Careful Before You Use Coconut Oil to Tan Your Skin

Jun. 28, 2020
Learn What Experts Say About This Oil’s Effectiveness at Skin Protection
Take Your Sun Protection Seriously
All it takes to get a tan is to spend a little time out in the sun. Many people say that so long as you have sunscreen on, you can tan just fine. Now maybe you’ve seen all of the posts recommending that you turn to natural skin protecting products like coconut oil. It’s understandable, the 2009 journal article from the Pharmacognosy Research Journal found coconut oil to contain some sun protection factor. A closer look at the research, however, shows that coconut oil may not be as effective as you've been led to believe. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a protective SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher for the adequate blockage of the penetration of skin harming UV rays as well as burning. This research notes coconut oil’s SPF as only 7, a paltry amount of protection compared to recommended standards. 
If you’re going to be out tanning and sun protection is important to you, then you really don’t want to be wearing coconut oil, because it won’t stop you from getting sunburnt, or even afflicted by dangerous skin conditions like cancer. In short, tanning with coconut oil is probably a bad idea.
Can you Use Coconut Oil Safely?
If it can't be used as a sunscreen because it is dangerous, then you must be wondering if there's a safe way to incorporate it into your skincare routine at all. The answer is yes, so long as you follow these simple guidelines.
  • Use it as a first step cleansing wash.
Did you know that coconut oil is actually incredibly effective at removing dirt and makeup from the skin as the first of a double cleansing routine? Celebrity facialist Cecilia Wong finds it effective for cleansing without robbing your skin of its natural oils. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties also make it a great germ and bacteria fighter, purifying your skin surface too. Apply it over your face and then use a steamed/ damp towel to wipe everything off after a few minutes.
  • Never apply it, no acne troubled skin. 
If you have acne troubled or generally oily skin, don’t use coconut oil on your face. Skin Resource creator Dr. Paul Dean describes coconut oil as having a high comedogenic rating, meaning that it’s very likely to clog your pores. If you struggle with acne, coconut oil on your skin will probably worsen it, so avoid it altogether
  • Mix it in with your moisturizer if your skin is dry
If your skin is notoriously dry, on the other hand, coconut oil may be a blessing. Silver Mirror esthetician Suzanne Audley describes coconut oil as great for dry and normal skin since it can be very hydrating. This is no doubt thanks to its ability to rebuild your moisture barrier, trapping it all in so that it doesn't escape. Mix a little into your moisturizer tub, and your skin will appreciate it.
What Do You Do for Sun Protection Then?
We’ve ruled out coconut oil as a sun protector, so here are practical ways to effectively shield your skin from the harsh effects of the sun.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, and make sure that its SPF rating is 30 or higher. If you’ll be in the sun for most of your time out, then remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours.
  • Always prefer the shade. Direct sunlight can have that burning effect on your skin, so if you can, try to shield yourself under shade. You can be indoors or carry an umbrella, whichever is most convenient.
  • Dress in covering clothes to shield your skin from direct sunlight. This includes long-sleeved shirts, pants, long dresses, sunglasses, and hats.
Coconut oil may not be effective as a sun protector for tanning, but it can prove useful to you depending on your particular skin type. A little knowledge should make your experience with coconut oil much more beneficial.
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