How To Use Tanning Oil: Step-By-Step Guide

Last updated on : August 28 2022

She has yellow bikini on.


Tanning enthusiasts are always looking for the product, cream, or oil to help them achieve the perfect tan. They're always looking for tanning tips and tricks.

That's where tanning oils come in handy. These miracle oils focus UV rays into the skin, allowing them to darken your skin without burning or drying it.

We'll take you through the essentials you need to know in this tanning oil guide. We'll go over how to apply tanning oils, their benefits, and what you need to consider when using tanning oils.

What Is Tanning Oil?

Tanning oils are oils designed to increase UV absorption into the skin, making tans more effective and darkening the skin more quickly. They give you that elusive golden glow.

What differentiates tanning oils from synthetic tanning lotions is that they're made with all-natural ingredients like green tea, walnut oil, patchouli oil, and other organic, pro-skin ingredients.

When combined, these ingredients work to nourish and care for your skin, giving your skin the ideal head start on your tanning journey. They give you the base for the perfect tan.

The primary purpose of tanning oils is to focus UV rays and accelerate melanin production in the skin. This effect produces a golden, perfect tan instead of a painful red color.

These ingredients also counteract the common side effects of sun exposure, like sunburns and older-looking skin. They keep your skin fresh, smooth, and perfectly tanned.

How Does Tanning Oil Work?

Tanning oils are popular tools for tanning enthusiasts because they work. However, what makes tanning oils so effective at what you need them to do? 

Your skin is made to receive the right amount of sunlight when out and about. However, it might not be enough to enhance your pigmentation. You'll need tanning oils for that.

Tanning oils and lotions are designed to gather more ultraviolet rays into the deeper layers of your skin. This radiation interacts with melanocytes (skin cells), causing melanin production.

This melanin, in turn, darkens your skin and gives you the glow you're looking for in the perfect tan. If that's not enough, tanning oils also include bronzers to tan the top layer of your skin.

Tanning oils do this without cracking and scorching skin by acting as moisturizers. They prevent sun dryness and keep the silky skin smooth.

What Does Tanning Oil Do For You?

She is leaning on the wood.

Tanning oils aren't one-trick ponies. They offer plenty of benefits that help you achieve the best possible tan with the right amount of skincare. However, you need to find one with the right ingredients.

The most crucial benefit of tanning oils is that they give you a glowing complexion. Your tan is even and doesn't have any awkward splotches. You can go from looking pale to looking sun-kissed in no time.

Tanning oils also make the tanning process speed up. It does this by driving the UV rays directly into the skin. This factor allows you to minimize exposure and spend less time in the heat.

The best tanning lotions provide extra sun and UV protection, keeping your skin from cracking while revitalizing it with antioxidants and added moisturization.

These ingredients allow tanning oils to protect the skin, keeping users' skin fresh and young. You not only get the tan you've always wanted, but you also rejuvenate your skin.

Applying Tanning Oil: Step-By-Step.

Let's look at the steps to ensure the proper application of tanning oil. We'll examine the preparations you need to make to prepare your skin and when to reapply your oils for the best results.

Ensure Proper Skincare.

Every great painting starts with the perfect canvas. If you want the sun to paint a masterpiece on your skin, you'll need to give it something proper to work with at the beginning.

A smooth tan begins with taking good care of your skin. This means exfoliating. It means ensuring you don't have any awkward bumps or flaking that can lead to an uneven tan.

Find Tanning Oil With Proper Sun Protection.

You must only use tanning oil that provides the right level of SPF protection. It should be stronger if you plan on tanning in the early afternoon. It should keep your skin from burning.

No summer tan is worth a lifetime of cancer pain. Protect your skin at all times. Your tanning oil should help protect your most apparent feature and keep you safe while you have fun under the sun.

Apply The Oil To Your Body.

Application is a straightforward process. Apply the oil to your skin and rub it evenly. Make sure the oil doesn't slide off or slide down. Use the right amount and spread it well.

Being thorough and generous with your application will allow you to get an even tan throughout your body: no awkward tan lines or cow patches.

As for your face, only apply tanning oils to it if your chosen brand is rated for it. It's best to stay on the safe side, especially when your face is concerned.

Get Some Sun

Now comes the fun part. It's sunbathing time. Lay a towel down on the beach, get comfortable on the poolside sun loungers, and soak in the rays. 

Remember not to spend too long under the sun without changing sides or taking a break. Take a dip and enjoy the water to give the rays a chance to activate the melanin.

Reapply After Swimming.

Who doesn't love a good swim? If you're worried that getting wet will get in the way of your ideal skin tone, there's no need to worry. You simply have to slather on another layer of tanning oils.

Another layer will allow you to have another go at getting the perfect tan even after you've enjoyed life on the ocean waves. After all, getting your beach body shouldn't get in the way of a fun time at the beach.

Hydrate Your Skin After Tanning.

When the sun sets and you've washed the sand off your body, it's best to keep your skin fresh and smooth by using skin-nourishing body oil. No one wants to wake up to a bad sunburn.

It's essential to protect your skin at all times. Please don't spend too long tanning; choose the oils with formulas that darken your skin and keep them healthy and glowing.

Choosing The Right Tanning Oils.

Brown glass bottles

There are dozens of tanning oils on the market right now. Finding the right one requires understanding when and how long you plan on tanning.

It depends on the ingredients found in it, as well as how your skin type responds to sunlight. Let's look at those factors in detail.


A discerning customer needs to be thorough when looking through the ingredients list. You will need to verify that there are no detrimental chemicals in your formula. This step is especially true for tanning oils.

You must look for ingredients that provide increased sun protection and skin nourishment, like shea butter and aloe vera. They must prevent burns and photoaging.

You should see antioxidants and ingredients that provide that elusive glow.

Time Of Day

Tanning depends on how much sunlight enthusiasts are exposed to when tanning. You will need to consider whether you plan to sunbathe in the morning (less sunlight) or the afternoon (more sunlight).

If you plan on tanning from after lunchtime to the middle of the afternoon, you may need tanning oils with extra SPF protection. You will need to examine them for sun-protection ingredients.

Amount Of Time Spent Tanning

The amount of sun exposure also depends on how many hours you spend lying under the sun. Very light skin will require as little as 10-30 minutes. Most people will start tanning in 1-2 hours under the sun.

You will need a longer-lasting tanning oil that requires less frequent re-application. You will need oils that offer more sun protection the longer you stay on the beach or poolside.

Skin Type

Different tanning oils cater to different skin types and varieties. Dry, flaky skin will require more care and attention than soft and constantly moisturized skin.

Skin with more blocked pores and eczema requires more moisturizing and hydration in the tanning oil formula. You will need a tanning oil that cares for your skin the way you do.

You will also need to choose heavier-duty tanning oils if you have sensitive skin. You may also opt for lotions instead of tanning oils if your skin is already oily for less grease.


Here are some of the most common questions people have about tanning oils. Let's clear up some misconceptions people may have and if you should use tanning oil.

1. Do you need to apply tanning oil for that golden glow?

Tanning oils can be the difference between uneven, cracked skin and golden, smooth tanned skin. While you don't need tanning oil to get a tan, they give you the best possible outcome.

When lathered evenly throughout your whole body, they keep your skin from getting burnt. And they allow UV rays to penetrate the skin's lowest layer, darkening without frying.

Tanning oil is necessary for those looking for a beautiful, glowing tan because it directs sunlight and filters the light you don't need. It keeps your skin healthy and sets you up for success.

2. Is tanning oil bad for your skin?

Exposure to the sun for hours comes with inherent risks, like skin cancer. That said, the right kinds of tanning oils help reduce the risks associated with UV exposure.

Tanning oils with high levels of SPF protection and those with moisturizers are suitable for protecting your skin from harsh elements. They help minimize the risk of sunburn.

If you choose to sunbathe, it is better to have tanning oils than to not have them. They speed up the tanning process, meaning you can get out of the sun more quickly while keeping your skin hydrated.


Tanning oil is a fantastic companion for enthusiasts looking to achieve the perfect golden glow. When applied correctly, tanning oils allow the sun to penetrate without burning your skin.

Choosing the right tanning oil gives you additional health benefits while sunbathing. These benefits include skin vitalization, antioxidants, moisturization, and a quick, even tan.

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Editor: Charles Fitzgerald

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