How Safe Is It to Use Coconut Oil for Tanning?

The risks of sun tanning

Sun tanning without, and even with sun protection if not used properly, can result in premature aging and damage to the skin as well as skin cancer. The biggest risk factor for most cases of melanoma is ultraviolet light exposure from tanning beds or the sun.

UV light exposure is the biggest preventable skin cancer risk factor, and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has advised against the use of tanning beds and protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun is recommended.

Does coconut oil offer protection against UV rays?

The AAD’s recommendation is a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, which blocks 97% of the harmful UV rays. Coconut oil has an SPF of about 8, which will blocks only about 20% of the harmful UV rays.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 22279374
  Some manufacturers of sunscreens might use coconut oil with other ingredients that increase the SPF, but coconut oil on its own does not provide adequate protection, despite the notion that it could be used as a natural tanning oil.

Coconut oil does have benefits for the skin

Coconut oil for after sun

Coconut oil is an effective after sun treatment. Research has found that the fatty acids and polyphenols in coconut oil provide protection against inflammation from UVB radiation.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 28564614

Coconut as skin moisturizer

Coconut oil is an effective natural skin moisturizer, and although it has a low SPF, it can still offer some protection when used as a daily moisturizer. Research has found coconut oil to be an effective and safe moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis, a skin condition characterized by dry and itchy skin.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 15724344

Coconut oil for acne

Research has also found that extra virgin coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that be effective against acne. The lauric acid as well as capric acid found in coconut oil has strong antimicrobial activity.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 24284257

Coconut oil for eczema

Research has also found coconut oil to be superior to a mineral oil moisturizer for eczema treatment.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 24320105

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The Truth About Tanning Infographic

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