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Coconut Oil for Tanning Outside: 5 Tips to Follow and FAQs

Coconut Oil for Tanning Outside

You’ve probably heard of the WONDROUS BENEFITS coconut oil has for the skin, and how it can help protect you from the sun uv rays with its natural properties.

The only thing left is how to effectively use coconut oil for tanning.

Well, step right up! We made this COCO-MAZING guide especially for you!

Table of Contents

How Should I Use Coconut Oil for Tanning?

How Should I Use It

1. Pick Your Coconut Oil: Refined Coconut Oil vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil?

So now you’re here and you’re considering taking a HUGE step into that tan you’ve always dreamed of!

If you’re thinking about hopping into a grocery store to get started with using coconut oil for tanning, consider the kind of coconut oil you’re gonna be using!

We highly recommend unrefined virgin coconut oil, or basically, the products that say UNREFINED, PURE, or VIRGIN COCONUT OIL.

Unrefined coconut oil works the best because they are the PUREST FORM of coconut oil you can find!

Why Not Refined?

Refined coconut oil won’t work as effectively because it doesn’t have the ESSENTIAL nutrients and natural saturated fats that you NEED.

WHICH MEANS: You won’t get the benefits for the skin for that healthy tan that you’re looking for if you consider oil that’s refined.

Take the jump and GO FOR UNREFINED COCONUT OIL to maximize the health benefits that you need, and to keep your skin safe, too!

2. Exfoliation is Essential!

As always, the most essential step like any other tanning session is to remember the magic first step: EXFOLIATE!

Doing this necessary step makes sure your body, regardless of any skin type, has the ideal foundation to take in the best possible tan you can get!

This helps remove all the layers of dead skin cells for brighter and more luscious skin!

3. Prep Your Coconut Oil

Because coconut oil is a natural oil that has fatty acids, it solidifies when it reaches a temperature under 24° Celsius. Make sure it’s in liquid form if you’re using coconut oil for tanning!

Having it melted down makes it EASIER to apply to your skin as a natural sunscreen alternative for your tanning session!

4. Create a Mixture of Coconut Oil and Sunscreen

Combine equal parts of the coconut oil and sunscreen that’s ideally mineral-based, and AT LEAST SPF 30 to protect you from the sun!

You can do this in the palm of your hand! (Literally)

Just place both liquids on your palm and combine until homogenous.

It’s easy, right?

Now you’re probably wondering… WHY ARE WE MIXING THESE TWO?

Well, the answer is simple, but you also need to remember that coconut oil doesn’t protect you from harmful UV rays.

You’ll need some SPF from a mineral-based sun screen, too!

Through this, you just made a coco oil-sunscreen hybrid that works with HIGH efficiency for tanning!

5. Lather the Mixture to Your Whole Body

Now that you’ve mixed your SUNNY concoction, just lather it all around your body the same way you’d wear sunscreen or tanning lotion!

Apply a GENEROUS amount all over your body, especially during the first application. Make sure you REAPPLY it every 10 minutes, too!

What you’re applying to your body is an amazing miracle mix of tanning oils and sunscreen that can still guarantee your safety from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

It’s ideal to not bask too long in sun exposure, especially because of the sun’s harmful rays! Tan yourself for 20 minutes at a time and take some breaks for your skin to recover.

Once you learn how to use your tanning oil, simply slathering coconut oil on your body guarantees a GREAT TAN and a NATURAL SHINE!

Answering Your FAQs

#1 Why is Coconut Oil Ideal for Tanning?

#1 Why is Coconut Oil Ideal

Let’s get some facts straight…

Overexposure to the sun’s rays, especially both UVA and UVB rays can cause unwanted skin disorders like…

  • Sun burn
  • Premature aging
  • Dry skin, and etc.

Just be aware of the time you can spend under the sun unprotected REALLY depends on your skin type!

We all need to be aware that coconut oil DOESN’T PROVIDE sufficient SPF protection while you’re tanning. This means that tanning with only coconut oil can still result in sunburns!


Coconut oil still creates a protective layer on top of your skin because of the stable saturated fats that block the release of moisture.

Basically, coconut oil goes hand-in-hand with the RIGHT KIND OF SUNSCREEN to make the most out of your tanning.

It is only meant to supplement your current sunscreen for tanning because of the amazing benefits it gives your skin!

Triggers Melanin Production

Fun Fact: Using coconut oil helps you get that IDEAL BRONZED BODY!

Why, you ask?

Well, it helps produce melanin in your skin at a FASTER RATE, giving you that tan you’ve been looking for in no time!

It’s a definite win for you, for sure! No more spending countless hours under the sun, and feeling like you’re burning.

PLUS, you’ll get less exposure to the sun’s UV rays, too!


Just keep in mind: Slow tanning is better in the long run, especially with coconut oil. 20 minutes under the sun and taking breaks in between helps you maximize all the benefits!

Vitamin D Intake

This special vitamin is HIGHLY essential for your skin and body, enabling you to have that HEALTHY GLOW that you’re looking for! Vitamin D is a supervitamin.

While most sunscreens block the vitamin D from entering your body,  using coconut oil for tanning, in combination with a reliable sunscreen won’t block the healthy vitamin D that you need!

Natural Moisturizing Properties

Just imagine, being out in the sun and just lying down in the heat!

It can still be a satisfying experience, but prolonged exposure to all those sun rays and harmful UV rays WON’T BE GOOD for your skin.

During your tanning sessions, the skin loses a lot of its hydration as it evaporates, leaving your skin dried out all because of UV exposure.

You don’t want all of that unwanted cracks and patches on your skin, right?

The good news for you is that coconut oil leaves your skin moisturized, and nourishes it EFFICIENTLY!

The AMAZING lauric acid and other moisturizing properties of coconut oil make it the best natural oil to have with you, always! Lauric acid, in particular, has healing properties.

#2 What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for the Skin?

#2 What are the Benefits

Hydration and Moisturization

Unrefined virgin coconut oil is composed of saturated fatty acids that keep the skin HEALTHY and HYDRATED!

Coconut oil protects your precious canvas from drying, assuring you hydrated skin all of the time!

No wonder coconut oil is always found in cosmetics, it’s such a wonderful product for sun protection.

Skin Relief and Healing

Exposing yourself to multiple tanning sessions and UV rays can give you the illusion of a nice base tan, but deep down, your skin is losing its natural structure!

Using coconut oil nourishes dead cells affected by the sun’s harmful UV rays and rejuvenates your skin to its FORMER GLORY!

So the next time you’re thinking that your skin is looking dull, get a bottle of these natural oils for that instant SHINE and GLOW!

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties

Basking under the sun is FUN, without a doubt, but your skin may also take a toll from it!

Just imagine, the skin damage causes a breakdown, causing it to open, and letting unwanted harmful microorganisms inside.


BUT GUESS WHAT! Coconut oil blocks those undesirables through medium-chain triglycerides. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, its known for amazing health benefits like:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antifungal properties
  • Antimicrobial properties

So just imagine how much potential this miracle oil has in protecting the skin you’re in, as well!

Time to bid those unwanted skin infections and acne breakouts goodbye!

Harmless to Your Skin

Who wants unwanted, harmful chemicals touching your skin?

In a skin-stressing procedure like tanning, the last thing you need is a substandard tanning lotion, tanning oil, or any self-tanning product that can cause more harm than good to your skin!

These artificial cosmetics always have unwanted chemicals, one way or another. Stuff like paraben, gluten, and other toxic chemicals can cause sun DAMAGE to your precious skin!

These irritants can cause allergies and other unwanted side effects, so it’s always best to check what works for you!


Coconut oil is one of those natural plant oils that doesn’t contain artificial products and unwanted chemicals unless stated by the manufacturer in the packaging.

Pure coconut oil is completely natural and harmless when used over the skin, so it’s best to use coconut oil if you have skin sensitivities!

#3 Can I Use Coconut Oil for a Tanning Bed?

#3 Can I Use It for a Tanning Bed

REMEMBER: Do not use coconut oil for this tanning procedure!

Coconut oils aren’t made for prolonged and direct contact with the UV light of tanning beds, so it’s ideal to AVOID tanning beds if you have sensitive skin.

In line with that, if you’ll be making homemade tanning oil to use, be sure to leave out the coconut oil as well.

If you’re planning to use a bed to get the shade you’re looking for, make sure to use the proper kind of tanning oil and wear protective clothing to avoid bad side effects on your skin!

Bottomline: Just don’t use coconut oil! 

#4 Is There Anything I Should Be Aware of Before Starting to Use This?

#4 Is There Anything I Should Be Aware of

It is Not a Sunscreen

While coconut oil really does have amazing effects not only for tanning but also for the assortment of uses it has, we’d just like to emphasize…

Coconut oil isn’t an alternative to sunscreen!

While it does contain an SPF level of 4, it is not enough to give you UV protection from the effects of prolonged sun exposure.

You also need to be really mindful while tanning, too! The side effects of uv rays can get serious from dry skin to skin cancer. YIKES!

Try to mix it in with the right sunscreen for that balance of UV protection and moisturization!

Just protect the skin you’re in and follow the steps we mentioned above, and we assure you that you can be safe while still having fun under the sun.

Can I Use a Different Kind of Coconut Oil for Tanning?

While you’re in the supermarket looking for the best kind of coconut oil you could use for your summer trip, you might encounter various kinds and different labels of coconut oil like the following…

  • Virgin or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Pure Coconut Oil
  • Liquid Coconut Oil
  • Hydrogenated Coconut Oil

Keep in mind the kind you want when tanning with coconut oil are the ones that say VIRGIN, PURE or UNREFINED.

These are the unprocessed kind that has all the fatty acids and nutrients that you can maximize while you’re out and about!

People with Oily Skin Shouldn't Use It

So you maybe have oily or acne-prone skin, and you’re wondering…

“Is coconut oil bad for my skin type?”

Well, the short answer is, unfortunately, yes.

Your type of skin produces A LOT of natural body oil, and if you combine it with coconut oil, then it may have the possibility to clog your pores!

Our advice is to just avoid using coconut oil to prevent any more unwanted acne breakouts, and just go for an organic sunscreen with moisturizing factors!

Don’t worry, you can still get that tan and vitamin D, safely! Just don’t do tanning with coconut oil.

Can Coconut Oil Remove Tan Lines?

There have been questions regarding if coconut oil can work both ways, and some people have been asking if coconut oil can remove a tan

To answer your question, no, coconut oil cannot undo your tan!

This is because the melanin has ALREADY DEVELOPED under your skin, and coconut oil doesn’t have the bleaching agent that it needs to be able to do that.


If you have a spray tan or any other form of sunless tanning, this can be removed by a coconut oil scrub that can be exfoliated.

It’s easier to remove tans like these because they’re only on the outer layer of your skin!



So now you know you can use coconut oil for your next tanning session, just keep in mind that this doesn’t have enough SPF to protect you from the UV rays!

Just mix it with a mineral SPF sunscreen to maximize the results in your tan, and we guarantee that you’ll definitely enjoy the results!

We hope you found our guide helpful, and here’s to a more COCO-mazing tanning sesh!


September 6, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content

July 19, 2021 – Updated article links

July 16, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.