Home Remedies to Remove a Self Tanner


A sunless tan might save your skin from exposure to harmful UV radiation, but it might not always turn out as you hoped. When the color is a touch too dark or slightly streaky, you can fix it by removing the tanner. A few creative homemade concoctions can restore your skin to its natural color.


  • Before your next self-tanning session, use an exfoliator to slough away dead skin cells, which can make an even tan difficult to achieve. Focus the exfoliating especially on rough areas, including the knees, elbows and feet. Once your skin is prepped, apply the self-tanner in sections, massaging it into your skin in a circular motion.

Self-Tanning Basics

Self-tanner lotions typically use dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, as a color additive. DHA can temporarily darken your skin to create a sun-kissed tan, minus the sun. While self-tanning offers many benefits for your skin, application of these products can be tricky, especially if you're a first-timer. As a result, you might be left wanting to erase that self-tanner as soon as you apply it.

Make a Whitening Paste

Lightening your skin is the key to erasing a dark, DHA-created faux tan. Head to the pantry and create a paste using warm water and baking soda, and effective skin lightener. Mix the two ingredients until they work into a thick paste that you can easily slather onto your skin. Massage the paste into the tanned areas you want to fade, and then wipe it off.


  • If you have a whitening toothpaste on hand, dab some onto your too-tan skin, work it in and rinse it away to remove the self-tanner.

Grab a Lemon

Lemon's acidic properties can work to lighten a faux tan and bring your skin back to its natural tone. Cut a lemon in half, and rub the inside of the lemon on those streaky or too-dark areas. Massage the lemon onto the affected areas until you notice that the color is lifting. Afterwards, give your skin a good cleanse to remove any sticky, leftover residue. This lemon trick is best used to target small patches of self-tanned skin.

Apply Some Lotion

Moisturizing can lighten your color and help blend a splotchy tan. If you notice some areas are darker than others and you want to lighten them, make sure those dark spots stay extra moisturized with a lightweight lotion. After a couple of days of serious moisturizing, those dark spots will disappear.

Take a Soak

To fade overall color, draw a warm bath and add a couple capsful of moisturizing baby oil. Relax in the tub about 20 minutes and let the baby oil work into your skin and lift that faux glow. You'll step out of the tub looking much lighter than when you stepped in.


  • White vinegar is another acidic substance you can apply to your faux tan to fade blotches, streaks or too-dark color. As with lemon juice, target small patches that need to be lightened or faded.

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