Spray tanning is a great way to give your skin a beautiful, bronzed glow, but it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the wrong product or a mistake during the application or with maintaining the tan can result in your skin becoming too dark, or there being dark patches and light streaks.
If you have a not-so-desired result after a spray tan, how can you lighten it? Exfoliation, oil, and water will be your best friends when it comes to lightening a spray tan. If you have access to a sauna, you can fade a fake tan with your own sweat (results may vary).
With quite a few options to choose from to lighten your spray tan at home, you can choose the one that suits your skin best, and whichever ingredients you can get your hands on easiest. Remember to be gentle on your skin and make the process slow, and avoid doing any additional damage to your skin.
There is no need to lose your mind if you land up with a spray tan which is a bit too dark, patchy or streaky. With some simple home remedies, you can lighten your spray tan in next to no time at all.
5 Best Ways To Lighten a Spray Tan
Here are a few different ways to lighten your spray tan, all from the comfort of your own home.
Exfoliation if the simplest way to lighten a spray tan. You can either use an exfoliating mitt, an exfoliating product, or a washcloth.
When lightening a spray tan using exfoliation, do not scrub too vigorously, as this will create patches and streaks. Instead, lightly exfoliate over your skin using an exfoliation mitt or scrub, and move in small, circular motions.
By exfoliating, you will be removing excess dead skin cells that hold the tan and it will get your skin cells working, which will encourage them to renew themselves, which will break down the tan and cause it to lighten.
Exfoliating while the tan is developing will also help to lessen the results, but this needs to be done during the first shower to remove as much of the product as possible.
You might have to repeat the exfoliation process twice to get the results you are looking for, but give your skin some time to rest after each exfoliation, you don’t want to overdo it and leave your skin raw and sensitive.
2. Lemon Juice And Baking Soda
Lemon juice and baking soda, when mixed together, form an effective tan lightener. Applied to the skin, the mixture can quickly lighten the spray tan on your skin.
Mix lemon juice and baking soda together until it forms a paste. In the shower, massage the paste onto your skin. You can either use your hands, a loofah or a sponge to scrub it on.
When rubbed onto the skin, the baking soda will act as an exfoliant, and the lemon juice works to remove the product. Once scrubbed onto the skin, rinse the paste off and continue to shower as normal.
You might need to repeat this process once or twice more until the tan lightens.
Another way to use lemon juice to lighten a tan is to apply the juice onto a piece of damp flannel, and then place it in the microwave for a minute.
Leave it to cool for a little while and then rub the flannel over the darker areas which need lightening. Make sure to check that the flannel isn’t too hot as this could burn your skin.
Lemon and lime both work well to lighten a tan, as the citric acid in the fruit can tackle even the most stubborn of spray tans.
3. Baby Oil
Baby oil is another item that can help to lighten a tan. Baby oil softens the top layer of skin, where the spray tan develops, which helps this top layer slough away when washed.
You can apply baby oil to your skin and leave it to sit for 10 minutes, and then get into the shower and scrub the baby oil off, which will remove both the baby oil and lighten the tan.
You can also choose to soak in the bathtub with bath oils or baby oils, which allows your skin to become soft and hydrated. Once you feel your skin has softened, use an exfoliating mitt to massage your skin in circular motions to remove the oil and the top layer of tan.
This will lighten the tan by removing the outermost color, and by encouraging your skin cells to renew, quickening the fading of the tan.
Use baby oil or bath oils a few days in a row until your tan has lightened to the color that you want. This is a great way to give your skin some nourishment after a spray tan as well.
4. Take A Swim
One of the more fun ways to lighten a tan is to go for a swim! The chlorine in a swimming pool is abrasive on the skin, which in this case works to break down the fake tan, lightening it gradually.
Once you have gone for a nice long swim, jump into the shower and exfoliate gently all over, helping to further lighten the tan and remove the chlorine from your skin.
You might have to take a good couple of long swims for your spray tan to lighten substantially, but in summer, that is not too much of an ask!
This is the most relaxing way to lighten your tan!
5. Hit The Sauna
Sit in a sauna or steam room for 30 minutes. The humidity and heat will soften your skin and help lighten the spray tan which sits on the outermost layer.
When the 30 minutes is up, rub your skin in circular motions with a wet towel to exfoliate off the softened skin cells, which will loosen them up and remove them to help lighten the tan to the level you want.
How to Lighten A Spray Tan On Your Face
Most of the methods used to lighten a spray tan on your body will be too abrasive to use on your face, where the skin is more sensitive.
A dark tan, patches, and streaks can be so much more noticeable on the face. DHA, which is the active ingredient in spray tan products, which reacts with the outer layer of skin cells to darken the skin, absorbs quickest into thinner skin, making areas on your face more vulnerable to turning dark, such as under your eyes.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having a dark tan or tan lines on your face, you need to be patient. Avoid using makeup removing wipes and toner as these can make the streaks look worse, as they will lighten the color unevenly.
Use An Exfoliating Cream
You can use an exfoliating face cream to start lightening the tan, but do not scrub at your face too hard. A sauna or steam room can also help to open up your pores, which will help to release the darker pigment from your skin, which should then be followed up with a light exfoliation.
You should also use face creams that contain alpha-hydroxy acids, which work to slough off excess dead skin cells, and as this is where the tan develops, they work to fade the tan evenly across the skin.
If you want a more natural option you can mix 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda with a ¼ cup of coconut oil. Apply this mixture to your face and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Once done, remove it with a wet washcloth. You can repeat this up to two times a day until your skin has reached your desired color. However, do not continue this for too long as there is a chance it could dry out your skin.
Does toothpaste remove spray tan?
Toothpaste can be used to remove spray tan. Toothpaste works best to remove spray tan on fingers and toes. Use a scrub brush or even an old toothbrush to rub the toothpaste into your nails and fingers and toes, leave it to rest for a minute and then wash off.
Toothpaste is only good for smaller areas, like your hands, as you would need quite a few tubes for your whole body, and the toothpaste might burn certain areas of your skin.
Does Windex remove spray tan?
If you venture onto some tanning forums, you might see the recommendation to use Windex to remove your spray tan. While Windex strips the outer layer of skin, which does remove the outer tan, it really is not intended to be used on the skin and can cause some damage.
The ingredients in Windex include solvent, fragrance and blue dyes, which can cause some serious irritation to the skin.
Rather opt for the more natural options to lighten a spray tan, such as lemon and coconut oil, and avoid using any household cleaners that will land up doing more harm than good.