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Today, we're excited to share our foolproof tips on exfoliating before a fake tan, be it through a spray or self-tanning method. Having sprayed thousands of women, we've encountered and resolved every conceivable tanning issue. Join us as we guide you through the essential steps to achieve the best results possible with the best exfoliator before a spray tan.

Why Exfoliation Matters

Exfoliation is a critical step in preparing your skin for a spray tan. It involves the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, which can accumulate over time and create a barrier between the tanning solution and your fresh skin cells. By exfoliating before a spray tan, you're ensuring that the tanning solution can penetrate evenly, resulting in a more natural-looking tan.

Additionally, exfoliation helps to smooth the skin's surface, creating a more even canvas for the tanning solution. This can help to minimize the appearance of streaks and blotches, which can occur when the tanning solution is applied to uneven skin.

Another benefit of exfoliation before a spray tan is that it can help your tan last longer. Dead skin cells can slough off more quickly than fresh skin cells, so by removing them before your tan, you're allowing the tanning solution to adhere to skin that will be around longer.

Finally, exfoliation can help your tan fade more evenly. As your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells, your tan will begin to fade. By exfoliating regularly, you can help to ensure that your tan fades evenly, avoiding patchy or uneven fading.

Overall, exfoliation is a crucial step in preparing your skin for a spray tan. By removing dead skin cells, you can ensure an even application, a longer-lasting tan, and a more even fade.

A woman being sprayed with a spray tan.
A woman being sprayed with a spray tan.

Choosing the Right Exfoliator

Not all exfoliators are created equal, especially when it comes to pre-tan prep. Look for exfoliators that are gentle yet effective. Avoid products with harsh ingredients like microbeads, as they can irritate the skin. Instead, opt for products with natural exfoliants like sugar or salt.

Our Top Picks:

Sugar Scrubs: Sugar scrubs are a fantastic choice for exfoliating before a spray tan. They are gentle on the skin yet provide effective exfoliation, helping to remove dead skin cells and smooth the skin's surface. When choosing a sugar scrub, opt for one that is hydrating to prevent the skin from drying out before your tan. Look for ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil, which can help to moisturize and nourish the skin, leaving it soft and supple.

Salt Scrubs: Salt scrubs are another excellent option for exfoliating before a spray tan. They help to remove dead skin cells and promote circulation, leaving your skin smooth and ready for tanning. Salt scrubs are particularly beneficial for those with oily or acne-prone skin, as they can help to unclog pores and reduce breakouts. When using a salt scrub, be mindful of any cuts or abrasions on the skin, as the salt can sting.

Exfoliating Gloves: Exfoliating gloves are a versatile tool for exfoliating hard-to-reach areas like your back. They can be used with your favorite body wash for an easy and effective exfoliation. Exfoliating gloves help to remove dead skin cells and improve circulation, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Plus, they are reusable, making them a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for exfoliating before your spray tan.

Overall, sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, and exfoliating gloves are all excellent choices for exfoliating before a spray tan. Choose the option that best suits your skin type and needs, and enjoy smooth, glowing skin that's ready for tanning.

A woman holding an exfoliating spray bottle.
A woman holding an exfoliating spray bottle.

Tips for Exfoliating

When it comes to exfoliating before a spray tan, timing and technique are key. Here are some tips to ensure you exfoliate effectively:

  1. Timing is Everything: Exfoliate 24 hours before your spray tan appointment. This allows your skin to recover from any potential irritation and ensures that your tan will apply evenly to fresh, exfoliated skin.
  2. Focus on Rough Areas: Pay extra attention to rough areas of skin, such as elbows, knees, and ankles. These areas tend to have thicker skin and can often be drier, leading to a patchy tan if not properly exfoliated.
  3. Use Gentle Pressure: When exfoliating, use gentle pressure to avoid damaging the skin. Scrubbing too hard can cause irritation and redness, which can affect the outcome of your spray tan.
  4. Choose the Right Exfoliator: Use a gentle exfoliating scrub or mitt to remove dead skin cells. Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or microbeads, as these can be too abrasive and may irritate the skin.
  5. Avoid Shaving Before Exfoliating: Shaving can irritate the skin, making it more sensitive to exfoliation. Avoid shaving immediately before exfoliating to prevent any potential irritation.
  6. Moisturize After Exfoliating: After exfoliating, apply a moisturizer to hydrate the skin and keep it soft and supple. This will help to maintain the results of your spray tan and prevent dryness.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your skin is properly prepared for your spray tan, resulting in a more even application and longer-lasting results.

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Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

What is the best exfoliator before a spray tan for sensitive skin?

The best exfoliator before a spray tan for sensitive skin is a gentle oatmeal scrub. It effectively removes dead skin cells without causing irritation, creating the perfect base for an even tan.

Can I use a DIY exfoliator before my spray tan?

Yes, you can use a DIY exfoliator before a spray tan. Ingredients like sea salt, olive oil, and lemon juice can be mixed to customize a scrub that caters to your specific skin needs, ensuring an ideal canvas for tanning.

What is the best exfoliator before a spray tan to prevent patchiness?

Sugar-based scrubs with essential oils are the best exfoliators before a spray tan to prevent patchiness, especially for those with dry skin. They offer a fine texture for gentle exfoliation and essential oils for hydration, promoting an even tan application.


Achieving a flawless spray tan starts with proper exfoliation. By choosing the right exfoliator and following our expert tips, you can ensure that your tan is even, long-lasting, and radiant. Say goodbye to streaks and splotches and hello to a beautiful, sun-kissed glow!