Is Tanning Oil Bad for You? | How to Tan Safely Fast

Having golden, sun-kissed skin is a trend that many associate with being healthy and youthful, but with new research emerging on a regular basis it is not hard to wonder how bad tanning is for us. Many of us know that there are risks with sitting out in the sun or in a tanning bed and that is why we use products with SPF to protect us.

What about tanning oils? These products are marketed to offer sun protection and moisture while giving your skin a golden glow. Is tanning oil bad for you?

Trying to achieve a deep bronzed tan can often leave people questioning if it is worth risking their safety, but products like tanning oil claim to protect while you bronze.

There are many tanning oils on the market that are targeted to help you accelerate your tan and deepen the color with SPF protection. Is your skin really being protected or is it just a marketing scam?

Let’s take a deeper look into the question “is tanning oil bad for you?” and about other ways to tan safely. We will also give you a list of awesome products so you can look like you just stepped off a tropical island in no time, without ever stepping onto the beach. Are you ready to tan safely and fast? Keep reading.


Tanning Oil 101


What Is Tanning Oil?


Tanning oil is a product created to help you develop a deeper and darker tan in a shorter period of time while out in the sun. These products are also full of moisturizing ingredients to keep your skin hydrated, as tanning can tend to dry out your skin.

Some of these ingredients include vitamin e, coconut oil, almond oil, and cocoa butter. If your tanning oil contains SPF, you may also find titanium dioxide or zinc oxide on the ingredients list. This SPF is meant to keep your skin from burning while you are out in the sun.


 How Do Tanning Oils Work?


The way that tanning oils work is simple. They intensify your skin’s response to being exposed to the UV rays emitted by the sun. This results in a deeper tan achieved in less time, which means your exposure to the sun is reduced as well.

Each oil contains different ingredients that make your skin darker. These ingredients increase the production of melanin in the body as a reaction to UV radiation. Melanin is the chemical that changes the pigment in your skin. It is what gives your skin its natural gorgeous color. You will achieve a deep tan easier the more melanin present in your skin.


Is Tanning Oil Bad for You?


Tanning oil itself is not bad for you, but what you do with it can be. Any time you are using the sun or UV rays to tan your skin it is considered dangerous. This statement holds true even when using tanning oils that contain SPF. This is because you are still being exposed to hazardous UV rays to achieve your deep color.

It is also important to note that when looking at SPF’s in tanning oils, make sure that they are at least SPF 15 or above. The CDC recommends at least an SPF of 15 to effectively protect yourself while out in the sun.

We all know the possible dangers of too much sun exposure. This can range from premature aging and wrinkles to possible skin cancer. If you would like to learn more about the risks of tanning take a look at this article from the Melanoma Research Foundation.

This is why it is very important to stay safe while exposing yourself to the sun or UV rays of any kind and always practice safe tanning. To learn more about the risks that are associated with tanning beds, take a peek at this article from the American Cancer Society.


So, Why Use Tanning Oil?


Although tanning oil exposes you to UV rays, it still reduces the amount of time that you have to spend in the sun. Using a tanning oil will radically reduce the quantity of time that you have to tan to achieve a deep golden color.

The moisturizing ingredients found in the oils will also help to keep your skin hydrated while being exposed to the sun as well. Tanning oil is not the safest option when it comes to getting an island glow, but if you must tan naturally it will cut down the time you spend in the sun.

Check out our favorite tanning oils here.


 How to Tan Safely Fast


There are many different sunless options to tan safely without having to expose yourself to the sun. Don’t worry, the days of orange colored “fake bakes” are long gone. Companies are now making sunless tanners that look just as beautiful, if not better, than natural tans.

Here are three of our favorite quick at home options that will have you bronzed and glowing in no time. If you’re interested in getting into regular spray tans, check out our post on the best at home spray tan machines here.


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse (click to check the latest prices on Amazon)

This bronzing mousse from St. Tropez provides you a natural and healthy-looking tan, without having to step foot into the sun. This lightweight formula is streak free and dries in 60 seconds. It is also easy to apply and won’t transfer onto everything around your house. A bonus, this tanning mouse does not have that unappealing self-tanner smell but has a “mood-boosting” fragrance. St. Tropez is known for their high-quality tanning products because they give you a gorgeous long-lasting color.


St. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Mousse


St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse
St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse (Click to check the latest prices on Amazon)

If you are wondering how to tan safely and tan on a budget, this mousse from St. Moriz will check all your boxes. You can easily get a professional glow at home with this product. It is streak free, lightweight, and fast drying. This is a great option for beginners who want to switch to using a sunless tanner. It is a quality product at a purse-friendly price.


Beauty By Earth Self Tanner


Beauty By Earth Self Tanner
Beauty By Earth Self Tanner (Click to check the latest prices on Amazon.

Beauty By Earth has made an organic and natural sunless tanner that is full of moisturizing ingredients that has a loyal following. This product lets you get your bronze on without having to expose yourself to harmful UV rays or harsh chemicals. This tanning lotion is cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan so you can feel good about what you are putting on your body. Get a streak-free, long-lasting, and hydrated tan without all of the harsh ingredients.


Are you a little afraid of applying a sunless tanner? Check out this informative video.



Unfortunately, there is no way to safely tan naturally. Tanning oil is not bad for you, but what you do with it can be harmful and dangerous. Since it does still reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun it is a good option if you must tan outside, but remember to still limit your time in the sun.

What do you think? Have we converted you to start using sunless tanners or are you going to keep baking in the sun? Just remember, if you must continue to tan in the sun or in a tanning bed, to practice caution and tan at your own risk. Let us know your favorite way to tan down below.

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