Let’s get one thing straight: “When you expose your skin to the sun, your skin experiences damage, which leads to cellular changes that can turn malignant or cancerous,” explains Sarah Beer, M.D., a family medicine physician at Piedmont. “Sunless tanners are a safer option because they tint the top layer of the skin that sloughs off in two to three weeks.”
But even with this information, If you use sunless tanner to achieve a glow, it is important to continue to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when you go outside.
“Self-tanner provides no protection from the harmful rays of the sun,” says Dr. Beer. “It is just a superficial tinting of the skin and has no protective properties from the damaging UVA/UVB rays.”
In conclusion, while self-tanner can be a safer alternative than the sun, it won’t protect you from the sun’s rays and you should take extra care when using spray formulas.