Can You Tan With Makeup On?

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We all love makeup. It enhances our beauty and gives us a boost in confidence. While it can be used for virtually any event, it’s not good to have makeup on when tanning. 

Do you know how much stress you’re placing on the skin when adding makeup when tanning? The UV rays from the tanning bed (or sun) mixed with the chemicals from the makeup will result in an uneven, splotchy tan.

Throughout this article, we’ll answer the question Can You Tan With Makeup On? We’ll explain what happens to your skin when tanning with makeup on. We’ll also provide some tanning tips for your next beach excursion.

By the end of the article, the reader should be aware of the issues with tanning while wearing makeup. That way, you can take the proper precautions to protect yourself. 


Can You Tan With Makeup On?

You cannot tan through makeup, and you’ll ruin your skin and your tan.

Makeup doesn’t provide a barrier against UV rays. Well, most makeup anyway. This means that while you’re out in the sun, the makeup won’t stop the UV rays from penetrating your skin.

Worse, the color will be uneven due to the fact that you’re wearing makeup, and that makeup is going to give you a splotchy, patchy look.

Not good! 

Skip the makeup, with the possible exception of some moisturizer with SPF  and go au-naturale while tanning.

Can You Tan With Makeup On In A Tanning Bed?

Nope. That’s even worse than the sun! Tanning beds blast you with UV light up to 20x as strong as the sun. Your makeup will melt, and run, and your tan will be a mess.

Avoid makeup and tanning, whether it be in a tanning bed, in the sun, or a spray tan

Makeup And Tanning

To explain, you’re placing unnecessary stress on your skin when tanning with makeup on. For those entering a tanning bed or going suntanning, your goal is to leave with smooth, even, bronze color.

You might apply an indoor tanning lotion or tanning lotion for the beach, depending on your circumstances. But you don’t want to have layers and layers of makeup on as well. This will only cause problems.

You should be adding some sunscreen as well, depending on where you are and if your tanning lotion already has SPF in it or not. You can still tan with sunscreen on, it will just be slower and safer.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, tans are a sign that you’re receiving skin damage. Regardless if you’re using a tanning bed or through the sun naturally, the tan can lead to long-term damage on your skin if you’re not giving it the proper care. 

Going out in the sun to tan is a better alternative than using a tanning bed. Still, you must be vigilant with your skin (especially if you’re using makeup) through UVB and UVA formulas. If you’re out on the beach for more than 2 hours, reapply it to ensure that it protects your skin. 

Risks of Tanning With Makeup

While you can use SPF-enabled makeup for tanning, it’s still not a good idea to do so. Here are some reasons why:

Irritated Skin

You should not wear makeup while tanning because it can clog your pores. As a result, this can lead to skin irritation and acne. You’ll have a blotchy tan instead of the smooth and luminous appearance you were looking for. 

Wearing a liquid foundation is dangerous when on a tanning bed. You may end up leaving some of it on the bed, and get a tanning bed rash (or give one to the next person…).

It prevents the sweat from releasing from your skin. This lack of hydration will age your skin faster.

Uneven Tan

When wearing makeup, it will cause lighter and darker areas, resulting in an uneven look. Also, the makeup can have a negative reaction to the UV rays.

If you’re planning on using a tanning bed, make sure to remove any makeup that you’ve worn previously throughout the day. 

Most makeup products have chemical ingredients that are difficult to break down. This creates a system in your skin where the sweat is unable to be released.

You’ll still show signs of a tan on your skin, but it won’t match the rest of your body if there is sunscreen under the makeup. 

Premature Aging 

Did you know that tanning bed bulbs produce potentially more than 20x as much power as the sun?

We strongly recommend against tanning beds. Self tanners and spray tans are a better choice, and while tanning in the sun is still dangerous, it has significant benefits as well.

Sadly, it is difficult to reverse the skin-aging process. If you don’t take care of your skin, then you’ll have a harder time fixing it as you age. Through proper skin care, you can save yourself thousands of dollars of cosmetic surgery in the long term.

In addition, using makeup while you tan will not save you from the tanning bed’s UV rays. For instance, let’s say your foundation is at 30 SPF, how is that measured and applied? Did you apply two tablespoons of foundation to get that 30SPF?

Probably not.

It’s best to use a separate sunscreen.

Also, most SPF products can only protect you from UVB rays. You’ll need protection from UVA and UVB rays when outside. UVA rays are dangerous and can lead to aging and skin cancer, so look for makeup that has broad-spectrum sun protection.

How Do I Protect My Skin While Tanning?

Your skin is the most important aspect to take care of when inside a tanning bed. Here are some ways to protect it: 

Use that Sunscreen

When going for a tan, skip the makeup and go for a sunscreen and potentially a tanning oil. Once you’ve showered after tanning, you can apply all the makeup you want, and it will look great!

Doing so will protect the face from having breakouts or clogged pores. The SPF that’s used in the makeup cream should protect you against long-term sunscreen damage. 

Understanding Sensitive Skin

People with sensitive skin should worry about using makeup while tanning. Medications will affect your ability to withstand the heat, and too much exposure can lead to damage that lasts for years. 

If you have sensitive skin, the best thing you can do is know what medications you’re currently taking. Speak with your doctor about the effects of the medication on your skin. Make sure to stay inside during peak times (12:00 AM – 2:00 PM) to prevent overexposure. 

See 14 Outdoor Tanning Tips for more information.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).