If we are being honest, who really has time to spend hours in the sun trying to tan naturally? Most of us rush from one thing to the next and only find a small amount of free time here and there to tan. Self-tanners and tanning salons can be expensive and difficult to maintain, some people just don’t enjoy using them, which is why they look to the good old sun for a tan.
However, spending time in the sun can be hot, sticky and boring. We live in an age of quick fixes and solutions to all of our problems, and many people swear that using baby oil when tanning actually helps them tan faster.
Is this an old wives tale, or is it really a way to speed up tanning? Also, if it does actually work, does it end up causing more damage than good? Let’s dive into this a bit deeper.
First, let’s just quickly answer the question you came for. Does baby oil make you tan faster? Yes, tanning oil will help you achieve a faster tan. However, you need to be careful since baby oil will also amplify the UVA and UVB rays and increase the risks associated with sun exposure.
Does Baby Oil Work For Tanning?
Baby oil does help you tan faster. It is one of the gentler products to use on your skin (not with regards to tanning). It is essentially a mineral oil but has been combined with moisturizers that help soften and nourish the skin. Baby oil helps to lock in moisture and keeping your skin hydrated.
Tans resulting from using baby oil are usually pretty even. You will be able to gain a more consistent than using baby oil than you would just be tanning normally. However, you need to be very careful when tanning with baby oil, read on.
Why Does It Make You Tan Faster?
The baby oil acts as a reflector when on the skin under the sun. It absorbs and attracts the light directly to the skin. It then amplifies the UVA and UVB rays, making them more intense and powerful, hence speeding up the tan.
It also acts as a medium to help the rays penetrate further into the skin. This is why people who use baby oil in the sun get a browner, deeper tan.
Is It Safe To Use Baby Oil For Tanning?
No matter if you are wearing sunscreen, exposure to the sun is always damaging to your skin. Using baby oil means that you are intensifying the sun’s rays and the UV radiation to your skin. This will obviously be harmful to your skin, but you can control it with moderation
The baby oil will make the UV rays penetrate much deeper into your skin than being bare skin in the sun, so the damage done from overexposure will be much worse.
Think of it as using oil in a frying pan, the baby oil on your body traps in and intensifies the heat. If there was meat in the frying pan doused in oil, the meat would crisp and burn on the outside. This is exactly what baby oil does to your skin.
There are safer products on the market that help your body moderate the amount of UV radiation taking in during tanning, but many people don’t have the patience for this and find that the benefits of a fast tan outweigh the dangers overexposures may pose.
What Are The Risks?
Overexposure to UV rays can have many damaging effects on your body, some short-term and some long-term. While the short-term damages might seem to disappear after a few days, your body does not start afresh after a sunburn.
Your body accumulates all the exposure to UV rays throughout your life, and this accumulation can result in some serious health implications in the future.
Sunburn – Sunburn happens when your skin is overexposed to the sun. UV radiation kills the top layer of your skin and your body reacts by sending extra blood to the surface. This is where the red sunburn comes from. The white blood cells are sent to combat this and cause the itchy feeling, and then the peeling of the dead layer of skin.
Bottom line, you should always still wear a quality sunscreen.
Skin cancer – There are different types of skin cancer, some more serious than others. The UV radiation can cause damage to the DNA in your skin cells, causing growths and tumors to form. These can be recurring or once off, and are usually treatable when found early enough.
Corneal damage – Exposure to UV radiation can also damage your corneas. This is usually treatable by eye drops from a doctor.
Photoaging – Skin aging is sped up by overexposure to the sun throughout life. Saggy, wrinkled skin and darkened spots occur as the skin rapidly ages from the sun.
When using baby oil on the skin, all damage done is intensified. Sunburn will happen faster as well and an accumulation of UV radiation causing rapid aging and possibly the chances of skin cancer.
It is important to remember the risks when using baby oil when sun tanning, as although it might speed up your tanning process, it also speeds up all damage done and helps the UV radiation penetrate deeper into your pores, doing deeper and more lasting harm.
Does Baby Oil Help To Remove A Tan?
Baby oil involves itself in the tanning world in more than one way. Other than being used to speed up tanning in the sun, here are its other uses:
Moisturizer after a spray tan – The best way to keep a spray tan looking great and lasting long is to keep your skin moisturized after application. Baby oil will help moisturize and hydrate your skin daily, keeping your spray tan on for longer. For my full guide on moisturizing and tanning, check out this guide.
Removal of fake tan – Baby oil can also be used to remove an old fake tan. Simply coat the area in a layer of baby oil and massage into the skin. After about half an hour hop into the bath, using an exfoliating mitt or sponge, rub off the excess oil and the fake tan will run off with it. If you’re looking for all the best ways to remove self-tanner, check out my guide here.
With many different uses, it is worthwhile to keep baby oil around the house. If you do end up being burned from using baby oil in the sun, baby oil will actually help re-moisturize the skin afterward!
Using baby oil to tan is fairly simple. Wait for a sunny day, but do not go into the sun when it is at its strongest which is usually around midday.
While some people just put baby oil on their skin, it is advised to mix it with some sunscreen to give your skin a little bit of protection, and it keeps the UV rays from radiating too far into your skin.
A thin layer of baby oil will be enough to achieve a brown tan, as you should only be in the sun for a short amount of time. Rather do this a few short times than being in the sun with oil for one long period.
This way you give your skin some time to heal between tanning sessions, and there won’t be too severe damage done and the damage won’t run too deep.
Once you have tanned in the sun using baby oil, moisturize often. You will need to help hydrate your skin again with a good moisturizer or oil such as coconut oil or Argan oil. Your tan will also look a lot healthier if it is on properly hydrated skin.
I personally really like this baby oil gel that you can pick up on Amazon.
What Are The Pros and Cons Of Using Baby Oil To Tan?
There really are only a few pros and cons to using baby oil to tan.
The pros are that it is actually pretty cheap to buy compared to the other expensive tanning oils on the market. However, the proper tanning oils will have added ingredients that help protect your skin from the sun.
The other, biggest pro, is that it cuts down tanning time tremendously. Because it intensifies the sun’s rays, you only need to spend a short amount of time in the sun to achieve a brown tan.
People also find that they achieve a much browner tan using baby oil, as it helps the UV radiation penetrate deep into the skin.
The cons of using baby oil to tan are that it does intensify the rays too much and this can cause severe sunburn, and even more major health issues down the line if used too often.
The baby oil helps the UV rays penetrate deeper into the skin, which could actually give it more of a chance to damage cell DNA, causing cancerous growths.
While a lot of this is up to your body and how sensitive your skin is to the sun, there is still a big chance that more damage will be done to your skin that just achieving a beautiful golden tan in a short amount of time.
Baby Oil And Tanning – Final Thoughts
To cut it short, yes, baby oil does help you tan faster. It helps attract the sun’s rays to your skin and helps your skin absorb them deeply. This all results in a brown, even tan, but there are definite risks involved. Spending too much time in the sun with baby oil on can severely burn your skin and cause lasting damage.
As with most things, practice moderation and remember that the wellbeing of your skin is more important than a quick-fix brown tan.