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How to Get Tanning Lotion Off Your Hands

How to Get Tanning Lotion Off Your Hands

If you’re not a fan of sun tanning, using a self-tanning lotion is an easy and healthier option to get that tanned glow. The most common problem with self-tanning is the application results are not always pretty. Sunless tanning products contain the color additive dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

This color additive reacts with the dead cells on the skin’s topmost layer to temporarily darken and take on a tan. This tan usually wears off after a couple of days. Self-tanning can leave you with streaks, uneven fading, stained palms, or a deep orange or dark hue.

To effectively remove excess tanner from your hands, wash it off with warm soapy water immediately after applying. If it happens to stay long enough to dry, exfoliation is the best way to get rid of the tanner stain. This article will help you remove self-tanner and what to use to remove your tanning lotion from your hands.

How to get tanning lotion off your hands

If you let the self-tanner sit on your hands for a while, it develops a more lasting stain. Follow the guide below to remove the tanning lotion stains.

Things you’ll need

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Loofah or washcloth
  • Lemon juice
  • Tan remover
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Shaving cream


Soak in warm water and bath oil

Soak your hands in warm water for about 15 minutes. Add a few drops of bath oil like olive oil to loosen the extra tanner from the skin. Rub a gentle soap on your hands to get the remaining Jergens natural glow off your hands.


Slather your wet hands with a sugar or salt scrub and rub it between your hands in a circular motion. You can use a loofah or hand towel to scrub off the stain. Exfoliation will efficiently remove and smoothen any tanning stains.

Wash off the scrub with a mild soap or detergent and rinse properly with warm water. If the tanning lotion stain is still there, continue with the cleaning process.

Baking soda and lemon juice

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and fresh lemon juice on your hand, rub your hands together let it soak for about ten minutes. The baking soda will exfoliate, while the lemon juice is a natural lightener.

White vinegar

Apply some white vinegar on a cotton pad and rub it on your hands for about 10 minutes. White vinegar will lift the stains and lighten any tanning left. Rinse your hands with warm water and repeat if necessary

Shaving cream

Wet your hands and apply some shaving cream on your hands to remove self-tanner. Alternatively, you can also use toothpaste. Shaving creams and toothpaste reduce the orange effect from tanning with the wrong tanning formula.

Self-tanner remover

Apply skin bleach or self-tan remover. Follow the instructions on the packaging, and then rinse your hands thoroughly. Self-tan removers contain acids such as glycolic acid that lift the coloring pigment of the tanner. Self-tan removers are gentle astringents and also moisturizing to the skin. Do not use chlorine bleach on your skin, as it will burn and dry out your skin.

Non-acetone nail polish remover

If your skin does not have open cuts, sores, or wounds, apply some non-acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball and rub off any remanding stains. Rinse your hands thoroughly with warm water and moisturize with some oil.

 How to get fake tan off hands quickly

The most effective way to ensure tanning lotion does not stain your hands is to clean up as soon after applying the tanner to your body. You can remove fake tan instantly using the steps below.

  • Apply some bath oil or massage oil on your hands and rub it. The oil helps break down the coloring element in the tanning lotion and prevents it from penetrating further into the skin.
  • Apply a generous amount of body scrub on a loofah and scrub your hands. As an alternative for body scrub, make a mixture of a quarter cup of sugar and half a cup of sorbolene cream to give the same result. Be gentle when scrubbing to avoid breaking the skin. Repeating this process every morning and afternoon for two days will remove any tanning lotion stains altogether.
  • Squeeze one or two lemons in your hands and rub the juice all over your hands. Leave it to work on the tan for about an hour. The longer your wait, the more effective it will be.
  • Apply some tan remover as per the product instructions. Tan removers are more convenient for people who use bronzing tanning lotions regularly.

 How do you fix badly tanned hands?

Sometimes when you’re in a hurry self-tanning, you end up over-tanning or with a patchy tan. Below we discuss how to fix badly tanned hands.

Too dark.

When you put too much tanning lotion or spray on your hands, slather your hands with some coconut or olive oil to break down the tanner and gently scrub off the excess product with a body scrub rinse properly. Scrub it evenly to avoid forming streaks or patches on the skin.

Orange tan

Getting the right skin tone after tanning involves using the right product, and one of the most common mishaps is turning orange. If you turn orange after self-tanning, apply some bronzer to tone down the orange.

When tanning lotion turns you orange, it means you’re using the wrong formula for your skin. Every tanning lotion contains a different amount of DTA( coloring element), which interacts with the most outer skin layer to form a tint.


Scrub your hands with a body polish that contains finer exfoliating granules than a body scrub to even out your color. Rinse your hands and apply liquid bronzer to blend out any remaining streaks. Dilute the liquid bronzer with your favorite body lotion.

How to avoid getting self-tanner on your palms and hands

Having to remove tanner from your hands every time you apply it can be pretty tiresome; wouldn’t it be great to avoid it altogether? Follow these tips on how to avoid staining your hands with tanning lotion.

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water, immediately applying tanning lotion to remove excess product before it dries.
  • Always keep your hands moisturized using a skin-softening moisturizer every day. Dried skin creates the perfect surface for a tanning lotion to adhere to; however, it will form streaks and patches instead of applying evenly.
  • Apply a little moisturizer on your palms, nails, and cuticles to act as a barrier and prevent the tanner from sticking to your skin.
  • Apply your self-tanner in bright and even lighting to help you apply the product evenly. Applying the tanner using sunlight is better than artificial light as you can also tell when the tanner turns orange.
  • Use tanning mitts or regular latex gloves to protect your hands from getting into contact with the self-tanner. Tanning mitts also help spread the product more evenly over your skin, as oil from your palms may break down the tanner.


Most of the exfoliants and lightening products you can use to remove tanning lotion off your hands effectively are everyday household items like baking soda, white vinegar, and body scrub. If you a frequent tanner, you should get yourself some self-tanning remover to help you deal with any unwanted stains.