Does Baby Oil Help Tanning: How It Works

Does baby oil help tanning?

More importantly, is it safe to use while laying out in the sun?

While the short answer to the first question is a reluctant “yeah, it works,” the answer to the second is a resounding “NO!”

Keep reading to learn the “how” behind the “yes” and the “why” behind the “no.”

Don’t forget to check our review on the best spray tan machine!

Is it Safe to Tan with Baby Oil?

Let’s start with the second question, as it’s definitely the more important of the two. Is it safe to slather baby oil all over your body and lay out in the sun?

NO. Nope. Nada. Nee. Niet. Nein. I can all day and tell you “no” in every language if that’s what it takes to make this point.

NO, it is NOT safe to use baby oil to tan. Let me explain why.

Intense UV rays are always harmful to your skin, even when you’re wearing sunscreen.

Baby oil is the exact opposite of sunscreen.

Rather than deflect or absorb, it enables the UV rays to penetrate your skin deeper than they would if your skin was bare under the sun.

If you don’t get how intense this is, let me give you a simple scenario to better explain.

It’s like using oil in a frying pan; if the oil gets very hot, it burns the meat in the pan into a crisp. That’s precisely what happens with baby oil on your body traps; it intensifies the heat, burning your skin.

In other words, by slathering baby oil all over your skin, you’re essentially prepping it for a good deep fry.

There are multiple reliable products available in the market that allow the body to moderate UV rays during tanning.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have the patience to wait for a gradual tan, and they’d rather risk overexposing their skin.

Let’s take a closer look at everything you’re risking if you decide to ignore this advice and go for it anyway.

lady putting oil on her legs for tanning

Risks of Using Baby Oil to Tan

Here are jus some of the major risks of using baby oil for tanning in detail.

1- Increased Risk of Burns

Using baby oil for tanning significantly increases your risks of getting a sunburn.

Best case scenario, you’ll look like a lobster and feel achy for a few days.

Worst case scenario- you’ll peel, scar, and end up with uneven patchy spots for the rest of your life.

Keep in mind that even a single sunburn increases your risk of developing cancer.

2- Photoaging

Honestly, this was enough reason for me to ditch baby oil for tanning.

Overexposure of the skin to UV rays for prolonged periods can result in saggy and wrinkled skin.

3- Skin cancer

Cancer is one of the monsters that we are all scared of, and researchers are still looking for solutions.

And too much exposure to UV radiation can damage the DNA in the skin cells, causing tumors and growths.

Some of them only occur once, while others keep recurring.

While skin cancer- when caught early- is often “curable,” it can metastasize into other far more serious cancers, so please, take it seriously.

Pros of Using Baby Oil for Tanning

Curious why people still insist on using baby oil for tanning despite all the risks involved?

Here are the perks that they feel they get from using baby oil for tanning. None outweigh the cons, however.

Fast results.

Baby oil tans the skin very fast (more on this in a section below). This makes it very easy to overdo, so be sure to mix it with sunscreen.

It gives a very deep tan.

This is what makes baby oil a very tempting option for tanning. It mixes into the skin, and can give you a very even rich tan. And after a few uses, you’ll realize that it gives you a tan very fast compared to other tanning lotions.

It’s hypoallergenic.

Since baby oil has only a few, highly vetted, oils (especially the ones with no scent), it’s skin-friendly. While some tanning lotions have chemicals that cause rashes, it’s typically not the case with baby oil.

It’s not sticky.

We all know how sticky some tanning lotions can be, which can be very uncomfortable. Baby oil sinks into your skin without these issues and hydrates your skin.

It doesn’t destroy your clothes.

Some tanning lotions leave your clothes with brown, ugly stains. Well, they do come out eventually, but nobody wants to deal with those. Baby oil doesn’t stain or ruin your clothes.

Always keep in mind the risks that come with using baby oil for tanning.

Baby oil might give you a deep tan in a short time, but it also accelerates all damage done by making the penetration of UV radiation deeper into your pores.

This means more damage that lasts for a longer time. I don’t know how much more clearly I can spell that out.

What About Iodine?

Baby oil and iodine were popularly used for tanning in the olden days.

So yes, the mixture can give you a tan. But it still attracts too many UV rays, so it’s not safe for your skin.

I literally couldn’t stop laughing when I read an article by Kelly explaining her experience with tanning.

She says that the iodine and baby oil mixture was what her mom used to become the most tan or tan queen.

But she also mentions that it was in the 70s, and there was only a little research on the effects of the mixture.

Like baby oil, iodine may help you tan faster, but it’s not safe.

Along with increased risks of burns- and all the nasty business that goes along with it- smearing iodine all over your body is just an epically bad idea.

Too much of it can cause:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • difficulty peeing
  • severe thirst

In rare cases, it can also cause blistering, peeling, itchiness, and redness.

a man tanning in front of the beautiful beach

How Long Does It Take to Tan with Baby Oil?

Baby oil helps you tan very fast. This is by attracting the sun rays very quickly, hence the quick tan.

Since baby oil ingredients soak deeper in your skin, you’ll realize that not only do you get a darker tan, but it lasts longer.

This is because the oil sips into all the skin’s layers instead of the top layer like other tanning lotions.

Does Baby Oil Make Your Skin Darker?

Baby oil does not darken the skin when used as a moisturizer.

However, some experts say mixing it with mineral oil and iodine, and rubbing it in circular motions can give you an instant darker skin tone.

So, in that sense, it could actually be used as a self-tanner. However, remember what I said above about using too much iodine. Why not try to make your own natural tanning oils.

Will Baby Oil Help Me Tan? (Final Thoughts)

Will baby oil help you tan faster. Yes. Should you use it for that purpose? No.

There is literally no 100% safe natural tan. No, not even when wearing SPF.

But swapping sunscreen or tanning lotion with baby oil only makes matters worse.

While baby oil makes tanning faster and may even give you a deeper tan, it only leads to premature aging. Or even life-threatening diseases such as skin cancer.

There is no reason why anyone should use baby oil for tanning. Use a really good self- tanning lotion, and be patient with the process. Check my review on the best outdoor tanning lotion with sunscreen.

Does baby oil help tanning? If so, is it even safe to use for that purpose? Find out everything you need to know to keep yourself safer in the sun!

are you for or against using baby oil for tanning? share below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems