How to Remove Self Tanner: 5 DIY TIps

If you’ve ever applied self-tanner before, you know how quickly it can go wrong. Maybe you missed a spot or went too heavy on one area. Or maybe your tan is starting to fade in an uneven way. Whatever the reason, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to tackle this task at home if you need to start over. 

Read ahead for expert advice on how to remove self tanner.

What is Self-Tanner?

Self-tanner is a cosmetic product used to give the appearance of a tan without the harmful effects of sun exposure. It typically comes in the form of a lotion, spray, or mousse containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids on the skin’s surface to produce a temporary brown pigment. Self-tanner usually lasts between 5 to 10 days depending on the product and the individual’s skin type.

When Should You Remove Self-Tanner?

There are many reasons why someone might want to remove self-tanner. Perhaps the color has become too dark, too orange, or too patchy. Maybe you’re getting ready for a special event and want a fresh start. Or perhaps you simply want to go back to your natural skin tone. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know when to remove self-tanner.

The best time to remove self-tanner is when it starts to fade unevenly or becomes too dark. If you wait too long, the process may become more difficult, and you may have to use harsher methods to remove it. In general, it’s a good idea to remove self-tanner every 7 to 10 days to avoid buildup and achieve an even application.

How to Remove Self-Tanner at home

Tip 1: Use Exfoliating Products

One of the most effective ways to remove self-tanner is to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliating products like scrubs, loofahs, and dry brushing can help to slough off dead skin cells and remove the top layer of the self-tanner. This will help to lighten the color and even out any patchiness.

To use an exfoliating product, simply apply it to wet skin in a circular motion, focusing on the areas where the self-tanner has built up. Be gentle to avoid irritation, and avoid using harsh chemical exfoliants that may damage your skin.

Tip 2: Try Self-Tan Removal Products

There are many self-tan removal products available on the market that can help to dissolve and remove self-tanner. These products usually contain ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or urea, which break down the DHA pigment and help to lighten the color.

To use a self-tan removal product, apply it to dry skin and leave it on for the recommended amount of time. Then, rinse it off with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and test the product on a small area of skin before using it all over your body.

Tip 3: Use Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Baking soda and lemon juice are both natural ingredients that can help to remove self-tanner. Baking soda acts as a gentle exfoliator, while lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps to lighten the color.

To use this method, mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice to create a paste. Apply the paste to your skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rinse it off with warm water and gently pat your skin dry.

Tip 4: Take a Hot Bath

Taking a hot bath can help to soften the self-tanner and make it easier to remove. The steam from the bath can also help to open up your pores, allowing you to exfoliate more effectively.

To use this method, fill your bathtub with hot water and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, use an exfoliating product or a loofah to gently scrub your skin. Be sure to moisturize after your bath to avoid dryness.

Tip 5: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another natural ingredient that can help to lighten self-tanner. It works by breaking down the DHA pigment and making it easier to remove.

To use this method, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto your skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rinse it off with warm water and gently pat your skin dry.

Pros and Cons of Removing Self-Tanner


  • Removes unwanted self tanner effectively
  • Allows for a fresh start with an even application
  • Can help to avoid buildup and patchiness


  • May require several attempts to fully remove the self-tanner
  • Some methods may be harsh on the skin or cause irritation
  • Removing self-tanner too often can dry out your skin

Alternatives to Self-Tanner Removal

Alternative 1: Cover It Up

One of the easiest ways to deal with unwanted self-tanner is to cover it up. You can do this by wearing long sleeves, pants, or dresses with tights. Alternatively, you can use makeup or a body concealer to camouflage any uneven areas.

Alternative 2: Embrace It

If your self-tanner isn’t too dark or patchy, you may be able to embrace it and make it work. Consider using a bronzer or highlighter to enhance your tan and give it a more natural look. You can also try applying a gradual tanning lotion to even out any streaks or patches.

Alternative 3: Wait It Out

Finally, if you’re not in a rush to remove your self-tanner, you can simply wait it out. Self-tanner typically fades within a week or two, depending on how dark it is and how well you care for your skin. In the meantime, be sure to moisturize regularly and avoid exfoliating too harshly.


  1. Is it safe to remove self-tanner at home? Yes, it’s generally safe to remove self-tanner at home as long as you follow the instructions carefully and avoid using harsh chemicals or tools.
  2. How long does it take to remove self-tanner? The time it takes to remove self-tanner depends on the method you use and how much self-tanner you need to remove. In general, it may take several attempts to fully remove the self-tanner.
  3. Can I use a body scrub to remove self-tanner? Yes, a body scrub can be an effective way to remove self-tanner. Be sure to choose a gentle product that won’t damage your skin.
  4. Will lemon juice lighten my skin permanently? No, lemon juice will not permanently lighten your skin. However, it may cause temporary dryness or irritation if used too frequently.
  5. How often should I remove self-tanner? It’s a good idea to remove self-tanner every 7 to 10 days to avoid buildup and achieve an even application.

Final Takeaway

Removing self-tanner doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tips and alternatives, you can easily lighten the color and achieve a fresh start. Remember to be gentle with your skin and follow the instructions carefully to avoid irritation or damage. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to embrace your self-tanner and make it work for you.