Easy Homemade Tanning Oil Recipe that You Should Try

Sun tanning gives the skin a glow that is considered enchanting and cosmetically appealing. It also promotes healthier body because skin’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation catalyzes the production of vitamin D in the body.

The most traditional way to tan the skin is by lying outdoors on a sunny day and letting the ultraviolet ray of the sun bronze the skin. Cosmetic tan of the skin can also be achieved indoors by using a tanning bed.

The ultraviolet ray emitted by the bed is comparable to that of the sun. Lying in a tanning bed will yield similar result to that of sunbathing.

Easy Homemade Tanning Oil Recipe

Image: iHerb.com

When exposing skin to ultraviolet ray, either outdoors or indoors, skin protection is necessary. Moderate ultraviolet exposure can yield cosmetic and health benefits, however over-exposure to the ray will cause sunburn and serious problem to the skin.

To protect the skin from such risk, tanning oil can be used. This oil helps prevent sunray from burning the skin and allow the skin to reap the most benefit from tanning activity.

It is worthy of mention, though, that tanning oil doesn’t necessarily refer to sunscreen or sun-block. It may refer to something else that has completely distinct function.

A specific oil that is also called tanning oil can be used to speed up the tanning process. When applied to the skin, it will cause the skin to tan even if the skin is not exposed to ultraviolet ray.

While there are people who use this oil when they are sunbathing or tanning their skin in a tanning bed, combining the use of this oil with either indoor or outdoor tanning is not recommended by the FDA because doing so may further complicate the skin problem.

When choosing a tanning oil to use, you should clarify the type of oil that you actually use.

Various tanning oil products are now available on the market; however, people who don’t to waste their money to buy those products or are concerned with the chemical content of those products can make their own oil using easy homemade tanning oil recipe.

And regardless of the function of the oil that you want to make—sunscreen or bronzer—you can always find the right recipe to prepare the oil.

How Does Tanning Work?

Tanning occurs when the skin produces more melanin than normal. Melanin is produced by melanocytes to protect the skin from solar radiation.

This dark-colored pigment is produced in large amount when the skin is exposed to the ultraviolet ray of the sun or the tanning bed. The pigment will absorb the ray and prevent it from burning the skin and causing serious damage to its DNA.

This melanin production process, which is called melanogenesis, together with its absorption of ultraviolet ray that causes its oxidation, causes the skin to darken.

Why Do People Tan Their Skin?

People tan their skin to achieve both cosmetic and health benefits. In general, people sunbath or lie on a tanning bed because of the following reasons.

  • Tanning makes the skin look great.

Cosmetic reason is always the most prevalent. People spend their time outdoors wherever they can find bright sun because they want to make their skin appear attractive.

The skin darkening effect of tanning is just too attractive especially for people with fair skin. It makes their skin look less pale, fresher and more exotic.

  • Tanning assists in the absorption of vitamin D.

Vitamin D keeps the bone and teeth healthy and strong. By exposing the skin to ultraviolet ray, the body will absorb vitamin D to protect itself against bone problems, cancer, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and many other health problems.

Without enough supply of vitamin D in the body, the calcium that the body receives will be useless.

In addition, lying on the soft sand of a beach is fun and relaxing. Feeling the warmth of the sun touching the surface of the skin while enjoying the cool breeze of the sea is an experience that will always be memorable.

Sunbathing is still enjoyable even if it is not done in a recreational area.

The Risks of Tanning

Moderate exposure to ultraviolet ray can indeed yield cosmetic and health benefits; however, overexposure may cause the treatment to backfire and to do more harm than good. The following are some risks associated to indoor and outdoor tanning.

  1. Overexposure to ultraviolet ray may burn the skin. Although sunburn can be prevented by applying sunscreen to the skin prior to tanning, the lotion may block the ultraviolet ray and hinder the tanning process.
  2. Ultraviolet ray may mutate the DNA of the skin and increase the risk of the deadly melanoma. Frequent exposure to this ray may also speed up the aging process. Wrinkles will appear sooner on the skin of people who often tan their skin.
  3. Overexposure to this ray may also cause milder skin problems, especially sunspots, to appear on the skin.

People’s wish to intensify the benefits of sun tanning as well as their concern of the risks associated to it becomes the primary reason why a lotion that is commonly called tanning oil is used when they try to tan their skin.

Various Types of Tanning Oil

What is referred to as tanning oil may mean sunscreen that provides protection to the skin from excessive ultraviolet radiation and may also mean a specific type of lotion or spray that is used to tan the skin without offering protection against ultraviolet ray.

  • Sunscreen and sun-block

Although often considered two synonymous terms, sunscreen and sun-block are actually two different substances. Both substances are used to limit skin’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

They are, however, different in that sunscreen blocks only UVA ray whereas sun-block blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The FDA has made their distinction in the market mandatory so as not to confuse consumers regarding their efficacy in blocking ultraviolet ray.

  • Self-tanner

Self-tanner may take the form of cream, lotion or spray and unlike sunscreen; it usually doesn’t offer protection against ultraviolet radiation.

Self-tanner contains a chemical called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that functions as a dye that darkens dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. It is thus not intended to provide prolonged tanning solution because the skin will regain its true color as soon as the dyed dead skin cells are shed.

Although self-tanner offers only faux glow, it is still a favorite option for people who want to avoid the risks of sun tanning.

  • Suntan lotion

Suntan lotion also doesn’t offer protection against ultraviolet radiation. In fact, it is applied to the skin either to accelerate melanin production without the help of UV radiation or to intensify the radiation effect.

The one that is used to accelerate melanin production is often called indoor tanning lotion. This lotion supplies melanin to the skin and accelerates the tanning process without requiring ultraviolet radiation.

Though the use of suntan oil under the radiation of ultraviolet ray is not advisable, many people do it to achieve the most optimal tanning result.

Because the three substances above may share the same name, it is important to make sure that you know exactly the function of the tanning oil that you want to use.

Nonetheless, regardless of the type of tanning oil that you want to use, you have two options to choose from. You can either buy a trademarked product or make the oil yourself. There is always an easy homemade tanning oil recipe that you can use to prepare your own cheap yet similarly potent oil.

Why Should You Use Easy Homemade Tanning Oil Recipe?

There are many reasons why you should go all-natural when preparing your tanning oil. To start with, branded products are not cheap and cheap products are mostly of poor quality.

You either have to sacrifice your fortune or buy low-quality product that does little good to your skin. Another reason why you should make homemade oil or lotion is because it is mostly free from dangerous chemicals.

If you buy store bought products, you don’t really know what kind of chemicals they may contain. Certain products, especially self-tanner, may have unpleasant smell. If you make the lotion on your own, you can have lotion with fresher and more pleasant aroma.

Tanning Oil Recipes that You Should Try

Now we are going to explore some natural recipes that you can use to prepare your tanning oil. You will find here recipes that you can use to protect your skin against excessive sunray exposure, to give your skin a faux glow, or to intensify the production of melanin on your skin.

Easy Home Sunscreen Recipe

If you want to use easy homemade tanning oil recipe to protect your skin from excessive UV radiation, you can use various ingredients that you can find in your kitchen or nearby grocery.

One thing that you must look into when using those ingredients is their SPF (sun protection factor). SPF determines how long the protection provided by the lotion against UVB, which burns the skin, will last. Below is one of the easiest sunscreen recipes that you can make at home.

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Primary ingredients

  • ¼ cup beeswax (you can add more beeswax to make the lotion thicker)
  • 2 tbs. non-nano zinc oxide (SPF 2-20) (you can add more zinc oxide to increase SPF rating)
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil (SPF 6)
  • ½ cup of carrier oil (examples include olive oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and almond oil) (SPF 5)

Optional ingredients

  • Cocoa powder or iron oxides for tint
  • 1 tsp. essential oil
  • 1 tsp. vitamin E oil
  • 1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil (SPF 25-50)
  • 1 tsp. carrot seed oil (SPF 35-40)
  • 2 tbs. shea butter (SPF 4-6)


  • Heat water in a saucepan.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, put all ingredients except the zinc oxide in a glass jar.
  • As the water simmer, put the glass jar in the pan. The hot water will allow all ingredients in the jar to melt.
  • Using a spoon, stir the melting ingredients in the jar well until they are mixed.
  • Add zinc oxide to the mixture while keeping stirring it.
  • Turn off the fire and take out the jar from the water.
  • Let the mixture cool and stir to make sure that all ingredients, including zinc oxide, are mixed.
  • Store the jar in a cool place and the lotion is ready for use whenever necessary

One key ingredient that you have to pay attention to here is zinc oxide. This powerful ingredient determines the SPF of the lotion. You can determine the SPF rating of the lotion by simply increasing or decreasing its concentration in the lotion.

In fact, if you have purchased a sunscreen lotion, you can add zinc oxide to it to increase its SPF rating.

Despite its potency, however, zinc oxide can be harmful, especially if inhaled. Therefore, when using this ingredient to make the lotion, be sure that you wear a mask to prevent accidental inhalation of this substance.

Other sun blocking agents, such as titanium dioxide, can also be used in lieu of zinc oxide.

Easy Self-Tanner Recipe

Self-tanner gives your skin faux glow. Although it gives you only temporary cosmetic solution, using self-tanner is considered safer than exposing your skin to the risk of sunburn.

You can buy self-tanning products that are available on the store, but if you don’t like their smell, you may want to make the lotion yourself. Below is easy recipe that you can use to make your own homemade self-tanner.


  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 bags of black tea
  • 1/3 cup pure cocoa powder
  • ½ cup cocoa butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil


  • Steep the tea using hot water. You will achieve the best result if the tea is black enough. Therefore, it is advisable that you steep the tea long enough (approximately 15-20 minutes).
  • Warm up cocoa butter and let it melt in a basin.
  • Put pure cocoa powder, vanilla extract and the brewed tea in the basin together with the butter and then mix them.
  • Test the result on your skin. Pick a pinch of the lotion using your finger and then apply it to your skin. Rub the lotion on your skin and see the result. Your homemade lotion is ready to be used if you are happy with the color. You can add more cocoa powder if the color is too light or vanilla extract if it is too dark.

It is recommended that you exfoliate your skin first before applying this self-tanner. Exfoliation cleans the surface of your skin from dead skin cells and other debris that may block the skin pores.

Certain self-tanner ingredients are used to moisturize the skin. If there is dead skin cell buildup on the surface of the skin, it will be harder for the skin to absorb the moisturizing agent.

As a result, the skin will appear dry, dull and dehydrated. Besides, because self-tanner doesn’t protect you from ultraviolet radiation, it is recommended that you apply sun-block to your skin if you decide to be outdoor after applying the self-tanner.

Easy Suntan Oil Recipe

If you want to reap the most benefit of sunray, you may want to apply suntan oil that accelerates the tanning process.

Generally, suntan oil that you buy from store doesn’t protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation; however, if you make the oil on your own, you can include ingredients that act not only as tan accelerators, but also protectors against sunray.

The recipe below includes some of the most potent ingredients that both accelerate the tanning process and protect the skin against the harmful effect of ultraviolet radiation.


  • 4 tsp. wheat-germ oil (wheat-germ oil is rich in vitamin A, D and E that preserve the youthfulness of the skin. Skin aging and wrinkling is a common side effect of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet ray. By adding this ingredient to the lotion, this unwanted side effect can be avoided and the skin will remain healthy even if you tan often.)
  • 4 tsp. hazelnut oil (hazelnut oil is easily absorbed by the skin and contains some nutrients, especially vitamin E, which improve the skin’s overall health)
  • 10 drops essential oil (the oil, which can be extracted from such plants as patchouli and calendula, provides necessary relief to the skin)
  • 4 tsp. unrefined avocado oil (avocado oil is rich in vitamin, lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids and provides necessary protection against sunray)
  • 4 tsp. walnut oil (walnut oil accelerates tanning process and also protects the skin from the harmful effect of sunray exposure)
  • 4 tsp. unrefined sesame oil (sesame oil is one of the best protectors against ultraviolet radiation)


  • Mix all ingredients in a bottle and then shake.
  • Store the mixture in a cold and dry place.
  • Always shake the bottle whenever you want to use the oil.

When making homemade tanning oil, your skin type is a factor that must be taken into consideration. A specific lotion is only suitable for a specific skin type.

If your skin is dry, the recipe above will mostly work for you. If your skin is normal or oily, you may need to exclude sesame oil from the recipe and replace patchouli and calendula essential oils with lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils.

Besides the aforementioned ingredients, there are other ingredients that you can experiment with, including red raspberry oil (a type of oil with high SPF rating), sunflower oil (a good moisturizing oil), green tea (a good antioxidant), and aloe vera (a good antioxidant that also protects against sunburn).

Try to experiment with those ingredients and test the result. All of those ingredients are nourishing ingredients that assist in maintaining your skin’s health.

Remember that suntan oil is not resistant to water. If you sweat or become wet, you may need to reapply the lotion to your skin. Keep your skin dry if you want to achieve the best result from your tanning activity.

Should You Use Oral Tanning Treatment?

If you are familiar with various tanning options, you must already be familiar with tanning pills. If you want to tan your skin without harming your body, don’t ever take those pills.

Most of those pills contain canthaxanthin, which will damage your internal organs and cause various health problems such as kidney disease. Even herbal recipes that are supposed to be taken orally are not safe for your health.

Therefore, even if you happen to come across homemade oral recipes for skin tanning, it will be better if you avoid those recipes because the safest way to tan your skin is the topical way.

If you are asking about homemade tanning recipes that are meant to be taken orally, we dare to say that there is no such recipe that really works.


You should already know now that there is always an all-natural way to give your skin a beautiful glow. If you wish to tan your skin by exposing your skin to sunray, you should protect your skin using sunscreen lotion.

You don’t have to use store bought lotion because you can make cheaper and all-natural sunscreen lotion from ingredients with high SPF rating such as non-nano zinc oxide and coconut oil.

If you prefer sunless solution, self-tanner that is made from such ingredients as cocoa butter and vanilla extract will give your skin a temporary yet harmless glow. Suntan oil that is made from tan-accelerating and sun-protecting ingredients like avocado oil and walnut oil can effectively replace store bought suntan oil.

Remember, though, that there is no oral tanning solution that is considered safe, even if you try to use natural ingredients to prepare one. As long as you plan to tan your skin from outside, for every topical tanning solution that you can find at the market, there is always all-natural alternative that is not only cheaper, but also safer and may even be better than products that you buy from the store.

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