Self Tanning Questions

Does Self-Tanner Dry Out Skin? (3 Best Body Moisturisers)

Written by: Anastasija

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If you’re looking for an easy, safe shortcut to your dream summer skin, all year around, self-tanner is the perfect option for you, but there are some things you should be aware of. In case you were wondering whether self-tanner dries out your skin, here’s all you need to know!

Does self-tanner dry out skin?

One of the most annoying problems with body products is when they treat or tackle one aspect of concern or target but end up causing another. If you are beginning to use a self-tanner, this might be something you’re interested in finding out, to ensure that you can treat it properly, or to help you decide whether or not self-tanner is the correct thing for you.

Does Self-Tanner Dry Out Skin

In short, no, most self-tanners don’t dry out your skin, but there of course some exceptions and anomalies when it comes to this fact. Self-tanners are all made up of different ingredients and formulas, so various different chemical reactions take place inside and outside the bottle. In other words, sometimes, you may find that some certain tanning products will dry out your skin, while others don’t.

Nevertheless, you skin does dry out naturally anyway, so whether or not your self-tanner causes this doesn’t really make much difference (unless you find that it is overly drying, in which case you should probably change your self-tanner). Even if dry skin isn’t really frustrating for you, it does cause your tan to fade much faster than it would otherwise, so you should still keep your skin moisturised and nourished.

Can I use a moisturiser before applying a self-tanner?

The best way to tackle your dry skin is by using a moisturiser, so why not use this before applying your self-tanner, to start the entire process off as you mean to go on. Although, in theory, this is the perfect idea, it doesn’t prove to be the most practical, for multiple reasons. Because of these reasons, which you are about to find out, using a moisturiser before using your self-tanner is usually not the best idea.

So, what are these reasons? Well, the main reason why you shouldn’t apply your moisturiser before your self-tanner is because it can interfere with the application process, as it will leave a slightly greasy, almost too smooth, surface which makes it difficult for the self-tanner to stick to. This often results in streaks in your tan, as it is easily moved around on a smooth surface, or patches where the tan doesn’t stick at all.

The other main reason as to why you should use a moisturiser before applying self-tanner is because it’s usually just not effective. Self-tanners have chemical reactions with your skin when you apply them (not as horrible as it sounds) which ultimately make them cancel out anything which you’ve added to them or applied to your skin beforehand. In other words, the self-tanner itself will most likely just dry out your skin anyway, so it’s a waste of moisturiser.

However, you should always consider applying moisturiser of some sort to extremely dry areas, such as the knees or elbows, and these places will otherwise not tan evenly compared to the rest of the body.

Also read: How to Fix Bad Fake Tan on Hands? (With Solutions)

Can I use a skin moisturiser after applying a self-tanner?

If it’s best not to use a moisturiser before applying self-tanner, is it possible to apply it afterwards? As a matter of a fact, yes – you can apply a skin moisturiser after self-tanning to keep your skin smooth and healthy.

Furthermore, it’s actually best if you do apply a moisturiser after your self-tan application as this keeps your skin constantly nourished and moisturised which, in turn, make your self-tanner last longer as it is less likely to fade under these conditions. Basically, you should be using a body moisturiser or lotion of some sort every day, at least, when you have self-tanner on.


There are only a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Choose the right product: not all moisturisers or lotion will be suitable for use with a self-tan, as the ingredients in some products can interfere with or disrupt the balance of those in the tanner.
  • Use it every time you shower: whenever you shower or take a bath (or do anything that involves soaking your body), the skin loses its moisture, which needs to be replaced afterwards. The best thing to do is to apply the moisturiser whilst your skin is still slightly damp, if possible, to lock in the hydration.
  • Don’t use it straight away: if you use a self-tanner, you’ll know that there is a short period of time which allows for the tan to develop, during which you should not come into contact with any water or creams. The best time to start using a moisturiser is immediately after you come out of the shower for your first rinse.

Also read: How Long Does Self-Tanner Take To Dry? (Express vs Normal)

Three best body moisturizers for dry skin that you can use after self-tanning

1. SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream 240ml
33,118 Reviews
SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream 240ml
  • SMOOTHS & TIGHTENS: Fast absorbing body cream for your bum bum, legs, tummy - and all over - contains Guaraná to tighten and smooth the appearance of skin.
  • HYDRATES & SOFTENS: Brazilian Beauty Blend of Cupuaçu Butter, Açaí Oil, and Coconut Oil softens while a light mica shimmer creates an all-over highlighting gorgeous glow.

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While this moisturizer isn’t specifically formulated for use with self-tanners, there’s no harm in using products like this, which aren’t specifically formulated with tan-extending in mind. The most important thing is that the product is intensely nourishing and hydrating, which this is.

The Brazilian Bum Bum Cream has become a cult classic in the body care industry and, if you’ve tried it before, you’ll know why. As well as it’s incredible, sweet smell that’ll remind you of your summer vacations, this cream also has some powerful moisturizing properties. It’ll leave your skin smooth and it’ll even help to firm your body. Perfect!

2. St Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Enhancing Moisturiser

ST TROPEZ Tan Enhancing Body Moisturizer, Body Lotion Prep and Maintain, Vegan, Natural & Cruelty Free, 6.7 Fl Oz
473 Reviews

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St Tropez is another famous name in the beauty industry and another you should definitely get to know. Its products are known for their high quality, and large range available. When buying from St Tropez, you can be sure that any product or formula you use with be of the highest quality and perform to meet unmatchable standards.

The Tan Enhancing Moisturiser, part of their ‘Prep & Maintain’ range, offers a unique moisturising experience like no other, made specifically to enhance your tan, and help it to develop a deeper colour as you wear it.


  • Use St Tropez’s priming scrub before tanning, to prepare the skin, and use some of this on the dryer areas, such as the elbows before applying the tan to reveal a smooth-looking, flawless tan.
  • Apply the product generously all over the body after you have applied and rinsed you self-tanner, to keep skin supple and allow the tan to develop even further.

3. Aveeno Daily Moisturising Body Lotion with Smoothing Oat and Rich Emollients

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion with Soothing Oat and Rich Emollients to Nourish Dry Skin, Gentle & Fragrance-Free Lotion is Non-Greasy & Non-Comedogenic, 18 fl. oz
876 Reviews
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion with Soothing Oat and Rich Emollients to Nourish Dry Skin, Gentle & Fragrance-Free Lotion is Non-Greasy & Non-Comedogenic, 18 fl. oz
  • 18-fluid ounce pump bottle of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion to moisturize dry skin for a full 24 hours
  • Nourishing lotion contains a unique soothing oatmeal formula that absorbs quickly, leaving your skin soft, beautiful and healthy-looking

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Although this lotion isn’t made specifically for use post-self-tanning, the Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion contains natural, gentle ingredients which care for your skin without any of the ingredients interfering with those in your tan. Its great non-greasy formula offers high nourishment to make your tan last longer and your skin stay smooth.

Not to mention, the price is so low for such a high-quality product!


  • Apply generously to dryer areas of the body, such as the ankles and elbows, to prevent additional fade in various parts of the body.
  • If you have very dry or sensitive skin, this is the best lotion for you as it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients, but they’re effective at the same time.

Final thoughts

In general, self-tanners won’t dry out your skin themselves, but they do require you to moisturise your body in order to keep your enviable colour for longer. In some cases, dry skin can be possible, but this can easily be combatted by using one of the moisturisers listed above, or one which works for you!

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

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