How To Remove Spray Tan from Your Hands and Feet

You went to your favorite spray tan salon or decided to apply self-tanner at home and at some point, in the bronzing process, you stepped in the overspray on the floor or were rubbing the self-tanning mousse in without a mitt and your hands or feet now have spray tan on them. Yuck!

I call this a sunless tanning accident and it happens more than you would think.

If you are left wondering how to remove a spray tan from the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands read on for some expert tips and tricks.

Expert Tips To Remove Spray Tan From Your Hands and FeetWithin this post there may be affiliate links to products I am referring to. If you purchase a product through one of my links it will NOT cost you anything but I will receive compensation that goes towards supporting this website. Thanks for helping!

How to Avoid Sunless Tanning Mistakes

Self-tanning accidents are very common. There are simple ways, however, to avoid these mistakes.  Check out a few tips below:

  1. The best time to apply your sunless tanning product is right after your bath or shower when your skin is still hydrated. This allows your self-tanner to glide over your skin and not grab into dry areas (such as knees, elbows, hands and feet). Dry skin absorbs more of the self-tanning product creating dark areas and unevenness. Take a nice shower or bath and exfoliate before you apply your self-tanner at home or before heading out to your favorite spray tanning studio for your weekly appointment.  Your tan will be smoother and more even.
  2. If you are using an aerosol style spray tan product at home, make sure that you are in an area that can be washed down. Aerosol sunless tanning products can float in the air and get on surfaces that you may not want them on.  Read trashing your bathroom.  Make sure you are standing on a clean towel before applying.  Spraying self-tanner on your legs in the bathtub and walking around in the tub guarantees sunless tanner on the bottom of your feet.  Aerosol sunless tanning sprays for at home use are NOT my favorite.  Too messy.
  3. Again stand on a clean towel when applying your sunless tanning lotion or mousse and have a damp wash cloth ready to wipe away any areas that you may not want the sunless tanning product on, such as your feet or hands, BEFORE it sets in.
  4. Apply your self-tanner at least eight hours prior to taking a shower or bath. Many people prefer to apply their sunless tanner at night or have their spray tanning appointment after work for this reason.
  5. Use a mitt to apply sunless mousse or lotion. This keeps the self-tanning product off your hands and allows you to blend for a more even application.  After applying your product to your body, use a brush to apply self-tanner to your hands without getting sunless tanner on your palms.

Be Gentle When Removing Old Sunless Tanner

When removing self-tanner from your skin it is always important to remember to be gentle to keep your skin as healthy as possible during this process. Don’t panic scrub. You’ll end up taking the sunless tan off unevenly. Better to do two gentle light exfoliations than one heavy one and end up with red, rashy, raw skin. Make sure to moisturize your skin after using any sunless tan removal product.

General Sunless Tan Removal

  • Take a long soak in the tub
  • Go swimming
  • Hop into a hot tub
  • Head into the steam room or sauna

Water and chlorine break down sunless tans. In the shower, after your soak, swim, or steam take your exfoliating gloves or exfoliating towel and work in gentle circular motions. A spray tan by its very nature is temporary and will fade away within a few days with a little gentle exfoliating.

Removing Old Sunless Tanner from Dry Areas of the Body

One of the hardest places to remove self-tanner from the body is dry areas of the skin where sunless tanning products grab, leaving uneven spots. Removing sunless tanner from dry areas can seem impossible, but there are several ways to handle the problem on these parts of the skin. First, the faster you are at removing the color BEFORE it sets in the better results you will have getting it off.

Removing Spray Tan from Palms of Hands and Soles of Feet

Your feet and hands usually have a dryer skin texture than the rest of your body. This is why when I am spraying you that I keep the mist light.  Too much sunless tanner will grab and look dirty on your hands and feet.  The name of the game here “Less is MORE”.  When you apply your self-tanner at home just use a little bit and blend it well, use a mitt or a brush and wash your hands or wipe the palms with a damp washcloth or sunless tan removing wipe.  If the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet have self-tanner on them, try a body exfoliating product to remove it from your skin. Keep reading for other techniques and products that can help this common problem.

Removing Spray Tan from Ankles, Elbows, Wrists and Knees

Ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists all tend to be drier skin, and they don’t usually absorb self-tanner like the rest of the skin. These areas tend to “grab” sunless tanning products leaving dark marks behind. One natural method to remove sunless tan is to dampen the skin and apply a little baking soda directly to the darker area and gently scrub until the color is softened. Another option you can try is hydrogen peroxide. Place a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on a cotton pad and rub onto the dark areas of the skin until the color fades a bit.

Removing Spray Tan from Fingernails and Toenails

Unpainted fingernails and toenails are a common area of the body to be discolored from sunless tanner. It can be difficult to remove self-tanner from your nails. Try nail polish remover to take sunless tan off of your nails, sometimes the stains can be stubborn.  If you are finding it hard to remove the sunless tan from your nails or cuticles, try soaking your fingers in denture cleaner. This can safely remove the spray tan without harming or irritating your skin. To prevent staining in the future a coat of clear nail polish will keep the spray tan from soaking into the dry nails.

Let’s have some fun!  We LOVE our beauty products and pampering! And even though we are talking about our pretty tans being a little messed up it’s a good excuse to grab a few of our favorite products and spend a minute pampering ourselves.  Below I have included a fun DIY exfoliating scrub and a few sunless tan removal products I found on Amazon.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

DIY exfoliating scrub to remove old spray tan from your hands and feet:

  1. Make a DIY exfoliating scrub by mixing together one cup of fine sugar or baking soda, 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a plastic container. Lavender is great for relaxing!

Hop into the tub, take a little soak and get your skin all steamy. Then grab your favorite exfoliating towel or mitt and add a generous amount of your homemade exfoliating scrub onto your feet. Rub in gentle circular motions with your exfoliating towel or mitt. This will remove dead skin cells and take care of removing some of the old spray tan. Rinse and dry your feet then apply your favorite lotion.

Regular exfoliation and hydrating of your skin, especially in areas such as feet and ankles with remove and soften the skin making your sunless tanner much easier to blend as there won’t be the dry skin patches for it to stick to.

  1. Rub a good amount of sweet almond oil or coconut oil into each foot. Apply several coats of the oil until your feet are liberally covered in the oil. Put your feet up and relax allowing the oil to soak into your feet for 30 minutes.

I would hang out in the bathroom when you do this or put on cotton socks, so you do not slip. Run a nice warm bath.

Get into the tub, and rub each foot with your exfoliating towel or mitt, working your way in circular motions across your foot. Gently rub to scrub off any remaining sunless tanner. You may use a gentle shower gel or soap on your exfoliating cloth as you buff your feet if you wish.

Dry your feet, and check them over to see if there is any remaining color.

  1. If there is still spray tan on your feet (or hands) soak a cotton pad with hydrogen peroxide and rub over any remaining color. This should remove any color that is left over.

Sunless Tan Removal Products:

There are many beauty products formulated just to remove self-tanner.  Check out the list below.

  • Arabica Coffee Scrub with Honey and Sea Salt You know how much I love natural products and coffee, this scrub contains both!!! Coffee, honey and sea salt combine with jojoba oil into an all natural exfoliating scrub gently removes old spray tan and moisturizes your skin.  Paraben free.
  • Fake Bake Exfoliating Wipes These wipes are convenient to have on hand for removing sunless tan from your hands and feet or any other area that you might have gotten a little too much on.
  • Exfoliating Bath Cloth I have these in my shower and I LOVE LOVE them! They are great for pre-tan exfoliating and for removing my old sunless tan at the end of its life.  My favorite part is that I can exfoliate my back all by myself (no having to call my husband to help)
  • Baiden Tan Mitten If you prefer an exfoliating mitt give this one a try can be used for exfoliating before your sunless tan or for removing old sunless tanner.
  • Bronze Buffer Self-Tan Remover These little magic erasers are amazing! Use them to fade and blend away streaks and dark areas. Be gentle though.  They are powerful.
  • Xen Tan Blending Balm Finally a yummy product to stop the uneven dark spots before they happen!!! Use this easy little stick to prevent your sunless tanner from soaking into dry areas of your skin. Just a little on knees, ankles, wrists or elbows.  Also, stroke on a bit after you self-tan on the sides of your hands and feet so that you can feather and fade your color like a pro. Genius!
  • Unreal Tan Eraser Gel This can be used for exfoliating before a tan or for helping to fade or remove an old sunless tan. You do have to follow the instructions and there is a 10-15 minute wait time with the product on your skin.  One of the recommended uses is to help remove the pro level tans for bodybuilders and professional dancers. I know a few ladies and gents that would love to have this on hand after a competition.

As a small business owner I can’t stock all the amazing products that are available in the world of sunless tanning but I can give you my professional opinion.  Shopping through my links is greatly appreciated and helps me continue to spread my message of skin safety!

Love and Sunshine Kathryn Signature

Hi, I’m Kathryn! I’m here to help you have the best spray tanning experience possible. When I’m not creating beautiful sunless tans, I am working with my students or writing for my blog sharing everything I know about how to get the perfect spray tan, how to give the perfect spray tan, and how to build a boutique spray tan business.

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