How to Remove Fake Tan: 5 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Tan Fast!

By Tara | Updated: 20/05/2023

Having perfected a tanning routine over time, it has also been important to learn how to remove fake tan.

Perhaps you are wondering how to remove the last layer of tan or you have tried a new product that didn’t turn out quite as expected.

Whatever your reason, at some point you will always have to remove fake tan.

Nothing can beat the feeling of a fresh spray tan, however, most of us dread the thought of removing patchy, stubborn tan once it starts to fade.

While we are patiently waiting for a miracle product to hit the market that lasts for weeks with no patches, try the following tips for how to get rid of fake tan.

How do you get fake tan off quick?

This really depends on the time in which it has been on. If you have had it on for more than 5 days, it should come off relatively easy using one or a combination of the below methods.

If you have freshly applied it 12 hours – 48 hours, it will likely take a little extra effort and perhaps some time to have the tan completely removed. This is because most self tanning products contain DHA. Dihydroxyacetone or more commonly known as “DHA”, reacts with the top layer of your skin temporarily darkening it. DHA cannot penetrate the protective barriers of the skin, however, it does mean that after a new application, it can take some time for the product to completely fade from the skin’s surface.

For those interested in DHA-free fake tanning products click here.

How to Remove Fake Tan: 5 Easy & Effective Ways 

1. Use a Chemical Exfoliant

In the last few years, a number of effective fake tan remover products have been released by well-known tanning brands that help that unwanted layer come right off.

Bondi Sands is not only known for their amazing range of instant and gradual tanners, but they also have one of the best products for removal. The Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser works to break down the DHA in the tanner allowing you to seamlessly remove the it without excessive scrubbing.

Leave the product on for 5 – 10 minutes and then begin gently exfoliating.

They do claim that you would have to have worn fake tan for 3 days prior to see the best results. This product would be most effective, however, around 5 – 7 days when your tan really starts to come off and you need a little extra help.

2. Scrub with Baby Oil

Whether you are applying or removing tanner, well-hydrated skin will always provide the best results. Trying to scrub and exfoliate already dry skin can end up causing some serious irritation and redness. While we wouldn’t recommend you to use baby oil before you are about the apply a tan, it can certainly be one of the most effective ways to remove it. Use this prior to exfoliating and let it absorb into your skin. This will help the tan loosen from the skin. Place onto particularly dry areas to help when scrubbing.

3. Use a Good Exfoliating Mitt

Being possibly the best way to remove fake tan, a good exfoliating mitt should be an essential part of your tanning and beauty toolkit.

Exfoliating, combined with a number of these tips and tricks will allow you to effectively remove your fake tan. By gently scrubbing your skin with an exfoliating mitt, the dead skin cells along with your tan with gradually glide off your skin.

Additionally, exfoliating will help prep your skin for your next tan application.

Be careful not to be overly rough on your skin as some of these mitts work a little too well. Try exfoliating in circular motions and you should see the old layer scrub right off.

4. Take a Hot Bath, Shower or Visit a Steam Room

One of the best (and most relaxing) steps in a tan removal routine, is taking a hot bath, shower or visiting a steam room. This could be done after applying one of the tan removal products and in conjunction with exfoliating for the best results.

Taking a hot bath or a sauna session before you begin exfoliating or removing tanner will help significantly soften your skin.

Tip! Use a body scrubber to loosen the skin.

Personally, I find that taking a bath is the most convenient option as it can often take a while to exfoliate. Soaking in a hot bath will also open the pores of your skin allowing some of that stubborn tan to come off easier when exfoliating. Add some bath oil to help make scrubbing a breeze – and leave your skin feel soft and refreshed!

5. DIY Self Tan Erasers

Believe it or not, there are a few items that you probably have lying around the house that works well in removing fake tan. Baking soda is known for being one of the top DIY ways to remove tanner. You could either add this to a bath and soak or create a paste, apply it to your body and exfoliate after about 15-20 minutes. Additionally, you can use lemon juice mixed with sugar or ground coffee to create a body scrub. Why lemon juice? Because it essentially bleaches the area and removes the pigmentation left by the tan. After you have applied and exfoliated with your lemon juice scrub, a soak in the bath will usually help the process along. You may have to repeat this a few times to break down the tan for stubborn patches.

Does apple cider vinegar remove fake tan?

Along with normal vinegar, apple cider vinegar is another household item you probably have lying around that will help remove spray tan. The acidity in the vinegar can help to dissolve patches of fake tan. Be aware that this is probably the least pleasant smelling option, so we wouldn’t recommend bathing in apple cider vinegar! Instead, dab some of the apple cider vinegar onto a cotton pad, apply to your tanned areas and wash off after a few minutes.


If you already have one coat of tanner on (after a shower) it can be quite difficult to remove. Some particularly dry areas such as your knees, ankles, and elbows may be trickier to remove the tan from as it has already absorbed deeply into the skin.

However, trying a combination of these tips and tricks should help you easily remove fake tan, fast. There really are options for everyone from a chemical exfoliant like Bondi Sands Tan Remover to the humble baking soda.

Make sure you try a few of these tips and tricks together to figure out the best way on how to remove fake tan on your skin. Those with dryer skin may find it a little more difficult to remove the product once it sinks in.


One of the most important steps in your tanning routine should be to first exfoliate the skin. This will allow you to remove any dead skin and prep the skin for the next application,

Regardless of whether you fake tan or not, exfoliating will allow you to scrub away dry and skin cells leaving you feeling fresh and smooth.

Many of our favourite tanning brands also offer their own fake tan remover gloves.

Fake Tan Removal Gloves We Like:

Bondi Sands Exfoliating Glove

Bondi Sands Exfoliating Glove is a dual-action mitt with a black side that prepares the skin by removing dead skin cells and fake tan residue, while the blue side of the mitt removes tanning mishaps – they happen to the all of us!

Loving Tan Tan Removing and Skin Polishing Glove

Loving Tan Tan Removing and Skin Polishing Glove is a salon-quality dual-sided glove with one intense side designed to thoroughly exfoliate the skin and a light-pink side for gentle exfoliation and revitalisation of the skin.

A great benefit of this glove, is that it is quite durable and can be washed many times without losing any of its toughness.

This mitt is great for increasing the natural luminosity of your skin and leaving it soft and supple.

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

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