Does Coconut oil help you tan?
The summer’s approaching and we’re starting to consider ways we can turn our pasty winter skin into something with a bit more colour. For those who want to get a natural looking glow without using fake tan, there’s always the problem of dry skin resulting from too much time in the sun. So what’s the solution to this?
Many people apply oil to their skin to keep it hydrated whilst tanning, and it can also help you gain a natural glow more easily. But some have taken it up a notch and are applying the new hot beauty ingredient right now: Coconut oil.
Coconut oil has been touted to have numerous benefits which are listed below, but does coconut oil really help you tan?
In this article we’ll not only answer this question, but we’ll explain to you some of the other benefits of Coconut Oil.
What benefits does Coconut oil have?
1. Speeds up absorption of vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for your skin and body, particularly for ensuring your bones remain healthy and strong. It’s absorbed through the skin and thankfully studies have shown that coconut oil can help speed up the absorption of Vitamin D.
2. Nourishes and protects your skin
As mentioned earlier, people will often apply oil when they are tanning in the sun. This is because the UV rays damage the skin, leaving it dry. Coconut oil helps to reduce this damage because it contains stable saturated fats which form a protective layer on your skin. The saturated fats and other vitamins contained in coconut oil help to replenish the moisture lost from your skin during the tanning session.
The saturated fats in Coconut oil also help to restore the natural shine to your skin.
3. Antibacterial and antifungal properties
When tanning, your skin is exposed to the sun for hours. This makes it vulnerable to microbes, fungus and bacteria that can increase your risk of getting an infection in your skin. Coconut oil contains a whole host of amino acids that have antifungal and antimicrobial properties such as Capric acid, Myristic acid, Lauric acid.
These amino acids help to guard your skin against infections which can occur through tanning in the sun.
4. Reduces Skin Inflammation
We’ve all experienced it. After spending hours in the sun, our skin is red and highly inflamed, not only because of the sun itself but also dust and other environmental factors.
Coconut oil has soothing properties which help to prevent inflammation and flare-ups and even peeling or cracking of the skin. This has been backed-up by a study in 2018 which stated that people who use coconut oil tend to experience less inflammation after exposure to UVB radiation.
Not only does coconut oil achieve all of this, but it is also free of harmful chemicals and irritants which you might find in a lot of beauty products which do the same thing. This makes coconut oil a great natural alternative for sensitive skin.
5. Moisturizes the skin
Coconut oil has been used as a natural moisturiser for centuries, particularly by people in the tropics. There have been studies which have found that participants with very dry skin saw a huge improvement in the moisture content of their skin after using coconut oil. These results started to show after only two weeks.
6. May help to heal wounds
We already mentioned coconut oils’ anti-microbial properties. These anti-microbial properties may even help wounds to heal faster whilst reducing the risk of infection.
A 2010 study suggested that virgin coconut oil sped up healing and improved the skins antioxidant levels in wounded rats. Similarly, there has also been studies suggesting that burn wounds may heal faster when coconut oil when an antibiotic is applied.
Those are just some of the main benefits of coconut oil. For more information, feel free to watch the video below listing some additional benefits of this wonderful oil.
Does coconut oil help you tan?
In terms of making your tan darker, coconut oil will not help. In fact, coconut oil has an SPF of around 4 meaning it will probably make your tan lighter (Although it will barely be noticeable).
It’s a well-known fact that prolonged exposure to the sun is terrible for your skin and so we don’t recommend you sunbathe using only coconut oil. When trying to get a sun-tan whilst using coconut oil, you should always apply sun cream with it to provide that extra protection from the sun.
However, there are plenty of benefits of using coconut oil whilst tanning and applying it during a tanning session will leave your skin moisturised after the tanning session, and it will protect it from infection.
What Kind Of Coconut Oil should you use for Tanning?
Coconut oils vary quite a bit. There are a variety of coconut oils available, and they fall under several categories. The main categories to consider are:
- Extra virgin
The extraction process (old-pressed, expeller-pressed, and centrifuge extracted) can also be used to categorise the oils but we won’t discuss that in this article.
For skincare purposes, the best option is organic, unrefined coconut oil. This type of coconut oil contains the nutrients that your skin needs and will provide it with the anti-microbial protection required when sun-bathing. These are often labelled as virgin, raw, or cold-pressed.
Some people don’t like the coconut oil scent. If you’re one of these people, you can choose organic refined coconut oil. They’re still great moisturizers but they have less antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties because of the baking and bleaching process.
There are some case where users have been sensitive to unrefined and refined coconut oil. It can cause them to have acne breakouts. People who are prone to acne should avoid comedogenic oils such as coconut oil. If this is the case, it is recommended you use non-comedogenic oils instead.
We wrote an article which includes an infographic listing alternatives to non-comedogenic oils. It applies to fake tanning products but these oils can be used for other purposes too. You can find the article here: Why are tanning ingredients so important?
Does coconut oil Remove tan?
There are articles circulating on the internet claiming that coconut oil can remove a suntan. We will dispel this myth here and now.
A tan resulting from UV exposure cannot be removed by applying coconut oil. When your skin is exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time it damages your skin and as a reaction to the damage, your body produces more melanin in your skin. We wrote this article on how the tanning process works.
This melanin is embedded in your skin, so coconut oil rubbed on the surface does not affect it and will not remove your tan.
However, a spray tan or self-tan only affects the outermost layer of the skin. If you would like to know more about how self-tanners work, we wrote this article on how self-tanners work.
Oil in general makes it easier to remove fake tan because the oils break down the DHA in the tanner, making it much easier to wash off. In this situation, you can use a coconut oil scrub, which is a mixture of coconut oil and sugar, or you can add salt, or ground coffee.
The risks of UV exposure
The bottom line is, spending too much time in the sun without protection can damage your skin. This damage can lead to premature aging, and even skin cancer.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) claims that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer throughout their lifetime.
The underlying message here is that you shouldn’t spend time in the sun without protection from a sun cream even if it means you won’t get a tan doing this.
However, there is a safe alternative to sun tanning and that is by using fake tan!
Fake tan technology has progressed hugely over the last two decades and the old stories of fake tan disasters are a thing of the past. It’s a great way to get a healthy-looking glow without damaging your skin.
At Unreal, we create customised self-tanners based on your skin type and needs. The process is simple: you take our skin quiz, then we create your formula and ship it directly to your door.
You can take our skin quiz by clicking the button below.