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Can I use Baby Oil and Iodine For Tanning?

What’s your best-kept beauty secret? Is it that castor oil makes your eyelashes long, thick, and lustrous?

Perhaps you use a thick coat of Vaseline on your face each night to prevent wrinkles and lock in moisture like Marilyn Monroe used to.

Maybe you use a blend of baby oil and iodine to achieve that beautiful summer tan every year? This baby oil and iodine tanning mixture has been popular for years, possibly stemming back into the ‘40s.

But how beneficial is this method? Does it work? Will it lead to more skin damage down the line? Continue reading to find out.

Is Using Baby Oil and Iodine for Tanning Effective?

The oil in baby oil moisturizes the skin. It also attracts the sun, which is why many women in the ’40s and ’50s used it when tanning. It works as a reflector and intensifies the UV rays penetrating your skin.

This baby oil mixture also allows the sun’s rays to sink deeper into the skin, tanning the skin to an even darker and richer shade than it can achieve on its own.

So, is it effective?

Yes. However, this doesn’t mean it’s safe when there are so many safer alternatives on the market nowadays.

applying skincare

Is this Baby Oil and Iodine Mix Bad for Your Skin?

Spending too much time in the sun without proper protection is indeed bad for your skin. It can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and has even been linked to skin cancer.

Therefore, you should limit the amount of time you’re spending outdoors, if possible. Slathering the baby oil and iodine mixture has the potential to make your skin worse. If you must be outside, wear a hat and sunscreen to limit these harmful impacts.

When purposefully tanning by the pool, avoid products that draw the sun in. However, if you want to use these to tan, wear sunscreen in tandem with oil made explicitly for tanning.

The History of Baby Oil and Iodine As A Tanner

Tanned skin has been sought after all throughout the last century. There was a period of history where people looked down on you, as a tan signified that you spent most of your time outdoors working and tending to the fields.

However, as more affluent people began to purchase vacation homes in places like Florida, it no longer held the same connotation.

A recent study revealed that more people on dating sites found a tan attractive. The study published photos of various women — one would be taken with their natural complexion. The other photo contained an image of them with a doctored tan.

Researchers found that the doctored photos scored better. The tanned skin implied that the woman was healthy and more active.

Other Safe Ways to Tan

The baby oil and iodine mixture is ancient. Don’t risk slathering it onto your skin. If you wish to achieve a darker shade, here are alternate ways to achieve that golden brown hue without causing your skin to burn to a crisp.

Spray Tanning

Spray tans can give you the most natural sun-less result. Get one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone for the best results.

Self Tanning

You can also get more tan from the comfort of your own home. Buy a foam product as these are easy to spread evenly on the surface of the skin.

Apply this product at home with a glove. Then, wait for 8 to 10 hours for the product to develop and reveal the final color.


If you’re looking to give your face a natural glow, wear bronzer instead. Buy a shade without specs of glitter for the best results. Use this product on your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose.

You can also apply the powder all over your face for a more dramatic effect.

Value Suncare Over Tanning

This isn’t merely a cosmetic issue. When you’re exposing yourself to harsh UV rays, this also a matter of your overall health! Therefore, if you wish to have skin, you’re proud of in ten, fifteen, and even twenty years, follow this skincare regimen.

sunscreen lotion

Apply SPF When Leaving the House

You don’t have to be spending a prolonged amount of time camping or swimming underneath the hot sun to wear sunscreen. You should wear SPF every day, even if it’s cloudy outside! Look for a face lotion that’s over 30 SPF.

Use one formulated for your skin type. For example, if your skin is oily, use a matte formulation to prevent you from looking like an oil slick!

If your skin is dry, use a nourishing formula infused with skin-loving oils like rosehip or jojoba.

The skin on your body isn’t as sensitive, so you won’t have to be as strict when selecting a lotion.

Do Touch-Ups

Carry some mineralized SPF powder in your bag in case your sunscreen wears off throughout the day. At night, make sure to wash it off, so it doesn’t clog your pores.

Safe Ways to Use Baby Oil

Just because baby oil can’t serve your skin under the sun, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other ways. Since it’s an oil-based product, you can also use it to remove eye makeup.

Use it to shave or wax. Alternatively, you can use it as a cuticle oil to nourish the skin around your nails after a manicure.

As you can see, you don’t need to throw the baby oil out — just find new and better uses for it!