Family playing volleyball on the beach

Does sunburn turn into tan?

3 min read
Show more

Sunburn is never pleasant, but some of us may assume  a bright red glow will turn into a desirable tan. While a sunburn may turn into a tan this depends on a variety of factors and can come with a multitude of health concerns. It is always best to avoid sunburn by taking precautionary measures to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

How skin type determines whether sunburn will turn into a tan

Your skin type is the most prevailing factor on whether the sunburn turns into a tan. Those with pale white and very fair skin are the most likely to burn.

People with a fairer skin tone have less melanin in their skin to protect them from the sun's rays, meaning skin is less likely to tan.

Those with darker skin are far more likely to tan and less at risk from sunburn. However, this does not mean that people with darker skin are immune to sunburn. It is still best practice to ensure you are well-protected from sunburn and correctly apply sunscreen, especially as it is still possible to tan whilst wearing sunscreen.

Symptoms of sunburn

Sunburn is what occurs when your skin is overexposed to UV rays from the sun and cell damage is sustained. This causes the body to increase blood flow to these areas, resulting in a red glow that feels warm to touch.

The severity of burns can vary and can affect whether the sunburn will turn into a tan. For less severe burns the skin will be warm, will burn, itch and feel tight. More severe burns may see the skin blister and start to peel, which will not only be very painful but will most likely prohibit the sunburn turning into a tan. 

Find out more about the severity levels of sunburn and the treatments here.

How sunburn turns into a tan

Once the skin is damaged from sunburn, the body produces additional melanin, which is responsible for the colour of our eyes, hair and skin, to try and repel any further damage. Six to 48 hours after the sunburn, this will potentially darken the skin.

When the skin is damaged by the sun, the sunburn may tan, but with every burn the chance of developing non-melanoma skin cancer increases. Sunburn can also lead to hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin) and photoageing (when the skin ages prematurely).

How to treat sunburn and help it turn into a tan

As explained earlier in this article, it is best to avoid sunburn at all costs, but sometimes accidents can happen.

There is no guarantee that the sunburn will turn into a tan but it is very important to look after the affected skin as best you can.

To reduce the chances of sunburn peeling and minimise other side effects, there are a number of steps you should take to soothe burned skin:

  • Take a cold shower or bath, or use a cold compress
  • Apply an after sun product, like the Eucerin Sensitive Relief After Sun Cream Gel
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consider taking some ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • Do not pick at any blisters or peeling skin

    Read our in-depth advice about treating sunburn here.

Advanced Spectral Technology

Our faces are often one of the first parts of the body to show visible signs of sun-induced skin damage such as sunburn. All of the face products in Eucerin’s superior sun protection range include our innovative Advanced Spectral Technology to protect you from UV rays and help prevent sun-induced damage.

Popular Products

Related Articles

Our brand values

Pioneers in skincare

We deliver a holistic dermo-cosmetic approach to protect your skin, keep it healthy and radiant.

Recommended by dermatologists

We work together with leading dermatologist and pharmacist partners around the world to create innovative and effective skincare products they can trust and recommend.

Committed to innovation

For over 100 years, we have dedicated ourselves to researching and innovating in the field of skin science. We believe in creating active ingredients and soothing formulas with high tolerability that work to help you live your life better each day.

Find your nearest Eucerin pharmacy