Prep your skin for perfect self-tanning: How to exfoliate before

Getting a glowing and flawless tan can be helped by exfoliating before doing self-tanning. Exfoliating before self-tanning is crucial for a perfect finish as it will remove dead skin cells and make your skin look smoother.

Exfoliating your skin before self-tanning helps the tan last longer and appear more evenly. Proper skin preparation will reduce uneven patches, streaks, and dark spots. It will help the self-tanner to adhere more evenly and gradually to your skin thus giving a natural-looking tan. In this article, a comprehensive guide on how to exfoliate before self-tanning will be provided – keep reading!

Benefits of Exfoliating Before Self-Tanning

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. The benefits of exfoliating the skin before self-tanning include:

  • Removing dead skin cells that can cause a self-tanner to look blotchy or uneven
  • Helping self-tanner to adhere more smoothly and evenly to the skin
  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Leaving a smoother and more radiant appearance of the skin
  • Helping the self-tanner last longer on the skin as it clings to fresh and not dead skin cells

How to Exfoliate Your Skin

Choose the Right Exfoliator

There are different types of exfoliating products to use depending on your skin type. The following exfoliators work best:

  • Salt scrubs: Best for those with oily skin types
  • Sugar scrubs: Best for those with sensitive skin
  • Chemical exfoliants: Best for those with dry skin types

Exfoliate on Dry Skin

Exfoliating dry skin helps to remove more dead skin cells compared to exfoliating wet skin. Exfoliating on dry skin helps the product to adhere better to the skin surface, and it provides a deep exfoliation in comparison to the exfoliation on damp skin.

Go Slow and Steady

When exfoliating, you want to go slow and steady to avoid damaging your skin. Use gentle circular motions with your fingers or exfoliating brush while avoiding using too much pressure. Focus on areas with rough skin like knees, elbows, ankles, and feet, but do not leave out other areas of the skin, such as the stomach or back.

Do Not Forget to Moisturize

After exfoliating, it is important to moisturize to keep your skin soft, smooth and hydrated. Use a light moisturizer to prevent clogging the pores and helping your skin stay hydrated at all times.

What to Avoid During Exfoliating Before Self-Tanning ?

Some practices, such as using oil or lotion-based exfoliators, can negatively affect your self-tan. Some things to avoid when exfoliating before self-tanning are:

Oil and Lotion-Based Exfoliators

Avoid using oil or lotion-based exfoliators before self-tanning. These products can leave residue on the skin and negatively affect the self-tanning application process. It would be best to use a sugar or salt-based scrub or any other type of gentle exfoliation that won’t leave residue on the skin.

Exfoliating too Harshly or too Often

Regular exfoliating is important, but over-exfoliating or using harsh scrubs can cause more harm than good. This is because over-exfoliating can result in skin damage and dryness, leading to an uneven self-tan. Therefore, it is recommended to exfoliate once per week before self-tanning.

Tanning in Chlorinated Water

Chlorinated water causes skin dehydration and can lead to reduced self-tan duration. Avoid swimming in chlorinated water in the first 24 hours after self-tanning.


Exfoliating before self-tanning is an essential step to ensure a flawless and even glowy tan. This article focuses on the right process to exfoliate before tanning to get perfect and natural results. By following these methods, you’ll be able to get the best value from your self-tanning product and achieve a vibrant, beautiful tan that lasts.

List of Common Questions on How to Exfoliate Before Self-Tanning

  • What is exfoliation?
  • What is the importance of exfoliating before self-tanning?
  • What tools are best for exfoliating?
  • What are the best products for exfoliating?
  • How often should you exfoliate your skin?
  • What is the right way to exfoliate your skin?
  • What is the right time to exfoliate?
  • What is the best method to exfoliate before self-tanning?
  • What are the common mistakes to avoid while exfoliating before self-tanning?
  • Can I apply moisturizer after exfoliating?


  • Elwood PC., Jablonski NG. The biochemical basis for sunburn-induced suppression of cutaneous immune responses: a critical review. J Leukoc Biol. 2018; 104(6):1079-1089.
  • Johnson LK., Junker AK., Davis J. Controversies of the effects of sunscreen on vitamin D absorption and skin cancer. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020; 83(4):1171-1174. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2020.05.135
  • Vuong J., Toscano N. Exogenous factors in skin aging. Antioxidants. 2018; 7(7): 98.

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