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Can a “Base Tan” protect against sunburn?

There’s no such thing as a safe “base tan”.  This myth is perpetrated by the Indoor Tanning Association and we hope to put it to bed for good. 

In this video Dr. Dray, a licensed dermatologist goes into detail regarding the false myth regarding a base tan. 

For many people, the thought of going outside in the sun without any protection can be scary. After all, the sun’s rays are known to cause skin damage, including sunburns, premature aging, and even skin cancer. However, some people believe that they can protect their skin by getting a “base tan” before spending time in the sun. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous myth. In this blog post, we’ll explore why there’s no such thing as a safe base tan to protect your skin against UV burning.

What is a base tan?

Before we can explore why a base tan is not a safe way to protect your skin against UV burning, let’s define what a base tan is. A base tan is a tan that is achieved by spending a short amount of time in the sun without any sunscreen or other forms of protection. The idea is that this base tan will help protect your skin from burning when you spend more time in the sun later.

The dangers of a base tan.

While it’s true that a base tan can offer some protection against sunburn, it’s important to understand that any tan is a sign of skin damage. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that there is no such thing as a safe tan. Whether you get a tan from spending time in the sun or using a tanning bed, you are damaging your skin.

Additionally, getting a base tan can actually increase your risk of developing skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people who have had a tan, particularly a sunburn, are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. The more times you get a sunburn or a tan, the higher your risk becomes.

Sunscreen is the best protection.

The best way to protect your skin against UV burning is by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which are the types of rays that cause sunburn and skin damage. It’s important to apply sunscreen liberally and frequently, especially if you are spending an extended amount of time in the sun.

Other Ways To Protect Your Skin


In addition to wearing sunscreen, there are other ways you can protect your skin from sun damage. These include:

– Wearing protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts
– Staying in the shade during peak sun hours (between 10 am and 4 pm)
– Avoiding tanning beds
– Checking your skin regularly for any changes or abnormalities

There is no such thing as a safe base tan to protect your skin against UV burning. Any tan is a sign of skin damage, and getting a base tan can actually increase your risk of developing skin cancer. 

For more mind blowing statistics regarding the dangers of UV exposure, check out the Skin Cancer Foundations tanning section, click here

*Updated from 2016 blog post


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