How Bad Is It To Tan With Coconut Oil?

Over the past few decades consumers have started shopping for more natural and organic products, which include sunscreen. One trend we've seen is people using coconut oil instead of sunscreen. Today, we go over common coconut myths and whether or not you should tan with coconut oil.

Consumers in the past few decades have increased their attention to the products that they use on their bodies, with more and more people looking for natural products particularly Generation Z and Millenial shoppers. 

The products they're buying range from natural skin and body care to natural shampoos, as well as natural sunscreen alternatives. One of the concerns we have about this is people looking to swap coconut oil for sunscreen. 

Can You Use Coconut Oil as Sunscreen? 

The short answer is no, you can't use coconut oil instead of sunscreen. 

While many people think they can (who doesn't like the way it glows on your skin), the truth is it shouldn't be used as sunscreen. Healthline will tell you that coconut oil has an SPF of 7, which isn't high enough to protect you from most UVA and UVB rays. Here's what they have to say about this: 

"SPF 7 does not hit the lower recommendation of (at least) SPF 15 from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source. Also, the Mayo Clinic mentions that coconut oil only blocks 20 percent of the sun’s UV rays compared to sunscreen’s 97 percent."

Board-certified dermatologists will also share that coconut oil is not a substitute for sunscreen or tanning.

Why Are People Using Coconut Oil as Sunscreen?

Coconut oil is generally well known to have many health benefits for your skin, so some people like the idea of using it as a natural sunscreen. Here are some other reasons people may think using coconut oil as sunscreen is a good idea:

  • Gives you a natural glow
  • Smells nice on the skin
  • Offers natural SPF (just not high enough to give you the right amount of protection)


Medical Studies on Coconut Oil and UV Protection

Although there are many uses for coconut oil in your daily life and health, it is not a substantial substitute for sunscreen. Here are some medical studies to shed more light on this:

Over the years there have been many studies conducted about coconut oil's ability to protect you from the sun's UV rays - with varying results.

One study from the University Institute of Pharmacy tested coconut's SPF rating and found it was an 8, stopping about 85% of the sun's UV rays.

Another study by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science gave coconut oil an SPF rating of 1! That is the equivalent of using no sunscreen at all.

The Mayo Clinic has also mentioned that they do not recommend using coconut oil as it blocks only an estimated amount of approximately 20% of the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) strongly recommends using sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 or higher if you want to protect your skin from sunburns and long-term effects, like skin damage and skin cancer. 

Overall, we would not recommend using coconut oil as a supplement to sunscreen when you're outside. While it does provide some sun protection, it is not enough to protect your skin from the long-lasting effects of harmful UV rays.

Make sure you do your research before using a substitute for sunscreen and verify the source to protect your skin.

If coconut oil is a must for you and you need to have it, you can find a sunscreen with an SPF of SPF 30+ with coconut oil in it. 

If you're looking for a sunscreen that will protect your skin and is recommended by board-certified dermatologists, check out our collection of sun-safe sunscreen online today. And if you don't like wearing sunscreen, view our collection of UPF swimwear for the entire family.