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

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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?

In this article we’ll look at what baby oil is, how it helps your body tan, precautions to take before using it, and alternatives that are better and safer.

What is Baby Oil?

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 are extremely mild. 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.

The oil amplifies the sun’s rays, which work to quickly tan your skin. It produces a faster tan compared to other tanning methods and results in a 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.

What’s not to like?

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. Ideally, you would do this tanning in the morning before the UV index is too high.

If you decide to use baby oil for tanning, remember to apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours to help protect your skin from sun damage, and cover up when the sun is at its peak.

You might have to do this step even more frequently 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.

Use caution when tanning with baby oil, and always make sure to wear sunscreen and other skin protection tools.

Alternatives for Luscious, Tanned Skin

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-tanners, tanning waters, and other 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.

These work great, but you need to be prepared to apply them correctly. Ideally, you should get a tanning mitt. Keep it clean. Use care when applying self-tanner to your back.

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 the chemical DHA, which turns your skin a darker color. However, you typically need to go to a salon to get this done, and it gets pricy over time.

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 Drops

Tanning drops are typically mixed with your moisturizer or body lotion to provide a mild tan look to your face and upper body. They are a quick, safe, and easy way to get a little color.

But you’re not going to get a luxe glow out of tanning drops!


Baby oil can help you tan, and often very quickly. But it’s important to use caution when doing so. Most people 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 sunscreen regardless, and reap the benefits of sunshine!

Written by Kayla Young


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