Self-Tanner FAQs

You’ve heard your dermatologist warn about the risks associated with sunbathing without proper sunscreen coverage. With that in mind, you might be considering other options, like self-tanning lotion, to achieve that sun-kissed glow as you throw on that sleeveless shirt and shorts for the first time in months. If you’re new to self-tanning, here are some tips to help you achieve the safest and best results.

Can I shave or wax after applying self-tanner?

Shaving or waxing can remove self-tanner, so make sure you shave or wax first, not after. If you wax, we recommend doing that 48 hours before applying self-tanner to avoid experiencing skin irritation.

What else do I do before applying self-tanner?

While you’re in the shower shaving, take a coarse scrub and exfoliate your skin. You need to scrape off any dead, dull skin, because the self-tanner will soak into dry skin and give you an uneven complexion. Make sure you dry off thoroughly before applying the tanner.

What if I mess up? How can I remove my self-tanner?

If you accidentally apply self-tanner unevenly, you can use lemon juice to remove the splotches and try again. Simply squeeze the juice from a lemon onto your skin and then rub it gently with a damp towel.

After I apply my tanner, how long do I wait before dressing or showering?

Let the product sink in for about 15 minutes before getting dressed to avoid the tanner staining your clothes. Do not go in water or shower for 6 to 8 hours after applying your self-tanner.

Will my self-tanner show up right away?

Applying self-tanner will darken your skin immediately, but if the change seems too slight, do not continue to apply layers! Your tan will keep getting darker for the next 10 hours as the active ingredients react with the outer layer of your skin.

Will my other products interfere with my self-tanning product?

Many products can cause your tan to fade, so use products more sparingly than you would normally. Products to avoid include exfoliators, products with acne medication like salicylic acid, and toners with alcohol. Perfumes and bug sprays can also cause your tan to fade faster when sprayed directly onto the skin, so spray a cloud and walk through it.

Can I put self-tanner on my face?

Yes, but you should only use a dime-size amount, and you might need to choose a different formula than what you’ve used on your body.

Can I use self-tanner if I have a skin condition like eczema?

You can use self-tanner if you have eczema, but you must take extra care. Not only will your eczema make applying the tanner evenly more difficult, but the tanner might irritate your sensitive skin. Look for self-tanner formulated specifically for sensitive skin or dilute your tanner with lotion. If you have extremely dry patches, you can apply a layer of Vaseline before your tanner.

How can I make my self-tanner last longer?

There are certain products, like Tan-Luxe Tan Booster, that can prolong the appearance of your tan.

Will self-tanner have any long-term consequences?

Some studies have shown that the main chemical in a lot of self-tanners, DHA, can cause some oxidative stress, which accelerates the appearance of aging. Look for a self-tanner without DHA. But everyone’s skin responds differently to products, so if you have dermatology concerns, contact the skincare experts at Coastal Dermatology & Surgery Center.