How to Stop Skin From Getting Darker From the Sun

Many people desire a golden tan and will go to great lengths to get it. But as more and more people become aware of the sun's dangers, pale skin is becoming the "in" thing. Without protection, the sun will cause your skin to darken, because oxidation of melanin near the skin surface is triggered by UV rays, making the skin appear tan, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

To prevent sunburn and skin darkening, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends all individuals use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays 1. Without proper protection, you skin could darken, burn or develop age spots and wrinkles prematurely.

Purchase a sunscreen with a sun protection factor--or SPF--of at least 30. Look for products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays, the Skin Cancer Foundation advises 1.

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Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen to your face and any other exposed skin at least 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 1. If not applied early enough, your skin may still darken and tan before the sunscreen takes full effect 1.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are out in the sun to further protect against darkening skin or other skin damaged caused by the sun's UV rays.

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Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.

Continue these sun protections daily, even if you will not be spending a lot of time outdoors. Many windows do not protect against the sun's UVA rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation 1. Because of this, proper precautions are still needed if you work indoors or spend a lot of time in a car.


When applying sunscreen to the face, don't forget your ears and neck. And use lip balm with a sun protection factor to protect your lips from burning.

The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It's best to avoid the sun during these periods. If you can, try to stay covered and always apply sunblock before going outside.

You need to wear sunscreen even when it is cloudy. As much as 40 percent of the sun's rays still reach the ground on a cloudy day, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. If you don't wear sunscreen, you could still burn or tan.