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Should You Use Baby Oil For Tanning? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

Sunning on Beach
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Baby oil is often a sought-after tanning lotion because it is known to be able to give you a quick, dark tan. However, while it has some perks, it also has some serious health concerns. Should you use baby oil for tanning?

Below you’ll discover more information about baby oil, how it helps your body tan, precautions to take before using it, and alternatives that are better and safer.

baby oil for tanning

What is Baby Oil?

Amazon Brand Baby Oil with Aloe

Baby oil is a liquid intended to be used with infants to help with preventing bacterial growth on their skin. It is very gentle on the skin and usually only has a few ingredients, such as mineral oil, Vitamin E, and sometimes Aloe. Because the oil is meant for infants, the ingredients aren’t irritating so it can be applied to even the most sensitive of skin.

Does Baby Oil Help You Tan?

Baby Oil for Tanning

Yes, baby oil can help you tan. This is because it attracts the sun’s rays quickly which works to quickly tan your skin. By doing so, this not only helps you to get a faster tan compared to other tanning methods, but also gives you a much deeper color.

Because the ingredients in baby oil soak deep into your skin, you’ll also find that you get a darker tan that lasts longer. This is because it seeps into all the layers of your skin rather than just the top layer as with most tanning lotions.

Tanning with Baby Oil

Tanning with baby oil is very simple. All you need to do is apply the baby oil to the areas of your body you’d like to tan. After doing so, sit out in the sun for a few minutes each tanning session.

If you do decide to use baby oil for tanning, it’s often recommended that you apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours to help protect your skin from sun damage. You might have to do this step even more if you have sensitive or fair skin, or if you go in the water.

The Perks of Using Baby Oil for Tanning

There are plenty of benefits that come with using baby oil for tanning.

  • It Works Quickly

As mentioned above, baby oil works very quickly at giving you a tan. It’s easy to overdo it with baby oil, so be careful, and be sure to mix with sunscreen.

  • It Gives You a Deep Tan

Another benefit many people like about baby oil is that it can help give you a deep tan. Baby oil tends to mix into the skin and give a very even tan, which can be quite nice. After a few uses, you’ll find that it also gives you an impressive tan quicker compared to some other tanning options.

  • It’s Hypoallergenic

Baby oil doesn’t have many ingredients, so it is usually quite skin-friendly, especially for those with sensitivities to fragrances, perfumes, and the like. Most pre-mixed tanning lotions have scents and chemical stabilizers added, which can cause skin rash issues. Baby oils won’t have any of that in the ingredients list.

  • It’s Not Sticky

Some tanning lotions and oils can be very sticky when you apply them. This can sometimes make them uncomfortable to wear and could even cause skin irritation. Baby oil soaks into your skin to help hydrate it without irritating it.

  • Doesn’t Ruin Clothes

Some tanning lotions and oils will result in a brown, ugly stain on any clothing you’re wearing. Sure, it usually comes out in the wash, but who wants to deal with that? Baby oil won’t ruin your clothes, or otherwise stain them.

The Downsides of Using Baby Oil for Tanning

While baby oil can help you tan quickly, it also has some side effects you need to keep in mind. Because baby oil attracts a lot of UV rays, it can cause severe sunburn and damage. You need to be careful using it, just as you would any outdoor tanning lotion.

Be sure to apply sunscreen if you’re using baby oil for tanning. See our guide on how to tan outside for further details on sunscreen and tanning lotion strategies.

Studies have also shown that baby oil can heighten your risk of skin cancer, such as melanoma. Due to this, use caution when tanning with baby oil and always make sure to wear sunscreen and other skin protection tools.

Alternatives for Luscious, Tanned Skin

Luminous Tan

If you prefer to use something a little less risky, you could try these tanning alternatives.

1. Self Tanners and Fake Tans

There are tons of self-tan and fake tan products on the market nowadays. Many of them are excellent. See our review of Tan Physics Self Tanners, Loving Tan, and Mystic Tan Self Tan for info on two of the top product lines out there. We should also mention that you can use baby oil to remove fake tan!

2. Tanning Towels

If you want to tan without putting yourself in the sun, you could use tanning towels. All you need to do is remove the small towels from their packaging and rub them over your body. You then just need to wait a few minutes for the application to dry. They will then leave behind a tan on your skin which can last anywhere from two to four hours.

3. Spray Tans

Another alternative to baby oil is spray tanning. Most spray tans contain DHA in it which helps to turn your skin a darker color. However, this option is a little tricky as you need to be careful to not put water on your skin after applying it. It might also look a little unnatural if you spray too much on, or if you use a lower-quality tanning solution (stick to Norvell).

4. Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut oil has long been used for tanning, and will make your skin feel and smell great. In addition to this, virgin coconut oil works to keep your skin moisturized.

If you want to try using coconut oil for tanning, you should absolutely mix your coconut oil with broad-spectrum tanning lotion to protect your skin from harmful UV Rays.

5. Tanning Sunscreen Lotions

A tanning lotion with sunscreen works as both a bronzer and lotion that protects your skin from harmful UV rays. This option varies in its SPF levels while also helping to give your skin a magnificent glow.

You can rub the lotion on and get out in the sun without fear of severe skin damage.

6. Tanning Rollerball Oil

Another tanning alternative is a tanning rollerball oil. This option glides over your skin with a rollerball application and will leave behind a golden glow. You’ll also find various shades of oil you can use so the tan looks natural on your skin.


Baby oil can help you tan, and often very quickly, but it’s very important to use caution when doing so. However, most will do better with sunscreen/tanning lotions, or by using an indoor tanning lotion mixed with sunscreen. Should you choose to use baby oil, be sure to mix it with a sunscreen regardless, and reap the benefits of sunshine!


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