Exfoliation And Sunless Tanner: Friends Or Foes?

by Gio

how to exfoliate without fading away your self-tanner

Would you rather have a tan and blemishes or no tan and flawless skin?

I know, you want both.

But, there’s only one safe way to get a tan: from a bottle.

And, unless you’ve won the genetic lottery, you’ll have to exfoliate your skin to keep those blemishes away.

Sunless tanners and exfoliants don’t always play well together. Sunless tanners give you a gorgeous sunkissed glow (or a lovely Oompa Loompa shade of orange if you pick the wrong bottle) and exfoliants strip it all way.

So, is there really no way to make them play nice with each other? Let’s see what we can try:

Exfoliation Before Self-Tanner = Even Tan

Don’t exfoliate your skin just after applying self-tan. That’s a no-no. It’ll just take some of the colour away immediately.

(But if the colour is too muddy, too orange, or too patchy, do exfoliate away!).

But before sunless tanner? That’s a must, gorgeous.

Exfoliation gets rid of all those patches of skin cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin. Keep those there and you’ll end up with an unflattering, uneven tan. Take them all away and you’ll get the smooth, even tan you crave.

Related: How To Find The Best Exfoliator For Your Skin Type

Exfoliation After Self-Tanner = Faster Tan Removal

Sunless tanners only stain the top layers of your skin.

When you dead cells slough off, they’ll carry your fake tan away with them.

This is something that happens naturally as our skin exfoliates on its own. But, as we get older, our skin can’t so this as well anymore.

That’s where exfoliation comes in. It gives your skin a helping hand and speeds up the process. That means, it’ll make your skin softer, smoother, and brighter.

And, it’ll make your fake tan fade faster too.

That’s why brands like to test how well their exfoliant work on sunless tanned skin. The quicker that fake tan goes away, the more powerful the exfoliant is.

But that doesn’t mean you can skip exfoliation, gorgeous.

There’s no point in having a nice tan if your skin is dull and tarnished with blemishes, is it?

Related: 4 DIY Ways To Fix Self-Tan Disasters

How To Exfoliate Without Fading Away Your Tan

Ok, so what can you do to get sunless tanners and exfoliants get along?

Exfoliate less often. Two or three times a week is enough to get clearer and brighter skin. It also won’t make your tan disappear as quickly.

Best of both worlds, basically.

If you use self-tanners, how often do you exfoliate? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Monica P September 10, 2013 - 3:54 pm

I probably exfoliate before application, but then don’t bother after that. Plus, I’m a lazy sunless tanner .. once I get the desired color, I stop .. until it fades then start again. I’m not good at maintenance.


beautifulwithbrains September 10, 2013 - 9:11 pm

Monica, I think beforehand exfoliation is a must or you’ll risk a patchy application. But afterwards, it’s a matter of finding your own balance. If your skin exfoliates well on its own, there may be no need to help the process. And maintenance can be a chore, can’t it?


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