what does tanning oil do and is it actually bad for you?

Gaining a perfect tan is often the goal for many people when the first rays of summer sun begin to shine through. Achieving this glow can boost our self-confidence and help us to feel happier in our skin. As the sun-kissed look grows in popularity, it is no surprise that there are a number of tanning oils now out on the market. Despite how easy it may be to pick the first product that claims to provide a fast and lasting tan, it is important to understand how these oils actually work and the safety precautions that need to be taken into consideration.

How does tanning oil work?

Tanning oil purchases have soared in recent years, but how many of us actually know how these oils work? Tanning oils are able to offer a “quicker tan” as they stimulate the body to produce more melanin. When these oils are applied to the skin, it activates the melanocytes and causes them to produce melanin at a faster rate. If your skin has a higher concentration of melanin, your body will tan more easily.

To ensure you get the best results from using tanning oil there are some simple steps you can take:

  • Make sure you apply it all over your body to ensure you have an evenly distributed tan
  • Allow the tanning oil to absorb into your skin, this allows the oils to keep your skin hydrated and replenished with nutrients
  • Reapply every 2-4 hours — or more frequently if you have been in contact with water
  • Apply sunscreen first if your tanning oil does not include this

What are the benefits of tanning oil?

There are a wide range of tanning oils available from many different brands. It is important to look for one that will keep your skin healthy and fresh. Many tanning oils help to moisturise your skin, which is especially important if you are spending time outside in the sun. These oils are especially good for people with dry skin as they help to improve the look and feel of the skin.

Here at Hawaiian Tropic, our tanning oil contains coconut oil which is great for smoothing and softening the skin. Many people love to use tanning oil all year round as a moisturiser — and to get that summer feel even on the darkest of days!

In addition, these oils contain essential vitamins and nutrients that your skin requires whilst tanning. Good tanning oils also contain antioxidants to help lower the impact of UV rays on the skin, whilst still enabling you to get that fast and effective glow.

What are the risks of tanning oil?

Safety should always come first — no matter how much you’re craving a tan! Tanning oils are specifically made to help you tan, meaning that you need to be out in the sun in order for the process to take place. Tanning oils also have little or no sun protection factor (SPF), which increases the amount of UV rays that are being absorbed. Despite the great looking skin you may gain from sitting under the sun, it is important to remember that UV rays can be harmful and may lead to implications such as:

  • Sunburn
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Eye problems
  • Skin cancer

Therefore, it is highly important that you limit the amount of time you spend out in the sun when tanning. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight for too long within the peak hours of 11am-3pm, and ensure you are taking regular breaks to sit in the shade. On top of this, everyone has a melanin cut-off point, where no more melanin can physically be created. This usually occurs after 2-3 hours and it is recommended to stop sunbathing or at least take a break after this point.

Should you use tanning oil with other products?

As previously mentioned, tanning oils have little or no SPF to enable a quicker tan. For this reason, we strongly advise using tanning oil along with other sun protection products. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF before tanning oil, offers a layer of protection. The higher the SPF, the more protection you will have from UV rays. Nevertheless, even if sunscreen is applied first, it is always recommended to take regular breaks from the sun.