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How to Tan With Coconut Oil

Updated February 21, 2017

Coconut oil has long been a preferred tanning oil because---in addition to being an excellent tanning aide---coconut oil contains nutrients that are good for the skin. Coconut oil and tanning oil in general speeds up the tanning process by increasing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the skin. Coconut oil can provide a deep and durable tan when applied evenly before you go tanning.

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  1. Apply body wash to a loofah, and scrub your skin before you go tanning. Exfoliation will allow your tan to last longer, as it removes the uppermost layer of dead skin from the surface, allowing a newer layer of skin to be tanned and prohibiting that top layer from blocking the sun's rays.

  2. Rub coconut oil evenly over the skin in the areas you want to tan.

  3. Lie out in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not remain outside in direct sunlight for much longer than this---especially if you do not have a base tan---or you risk getting burnt. Do not exceed two hours of tanning. Make sure to turn over frequently so you can tan your front and back.

  4. Wipe excess coconut oil off your skin with a towel after you are done tanning.

  5. Apply moisturiser liberally to the skin after tanning to prevent the skin from becoming excessively dry.

  6. Tip

    After tanning, do not scrub your skin hard in the shower. This will cause your tan to fade faster. Drink lots of water while tanning to ensure you do not get dehydrated. It is a good idea to tan gradually, going outside a bit everyday, than to overdo your tanning in one day. If you are on medications that cause you to burn easily, do not attempt to use tanning oil.


    Coconut oil and other tanning oils are not meant to act as sunscreen and will not protect your skin from sunburn. Even those with added SPF will not protect as well as sunscreen. If you burn easily, avoid tanning at peak sunshine hours, generally from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Things You'll Need

  • Loofah
  • Warm water
  • Gentle soap
  • Coconut oil
  • Towel
  • Moisturising skin lotion

About the Author

Ginger Yapp

Ginger Yapp has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in travel and film topics. Her work has appeared in such publications as "USA Today" and online at Hotels.com. Yapp also has experience writing and editing for a small California newspaper. She earned her B.A. in film and media studies and has worked as an ESL teacher at an international school.

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