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What Is Tinted Sunscreen?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 21, 2024
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Tinted sunscreen is a skincare product that combines sun protection with temporary color or pigmentation. Many tinted sunscreens are sold as makeup products, combining the benefits of foundation makeup with ultraviolet A protection. Tinted lotions, particularly self-tanning lotions that have sunscreen built in, also qualify. Colored sun blocks, particularly so-called “invisible color” lotions for children, are sometimes also described as tinted.

Most sunscreen products are colorless lotions or sprays that are designed to absorb directly into the skin, leaving no trace. Tinted sunscreen is somewhat different in that it delivers both color and sun protection. Sunscreen lotions that deliver both sunburn protection and the glow of a tan are often quite popular.

Foundation makeup is one of the most common places to encounter tinted sunscreen. Also known as “base makeup,” foundation is a skin-colored liquid, powder, or soft solid that is smoothed over the face to even out tone and provide a uniform canvas for other makeup products like blush and eye shadow. More and more makeup manufacturers are automatically including ultraviolet A (UVA)and ultraviolet B (UVB) protection in their foundations, and doing so creates tinted sunscreen products.

Skincare experts all over the world recommend wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, even in the winter, in order to minimize the damage caused by the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Makeup-plus-sunscreen products are an increasingly popular way of combining skin protection with what is, for many, already a daily regimen. There is not usually much of a price difference between regular makeup and makeup with sun protection, either.

Self-tanning lotions are another popular place to find tinted sunscreen. Particularly in the summer, many people enjoy the look and feel of tanned skin. A natural suntan requires extensive sun exposure, which can be harmful. Self-tanning is a process through which the skin is artificially tinted or dyed, often with sprays or lotions. When these products include the protections of a sun block, they can be sold as a tinted sunscreen.

The term “tinted sunscreen” can also refer to sunscreen that is tinted non-skin colors. Children’s sunscreen sometimes comes in bright colors, particularly purple, green, and blue that is designed to fade once rubbed in. These products, often marketed as “invisible color” or “disappearing color,” provide an easy way for parents to see exactly where sunscreen has been applied, and where it is missing. Even application is one of the only ways to avoid sunburn, but can be particularly difficult with young children.

Colored sunscreen can also be marketed to adults. These are most popular for sensitive skin areas, such as the nose. Many of these products are not disappearing, but rather are designed to add a bit of fanciful facial color to a number of outdoor activities, particularly water sports.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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