The Truth About What Tanning Oil Does To Your Skin

With the summer season winding down, many may resort to certain products and services to help achieve a bronzed tone, such as spray tanning, tanning beds, and also commonly used, tanning oils. First invented in 1928 by fashion designer Jean Patou (via Fashionista), tanning oil works by speeding up the process of the tan. 

"Tanning oils attract more of the UV rays and help you achieve a deeper tan by allowing for an increase in the absorption of the rays," dermatologist Debra Jaliman told Byrdie. And while it may seem like a handy product to achieve an aesthetically pleasing sun-kissed glow, you should think twice before purchasing tanning oil for yourself. This is because these products come with a plethora of safety concerns for your health

But how and why exactly are tanning oils dangerous? Keep scrolling to find out about the truth of what tanning oil does to the skin.

Tanning oil increases aging and skin cancer risks

While tanning in the sun alone without sunscreen is damaging to the skin enough and increases the risk of skin cancer, using a tanning oil on top of this adds insult to injury. "Tanning oils do not protect your skin, rather they can make the skin more receptive to sun damage because of the increased exposure," dermatologist Richard Bottiglione told Byrdie.

While many may think that tanning oil products with SPF in them may be a clever way to think ahead of the damage tanning oil causes, this also unfortunately does not work and can even be counterproductive. Not only is the SPF in these tanning oils too low to provide effective protection, but these products also cause people to incorrectly believe that they can stay out in the sun for longer than they normally would, therefore increasing damage to the skin.

"They're really only giving you a little bit of protection against the burning rays, allowing you to stay outside longer and not burn so that you can get a tan," dermatologist Dr. Dray said on her YouTube channel. "Why is this so dangerous? It's dangerous because a sun induced ... tan is not safe and reflects skin injury." So there you have it, friends! Skip the tanning oil and opt for that SPF 50+ that's sitting in your medicine cabinet.