Coconut oil for tanning : Ultimate guide For Tanning

In a hurry? Need a quick answer? Yes you can use cocnut oil as tanning oil. A good coconut oil won’t cost you much and help you tan better. We highly recommend you to get the one below.

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil 78 fl oz, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined Cooking Oil, Natural Hair Oil, Skin...
  • Bulk Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking – This unrefined coconut oil is the perfect all-purpose...
  • Naturally Nutrient-Rich Coconut Oil for Hair – Apply coconut oil as hair mask for scalp care,...
  • Purely Moisturizing Coconut Oil for Skin – Apply to skin as moisturizer for long lasting...

You most probably have heard the health benefits of using coconut oil. But you might be wondering how does it help you to tan or how can you use coconut oil as tanning lotion or oil. Coconut oil is a very versatile natural ingredient that can condition and protect your skin while you tan.

Coconut oil is one of the best natural tanning oils and one of the easiest ways of getting a beautiful, natural sun-kissed glow.

It contains lauric acid and fatty acids that keep your skin hydrated which means your skin gets tanned faster than dry skin. However, coconut oil doesn’t contain enough SPF to protect your skin from the UV rays.

Fortunately, there is a way you can rectify this problem and make coconut oil safe to use for tanning.

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconuts are fruits of trees that mostly grow near coastal waters. Through years of research, this fruit has proven to have very many benefits even to your skin.

The coconut oil is extracted to make it easier to use and for it to be most effective. Coconut oil is very rich in lauric acid and vitamin E that helps to boost the health of your skin and very beneficial when tanning.

Apart from lauric acid, coconut oil also contains polyunsaturated fats, capric acid, myristic acid, monosaturated fats, and palmitic acid. These fatty acids and nutrients are very good for your skin and hair growth.

Does coconut Provide you with UV Protection?

Although the high-fat content in coconut oil helps to condition your skin, it has a very limited SPF of only 8. That is why it’s recommended that you use a quality sunscreen like these with an SPF of 30 and higher that will be effective in blocking the harmful UV rays.

If you don’t have sunscreen, you shouldn’t tan with coconut oil for more than 15 minutes. To reduce the harmful effects of the sun on your skin, you can tan between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

If you’re using coconut oil without any other sun protection, your skin won’t be properly protected especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. If you’re fair-skinned, coconut oil will most likely be less effective at protecting your skin from the sun’s rays.

Is Coconut Oil Bad for You?

Over recent years, there have been concerns about the health risks posed by using coconut oil. However, there is very little research that has been conducted to show the harmful effects of coconut oil.

Different types of coconut oil and virgin coconut oil are gently processed Coconut oil is full of saturated fatty acids and saturated fats that have been linked with an increase in your LDL cholesterol levels which triggers many heart-related problems.

It’s also not good to eat it especially if you have a history of heart problems because of its high-fat content.

Although coconut oil is praised for being an amazing hydrating moisturizer thanks to its fatty acid content, it’s a very thick oil to soak into your pores but very sufficient in hydrating your skin.

How Does Coconut Oil help you Tan?

Although coconut oil doesn’t provide enough SPF protection for your skin, you can use it as an alternative to synthetic tanning lotions and oils.

The ingredients and composition of this oil are very beneficial to your skin for many reasons. Here are the reasons why you should consider using coconut oil for tanning.

Speed up vitamin D absorption

Most sunscreens are very effective at blocking the harmful UV rays from penetrating your skin, unfortunately, they also block vitamin D that your skin gets from sunlight.

Vitamin D is very important for both your skin and body. Coconut oil will block 75% of the UV rays but will allow vitamin D to be absorbed into your body thanks to its SPF of 4.

Antifungal and antibacterial properties

When you’re tanning, your skin is exposed to the sun for hours which causes damage to your skin and this damage causes a breakdown in your skin.

This opens your skin to bacteria, fungus, and microbes that can lead to infections. Coconut oil contains 3 acids (capric, lauric, and myristic) that form the MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides that are known to contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that will protect your skin from infections. This way you can tan and still be protected from microorganisms.

Reduces skin inflammation

If your skin gets inflamed from too much sun, dust, or surrounding elements, coconut oil will help to soothe your skin and thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it will prevent your skin from cracking or peeling.

Nourishes and protects your skin

When tanning, your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays and very strong sunlight. Coconut oil helps to reduce skin damage thanks to the stable saturated fats that form a protective layer over your skin.

The saturated fats and vitamins help to reduce the moisture loss from your skin and also replenish your skin’s natural shine.

A natural moisturizer

If you use tanning lotions and sunscreen when tanning, you know the importance of moisturizing your skin after. When you’re tanning your skin gets exposed to the sun and loses its hydration and its ability to moisturize the dried-out skin.

When your skin loses moisture, it will either crack, peel or even get sunburnt. Coconut oil doesn’t evaporate fast which makes it an excellent moisturizer to prevent your skin from dryness.

Triggers the natural production of melanin

Your skin is made up of different layers and the upper layer is responsible for producing melanin. Melanin is the pigment that your skin produces to give you a dark tone.

So the more melanin your skin produces, the darker your complexion will be. Coconut oil triggers the production of melanin even without you having to stay in the sun for a long time.

This means you can get a tan faster and with less time under the sun.

Rehabilitates your skin’s natural shine

After exposing your skin too long hours of tanning and UV rays, you get the tan you want but your skin will also lose its natural structure.

The darker your tan is the duller it will look, but applying coconut oil can help give your skin back its shine. The composition of coconut oil allows it to stay on your skin for a long time.

Why you Shouldn’t Use Coconut Oil for Tanning

With all the information you’ve read up to now, you may have decided that coconut oil is an excellent alternative to the chemicals you’ve been using on your skin.

However, there are a few downsides to using coconut oil for tanning that you need to know that will help you on how can you use coconut oil as tanning lotion or oil.

It’s not a sunscreen

When you’re tanning it’s very important to use sunscreen which helps to protect your skin from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays that can lead to sunburns and even worse, skin cancer.

Coconut oil has an SPF of 4, but you need to properly protect your skin from the intensity of the UV ray with at least an SPF of 15 and higher.

If you combine coconut oil and sunscreen, you will get a very thick and sticky substance that isn’t very comfortable to apply on your skin. So it’s better not to use coconut oil when tanning.

Won’t work on oily skin

Even though coconut oil benefits your skin in many ways, it’s not suitable for everyone to use it for tanning. This will depend on your skin type and how your skin reacts to when exposed to the sun. Your skin may react differently when you apply coconut oil than someone else.

People with oily skin produce a lot of oil daily and coconut oil can be used to treat acne-prone skin because of its high levels of skin-soothing linoleic acid and lauric acid that has antimicrobial properties.

This helps to lower the bacteria in your skin that causes acne and reduce inflammation. For some people, coconut oil any be too heavy and comedogenic to use on your face.

If you have oily skin, your face is prone to acne breakouts and applying coconut can make it worse because coconut oil will clog your pores as it’s not readily absorbed into your skin.

Ways of Using Coconut Oil

If you use coconut oil properly, it will give you the good results that you want. If you have decided you want to use coconut oil, here are some ways you can use it.

As a tanning lotion

You most likely have heard that you can use coconut oil as tanning lotion, but only if you use it over short periods and with calculated exposure to the sun. All you have to do is take a bit of coconut oil and evenly apply it all over your body.

This will not only boost your skin’s ability to produce melanin, but will also provide your skin with moisturizing, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.

However, you need to remember that coconut oil isn’t a sunscreen, but combining it with sunscreen is also not a good idea because it can become very irritating and you will not be very comfortable with wearing this mixture for a long period.

Coconut oil has a low SPF of 4 which can cause your skin to burn especially if you burn easily in the sun.

However, you shouldn’t use coconut oil in a tanning bed because coconut oil isn’t designed to be used in a tanning bed and its prolonged use can damage the tanning bed

TIP: Mix your tanning oils with other natural oils.

This is optional, but you can blend your coconut oil with other natural oils to provide better nourishment for your skin and to help increase the SPF range of your tanning oil.

Some of the natural oils with higher SPF content include carrot oil or cold-pressed grape seed oil. You can also add some softness to the mix with cocoa butter or shea butter that is known for its moisture-locking properties. Now you have a natural, rich tanning lotion or oil. 

As a deodorant

This might be a shocking way to use coconut oil, but you can make a very good DIY deodorant that you can apply when going to work or after your tanning session.

Long exposure to the sun causes excessive sweating and increases secretion which can give your skin a very unpleasant smell. This deodorant will eliminate the smell and keep your skin moisturized.

All you need is:

  1. A quarter cup of coconut oil
  2. Essential oil
  3. 3 tsp baking soda
  4. 2 tbsp cornstarch
  5. A container
  • Method

Pour the coconut oil into the container, then add the cornstarch and baking soda and mix well. Once it’s properly mixed, add about 20 drops depending on the intensity of the essential oil you prefer to use.

How to use coconut oil for tanning

It’s very simple to use coconut oil to achieve a sun-kissed natural glow, but if you want good results it’s advisable to use virgin coconut oil which has more benefits than the refined type. Here are the steps you need to follow when tanning with coconut oil.

Massage a generous amount of virgin coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil is unrefined so it contains more nutrients and antioxidants that benefit your skin than your regular coconut oil. You can use the liquid form for tanning or in its solidified form.

Take a generous amount and massage it into your skin before going to bask in the sun. Carry it with you if you’re going to the beach or to spend time at the pool.

Make sure you’ve applied every inch of your body to keep your skin moisturized and to get an even tan. Coconut oil will not only keep your skin nourished but also help it to absorb vitamin D.

Wear sunglasses and a hat

These are very important items that you should never forget to carry when going outdoors to tan. Your eyes and the skin around them are very delicate and sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and wearing sunglasses will protect them from direct sunlight.

The hat will protect your ears and face from getting sunburnt as your ears also have delicate skin. Lying down gives you a relaxing feeling that can make you doze off when you’re tanning.

Avoid falling asleep when you’re tanning outdoors with your sunglasses on because you might end up with ugly tan lines on your face.

Tan outdoors

Go bask in the sun, but don’t stay for too long under direct sunlight, not more than 20 minutes at once.

However, this will vary from person to person, and will also depend on your skin type. 15-20 minutes is enough time to get your bronze look and still absorb enough vitamin D.

Read -> How to tan faster and Darker Outside

Apply coconut oil frequently

Although coconut oil is very beneficial and nourishing to your skin, its SPF range is very low so it won’t protect your skin form long exposure to UV rays.

For this reason, you should keep reapplying a generous amount after every 20-30 minutes to keep your skin nourished and well hydrated.

You can also combine coconut oil with an oil or gel-based sunscreen to provide extra protection.

After tanning apply it to soothe sunburns

Coconut oil is also beneficial even after tanning. After an intense outdoor tanning session, you might discover that you have some sunburns.

Applying coconut oil will not only soothe and moisturize your skin, but its antibacterial properties will also protect it from getting a bacterial infection. This will prevent further skin infections and your skin will heal faster.

Top picks of best coconut oil

After reading all the information above, you now know how to use coconut oil safely to tan. Here are 3 best coconut oils you can choose for your tanning that are worth buying.

Nutiva organic unrefined virgin coconut oil

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil 78 fl oz, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined Cooking Oil, Natural Hair Oil, Skin...
  • Bulk Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking – This unrefined coconut oil is the perfect all-purpose...
  • Naturally Nutrient-Rich Coconut Oil for Hair – Apply coconut oil as hair mask for scalp care,...
  • Purely Moisturizing Coconut Oil for Skin – Apply to skin as moisturizer for long lasting...

This coconut oil is from fresh organic coconuts direct from the farm. It has deep conditioning and moisturizing properties that will be very beneficial to your body. You can also add it to your food whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or even introduce it to your ketogenic and gluten-free diets.


  • It works wonders on your ski
  • Has a nice smell
  • Keeps your skin well moisturized


  • Packaging is a bit of a problem

  Majestic pure fractionated coconut oil

Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil - Relaxing Massage Oil, Liquid Carrier Oil for Diluting...
  • Premium Quality Fractionated Coconut Oil - It is a fraction of the coconut oil from which almost all...
  • Other Uses: Coconut oil one of the most versatile oils. It's used as moisturizer, in recipes for...
  • Safety Warning: For external use only. Rub a very small amount on the inside of your elbow area to...

This is a fractionated coconut oil that is blended with essential oils. This oil is odorless and clear so it doesn’t stain your clothes and is very easy to wash off. You can use it as a moisturizer, conditioner, in your shampoo, treating sunburn, massage, and other household uses. You can easily mix it with other oils.


  • Has no coconut smell
  • Can easily be mixed with lotions and other oils
  • Lightweight and absorbs quickly


  • It could give you an allergic reaction

 COCO & CO. pure virgin coconut oil

Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil - Relaxing Massage Oil, Liquid Carrier Oil for Diluting...
  • Premium Quality Fractionated Coconut Oil - It is a fraction of the coconut oil from which almost all...
  • Other Uses: Coconut oil one of the most versatile oils. It's used as moisturizer, in recipes for...
  • Safety Warning: For external use only. Rub a very small amount on the inside of your elbow area to...

This is high grade organic raw coconut oil that has a light coconut scent that will give you soft, supple skin and thick shiny beautiful hair. It’s a great daily moisturizer that absorbs easily into your skin with no that greasy feel. It’s made from the freshest coconuts and a special extraction method that will ensure it doesn’t go rancid.


  • Improves your skin remarkably
  • It’s not greasy
  • Has a very mild scent


  • Complaints of damaged packaging
  • Complaints of forming mold in a few months

So, Can you use Coconut Oil as Tanning Lotion or Oil?

You need to remember that coconut oil isn’t bad for tanning, but it doesn’t contain enough SPF to properly protect your skin from the harmful effects of the UV rays.

To achieve a great tan using coconut oil, you shouldn’t overexpose yourself to the sun for long periods to avoid getting a sunburn. Before you use coconut oil on your skin, especially if you’re prone to acne breakouts, test it first to see if your skin breaks out. This way you will know that it’s too heavy for your skin.

Coconut oil has been researched and proven to be not only beneficial to your skin you can also use it as a tanning oil.

However, you need to first do your research and find out if you can use coconut oil as tanning lotion or oil because different people react differently with coconut oil because of their skin type.

If used properly, coconut oil can give you a sun-kissed glow on your skin, but you might also get sunburnt and dry skin. Applying coconut oil properly can help eliminate such problems because at the end of the day you want to tan safely and avoid compromising the safety of your skin.

See more

Best Tanning Oil

Best sunscreen for tanning

How does tanning oil work?

DIY tanning oil: Homemade natural Tanning oil Substitute

Does baby oil help you tan faster?