Jul 29, 2010

Tanning Oil and Sunscreen: A Debate

I was taking part in an "Amazing Race" like event last Saturday with a couple of my close friends. My partner in the race, and very good friend, was lubing (Ha...sorry Carmen) herself up with her "all-natural" tanning oil whereas I was slapping on the 30 SPF sunscreen. Let me first say that Carmen is the only natural blonde I know that doesn't burn. (Trust me, it makes me nauseous too.) Because she never burns, she was laughing at me and my OUTSTANDING relationship with the sun. Needless to say, she and I started to disagree about which product is better for you; Carmen taking the side of the oil and me, sticking with my trusty sunscreen.

Neat thing for me is that I get to post my opinions online. (YAY for blogging.)

Tanning Oils are mainly made with a base of Sunflower Oil and/or Coconut Oil. From there, other products are added like almond oil, cocoa butter, lanolin and eucalyptus oil. These products are what gives the skin a moisturized look and feel. Also, vitamins A, D and E are typically added and are very effective in treating dry and weathered skin. There are undeniable advantages of using tanning oil such as the amount of moisture your skin gets to the deep color of your tan.....this is where it gets a bit tricky. See, tanning oil intensifies the amount of ultraviolet light that reaches your skin, thus giving you a deeper, darker tan in way less time which means there is nothing that protects your skin from the UVA/UVB rays. Yes, some tanning oils promote an SPF 4 or 8 but this protection is almost too low to prevent anything. Plus, having an SPF added is almost counterproductive as oils promote tanning.

Sunscreens are, quite simply, the polar opposite of tanning oils. It was designed to absorb and reflect the UV rays which, as we all know, helps to prevent sunburns. (UV Light also triggers overproduction of melanin, which can be seen in the darker spots on the skin...aka freckles, moles, etc.) To make a long story short, about 90% of aged skin and wrinkles are caused by the sun's rays. SPF prevents those harmful rays from seeping into the skin which means a more youthful look for longer.

A lot of times people think that if they can't see skin damage it's not there which is definitely not the case. Most of the damage we are doing to our skin will not show up for 20 years.....SO, ladies, slap on the sunscreen. Remember, sunscreen is only preventing the damaging effects and will still allow you to get tanned.

Oh, one more thing, look for a sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide. (This pigment absorbs the UV light very quickly!) I highly recommend Clinque's Super City Block as it has titanium dioxide AND has an SPF of either 25 or 40.


  1. Currently I use Avène SPF 50 for kids. It's fantastic. Cause I don't want to catch a tan, I love pale skin.

  2. YAY for SPF!! Glad to hear that you are protecting yourself. I am a super pale girl as well who never tans BUT i like to use products to give my a shimmer sometimes. Either way, protection is the way to go!


Thanks for the love!...XO Christina

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