Does Baby Oil Help You Tan?:What You Need to Know

Does Baby Oil Help You Tan
There are a lot of people that use baby oil to tan. But how much does it help you tan? Let’s find out its effectiveness and if baby oil is good for tanning or not!

You may have seen on your day at the beach people applying oil on their bodies and laying down to get a tan. Sometimes the bottle might look like a tanning oil that people use to help their tan. Other times, you might have noticed a familiar bottle that they are using: baby oil! It is an oil that is made up of minerals derived from petroleum that helps to moisturize the skin. A lot of people have been tanning with baby oil and swear by its results. But does baby oil help you tan?

The simple answer is yes; baby oil does actually help you tan. Just like tanning products that you use to specifically tan, baby oil also has some components to it that help to tan. But the simple answer is not so simple when you look at the bigger picture! There are problems with tanning with baby oil that you might have not known about that can actually pose a danger to you! So let’s explore all things baby oil and its relation to tanning and how you could both benefit and be in danger if you were to use baby oil to tan!

Tanning with Baby Oil – What Really Happens

Tanning with baby oil what really happens

Let’s start with a quick recap of how tanning works. The Sun releases ultraviolet or UV rays which then get absorbed by the skin. This causes certain cells called melanocytes located in the skin and stimulates it to produce melanin, which is the dark pigment that you get on your body that becomes your tan. Baby oil is just like most other oil which gets absorbed into the skin, around the same place the melanocytes are located. The ingredient that primarily makes up baby oil are mineral oils, which have other things added to them like vitamin E, aloe, and fragrance.

With that out of the way, let’s explore why baby oil helps you tan. The thing is, most of the oil is absorbed into the epidermis of the skin while a little bit of it stays on top of your skin. That is where the magic happens. The minerals present in baby oil actually help to attract UV rays from the sun. It doesn’t necessarily draw in more UV rays from the sun, but it helps the absorption of UV rays which causes the tanning itself!

So with the melanin-producing cells being close to where the baby oil is absorbed, the intensity of UV rays is higher, stimulating the cells to produce more melanin. With more melanin being produced at a faster rate, your skin will naturally darken quicker as well, producing the tan that you are looking for! This is why some people are so eager to tan with baby oil because they are able to get the tan faster. But there are obvious problems to this that I will get to in a bit.

Risks Of Tanning With Baby Oil

Even with such wonderful benefits that baby oil provides for tanning, there are glaring issues with baby oil that makes it dangerous to tan with it! The main reason for this is that baby oil alone does not have any sun protection ingredients in it! With no SPF or sun protection factor to baby oil, here are the dangers that you are at risk of when you are tanning with baby oil.


Skin Damage

One of the most immediate results that you will get with tanning with baby oil if you are not careful is that you might face skin damage! This is mainly in the form of sunburn where the radiations from the sun damage the skin and cause it to hurt. With baby oil, the UV radiation is more intense and chances are your skin will be damaged faster than without it!

Uneven Tanning

While baby oil may provide even tanning, if you have not applied it properly or evenly enough, you might get more tanned in some places than others! This can result in patchy tans which do not look good at all and will look unappealing to both you and others. Not to mention that places where the tan is deeper, will take longer to fade, which makes the tan look more uneven as time goes on.

Pigment Change

While tanning provides the brown pigments that you want, it might cause other pigment changes as well! Changes such as sunspots that are darker than the tan can remain even after the tan fades! These permanent changes to your skin are dangerous because they might develop to form unwanted marks on your skin that cause problems in the future.


UV rays, specifically UVB, are able to cause something known as photoaging. This is where you will start to have age spots and premature wrinkles forming on your skin. With baby oil, these can become even more prevalent due to more absorption of UVB rays. And from this, you might get even more dangerous things happening to your body!

Skin Cancer

Even without baby oil, this is the main reason why tanning is so dangerous! One of the main causes of skin cancer is UV radiation and how it affects the skin. If this were to happen to normal sun exposure, imagine how much worse it can be when tanning with baby oil! And if you were to repeatedly tan with baby oil, the chances of getting skin cancer only increase!

Therefore, the dangers of tanning with baby oil far outweigh the benefits that it is able to provide!

Benefits of Tanning with Baby Oil

So with all that said about baby oil and tanning, let’s see what are the benefits that you are able to get with tanning with baby oil! Do remember that while there are these benefits, tanning in general is very dangerous.

Benefits of tanning with baby oil

Faster tan

As I have mentioned before, baby oil helps absorb more UV rays which produce more melanin on your skin. This means that if you are someone who is naturally fair-skinned can theoretically get a faster tan! Think of it like this; if you needed 30 minutes to produce a light tan on your skin, baby oil could help shorten the time and achieve a faster tan.

Deeper tan

Not only are you able to get a faster tan, but the tan that you get will be deeper as well! With the pigment-producing cells being more active, more melanin is being produced. And the more melanin that is produced, the richer and deeper the tan you will have on your skin.


The reason that it is called baby oil is because it is safe to be used on the sensitive skin of babies. This poses a great benefit for those that have hypersensitive skin that might not be able to use other tanning oils because they might cause breakouts on their skin. That is why the hypoallergenic factor of baby oil is what makes it so good for most skin types if not all skin types when it comes to tanning!

Fast absorbing

The melanocytes are located in the deepest layer of the epidermis of the skin. Most tanning oils sit on top of the epidermis and take a while to fully absorb into the skin where these special cells are located. But with baby oil, it is fast absorbing so you can start tanning within a few minutes of applying the oil on your body!

Cloth safe

You might find it really bothersome that some tanning oil has a staining effect on your clothes, which makes it really hard to wear clothes over the oil. But because baby oil is fast absorbing, most of the oil is readily absorbed into the skin and you don’t have to worry but about your clothes being stained too deeply. Yes, it can still stain your clothes, but not as much as other oils that sit on top of your skin.

Alternatives to Baby Oil for Tanning

When it comes to tanning, baby oil is not the only option available. In fact, there are several alternatives to baby oil for tanning that can be used to achieve a beautiful, natural-looking tan.

Effectiveness of mixing baby oil with sunscreen

Commercial Tanning Oils

Many commercial tanning oils are available in the market that can be used instead of baby oil. These oils are specially formulated to help you achieve a deep, dark tan. They contain ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower oil, and shea butter that moisturize the skin and help it to tan faster.

Natural Tanning Methods

If you prefer a more natural approach to tanning, there are several methods that you can try. For example, you can use coconut oil, which has a natural SPF of 4-5, to help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays while also helping it to tan. Other natural oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and almond oil can also be used to help moisturize the skin and enhance your tan.

Sunless Tanning Products

If you want to avoid sun exposure altogether, you can try using sunless tanning products. These products come in various forms, including lotions, sprays, and mousses, and are designed to give you a natural-looking tan without the need for UV exposure. They contain ingredients like dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids in your skin to produce a temporary tan.

Final Thoughts

So to answer the question of baby oil and tanning: yes, it will help give a quick and deep tan, but you are faced with the consequences of skin damage, wrinkle formation, and increased chances of sunburn and skin cancer from just one tanning session with baby oil! The simple answer is simple because you only look at it from one perspective and not the whole picture. That is why I will always suggest going for safer tanning alternatives to keep your skin and body safe, healthy, and away from the dangers of the sun.

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