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Is It Ok To Use Tanning Oil And Sunscreen Together? #Shhh!

tanning oil and sunscreen

Is it ok to use tanning oil and sunscreen at the same time? A very common question we get asked is, can you put tanning oil over sunscreen? Is it safe? Can I use both? 

The answer is yes, you can – but there are a few things that you should know before applying them or purchasing either product. 

In this article, we’ll discuss everything that sun-lovers need to know about using these two products together, as well as how they can be used separately.

Tanning Oils

If you really want to achieve the perfect sun-kissed complexion by any means of tanning, then you should know your way around tanning oils. These can help you achieve your dream complexion while adding a sufficient amount of skin protection. 

It also helps you reduce the time needed to get the ideal tan by attracting more ultraviolet rays. Tanning oils work by absorbing UV rays from the sun and focusing them on your skin. As a result, it helps the melanin work faster, giving you a better tan under shorter periods.

So if you plan on sunbathing or going on a tanning bed session, then you should look for the ideal tanning oil. Knowing which one works perfectly with your skin can help you maximize the pigmentation of your skin.

Do not be afraid to put a generous amount on the areas you want tanned when applying tanning oils. Just be sure to use them gently in delicate areas such as your face. You can re-apply the tanning oil every two hours if you sweat a lot or engage in water activities.

However, make sure not to put too much tanning oil because it can cause your skin to burn. Try to leave a three to five-hour gap between applications if you plan on doing dry or leisure activities.


Everyone who has been to the beach or swimming pool at least once in their life should know that sunscreen is a must-have. Frankly, it does not matter if you have pasty white or medium brown skin; sunscreen is crucial if you plan on staying under the sun for a few hours.

Sunscreen protects our skin from damage and possible skin cancer by blocking and absorbing ultraviolet radiation. It contains physical and chemical components that reflect UV radiation. An example of physical components includes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

On the other hand, chemical ingredients allow it to react with the sunlight, absorbing the UV rays before it penetrates the skin. This combination is a safe and efficient way to protect our skin cells from both UVB and UVA rays. 

Unfortunately, since UVA induces tanning, sunscreen is not ideal for most people who want to get a golden or bronzed complexion. But, Yale Scientific Org says that UVA can also lead to skin aging, wrinkling, and some types of skin cancer.

We can tell how much a particular sunscreen protects our skin from UVA or UVB rays through the sun protection factor or SPF. Higher SPF means more protection or blockage from ultraviolet rays.

What is SPF?

The sun protection factor or SPF is available in many hand, body, and face creams or lotions. You can find a lot of cosmetic products that have SPF labels, especially face creams. This gives your skin protection from UVA rays. 

When it comes to sunscreen, those that have and SPF 30 can block about 97% of all UVB rays. Sunscreens with SPF 50 can block around 98% of UVB rays. Unfortunately, the labels do not have much to say about blockage when it comes to UVA rays. 

It still says a lot about how much it can protect your skin from developing skin cancer. SPF also counters the effects of tan accelerating products. For instance, tanning oils help concentrate UV rays on your skin, while SPF blocks UV rays from penetrating the skin.

However, it does not mean that you can’t enjoy a nice tan without protecting your skin from damage. There are many available tanning oils that have SPF. Not to mention, it is a better option than combining a regular tanning oil and sunscreen.

Tanning Oils With Sunscreen

We know that using tanning oil and sunscreen will not save your skin from possible sunburn. However, we also mentioned that tanning oils on their own could provide you with enough protection to shield your skin from potential damage caused by UV rays.

First, it is crucial to note that tanning oils come with varying sun protection factors. Some of them have SPF 15, while others come in higher amounts. On the other hand, some tanning oil products have zero SPF. That means you have to buy a separate sun protection cream.

SPF in tanning oils does not totally cancel each other out. Unlike mixing sunscreen and tanning oils, the chemicals are incorporated together, so the oil only acts as a catalyst. Choosing a tanning oil with SPF 15 or higher will still help darken your skin.

tanning oil and sunscreen


Overall, sunscreen and tanning oils can have counterproductive effects. Although both are important products that you need to use to get a beautiful tan safely, it is not always wise to mix them together. 

You can still apply sunscreen and let it dry before adding tanning oil. However, you may not get the result that you need. It is still best to use tanning oils with sun protection factors. This ensures that you get a bronzed complexion without being at risk of skin cancer.

Just make sure to follow safety protocols still to avoid overexposure. Whether you are engaging in indoor or outdoor tanning, make sure to know your skin type. After all, you need to be aware of how much UV ray is too much for your skin to handle.

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