Tanning with vegetable oils - is it enough?

Tanning with vegetable oils - is it enough?
Tanning with natural products instead of chemical-based sunscreens is an increasingly popular topic, especially now that summer seems to be finally here. We can often come across articles that focus on natural oils and their SPF, but this information varies from article to article. Why is it so difficult to determine the SPF of oils and how to treat them correctly so as not to endanger our health ...More information
Ingredients for this recipeRaspberry oilCarrot seed oilCoconut oilShea butterAvocado oilOlive oilZinc oxideTitanium dioxide
You can buy the individual ingredients right below the procedure

Who are the outliers?

And which oils will we talk about? Carrot and raspberry seed oils, coconut oil, shea butter, avocado oil and others are most commonly associated with natural and non-chemical tanning. Let's take a closer look at a few of them!

Too much information

For mineral or sunscreen creams, it is relatively easy to determine the SPF, but with vegetable oils it is a bit more complicated, so we cannot be surprised that we can come across all kinds of information about the values and properties of these vegetable oils in all corners of the Internet. In addition, we all know it - the Internet sometimes has the ability to take one piece of information and turn it around so many times that it finally turns into completely different information.

The big problem is mainly the encouragement to replace sun creams with these oils. Most likely, there are many scientists currently involved in research on vegetable oils because it is a hot topic, but there is no completed and verified study that proves that these oils are equivalent to conventional sunscreens, and that we can really use them instead.

However, there are ways to use vegetable oils properly, and we'll take a look at them in a moment. We also found some information that will help everyone make up their own mind about the effectiveness of vegetable oils.

Important facts

There are several important facts to consider when using vegetable oils, such as the fact that they oxidize in light. Simply put, their quality (and thus the SPF) gradually changes and deteriorates when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, we should be sure that we are buying really high-quality oils from proven brands that have the right concentration. We also make sure to store the oils well, a dark and cooler place is ideal, and we also don't forget to check every now and then that we have tightened the cap well.

Types of radiation and the mystical acronym SPF

Let's also not forget that there are two types of UV radiation that we want to protect ourselves from - UVA and UVB. UVB radiation is responsible for a beautiful summer tan, but it can also burn our skin red. UVA radiation in turn has an effect on the aging of our skin, both UVA and UVB then have a carcinogenic effect.

However, the vast majority of vegetable oils only protect us from UVB radiation, so if we decide to use only vegetable oils, we should be aware of this, even so protect ourselves from excessive sunlight, for example with layers of clothing, or simply do not spend in direct sunlight more time than our skin can bear. After all, the necessary SPF, i.e. Sun Protection Factor, calculates exactly how much time we can spend in the sun without getting burned and our skin turning red. It sounds rather complicated, but if we explain it on a concrete case, it is not so complicated anymore. For example, if staying in the sun irritates our skin in just 20 minutes, using a sunscreen with a factor of 15 increases the time we can spend in the sun without getting burned fifteen times - that means we can spend 5 hours in the sun relatively safely instead of 20 minutes . Of course, it is necessary to renew the cream layer here and there - at least every 2 hours. And also to occasionally cool off in the shade, because so much direct sun can't do anyone any good, and in addition to sunburn, there is of course a risk of heat stroke.

And now we come to the much-discussed vegetable oils.

Raspberry seed oil

Raspberry oil is one of the most recommended natural sunscreens, but it's not that simple. While surfing the endless internet, you will often come across a link to some kind of study from 2000 that confirms that raspberry oil has an SPF between 28 and 50. The fact is, however, that aside from this nearly 20-year-old study comparing the absorption properties of raspberry oil to another natural filter, titanium dioxide, no other study can be found that could confirm this information. With how much science and technology can advance in one year, it begs the question of how much we can trust a twenty-year-old study…

On the other hand, raspberry oil is rich in vitamin E, which can partially absorb UV radiation. Therefore, using this oil in the summer is definitely not out of the question, although we should not rely on it 100%, but its other great properties include the fact that it is an antioxidant and slows down the skin aging process, which in the summer, when our skin is stressed more than any other time, we will certainly welcome you.

Carrot seed oil

Carrot seed oil is perhaps an even bigger problem. Not only can this oil be easily mistaken for carrot root oil, people often try to be concise, so you can also find the simplified name "carrot oil". This just confirms that we should thoroughly research labels and ingredients to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

However, even with carrot seed oil, there is no study confirming that it has an SPF of 38 to 40, as you can read somewhere. Apparently, these numbers are just a misinterpretation of information from one scientific article regarding the testing of natural sunscreens, where carrots were present, but together with other products, including zinc oxide.

However, according to a 2016 study, carrot seed oil actually has an SPF of 19. Even so, the use of this oil for tanning is not exactly realistic. It can be found on the market under the terms ethereal or essential, it is rather expensive, and in addition, it is not even allowed to apply it to the skin in its strong, undiluted state, so it is not exactly an ideal companion for sunbathing either.

Coconut oil and shea butter

You certainly use these oils quite regularly to nourish your skin, to remove make-up, as part of creams and other cosmetics... Therefore, it is understandable that if someone ever told you that they can also be used as UV protection, you jumped for joy. Yes, such a cosmetic product would be really amazing, in fact we could have just one bottle in our cosmetic bag that would be enough for everything.

Unfortunately, it's still somehow not enough - coconut oil has a proven SPF of about 7, shea butter around 6, and again, as with the previous ones, there is no study for these two oils that would confirm the possibility of using these two products as sunscreens. Products with such a low SPF will not protect us from UV radiation for very long, but as with raspberry oil, their use in summer is also recommended . They wonderfully hydrate and soften the skin and help it to overcome the summer stress.

You may also come across recommendations for other vegetable oils that "guaranteedly protect you from the dangerous sun", such as the aforementioned avocado oil or classic olive oil. These oils are also very nourishing and beneficial for the skin, but their SPF is also rather lower, so they are more suitable for classic skin care.


The solution is either to use proven mineral natural sunscreens or to make a homemade one, to which we can also add the above-mentioned oils, but do not forget to throw in a UV filter in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

And what role do these vegetable oils play in your cosmetics? What do you use them for?









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