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How to Get Rid of a Spray Tan

Updated on February 22, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a Library Media Specialist in an elementary school.


The Best Way to Get Rid of a Spray Tan

I have never had a bad spray tan experience, however, I know people who have. In some cases, they weren't shown how to apply the barrier cream properly to prevent excess solution build-up in dry areas and places where the skin creases. Another reason was that they did not know to dry off completely, immediately after the spray tan, which left excess solution sitting on the skin, causing streaks or splotchy areas to appear within a few hours.

There are products available for purchase from a tanning salon that are designed to remove a spray tan. However, the best way to get rid of a spray tan, is to scrub your skin thoroughly, as soon after getting the spray tan as possible. By doing this, skin cells will be removed, as well as the spray tan solution that was absorbed into the first layer of skin. If left alone, the skin cells will shed naturally over a period of several days, and the tan will diminish gradually each day. However, by following the tips below, your spray tan will be removed more quickly.

The Human Skin Cells Shed Naturally

Many people do not realize that human skin is an organ; it is actually the largest organ we have. It accounts for about 5% of our body weight and it is has two main layers, the epidermis and the derm. The outer layer is the epidermis and it is composed of 20-30 layers of skin cells. Some parts of the body such as our heels, contain the larger number of layers because the skin is thicker. We lose thousands of our skin cells each day, as they are continuously being replaced by new ones. According to Discovery Fit & Health, we lose between 30 to 40 thousand skin cells an hour, and up to 1 million per day. And according to, we lose about 40 pounds of skin during our lifetime. That is amazing!

How a Spray Tan Solution Works

According to Discovery Fit & Health, all sunless spray tan solutions contain DHA, which is a natural ingredient, a colorless sugar derived from plants. It has been deemed safe by the FDA for half a century and is used to treat skin disorders and is also an ingredient in many cosmetic products. This ingredient causes the skin to turn darker, giving a tanned appearance. It can take several hours for the DHA to produce the darkened skin after applied. In addition to DHA, some spray tan solutions contain a bronzing dye which will wash off when showering; this dye gives the appearance of a tan immediately after the spray. Spray tan solutions also contain aloe vera and moisturizers as well, keeping the skin moist and less likely to shed dead skin cells quickly. Gradually as the skin cells shed, the dark skin cells are removed.

Tips for Removing a Spray Tan

  • Shower as soon as possible after getting the spray tan.
  • Use an abrasive sponge or washing glove, such as the exfoliating glove shown above, to gently scrub your skin.
  • Dry off thoroughly after showering.
  • Use an exfoliator, such as sugar scrub in addition to soap.
  • Shower twice a day and scrub each time, as described above.
  • Do not use a moisturizer between showers.
  • If only small areas of the skin are splotchy or darker than the rest of the skin, simply scrub those areas only.

Products You Can Purchase to Remove a Spray Tan

Removing a Spray Tan

Have You Ever Tried to Remove a Spray Tan?

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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks so much eHealer. I think I read it back twenty times before I hit the publish button. The skin is really amazing.

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Rosie, great hub and so well written. I love the thorough explanation of how the skin works. I thought I was overweight, now I know I just have too much heavy skin!! Lol. Great hub and congrats on a job well done!