I have always been tanned for long periods of time. I have had burns but this may be due to the oils I was using. I have used sunscreens recently, but I still burn. I am quite fair, but after the initial burn, I can get a good tan. How can I avoid getting a burn.

Most people have the misconception that if they use a sunscreen – SPF from 5-39 – they will either not tan at all or it will block out the sun’s rays. Neither is true. What sunscreens do is give you more time in the sun with a margin of safety. We all know from experience how long we can stay in the sun unprotected before we burn – the sunscreen allows us to multiply that margin of safety. So if your skin is safe in the sun for 10 minutes without protection, then just multiply the SPF of your product, which will allow you to be safe in the sun longer. It will still allow the “tanning” rays to work and penetrate into the skin. If you still burn, it may be that your product did not have enough protection or you did not reapply it after a period of time (every couple of hours), you did not reapply it after you went swimming or perspired, you did not put it on at least 30 minutes before going into the sun, you had a shower or bath, or you massaged the sunscreen into the skin instead of smoothing it on generously so that it remains on the upper layer of the skin to filter out the rays. All these factors may have lessened the protection needed on more sensitive spots of your body (chin, nose, ears, lips, hands, shoulders, chest, etc.) Prices of sunscreen products vary. They may offer the same SPF, but the medium-to-higher-priced items may offer conditioners with a thicker consistency to help keep the skin moisturized and soft.

Do continue to use good sunscreen products to tan, but follow some of the rules a little more closely so that you do not burn and cause further damage to your skin than you already have.

You still can tan when you use sunscreen, only more slowly and more safely.