Although tanning oils are sold like hot cakes in the market, I have seen many people curiously asking how good these are for tanning. This article is for those guys.
How does tanning oil work and what does it do to our skin are the two queries I hear almost every day. Wait, there are few who even ask whether tanning oil is bad for you(lol!). We will see how these fantastic products help you to get a golden, sun-kissed tan without any damage to your skin.
Let me tell you that it’s a conditional statement and we will explore more on this later in the article.
Tanning oils are one of the most famous products in the market when it comes to outdoor tanning. Yes, tanning oil does work, but not the way people usually expect it. Tanning oils are different from tanning lotions and sunscreens. On the other hand, they are a combination of both.
Still, let me tell that tanning oils are manufactured to enhance the existing tans. They are the best products to strengthen, deepen and darken your base tan.
What does Tanning Oil do?
Tanning oils are specially formulated to aid the tanning process. Unlike tanning lotions that accelerate the natural procedure by intensifying the results, tanning oils help to get the results accurately.
According to their unique composition, tanning oils offer:
- Instant tan (because of their natural color)
- Skin vitalization
- UV protection (to a limited extent enough to keep you safe from damage)
- Damaged skin repair
With all of this composition, tanning oils do provide a unique solution to the everyday needs of a tanner. However, it does not relatively accelerate the tanning process as tanning lotions do. Tanning oils work best when there exists a base tan.
How does Tanning Oil Work?
It’s essential to understand how tanning oils work on your skin. For this, I am afraid I will have to take you through a few biological classes which you had in your childhood. We need to understand the structure of the skin first.
Structure of Skin
As you can see from the diagram, our skin consists of three layers;
The epidermis is the outer layer, and it’s the barrier that protects you from external effects. As you can see from the diagram, this is the layer which is directly interacting with the atmosphere. The segment doesn’t have any internal networks like blood vessels, hair follicles or sebaceous gland.
The tanning you does should not penetrate the epidermis. If it does, there are chances of health concerns.
Tanning oil works by making necessary changes in the epidermis layer of your skin. Tanning oil enhance tanning by intensifying UV rays in two different ways;
- Producing extra melanin
- Bringing a higher level of melanin to the epidermis
If you have a higher amount of melanin in your body, your body will be tanned. So, these oils ensure production of melanin in the body. This is done by accelerating melanocytes to produce melanin.
The second types of tanning oils work by bringing a higher level of melanin in the outer skin layer. Tanning oils increases the blood flow to epidermis to achieve this.
Most of the tanning oils usually have bronzers and moisturizers in it. These two also play a crucial role in providing you a tanned skin.
- Bronzer: Bronzers like dihydroxyacetone (DHA) react with amino acids in the epidermis to give your skin a bronzing effect. Remember, these effects are not long lasting. You can retain the bronzing color for maximum 7 days as the skin cells will naturally peel off in that much time.
- Moisturizers: Two common types of moisturizers found in tan oils are Vitamin E, sodium PCA, glycerine, sodium isethionate or panthenol. They help in hydrating the body. Moisturized skin tans better and helps you to avoid skin peeling.
Best Conditions for Tanning Oils to Work
I hope you already understood what does tanning oil do to give a perfect tan on your skin.
But I have seen many people asking me this question during my day at work (since I run a tanning salon). The answer is quite simple: Tanning oil will works best if you have a base tan.
Like I said earlier, tanning oil doesn’t artificially boost the process but naturally enhances it. Although, there are some measures you need to take for the tanning oil to show its best potential. Some of them would be to:
- Apply it evenly all over the body. It doesn’t matter where you need the tan or where you don’t. Long sun exposures generate chronic dryness and drain the nutrients your body has. Tanning oil should be present wherever the UV rays reach. For that purpose, I’d instead prefer you getting a sprayer. The sprayer helps to apply the tanning oil evenly and accurately without any wastage.
- Let your skin soak it up. Tanning oils are not just formulated to stay on the top of your skin. They need to be absorbed by the skin to process the self-help. A good option for that would be to allow the contents to sink in the skin. Only then you can expect it to work.
- Don’t wash it off. Tanning oils work best when they stay on the skin for as long as they get entirely used up. When you hit the beach with the oil on, keep an eye over it. A better option would be to opt for water-resistant tanning oil. These are not hard to find as it is generally mentioned in the product description.
Is Tanning Oil Bad for You?
As the saying goes, “excess of everything is bad”.
Tanning oils are naturally composed products that have little to no harm on your skin or health. However, prolonged and excess use may cause problems varying from individual to individual.
However, most tanning oils contain ‘gluten’, a naturally occurring protein found in mineral oils. Gluten, if absorbed by the skin in excess can cause serious skin issues. One of the potential skin disorder is dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). Chronic blisters mark this condition. It appears similar to herpes but has no connection whatsoever.
Moreover, an excess composition of mineral oils in the tanning oil doesn’t also end up good. The mineral oil enters the pores of your skin and clogs them. The clogging then leads to overheating of your body (since the pores cannot sweat). The overheating can then possibly cause all health problems ranging from headaches to digestion issues. The clogged pores can also promote acne.
You can always try DIY tanning oil if you doubt the quality of the ones available in the market. Natural tanning oils are easy to get, and they too do wonders.
The solution to this would be to opt for tanning oils that are free of gluten. Tanning oils with an absence of gluten and easily absorbable liquid pose little to no threat to your skin and health.
Conclusion: Does Tanning Oil Work for You?
Getting a golden and healthy tan by spending a few hours on the beaches or pool is the dream of many. I’m sure that tanning oil will help you achieve this dream if you are dark or you already have a base tan. Most of us feel that these oils are very oily greasy, but it does the job for tanning.
I hope I have given you an in-depth insight into the working of tanning oil.
Yeah, tanning oil does work to give you a golden sun-kissed tan. They do it by acting on your outer skin by increasing the melanin there.
Tanning oils are never bad for you if you already have an existing tan. If not, I would say that these are not your right products. In this case, you can try indoor tanning. I know there are few of us who love to get a tan by spending time in the sun. If you’re one of those guys and tanning oil doesn’t work for you, do use tanning lotions. I’m sure it will help you to get a nice tan.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing that smile on your face after having a wonderful tanning session.
My name is Stella Cristin, the owner of Tan Vogue. I am in love with beauty and health products. My great passion is to help people learn about tanning. Read More