Do You Put Sunscreen on Before Tanning Oil?

Do You Put Sunscreen on Before Tanning Oil
Tanning oil helps you tan faster, but some people are concerned about sunscreen. Let’s see if you put sunscreen on before tanning oil!

There is nothing like tanning under the sun! It gives you a natural tan with the help of UV rays to produce melanin on your skin which gives you the tan you want. However, as you may know, UV rays are dangerous to the skin, causing sunburns and even has the possibility of producing skin cancer! What if I were to tell you that there is a way to help you get a tan under the sun faster? With tanning oil, this is actually possible! You accelerate the tanning process meaning that you spend less time under the sun!

Regardless of tanning oil meaning that you spend less time under the sun, you are still spending some time. Even during this shortened time, you are at risk of UV rays. That is why sunscreen is considered to be the best protection against UV rays. But because it blocks UV rays needed for tanning, people often wonder do you put sunscreen on before tanning oil. There are many myths surrounding sunscreen, tanning oil, and tanning with them together so let’s try and see if these myths have any truth to it or not!

Understanding How Tanning Oil Works

Understanding how tanning oil works

To understand how tanning oil works, we should first look at what makes up a tanning oil. It is made with a combination of fruit and seed oils. It can be made with grapeseed, coconut, olive, cocoa seed, sunflower, almond, and even extracts from fruits such as pineapple and watermelon seeds!

What these oils do is stimulate the skin causing them to produce melanin at a much faster rate. Your body already has a bit of melanin on the skin but what the tanning oils do is activate the melanocytes that produce melanin on your skin. What the tanning oil also does is absorb more UV rays from the sun to help achieve the desired tan that you are looking for at a quicker time! This is why sunscreen is very important because of the tanning oil’s UV absorption!

More UV absorption means that your skin is more prone to the dangers of UV ray damage such as photoaging like wrinkles and dark spots to more serious damage like sunburns and skin cancer! The main job of tanning oil is to help produce more melanin in your body to get the desired tan on your skin. However, this comes at the cost of being exposed to more UV rays!

Combining Tanning Oil and Sunscreen

Combining tanning oil and sunscreen

As you are spending time in the sun, UV rays are being absorbed by your skin and causing tanning to occur and darkening your skin. Most tanning products don’t have an SPF rating meaning they provide little to no protection against these UV rays. That is why it is important for you to first put some sunscreen on yourself and then put the tanning oil. I will get to how you use them together in a bit. But first, let’s look at if you can combine them at all.

Tanning oil and sunscreen are very compatible! It might mean that your tan is lighter than you would otherwise like, but it keeps your skin well-protected regardless. This is because the ingredients in tanning oil and sunscreen do not interfere with each other or react in a way that lessens the effect of sun protection or tanning effectiveness. This problem can be seen in self-tanners where the ingredients react with each other and ruin both the tanning effect and UV protection.

But because mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not react with the natural oils in the tanning oil, you will have no problem with combining the two products together. However, even if the ingredients in the two products do not react with each other, tanning oil might interfere with how mineral sunscreen is able to protect you from the sun.

This is because mineral sunscreen is first absorbed into the skin and leaves behind the active ingredients on the surface of the skin. The minerals are then able to reflect most UV rays away from the skin, causing the body to be safe from harmful rays. But when you put on tanning oil, you are taking away the ability of the sunscreen from doing its job effectively as it is covering the surface of the sunscreen. So what you get instead is tanning with ineffective sunscreen, meaning that you are in danger when you think that you are protected.

Putting on Sunscreen and Tanning Oil Together

But does this mean that you can’t put sunscreen and tanning oil together? While it might reduce the sunscreen’s effectiveness, it is still very important to put sunscreen with tanning oil. What is important when putting the two products on your skin is knowing how to put them on so you are both well-protected and get the tan that you are looking for. This is because sunscreen will limit how much you can actually tan as UV rays are not absorbed allowed fully absorb into the skin.

So here is how you are going to putting on sunscreen and tanning oil together and I will also add the reasons why you should be doing so! It is important to understand why you should be following these steps so you can get the tan that you are looking for this summer!

Step 1: Exfoliating and shaving

The last thing you want on your body is an uneven tan. Tan produced on dead skin cells will be removed from your skin much easier causing your tan to look streaky within a day or two! That is why it is best to take your time and properly exfoliate your skin with a scrub or body brush to get rid of all the dead skin. While you are at it, you could also shave any body hair you might have as that can also cause uneven tan to be produced. This is an important step so that your skin is prepared for tanning.

Exfoliating and shaving

Step 2: Applying sunscreen

While it might not be as effective at sun protection once you apply the tanning oil, sunscreen still provides some protection. As opposed to no protection, it is a good idea to be protected from harmful sun damage. You will need about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover your whole body in an even layer. So be generous with the sunscreen to cover all parts of your body in a thin, even layer. Wait about 10 minutes for the sunscreen to be absorbed into the skin.

Applying sunscreen

Step 3: Choosing the right tanning oil

The great thing about tanning oil is that there are many types out there! The key thing you must watch out for is tanning oil with an SPF rating. This will pair up nicely with your sunscreen and give you the added protection that you need for tanning. The next thing you will want is a tanning oil that is suitable for your skin. Because tanning oil is made of oils, it might be highly comedogenic and not suitable for sensitive skin. So make sure that it is suitable for your skin or you might have to suffer from more than just sunburns!

Choosing the right tanning oil

Step 4: Putting the tanning oil

Remember, you are putting on an oil so a little bit goes a long way when you are applying it! That is why make sure to take on a bit to cover a large part of the body and smooth it out with your hand. What you could do to help the tanning oil be applied evenly is rub the oil in between your hands first and then apply it. This way, the oil is spread evenly without you having to make much of a mess!

Putting the tanning oil

Step 5: Start tanning

And once you are done applying the tanning oil, you can go out and enjoy the sun! That is why it is important to both put on sunscreen and chose a tanning oil with an SPF rating. Even though it might mean that you don’t tan as much, what is more, important is keeping your skin safe first. With an SPF rating on both sunscreen and tanning oil, you are well-protected from the sun and can tan without having to worry too much!

Start tanning

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7 Tips for Better Tanning

While you might be tanning with just sunscreen and tanning oil, there are other tips you can follow to get a better tan! So here are 7 tips to consider for your next tanning!

  1. Vitamin C-rich food: food that is enriched with vitamin C like carrots, beetroots, citrus fruits, and leafy vegetables is great for melanin production and can help you tan easily.
  2. Moisturization: moisturizing your skin is important as your skin dries up from being under the tan, producing an uneven tan.
  3. Avoid peak hours: the sun is strongest between 11 am to 4 pm so you should avoid tanning during these periods to protect your skin.
  4. Timing: remember to tan both front and back at equal amounts by timing how much one side is getting tanned so you can get an equal tan on all sides of your body.
  5. Sun hats: We often times forget that the sun can damage your hair and tress as well so wear the sun hat and be safe from most tanning worries!
  6. Taking breaks: breaks are important so that you don’t get sunburned so remember to take breaks under the shade to protect your skin.
  7. Reapply sunscreen: sunscreen’s protection wears out in 2 hours after first applying so make sure to reapply sunscreen to protect yourself from UV rays.

With some of these, your next tanning will be even better!


1. Can I wear sunscreen in a tanning bed?

While tanning bed uses concentrated UV rays, they are for a short time so using sunscreen for a tanning bed might not give you much of a tan.

2. Can I still tan with sunscreen on?

Yes, you can! Sunscreen with SPF 50 is able to only block 98% of UV rays so the rest can still give you a light tan with sunscreen on.

3. Does sunscreen slow tanning?

As sunscreen blocks most UV rays, it does slow down the tanning process. However, you are still able to light tan with sunscreen on.

4. How long does SPF 50+ last?

Most if not all sunscreen last about two hours. This is because the active ingredients in sunscreen wear off after two hours so you have to reapply them every two hours after first applying the sunscreen.

5. Can I wear sunscreen every day?

While it might help you protect your skin, some sunscreen can also cause clogged pores and breakouts. So you will have to choose a sunscreen that is appropriate for your skin to be able to use it every day!

Final Thoughts

To answer the main question of the topic, yes you should be putting sunscreen on before tanning oil. But it is important to know that tanning oil might actually take away some protection that sunscreens provide. That is why it is important to wear sunscreen with a tanning oil that has an SPF rating to help protect your skin from the sun. When you put these two products on properly, you can tan without much worry. Along with that, remember to follow the tips so you can tan better and more effectively!

Key Points

  • Tanning oils work by stimulating melanin production on your skin and help absorb UV rays to get a quicker tan.
  • Combining sunscreen and tanning oil is important but the oil interferes with the sunscreen’s job of keeping UV rays from your skin.
  • It is important to tan with sunscreen and if you follow the steps with a tanning oil with SPF, you can tan without much worry about sun damage.
  • Other than that, the tips can help you when you are going for your next tanning session under the sun.

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