This is why you should never use sunscreen and fake tan together

When it comes to our skin, we’ve got to be careful with what we do (or don’t) put on it. And while most of us know the basics, it’s a constant education process – and this latest revelation is proof.

Fake tan is often hailed as the safer way of achieving a sun-kissed glow, as actual tanning requires spending hours in the sun which, well, we all know does dreadful things to our skin.

sunscreen and fake tan
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However, it turns out that even fake tan can cause damage to our skin when used with something common and very necessary – sunscreen.

In a report by Refinery29, beauty expert and founder of Ultrasun, Abi Cleeve, explained that teaming your fake tan with your a sunscreen could actually really be harming your skin, despite the fact that you may think you’re protecting yourself.

She told the publication at the time: ‘I’ve been asked many times to create a sun protection product with self-tan, which sounds very logical.

‘You’d be able to put on your sun cream and develop a lovely even tan. But I won’t do that because DHA (the active ingredient in fake tan which makes skin brown) really undermines UVA protection.’

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As you may know, a good sunscreen should consist of both UVA and UVB protection – the former is responsible for burns, while UVA rays cause things such as fine lines, wrinkles and the biggest of all, skin cancer.

Cleeve added: ‘The UVB filter (otherwise known as SPF – sun protection factor) would stay the same when combined with the DHA in tan, which means you might not necessarily burn, but the UVA filter (responsible for accelerated ageing and skin cancer) would not stay the same. By the time a product combining sunscreen and DHA got to the shelves, that UVA protection would be worth nothing and that’s the biggest worry for me.

This means that DHA has the ability to make UVA protection useless, which makes your suncream completely ineffective meaning you’re unknowingly exposing your skin to the dangers of UVA.

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So, what should you be doing if you still want to bronze, but safely? ‘I would always advocate that you fake tan the night before,’ advises Abi.

‘Some DHAs are very fast acting, so you get things like turbo tans which might work in 40 minutes or two hours. Some are slower – they might be shower-off products, for example. But it’s important to note that DHA is an active ingredient, and while it is active in your skin I wouldn’t rely on an application of suncream.’