How to Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan?

woman exfoliating

All tanning enthusiasts know that spray tan is the most effective way to achieve a dark and glowing tanned look. While spray tan is convenient and affordable, it is vital to prep your skin for the solution by exfoliating.

Are you wondering how to exfoliate and which spray tan exfoliator to use? Read on to learn everything about prepping your skin for the spray tan appointment. 

Why Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan?

Whether you are only starting your tanning journey now or are already a seasoned enthusiast, you might have already read about preparing your skin for tanning. Most people will suggest you exfoliate before spray tan, but why is it important? Here are a few reasons for that:

Unclog Pores:

The pores of your skin get clogged when you use different products like deodorants, cream, makeup, and even sweat. You need to periodically remove the buildup in the pores to avoid acne and blemishes.

Exfoliating the skin will remove it and cleanse the skin pores, giving you flawless skin. 

Give Base for Spray Tan:

A spray tan can give you a smooth tan quickly, but only if your skin is prepared properly. If not, you can end up with a patchy and streaky tan. If your skin is smooth and even, it will be able to hold the spray tan solution well.

Exfoliating can also remove the dead skin cells from the top layer of the epidermis, which gives you fresh skin that can more effectively hold the tan. 

Smooth and Soft Skin:

The falling of dead skin cells is a natural process; however, it doesn’t happen with consistency. You might end up with dead cells that stick to your skin because of the many products you use. Hence, exfoliating helps gently remove these cells and gives you glowing and smooth skin.

How Can You Exfoliate Before Spray Tan?

While you might have been exfoliating your skin for years, you need to be extra careful when it comes to preparing for a spray tan. If your aim is to achieve a flawless spray tan, you can follow these steps if you’re wondering how to exfoliate skin before spray tan appointment:

Soak Up:

When you start prepping your skin, the first step for you is soaking yourself up. You must take a warm shower or sit in the bathtub for around 20 minutes. Adding essential oils might also help you relax more.

Steam from the warm shower will soften your skin and also open the clogged pores. The moisture in your skin is necessary for easy and efficient exfoliation.

If you need to shave your skin before tanning, this will be the ideal time to do that. 


The main step is to finally exfoliate the skin using a loofah, scrubbing glove, scrub, or sponge. You need to minimize the build of oil before tanning, so avoid using oil-based exfoliators for your skin. If you’re searching for a natural exfoliator, you can use salt, sugar, or even coffee as per Healthline.

Take into consideration the dry areas of your body like elbows, knees, and feet. You can go up from the feet while scrubbing in a circular motion. Be gentle around the sensitive areas such as the bikini area, chest, and underarms.

Avoid using harsh chemical products since they can severely hamper your skin. The best exfoliator before spray tan is an organic product free of chemicals. 


After you have gently exfoliated your skin properly, you can use a mild product to cleanse your skin. This step will remove all the residue and keep your skin clean. 


Post that, pat your skin dry in a gentle manner. Make sure you don’t rub your skin harshly since it can irritate the delicate skin. Apply an organic moisturizer all over your body to hydrate it.

Stay away from lotions or creams that contain parabens, alcohol, or mineral oils. You can apply more moisturizer in areas that tend to be drier, such as joints. 

Cover Up:

Lastly, you can wear full pants and shirts with long sleeves to conceal and protect the moisture. This will ensure that your skin is fully protected.

Avoid using any product like moisturizer or deodorant on the day of the appointment, as it can impact how your skin can hold the tanning solution. It is wise to go with bare skin.  

What Is the Ideal Time to Exfoliate?

Besides knowing how to exfoliate, it is also pivotal to know the right time for it. Ideally, 24 hours before the spray tan appointment is the right time to use the exfoliator. It preps the skin for the tan, and the gap gives your skin enough time to settle down.  

Don’t exfoliate the same day as the tanning appointment. Your skin is sensitive after exfoliating, and the spray tan solution can adversely impact your skin.   

Related Questions:

What to Use to Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan?

You can use any natural or organic product to exfoliate your skin prior to spray tan. While you can use common ingredients available at home like sugar, salt, or coffee, you can even opt for exfoliating scrubs available in the market.

Make sure the exfoliator you use before tanning is gentle on your skin and doesn’t contain oil, parabens, or alcohol. 

Can I Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan?

No, it is ideal not to exfoliate right before a spray tan as it makes your skin sensitive. You must try to give a gap of at least 24 hours before exfoliating and your appointment for spray tanning. If you exfoliate right before the tan, it might irritate your sensitive skin and also affect the buildup of tan. 

How Do I Prep My Skin for a Spray Tan?

It is vital to prepare your skin to ensure you can get a smooth and dark spray tan. You can start 24 hours before the appointment by exfoliating your skin after a steamy shower. If you need to shave your skin to remove unwanted hair, you can do it during this stage.

After that, moisturize your skin well to nourish it enough so that it can hold the solution and develop into a dark tan. 

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