Does Getting A 'Base Tan' Really Prevent Sunburns?

Plenty of people think that getting a base tan can prevent them from getting a sunburn, but this is nothing more than a myth. There is no evidence to suggest that a base tan can protect your skin against sunburn (via HelloGiggles). Although base tans are meant to allow you to be out in the sun longer before you start to burn, tanning does not protect you from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. In fact, base tans can actually damage your skin. Any type of unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays can lead to sun spots, premature aging, sunburn, and skin cancer.

"Melanin does protect us, but it can only do so much, and if the melanin-producing skin cells are continuously stimulated from sun exposure, they can grow uncontrollably, potentially resulting in melanoma," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla told HelloGiggles. "In other words, there isn't any sunlight-based tan that is safe."

How to prevent sunburn

Luckily, there are other ways to prevent sunburn and any other harmful effects of the sun's rays. While the best way to avoid getting a sunburn is to stay out of the sun altogether, this is not always practical or possible (via Cleveland Clinic). That's why it's important to take safety precautions, like wearing sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF). Regularly applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect your skin from sun damage.

This only works if you apply it correctly, however. You can effectively wear sunscreen by applying it 20 minutes before you go outside and reapplying it after every 2 hours. You can also protect yourself from the sun by wearing clothing that keeps skin covered or by staying inside during the middle of the day. The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m and 3 p.m. Avoiding the sun during this time period can help prevent you from getting burned.