Golden Goddess: Coconut Oil for Tanning , 0 Comments

By now, we all know the cardinal rules of safe sun-bathing: wear toxin-free sunscreen, limit exposure during peak hours, and properly treat your skin pre- and post-tanning (exfoliate beforehand, moisturize afterwards). But while there are plenty of options for organic sunscreens these days (COOLA, Badger, and Raw Elements, to name a few), I have been itching for something to replace my once-beloved Maui Babe Browning Lotion (mineral oil is the first ingredient, and I eventually made the connection between that and my irritated skin). After a prompt from a vegan friend of mine, I decided to try something so simple, I was surprised I hadn't thought of it before... coconut oil.

I apply the oil directly to my skin, and only use it when I am outdoors before 11 AM and after 4 PM. My fair, sensitive skin doesn't break out, turn blotchy, or burn! In fact, I have achieved a gorgeously bronzed tone of skin that has hitherto never been seen on my body. And as it turns out, coconut oil has been used for centuries by islanders and those living in tropical climates. Coconut oil has a naturally-occurring SPF factor (though it is not very high, which is why I don't use it when the sun is at its strongest), and emollient and healing properties to benefit the skin. It also helps to repel insects, so mosquitoes and pesky horse flies won't be a bother on the beach this year. While I have long used coconut oil as a moisturizer (especially for pampering my feet while I sleep), I never before thought to use it when I'm lounging poolside. This is also a great option for those looking to save some money, as a jar of coconut oil can cost as little as $5, and easily last you through the summer season.

Of course, not just any old coconut oil will do. To reap the benefits of the fatty acids that are responsible for moisturizing and protecting the skin, your coconut oil must not have been heated during processing. Look for words like 'unrefined,' 'raw', 'pure,' and 'virgin' to make sure that you're getting the proper sort. As always, we recommend going the organic route. Here's to beautifully browned skin, the natural way! (Oh, and if you didn't know, the coconut oil will also make you smell delicious. Now excuse us while we get somebody handsome to help us out with applying ours...)

- Maria Vasylivna