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How to Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan: Steps for Perfect, Radiant Skin (2024)

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how to exfoliate before a spray tanNow, the big question: How does one exfoliate before a spray tan without looking streaky afterward? Fear not, my friend! We give you this guide to show you how to achieve that radiant, flawless glow.

From the timing of exfoliation to the right tools for it, everything is covered here.

Goodbye to blotchy tans; hello to a sun-kissed complexion that will leave everyone guessing you’ve just returned from the Bahamas.

Key Takeaways

  • Exfoliating before a spray tan is key for a streak-free, even glow.
  • Use an exfoliating mitt, dry brush, or body scrub 24 hours before your appointment, focusing on areas like elbows and knees.
  • Avoid using scented exfoliators, thick moisturizers, and shaving on the day of your tan.
  • Follow up with a gradual tanning lotion and gentle exfoliation routine to maintain your tan’s longevity.

How to Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan?

Exfoliate before a spray tan; this helps the tan look nice and even so you will glow. Do it 24 hours before with a soft, oil-free scrub or mitt to remove dead skin cells.

Take extra care of those dry areas like elbows, knees, and ankles. Be sure not to use any harsh chemicals, but go for something organic and fragrance-free instead.

Scrape off the old skin cells and shave 12 hours before exfoliation; this lessens skin irritation. Keep your skin smooth, and apply a light, fragrance-free moisturizer sparingly after exfoliating.

Follow these steps for a streak-free, flawless tan. Want more tips for that perfect spray tan? Stay tuned for detailed steps.

Importance of Exfoliating Before a Spray Tan

Importance of Exfoliating Before a Spray Tan
Exfoliation before a spray tan is essential. It helps remove dead skin cells, providing an even surface for the tanner to cling to. This promotes a streak-free application and ensures your tan lasts longer, as it won’t go patchy from sloughing off skin cells.

Common mistakes in exfoliating include applying heavy oils or lotions before exfoliation, which can block out the tan. Instead, use tools such as an exfoliating mitt or glove. Regular exfoliation helps keep skin sensitivity at bay and provides the perfect canvas for regular self-tanning.

Consider your skin type; you don’t want to over-exfoliate and irritate your skin. By prepping your skin correctly, you set yourself up for control over how the tanning application goes, so you get that picture-perfect glow.

Types of Exfoliation Suitable for Pre-Tan Prep

Types of Exfoliation Suitable for Pre-Tan Prep
The right kind of exfoliation is important for that flawless spray tan. Here’s the quick and dirty:

  1. Physical Exfoliation: Familiarize him with exfoliating scrubs that have gentle particles. Go for a scrub without harsh chemicals to avoid irritation.
  2. Mechanical Exfoliation: An exfoliating glove or dry brush is the best tool to remove dead cells from skin. This allows for complete and even exfoliation.
  3. Chemical Exfoliation: Products having AHA or BHA can break down dead skin cells pretty fast. Give a thought to the fact that they must be oil-free and not overly harsh on your skin.
  4. Exfoliating Scrub: Opt for an oil-free and non-greasy body scrub, so it’s easy to apply and delivers equal results everywhere.

Optimal Timing for Exfoliating Before a Spray Tan

Optimal Timing for Exfoliating Before a Spray Tan
Timing is everything, especially regarding exfoliation for the perfect spray tan. Exfoliating 24 hours before your spray tan gives your skin enough time to recover from possible irritation. This also allows the pores to close so that streaks and blotchiness are kept at bay.

Here’s a quick guide to help one stay on track:

Key Factor Recommended Timing
Exfoliation Frequency 24 hours prior to

This will leave your skin smooth and prepared to pick up the self-tanning product equally.

Pre-Tan Prep Steps: Shaving Vs. Exfoliating

Pre-Tan Prep Steps: Shaving Vs. Exfoliating
Now that you have exfoliated 24 hours before your spray tan, the remaining pre-tan prep steps are discussed below. Should you shave or exfoliate? In a nutshell, avoid any skin irritation that may affect the appearance of your tan.

Do not shave at least 12 hours before the appointment. This ensures adequate time for the skin to recover in case it encounters razor burn or any other type of irritation. Exfoliate 24 hours prior to give a smooth, even canvas of skin for the application of the tanning solution, avoiding streaks or patchiness.

Exfoliate with a light exfoliating mitt or tool—not too harsh. Just focus on the rough areas like elbows and knees. Avoid any products containing oils or fragrances, as these might affect the tanning process. With the proper pre-tan prep, you’ll have a flawless, glowing result.

Moisturizing Guidelines Before a Spray Tan

Moisturizing Guidelines Before a Spray Tan
Exfoliating and moisturizing before a spray tan is essential for an even, glowing result. Here’s how to keep your skin hydrated without affecting your tan:

  1. Fragrance-Free Options: Go for fragrance-free moisturizers to avoid skin irritation. Fragrance-free body lotion works quite well in such cases.
  2. Avoid Thick Moisturizers and Body Oils: These rich creams will prevent your skin from absorbing that color of tan evenly. Go for light, oil-free lotions instead.
  3. Apply Sparingly: Elbows, knees, ankles—all dry skin areas, in general. A light emulsion lotion might prevent patchiness and ensure the tan adheres appropriately.

Post-Exfoliation Care for Prolonged Tan Results

Post-Exfoliation Care for Prolonged Tan Results
After exfoliating, maintaining your tan requires a focused approach. Use a pH-balancing cleanser to maintain your skin’s natural barrier.

Opt for gentle exfoliation with small scrub particles to avoid irritation. Stick to a safe chemical exfoliant like AHA/BHA, only twice a week.

Hydrate daily with gradual tanning lotion, such as Vita Liberata, to even out dry patches. Post-tan, avoid scrubs with large particles which can ruin your tan. Keep shower times short, and limit exposure to chlorinated pools to prevent tan fading.

For ongoing maintenance, follow a regular but gentle exfoliation routine and embrace these maintenance tips to keep your skin glowing. Remember, consistency in care is key for a prolonged, radiant tan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can you use to exfoliate before a spray tan?

Use an exfoliating mitt, dry brush, or body scrub (avoid oils). Opt for circular motions in the shower. Focus on areas like elbows, knees, and ankles. Exfoliate 24 hours before the spray tan for best results.

What is the best way to prepare your skin for a spray tan?

Exfoliate your skin 24 hours before your spray tan appointment. Use a gentle physical scrub or dry brush to slough off dead cells, creating a smooth canvas for an even, long-lasting tan.

Do you shave or exfoliate first before spray tan?

Exfoliate first to get rid of dead skin cells. This is best done in the shower using circular motions with an exfoliating mitt. Then, shaving 12 hours before your spray tan will give you a smooth, even base for your tan.

Should you exfoliate before fake tan?

Always exfoliate your skin before applying a fake tan. This helps remove dead skin cells and can further guarantee that the application will be perfect without streaks and patches. Do it 24 hours before on smooth, prepared skin for best results.

Can you exfoliate on the day of your spray tan?

Do not exfoliate your skin on the same day you get a spray tan; do it 24 hours before. This allows your skin time to recover from the process and gives you an even, longer-lasting tan.

Is it okay to use scented exfoliators before a tan?

Avoid using scented exfoliators before a spray tan. They often contain oils or chemicals, which can interfere with the tan’s absorption and lead to uneven results. Stick to fragrance-free products for best outcomes.

Should I exfoliate areas with tattoos before tanning?

Yes, you should exfoliate areas with tattoos before tanning. This helps remove dead skin cells, ensuring an even tan. Use a gentle exfoliant and circular motions to protect the tattoo while preparing your skin.

Are there any exfoliators to avoid before tanning?

Avoid exfoliators with oils, fragrances, or harsh chemicals before tanning, as they can interfere with the application and longevity of your spray tan. Opt for gentle, oil-free physical exfoliants instead for best results.

How can exfoliating affect sensitive skin?

Exfoliating is only going to irritate further or turn sensitive skin red. Use gentle, fragrance-free physical exfoliants and avoid harsh chemicals as much as possible. Always patch-test the new products to ensure they won’t cause adverse reactions. Then, hydrate your skin.


Exfoliate your whole body to change the way you tan. You’d know how to exfoliate before a spray tan, giving that tantalizingly even glow.

Keep in mind the proper use of exfoliants and perfect timing. Remember always: Shave first, Exfoliate second, and Moisturize smartly so that the tan lasts longer and is smoother.

Now that you’re armed with these steps, prepare to stun in a faultless, streak-free spray tan. No blotches—only bronzed brilliance!

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.