How does Tanning Oil Work? What is it, actually? Is it Safe?

As tanning oil is one of the products which helps people achieve their attractive sun-kissed look, people are also worried about their safety, and there are many concerns we hear daily, like how does tanning oil work? How to use it? is tanning oil safe? And many more. Tanning oils enhance and accelerate your process of getting a sun-kissed tanning look while protecting it from sun damage. Let’s discuss your possible concerns and questions in detail.

What is Tanning Oil?

What is tanning oil?

Tanning oils are generally made up of natural oils like olive, coconut, avocado, and sesame. Vitamin E, Aloe vera, Tyrosine, and sunscreen are also used for tanning oil. These ingredients make tanning oil to help you accelerate the tanning process while keeping your skin moisturized, protecting it from sun damage, healing the possible sun damage, and producing more melanin in your body to make you tan.

How does Tanning Oil Work?

If you are a tanning enthusiast, you must wonder does tanning oil work in real. When applied to your skin?

Tanning oils enhance and accelerate your process of getting a sun-kissed tanning look while protecting it from sun damage. When you expose your skin to the Sun, the cells in the skin’s upper layer, called melanocytes, produce the pigment melanin, which causes the skin to darken, creating a tan. Tanning oils work to enhance this process.

Tyrosine is an amino acid that is widely used in tanning oils. It helps the skin produce more melanin, eventually getting your skin to darken (Tanned) more quickly. The natural oils and other sunscreen ingredients keep your skin moisturized and safe from UV rays, making this process more fluent.

It ensures that all the tanning oils don’t contain sunscreens, so you must select them as per your desired outcomes.

Is Tanning Oil Bad for you?

Tanning oil is safe if you know how to use it properly. You must be careful when using tanning oils as they increase the UV rays absorbed in your skin, making your tan quicker. But you must know that soaking more UV rays is dangerous as it can cause skin cancer and other skin diseases. So you must be careful of how much sun exposure you get after applying the tanning oil. If you over-expose yourself, you can face issues like sunburn or skin mutation, which can become skin cancer later.

Tanning oil is based on gluten which, in excess amounts, is not suitable for the skin. If absorbed in the skin, it can cause blisters or scarring. Another issue with gluten is that it will cause your skin pores to block, which can lead to exhaustion and acne. A way to overcome this issue entirely is by using gluten-free products.

Tanning oil having SPF is not designed to stop all UV radiations. A tanning oil with a higher SPF is still recommended to protect you against the harmful ray. Still, you’ll need to be very careful when using tanning oil. 

Tanning oil can also cause stains on clothes. You be careful when using it and protect your clothes from staining.

How to use Tanning Oil?

Tanning oils are a widely used product for different types of tanning, whether natural sun tanning or tanning beds. So you need to know how to use tanning oil safely so you don’t get burned or get an uneven or ugly tan, so keep reading to understand how to use it properly.


First, you must ensure your skin is appropriately exfoliated to apply the tanning oil properly and generate even results.


You get a minimum amount of oil on your palm and apply it to your body. Pay extra attention while you put tanning oil on your face, ears, and shoulders, as they are prone to burn. Use minimal oil, as using too much can lead to uneven tanning, tan lines and an increased risk of burning. Avoid getting the oil in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse with water if you do. You should reapply it in 2-3 hours or after swimming. 

Protection from Sun

Generally, tanning oils don’t contain sunscreen ingredients or have them in a minimum quantity, so relying on them for sun protection would not be a better move. Using sunscreen separately before applying the Tanning oil is highly recommended because tanning oil attracts the Sun’s rays to make your tan quicker. If you have not applied sunscreen already, it can give you burn, so be wise and care full.

How to Apply Tanning Oil: Tanning Salons

does tanning oil make you burn?

Tanning oils are widely used to accelerate and enhance the tanning process while sunbathing. It contains the ingredients like mineral oils which attract UV rays and give your skin a faster tan. But yes, it can also make you burn. Tanning oils usually don’t contain sun-protective ingredients, so you have a high probability of getting burned after using tanning oil without proper sunscreen.

It is highly recommended that you limit your exposure to the sun during peak hours (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM) and wear protective clothing such as sunglasses and hats. Also, use high-SPF sunscreen before you go out in the sun for tanning.

Can you put Tanning Oil over Sunscreen?

If you use a separate sunscreen, apply it before tanning oil and let it dry. Then apply tanning oil. It is a myth that tanning oil and sunscreen cancel out each other. That is not the case. It gets merged so that sunscreen protects your skin from getting damaged while allowing it to tan.SPF in tanning oils will provide a sufficient defence to protect your skin from potential UV rays.

If you use tanning oil with SPF, follow the instructions properly. Don’t stay in the Sun for too long. Keep yourself covered. If using external sunscreen, keep replaying it at regular intervals of time.

Key Points

  • Tanning oil is another commonly used method to get bronzed skin.

  • Tanning oils consist of natural oils like coconut, avocado, and sesame. Vitamin E, Aloe vera, Tyrosine, and sunscreen

  • Tanning oils accelerate and improve your ability to achieve a sun-kissed appearance.

  • When the top layer of your skin gets sunlight, the cells in the top layer, known as melanocytes, create the pigment melanin when exposed to sunlight, which darkens the skin and results in a tan. That’s how tanning oil works.

  • An amino acid called Tyrosine is frequently found in tanning oils. It promotes the production of more melanin, which eventually causes your skin to tan more quickly.

  • You must be careful when using tanning oils as it increases the Ultra Violet rays absorbed in your skin.

  • Avoid overexposing yourself to Sun when using tanning oil, as it can cause sunburn or other skin-related diseases.

  • Try not to use gluten-based tanning oils as they can close the pores of your skin, causing blisters or scarring.

  • Try to use a tanning oil with a higher SPF, as it provides some protection against UV rays.

  • Before applying the tanning oil and getting even effects, ensure your skin has been thoroughly exfoliated.

  • Try to use a minimum quantity of tanning oil as possible as more of it can cause uneven tanning, and be careful when applying it to your face as it can cause burns if not spread evenly.

  • It is recommended to use sunscreen before applying tanning oil. The minimum recommended tanning oil must have at least SPF 15. Using a higher SPF is recommended depending on your skin.

  • Be careful of the stains caused by the tanning oil.

Read more about Pros and Cons of Tanning while pregnant?