You’re probably here because you’re trying to remove self-tanner or bronzing lotion from your skin. Whether you have an uneven tan or just turned out a little darker than you like, here are some methods you can try to remove the color from your skin. We’ll start off with a quick summary of how bronzing agents work before diving into the different methods to try.
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- 1 How Bronzing Lotions Work
- 2 Tips to Get Started
- 3 Methods for Removing Tanning Color
- 4 Remedies to Try
How Bronzing Lotions Work
Bronzing lotions have ingredients that color your skin by staining or darkening the very top layers of your skin. Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the most common bronzing agent found in tanning lotions. The top layers of your skin mostly have old, dead skin cells, which DHA binds with to give your skin that color change.
Tips to Get Started
Remember that everyone is different. You may have used a different product or let it sit for a longer time. Here are some tips for getting the best and quickest attempts at removing that color.
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You’re frantic to get that color off. It looks terrible and you wish you’d never done it in the first place. It’s tempting to scrub yourself as hard as you can, but you’re really only going to irritate your skin in the process.
You might also leave your skin looking even worse and patchy in places you tried to scrub too hard.
If your first try doesn’t work and you scrubbed yourself raw, your skin is going to be too sensitive to try another product. Be gentle from the beginning so you can give yourself multiple tries.
Try, Try Again
It might not work the first time. If you’re gentle on your skin, you can give your body time to recover and shed older layers of skin. Then you can go back for another try to lighten your color.
Soak in a Hot Bath
This is probably one of the best things you can do to help get the dead layers of your skin off. The longer and hotter you can handle it, the more your skin will soften and the better you’ll exfoliate.
Use a Korean Italy Towel
If you haven’t heard of these things, they are amazing for exfoliating. Your skin feels as soft as a baby’s when you’re done with this. After you take a long, hot bath like recommended above, you might be shocked to see how much skin comes off your body.
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Methods for Removing Tanning Color
Since the color is just on the top of your skin, you can usually remove the color by exfoliating with the right cleanser. How easily it comes off depends on how dark and set your tan is. It may take you several tries with different options before finding one that works for you. The methods range from mild to more abrasive. Remember to take it easy with the exfoliation so you don’t irritate your skin.
This is going to be the main way you’re going to get that color off. Coupled with any of the products recommended below, you’re sure to see your color lighten up. Use your favorite exfoliating scrub combined with any of the remedies recommended below. We highly recommend a long, hot soak and a Korean Italy towel to get the best results. The great thing about this method is that you can exfoliate your entire body and face.
In really severe cases, you may want to consider a very mild body bleaching cream. Some tanning remover products also have mild bleaching agents in them to help lighten and brighten the color of your skin.
We always recommend trying natural or more gentle remedies before resorting to bleach. Each of the products below work in different ways, so it’s worth trying several of those before turning to bleaching. Read the product labels to see if this can be used safely on or near your face.
Remedies to Try
This tip is a complement to taking a hot bath. Oil helps moisturize and soften your skin, which will help it exfoliate. Apply oil all over your body and let it absorb into your skin before hopping into a long bath or shower. Once you’re done, go ahead with trying to exfoliate with the other remedies on the list.
Lemon juice is a natural way to brighten your skin tone. The citric acid in lemons can help lift color away from your skin. Rub the lemon on your tan before you start exfoliating. Freshly exfoliated skin is the last thing you want to put lemons on. You can also follow up a lemon juice brightening with a baking soda scrub. As a natural ingredient, lemon juice is safe to use on your face, too, but watch out for any open or dry skin.
As a versatile cleaning agent and naturally abrasive compound, a homemade baking soda scrub might do the trick for your color. It’s mild and can be a great addition to another solution or scrub to help exfoliate your skin.
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Using vinegar is along the same lines as using lemon juice to remove your color. The mild acidity in both lemon juice and vinegar could do the trick of lightening your tan. Like the lemon juice, apply this before you exfoliate after your hot soak.
This is a weird one but it’s worth a shot. Toothpaste is mildly abrasive, which makes it a good choice for use as an exfoliant. Whitening toothpaste also has very mild whitening agents that may help lighten up your skin.
Like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide finds its way around the home for many uses. It’s commonly used as an antiseptic to kill bacteria in wounds. Its bleaching and oxidizing powers are used to clean around the home. And now, you can use it to try lightening your skin. Use this like lemon juice or vinegar and rub it on your skin before starting to exfoliate.
(image from onehowto.com)
If none of the home remedies fail, go for using an off-the-shelf tan remover. They’re designed exactly for what you’re trying to do, remove your self-tanner. Different products use different ingredients to do what they say. Some also contain bleaching agents to help lighten your skin, too. Some are exfoliating scrubs while others work their magic without the scrubbing. Look into which product best fits your situation.