Tanning Oil vs Sunscreen: Can I Use Them Together?

Summer is coming and you want to get the sun kissed tone on your skin. Then, you don’t quite know if you should give in to your bronzer, or take a step back and use the sunscreen instead. 

Or maybe you can use both? So in this article, let’s take a look at the tanning oil vs sunscreen battle and let’s see who is the winner!

Tanning Oil Vs Sunscreen

While sunscreen delays and balances the stimulation of melanin (the responsible for tanning), tanning oils will in fact, stimulate the melanin. However, tanning oils contain vitamins and other nutrients that will give some protection compared to wearing nothing.

There are tanning oils that contain SPF protection, but they are not that great compared to sunscreens, which are specifically designed for that, so oftentimes, most people won’t rely on a tanning oil SPF protection. 

Tanning Oil vs Sunscreen: Can I Use Them Together?

What’s The Winner?

If you are looking just to get a great bronzing with little protection, then the winner is the tanning oil. You can use it knowing there are risks (which we will touch later on in this article a little).

Now, if you are more concerned about getting protected and is more conservative and don’t mind getting less bronzing in order to maintain the health of your skin, then the winner is the sunscreen.

Tanning Oils 

Tanning oils can be considered as a bronzer, and according to dermatologists, they are here to enhance the sun’s action, which will stimulate your skin to create more pigmentation.

It is important to say that if you choose to use bronzer accelerators, you may increase chances of skin cancer, premature aging and other problems, because most of these products do not offer proper sun protection.

Tanning Oil Pros

  • Accelerates your tan
  • Evens your bronze
  • Some tanning oils have hydrating ingredients that nourish and or moisture the skin

Tanning Oil Cons

  • Do not provide enough sun protection
  • Won’t prevent skin cancer
  • Don’t prevent wrinkles and is not anti-aging
  • Do not allow you to prolonged sun exposure
  • Should not be used every day as you need to do it with moderation


Dermatologists recommend the use of sunscreen every day no matter the weather and even indoors, because they are efficient protectors against skin damage caused by UV rays.

Tanning Oil vs Sunscreen: Can I Use Them Together?

Sunscreens are effective in preventing sunburn, scabbing, premature aging, cancer and even (in some cases), minimize dark spots. They can contain UVA and UVB ray protection and SPF factors that can vary from 15, 30, 50 or higher.

Sunscreen Pros

  • Evens your bronze
  • Delays your bronze
  • Protects from sunburn 
  • Prevents skin cancer, dark spots, and is anti-aging
  • Is hydrating and nourishing 
  • Is designed for daily use

Sunscreen Cons

The sunscreen cons will mostly depend on the sunscreen product or brand that you choose. Everybody should use sunscreen but if you don’t use a high quality product it may not be effective and also clog your pores.

Applying Sunscreen Vs Tan Oil


Generally speaking, it is good to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure or going out. You should apply on your entire body and make sure to have a special sunscreen designed exclusively for your face.

Some sunscreens are designed for the face and body, but they normally count with a thick texture, which may clog pores. So use a special facial sunscreen especially if you are planning to wear makeup.

Re-apply it every time you sweat or get wet, and you can apply a generous amount of the product, spreading evenly throughout the entire body.

Tanning Oil

It may vary depending on the product so I strongly recommend you to read the product’s instructions on the bottle before application. But, generally speaking, you can apply your tanning oil 15 (fifteen) minutes before sun exposure.

You should re-apply it every time you sweat or get wet, and you can apply a generous amount of the product, spreading evenly throughout the entire body. Just make sure to mind your clothes to avoid any mess!

tan oil vs sunscreen

Can You Use Tanning Oil With Sunscreen?

Not the ideal, but you can use sunscreen and tanning oils together, as tanning oils may not have effective SPF protection, you can opt to combine it with sunscreen.

To add an extra layer of protection to your skin you can apply sunscreen before applying the tanning oil. By doing this, you won’t tan as fast, but you can get some benefits of both products and hopefully get some color.

However, that is not the best option as mixing other products with sunscreen will affect its efficacy so if you want to keep on the safe side, it is best to avoid mixing sunscreen and tanning oils.

Final Takes: Tanning Tips

Now that you have an idea about the differences between sunscreens and tanning oils, there are some tips that will help you get an even and great tan regardless of the option you choose to use. Here’s a quick list:

  1. Adopt a healthy diet that contains beetroot and carrots, citric fruits as these ailments can help with the melanin production improving the tanning effect. 
  2. Exfoliating your skin three days before sunbathing will remove dead cells, treat some dark spots and stimulate circulation. The result will be an improved and even bronze. 
  3. Remember to use your sunscreen. Give preference to SPF factor 30 or higher.
  4. Keep your skin hydrated and nourished to help your bronzing to last longer. For this apply moisturizer every day, especially after sunbathing.
  5. Don’t stay under the sun for too long, avoid peak sun time (from 10 am to 4 pm) wear hats and clothes that contain UVB protection.
  6. Make sure to change positions frequently to assure an even bronzing. You can do it every 30 minutes.

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