Ready, Set, Glow: Exfoliating for a Perfect Spray Tan

Thanks to spray tan, you no longer have to soak up the harmful UV rays to get that beautiful summer glow. With full body spray tanning, you can get that desired sun-kissed glow without exposing your skin to UV rays. It has various strengths to give you a natural sun-soaked look without harming your skin. It is also safe and easy to apply, meaning it doesn’t take much time like most beauty procedures.

However, you must exfoliate before using a spray tan to get the most out of it and make it last longer. Check out why and how you must exfoliate before a spray tan.

Why is exfoliating necessary before a spray tan?

The idea behind exfoliating is to peel off dead skin cells and reveal the underlying fresh skin. The new skin readily absorbs the tan solution deeply and uniformly to give you an even skin tan. This is how it works. Spray tan solution contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a derivate of glycerin. The DHA triggers your skin’s amino acids, forming melanoidin, which gives you a sun-soaked glow.

Also, ensure all other beauty treatments, such as massage, facial, and manicure/pedicure, are scheduled before a spray tan. If you choose to shave, do so at least 24 hours before your appointment. This will allow your hair follicles to settle, ensuring an even finish.

Suppose you forgot to shave and plan to do so right before a spray tan; avoid using shaving oils, as they prevent the absorption of the tan solution. Also, splash the shaved/waxed areas with ice-cold water to calm the skin. Do not wear make-up or deodorants when going for a spray tan session.

How to Exfoliate to Get the Best Out of a Spray Tan and Make It Last Longer

While different people have different ways of exfoliating, this is the most effective way for a flawless spray tan.

  • Take a warm shower or bath for at least 20 minutes the night before your spray tan appointment.
  • When the bathroom is still steamy, exfoliate your skin gently in circular motions. Here, use an all-natural, oil-free pre-tan and exfoliator mitt to get the best results. In the absence of an exfoliator mitt, use a washcloth or body scrub; they serve the same purpose.
  • Once you are done exfoliating, rinse off in a shower.
  • Finally, moisturize your skin. However, you would want to avoid heavy body lotions on your appointment day as they can interfere with tan development. That said, commonly dry areas such as the elbow, wrists, knees, hands, feet, and the back of the heels should be adequately moisturized to prevent uneven spray tan.

Suppose you are short of time; you can exfoliate a few hours ahead of your spray tan appointment. In this case, do use oil-free exfoliators, and do not moisturize the skin. Also, wear loose clothes to prevent straps, streaks, or indentations in the tan.

Best Exfoliators for Spray Tan

While the market is flooded with numerous brands of exfoliators, it is critical to know the best one for you. Here, it would be best if you considered your skin type (oily, dry, sensitive, acne prone, or normal). However, natural exfoliators are friendlier to various skin types. Additionally, you can opt for homemade exfoliators if you can access the ingredients.

Here are some of the best exfoliators for a spray tan.

  • Salt scrubs. All salt scrubs made from natural, organic ingredients such as pink Himalayan salt make perfect exfoliators for a spray tan. Other natural organic ingredients that make good exfoliators are macadamia oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and pink grapefruit essential oil. Exfoliators with moisturizing oils such as coconut oil or shea butter are ideal for dry and a combination of normal and dry skin. Honey-based scrubs also make good exfoliators.
  • Dry brushes. This is the most natural way of exfoliating. Besides peeling off dead skin cells, dry brushing improves blood flow and reduces cellulite’s appearance. Also, dry brushing leaves you with smoother, softer skin with increased radiance.
  • Oatmeal scrub. Oatmeal scrub is an ideal option for sensitive skin. It is gentle on the skin and absorbs oil, simultaneously serving as an exfoliator and cleanser. The best part about oatmeal scrubs is that you can make your own from home.
  • Sugar scrub. Sugar scrub is an effective homemade exfoliator passed down from generation to generation. All you need is extra virgin olive oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Besides exfoliating, it leaves your skin moisturized, making it ideal for dry skin.
  • Coffee scrub. Coffee scrub is a simple homemade exfoliator. Unlike most body scrubs, coffee offers numerous benefits to your skin besides exfoliating for a spray tan. For example, it tightens and soothes your skin, improves blood circulation, and fights aging. Additionally, coffee reduces cellulite appearance, hence making your skin glow.

While exfoliating is vital for an even and lasting tan, it doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. You can make your own from home or purchase one from your nearby store.

Exfoliators to Avoid When Exfoliating for Spray Tan

While the market is flooded with numerous brands of exfoliators, not all are ideal for a spray tan. Check out ingredients to avoid when shopping for exfoliators for a spray tan.


Microbead scabs are rough on your skin and the environment as well. Unlike other scrab ingredients, microbeads can’t be filtered by most water treatment plants. As a result, they end up in oceans, thus harming marine life.


Parabens imitate estrogen, one of the female sex hormones. Therefore, using paraben will increase estrogen levels, disrupting hormonal functions. Too much estrogen will trigger breast cell division and tumor growth if not controlled. For this reason, parabens have been associated with breast cancer.


While sulfate is an effective exfoliator, it can be rough on your skin, causing irritation, itching, and redness. It is, therefore, not ideal for sensitive skin.

Tips for Maintaining a Spray Tan

Usually, a spray tan can last for two weeks with proper care. Here are some tips for achieving and maintaining a flawless tan.

  • Wear dark, loose clothes after the tan to avoid streaks.
  • Do not exfoliate after a spray tan until you are ready for another session.
  • Avoid moisture for at least four hours after the tanning session.
  • Avoid taking a shower within the first four hours after the tanning session.
  • Avoid hot showers.
  • Be gentle when drying yourself after a shower; do not rub.
  • Moisturize your skin with oil-free moisturizers at least twice daily from the third day.


Spray tanning saves you from the harmful effects of UV rays and gives you a glowing, radiant look. If correctly done and well maintained, it can last for as long as two weeks without fading.

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