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What Is Bronzing Oil?

Bronzing oil.
Bronzing oil is a safer alternative to using tanning beds.
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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Bronzing oil is a beauty product applied to the skin to instantly but temporarily simulate the appearance of a suntan, usually while also providing moisture. Many bronzing oil formulations also add a shimmery sheen to the skin. This oil is usually dispensed through a pump, a dropper, or a squeeze tube. It is important to note that most bronzing oils offer little or no protection from the sun.

While the exact description of bronzing oil can vary from one brand to another, most comprise a fairly thin yet creamy liquid that is golden brown in color. Many bronzing oils contain a ground mineral known as mica, found in many cosmetic products, which gives them a shimmery appearance. Further, as its name suggests, this product usually contains oils, some which may be derived from natural sources such as coconuts, and which can smooth and moisturize the skin.

The purpose of bronzing oil is to condition the skin while simultaneously giving it a “sun-kissed” appearance. Generally, the oil is applied directly over the area which the user wishes to treat using the fingers or a makeup sponge. It tints the skin instantly, an effect which, in most cases, lasts until the user washes the treated area. For the most natural appearance, the user should take care to avoid using excessive amounts of oil, ensure that the product is applied evenly, and exfoliate patches of rough or dry skin prior to oil application.

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It is possible to purchase bronzing oil in a few different types of packaging. Some oils are packaged in glass or hard plastic bottles and are dispensed through a dropper, a pump, or a sprayer. Others are packaged in squeezable plastic tubes. Determining which type of packaging is best is largely a matter of personal preference.

Many medical experts tout bronzing oil as well as other bronzing products as good alternatives to attempting to get a tan by exposing bare skin to the sun or using a tanning bed. Such practices expose the body to ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause skin damage and may increase one’s chance of developing skin cancer. Users of bronzing oil should note, however, that it is primarily a cosmetic product, and consequently it typically offers little or no protection from UV rays. Therefore, those who anticipate spending time in the sun should treat all exposed skin with sunscreen before applying bronzing oil.

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