How to Get a Spray Tan Off & Remove it Properly

woman in shower

Self-tanner should ordinarily last no longer than 5-10 days because of the ways tanning and our skin work.

Despite this, spray tan can get a bit persistent at times and hang around a bit longer. Unfortunately, this tends to be in patches and streaks.

On the flip side, this is actually good news as it can be an indicator that your skin is in good shape and is hydrated enough because it isn’t shedding dead skin cells as often.

Getting spray tan off of your hands and feet can be particularly difficult, more so than the rest of your body, so more effort might be required when dealing with those.

Luckily, there are several methods that can be tried to remove spray tan; essentially all the things you shouldn’t do just after tanning to preserve said tan, which I will cover in depth below.

Take a Bath or Shower

Taking a bath or shower may not seem like enough but it usually is. It especially helps if the water is warm to soften the outermost layer of your skin causing the solution to slough off quicker along with dead skin cells.  

Use an Exfoliator

Warm water from a shower or bath helps loosen up the top layer of your skin. Using an organic scrub removes the buildup of dead skin cells from the epidermis – the outermost layer of your skin, and is one of the most effective and efficient ways to get rid of spray tan.

You can simply do this with your hands, a sponge, or an exfoliating mitt. Adding some lemon juice would be a good idea for a persistent spray tan.  

We Recommend: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant

Tan Remover

Tan remover is a great choice because it’s been created for exactly that in mind – removing tan! With that in mind I’d like to talk about our personal favorite –

The best spray tan remover currently available on the market is the St. Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Remover Mousse. It is affordable, suitable for sensitive skin, and is able to remove even the darkest tans in just a couple of minutes.

Moreover, this one comes in the form of a luxurious foam with a hydrating formula and, on top of that, it smells fantastic thanks to the detoxifying cotton extract it’s infused with.

The probiotics it has help balance the pH levels in your skin leaving you with a perfectly clean slate for your next spray tan.  

DIY Tan Removing Exfoliant

Buttermilk combined with oats makes a great natural exfoliant. All you need is two tablespoons of oatmeal and 3-4 tablespoons of buttermilk for a thick consistency. Simply massage this into your skin for 5-10 minutes then rinse off during your shower.

Otherwise, sugar is another natural ingredient that makes for an effective exfoliant. Some cane or granulated sugar mixed with a few drops of water would create a paste that you can use.

Adding some lavender oil or any other preferred essential oil is a nice way to achieve the ultimate pampering, or coconut oil instead of water for extra hydration.

Use Baby Oil

Oil is a great way to remove dead skin for the simple reason that it doesn’t strip your skin of any of its natural oils and doesn’t leave you dehydrated.

Any oil that can be used to get a natural tan could also work to remove fake tan. This includes coconut oil, olive oil, and baby oil.

All you need to do is leave it on for about 10 minutes and then use an exfoliating mitt in the shower. It is important not to leave the oil on for longer than ten minutes, as this can cause the old tan to sort of ‘lock in’ instead.  

Exercise, Sweat, & Swim

Exercising, swimming, and sweating are all things that are usually recommended to avoid when wanting to preserve a spray tan, which is precisely why it’s the perfect thing to do to get self-tanner off. So, head to the gym, go for a run, sit in a sauna, or go for a swim.

It’s a great excuse to do something healthy. It would be better to swim in a pool rather than other bodies of water because the chlorine can help break down any of the remaining fake tan in your skin. For more on if and how a spray tan comes off in a pool check here – does spray tan come off in a pool?

Keep Hydrated & Moisturize

Keep yourself hydrated by drinking a lot of water and regularly moisturizing your skin, especially at your hand and feet which can be the most difficult.

When the skin is kept moisturized, it can slough off dead skin cells and renew at a faster rate, so the old spray tan will be off in no time.

We Recommend: Awake Human Facial Moisturizer

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