tanning.

Consider Your Skin Type

There are different sunscreen formulations available to suit different skin types. If you have dry skin, it’s best to opt for a sunscreen with moisturizing properties. 

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may prefer a lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic sunscreen that won’t clog your pores.

Whatever your skin type is, there is something for you out there. 

Top 11 Sunscreens That Prevent Tanning 

What is the best sunscreen to prevent tanning? We’re here to answer this question for you!

From chemical to mineral formulas, here are 11 sunscreens that help prevent tanning while also  offering a range of benefits and features to suit different skin types and preferences.

Whether you’re planning a day at the beach or simply want to protect your skin from everyday sun exposure, these sunscreens are a great place to start.

Best Sunscreen Overall

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

This sun lotion protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays while giving your skin a dose of Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. 

Primary Benefits: UVA and UVB protection; water-resistant for up to 80 minutes; nourishes and softens skin


  • SPF 50
  • Vegan and certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny 
  • Infused with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant
  • Reef-friendly and non-comedogenic 
  • Pleasant tropical smell 

Sum Bum Sun Lotion smells like summer, leaving the skin soft and supple while promising effective sun protection for up to 80 minutes. 


Sun Bum SPF 50 is a popular cruelty-free sunscreen that promises to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation and prevent tanning.

This sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, shielding your skin against UVA and UVB rays effectively.

It’s also oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for those with oily or acne-prone skin. 

This makes the Sun Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion an ideal choice for anyone looking for a powerful sun defense with added benefits for the skin and great protection against tanning.

Best Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning for Sporty Individuals

Banana Boat Sport Ultra SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

We love the Banana Boat Body Sunscreen SPF 50's high-performing sun defense. From family fun to hardcore competition, this sunscreen provides UVA/UVB protection that stays for up to 80 minutes!

Primary Benefits: Strong sun protection; water- and sweat-resistant; leaves no white cast on the skin


  • Patented Active Dry Protect formula
  • With argan oil for silky smooth skin
  • Reef-friendly

It has a lightweight, non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving no unsightly residue.


Made for sun lovers and sports enthusiasts, you will appreciate the long-lasting wear and broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection of the Banana Boat Body Sunscreen. 

By protecting you against UVA and UVB rays, you get maximum coverage against sun damage and tanning for up to 80 minutes. 

Its patented Active Dry Protect formula ensures fast absorption without the greasy or sticky feel.

And because it contains argan oil, your skin feels silky smooth, soft, and moisturized with every application!  

For maximum tanning protection, apply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating. 

Best Anti-tanning Sunscreen Splurge

Paula's Choice Extra Care Face & Body Sunscreen SPF 50

The Paula's Choice Extra Care Face & Body Sunscreen SPF 50 is a premium sunscreen that provides complete protection against UVA/UVB rays while hydrating and moisturizing the skin. 

Primary Benefits: Feels light and weightless on the skin; broad-spectrum sun protection; water-resistant for up to 80 minutes; soothes redness and irritation; fights early signs of aging


  • SPF 50
  • Vitamins A, C, and E to boost sun protection and fight early aging
  • Aloe extract for soothing skin redness and irritation
  • Silky smooth matte finish

This sunscreen is infused with skin-loving ingredients that offer broad-spectrum protection for up to 80 minutes.

With its skin-brightening actives and ability to shield 98% of UV rays, the Paula’s Choice Extra Care Face & Body Sunscreen offers effective defense against sun damage and tanning. 

It also has a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving no sticky residue or white cast.

Additionally, it’s enriched with antioxidants and soothing ingredients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, that nourish and protect the skin, making it perfect for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

Best Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning for Sensitive Skin:

CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

We love this dermatologist-recommended facial sunscreen that promises to protect your skin from harmful UV rays with its high SPF and mineral-based formulation.

Primary Benefits: Broad spectrum sunscreen for the face; restores and maintains the skin’s natural barrier; nourishes the skin; prevents irritation


  • 100% mineral-based sunscreen 
  • Lightweight and non-comedogenic
  • Enriched with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide 
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Gentle on the skin and environment

The lightweight, oil-free formula of this sunscreen is gentle on the skin, making it the best sunblock that prevents tanning for those with easily irritated or acne-prone skin. 

The CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen With SPF 50 has a unique formulation that can deflect harmful UV rays that cause tanning, sunburn, and premature aging. 

It’s also fragrance-free, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for all skin types. 

So if you are looking for the best sunblock to prevent tanning while keeping your skin nourished, this one’s for you. 

Best Tinted Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning

Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Sunscreen for Face

We love this mineral-based sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UV protection. Its tinted formula blends easily and provides a matte finish for that natural and radiant look.

Primary Benefits: Offers broad-spectrum protection; subtle tint; nourishes skin; water-resistant for up to 80 minutes


  • SPF 50
  • A unique blend of antioxidant-rich plants 
  • Non-comedogenic with non-greasy, oil-free matte finish
  • Vegan and cruelty-free certified by the Leaping Bunny 
  • Recognized safe by the National Eczema Association

Discover the fragrance-free and mattifying feel of the Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion for worry-free days in the sun! 


The Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 50 is an eco-conscious tinted face sunscreen.

Formulated with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, this antioxidant-rich sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays that can cause tanning and sun damage for up to 80 minutes!

It can easily blend into fair to light skin tones, conceals imperfections, and improves fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to its native Australian botanicals.

Best Full-Body Sun Protection To Prevent Tanning

EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Sport Lotion

Experience ultimate sun protection for your active lifestyle with the EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Sport Lotion.

Primary Benefits:  Protects against UVA and UVB rays; ideal for oily or acne-sensitive skin;  water-resistant for up to 80 minutes


  • SPF 50
  • Full-body zinc oxide sunscreen
  • Non-greasy and oil-free formula

Designed to cater to those with sensitive skin who love outdoor activities, this sunscreen offers exceptional defense against harmful UVA and UVB rays without the sticky feel.


Trust the EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Sport Lotion to keep your skin protected while you indulge in your favorite sports and adventures without worrying about sun damage or tanning.

Its lightweight and non-greasy formulation ensures a comfortable and hassle-free application, absorbing quickly into the skin without leaving any residue or stickiness behind.

This water-resistant sunscreen is designed to withstand sweat and water, making it an ideal companion for beach trips, pool sessions, or any water-based activities. 

So don’t let the sun hold you back — embrace the great outdoors with confidence, knowing your skin is safeguarded with the EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen.

Best Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Sunscreen SPF 50

The refreshing and lightweight formula of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Sunscreen SPF 50 has incredible sun protection and added hydrating properties that keep the skin plump and healthy. 

Primary Benefits: Hydrates and refreshes the skin; resists sweat and water for long-lasting protection; ensures even coating for an even skin color


  • SPF 50
  • With hyaluronic acid and royal jelly extract
  • Water-resistant formula
  • Lightweight, watery, and quick-drying formula
  • Non-comedogenic

This innovative sunscreen is designed to provide superior sun protection while keeping your skin feeling fresh and hydrated.

Say goodbye to dryness and hello to a luminous and supple complexion, even under the sun.

The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Sunscreen SPF 50 defends your skin against UVA and UVB rays, keeping tanning and sun damage at bay.

Enriched with skin-loving ingredients, it also helps reduce pigmentation and blemishes. 

Plus, the royal jelly extract in its formulation ensures you get the hydration your skin needs. 

So whether you’re strolling along the beach, engaging in outdoor sports, or going about your daily routine, the Biore UV Aqua Rich has got you covered.

Best Vegan Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning

Sun Bum SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion

We have always been a fan of Sum Bum, and we love their SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion, which offers both incredible hydration and effective sun protection. 

Primary Benefits: Moisturizes skin; superior broad-spectrum sun protection; fights free radicals; water-resistant for up to 80 minutes


  • SPF 70
  • Infused with vitamin E
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Certified cruelty-free and vegan

Not only does this sunscreen prevent tanning, but it is also packed with nourishing ingredients to ensure you get the best defense and moisturization while under the sun!


Embrace the highest level of sun protection with Sun Bum SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion.

Infused with vitamin E that protects your skin from UV-induced skin inflammation while blocking 98% of UVA and UVB rays, you get the ultimate sun protection from tanning and sun damage.

All that while also keeping your skin healthy and highly moisturized. 

So if you want to spend your day lounging by the pool or engaging in outdoor sports, choose the Sun Bum SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion as your reliable companion for all your outdoor adventures.

Best SPF Rating in a Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning

Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen SPF 100 Lotion

Don't let the sun's harmful rays put a damper on your fun. Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen is here to shield your skin from 99% UVA and UVB rays. 

Primary Benefits: Resists heat, sweat, and water; stops 99% of UVA and UVB rays.


  • SPF 100
  • With Vitamin E to reduce UV-induced swelling
  • Free of octinoxate, PABA, phthalates & dyes
  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes

With SPF 100, you can confidently enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about sunburn, tanning, or long-term sun damage.

Get ready to conquer the great outdoors with Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen SPF 100 Lotion.

This powerhouse sunscreen is your ultimate companion for all your active adventures.

Enriched with vitamin E, this lotion keeps your skin hydrated while preventing tanning and dryness caused by sun exposure.

Also, its durable and sweat-resistant formula ensures that it won’t run into your eyes or wash off easily, giving you long-lasting protection while you push your limits.

Best Dermatologist-Recommended Sunscreen That Prevents Tanning

BLUE LIZARD Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide

This dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is safe even for those with sensitive skin, providing powerful sun protection without compromising on gentleness.

Primary Benefits: Blocks the sun’s burning rays; gentle on the skin; provides heads-to-toe sun protection


  • Broad Spectrum SPF 70+
  • Vitamin E to protect the skin from environmental stressors
  • Sweat and water-resistant for  up to 80 minutes 

This gentle formula shields 98% of UVA/UVB rays. Additionally, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you can enjoy water activities with peace of mind.


What sets Blue Lizard apart is its dedication to promoting sun safety.

Their signature Smart Bottle Technology features a unique color-changing cap that serves as a friendly reminder to apply sunscreen.

When exposed to harmful UV light, the bottle cap turns blue, reminding you to protect your skin. This helps you avoid sun damage and tanning while having the best time outdoors.

Best Nourishing Sunscreen:

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Lotion

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Lotion provides the ultimate defense against harmful UV rays while keeping your skin moisturized and nourished.

Primary Benefits: Blocks 98% UVA and UVB rays;  moisturizes the skin; provides all hydration; 


  • SPF 60 face sunscreen
  • Oat Oil to restore the skin’s moisture barrier
  • Hypoallergenic 

Aveeno is a brand you can trust to provide effective sun protection without compromising skin health.

Aveeno’s unique Active Naturals formula combines skin-loving ingredients with the power of sunscreen.

With SPF 60, this is a sunscreen that will definitely prevent tanning. It blocks 98% of UV rays, shielding your skin against tanning, sunburn, and signs of aging.

Infused with nourishing oat and moisture-rich hydration, this lotion not only protects but also replenishes your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Your skin will feel hydrated, smooth, and supple without any greasy residue.


In this section, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about sunscreens, so you can feel confident and informed as you explore all the amazing things it has to offer!

How Much Sunscreen Should I Apply?

To get full protection, always apply enough sunscreen. Experts recommend using about 1 ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen for the entire body.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to often-overlooked areas such as the ears, neck, and feet to avoid getting an uneven skin color and protect these vulnerable parts of the body against tanning and UV damage.

How Often Should I Reapply Sunscreen?

Sunscreen can wear off and become less effective over time, especially if you’re swimming or sweating.

To maintain optimal protection, reapply your sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if necessary.

Does Sunscreen Lighten Skin?

Sunscreen itself does not lighten the skin. If you want to lighten your skin or address pigmentation concerns, use serums or creams specifically formulated for that purpose.

Why Does My Skin Get Tanned So Easily?

The ease with which your skin gets tanned can be influenced by several factors, including melanin levels, skin type, genetics, sun exposure, and medications/hormonal factors. 

People with darker skin tones often have more natural protection against the sun and may tan less easily. 

Meanwhile, fair-skinned individuals with lower melanin levels are typically more susceptible to tanning. 

To protect your skin and maintain a healthy glow, it is important to use sunscreen that prevents tanning, wear protective clothing, and limit your sun exposure, especially during peak hours. 

Should I Wear Sunscreen Every Day?

Yes, wearing sunscreen every day is highly recommended.

Sunscreen is not just for days spent at the beach or during outdoor activities. Even on cloudy days or when indoors, your skin is still exposed to UV radiation from the sun. 

Besides Using Sunscreen, How Can I Prevent Tanning?

Aside from using sunscreen, consider wearing protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts to prevent tanning and sunburn.

Also, seek shade when possible, and avoid peak sun hours, typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

a woman wearing summer hat is smiling at the camera while applying sunscreen that prevent tanning on her face

Choosing the Best Sunscreen To Prevent Tanning and To Keep Your Skin Healthy and Glowing

When it comes to finding the right sunblock or sunscreen to prevent tanning and keeping your skin healthy and glowing, knowledge and protection are your greatest allies. 

Armed with the knowledge of the best sunscreens that prevent tanning and things to consider when buying one, you’re ready to embrace the great outdoors without worrying about the sun’s harmful effects. 

These carefully selected sunscreens offer not only protection but also the freedom to enjoy maximum outdoor fun.

So get out there and make the most of your time under the sun, knowing that you’ve got the ultimate arsenal of sunscreens on your side. 

With reliable sun protection, you can confidently indulge in outdoor activities, bask in the warmth of the sun, and create unforgettable memories — all while keeping your skin radiant, healthy, and free from unwanted tanning.

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