Exfoliation Questions

When And How to Exfoliate Before a Spray Tan? (Explained)

Written by: Anastasija

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It’s good to do everything you can in the way of prepping your skin for a spray tan as, the most prepares your body is, the smoother the application will be, literally. Who doesn’t want the best spray tan possible? Here is everything you need to know about pre-spray tan exfoliation.

How long before a spray tan should you exfoliate?

Bondi sands exfoliator glove by Anastasija thirsty for tan

One of the first things you should know about the exfoliation process prior to your spray tan is when to exfoliate your body. While this may not seem like a particularly important piece of information, it is, in fact, and the time you choose to exfoliate can affect the results of your tan.

If you’re looking for the optimum time to exfoliate your skin in order to reap the best results possible, you should exfoliate at least 4 hours before your spray tan. If you choose to exfoliate any closer to the appointment, the pores in the skin will still be open as a result of the loosened dead skin cells.

Time Before Spray TanExfoliation Method
24-48 HoursManual exfoliation, chemical exfoliation, dry brushing
Day of Spray TanGentle exfoliation with exfoliating cleansers or enzyme masks
Immediately BeforeLightly exfoliate with a warm, damp cloth to remove excess residue
Table 1: Pre-Spray Tan Exfoliation Timeline

However, you don’t want to exfoliate the skin too early before the appointment, as the layer of dead skin cells removed from the exfoliation will have enough time to replenish, even just a little. This means that the exfoliation won’t result in helping the tanning solution to stick to the skin so smoothly, which is the purpose of exfoliation anyway.

Smoother ApplicationExfoliating removes dead skin cells and promotes an even tan
Longer Lasting TanBy removing dead skin, the tan adheres better and lasts longer
Avoid PatchinessExfoliating evens out the skin’s texture, minimizing patchy areas
Enhanced ColorA smooth canvas allows the tan to develop more evenly and naturally
Prevents Uneven FadingRegular exfoliation helps the tan fade evenly for a natural-looking result
Table 2: Benefits of Exfoliating Before a Spray Tan

For this reason, it’s not recommended to exfoliate any longer than the day before your spray tan application. If you’re looking for the best time to exfoliate your skin before an application, either choose the evening of the day before, or the morning of the day, as long as you can ensure a 4-hour period of time post-exfoliation and pre-tanning.

Also read: How to Prepare for A Spray Tan? (Step-by-Step)

How to exfoliate the body before a spray tan


We’ve already established when, exactly, it’s best to exfoliate your body before the spray tan, but that doesn’t exactly tell you how to do it. Just like the timing of your preparations, the methods you use are important too. The more effective your technique is, the smoother your skin will be in preparation for your tan.

The first thing to do before exfoliating the body is to choose a product to suit your need. You may be aware that there are many products out there, so it’s certainly worth doing your research on your specific skin type, along with anything else that may affect the product you choose. It’s best to purchase an exfoliating body scrub, as these tend to be most effective products.

If you’re interested in taking a more environmentally friendly and product-free alternative, exfoliating mitts are another great option, and many are specifically designed to prepare your skin for a spray tan. These mitts work in a very similar way to a body scrub, but just offer a slightly different range of benefits.

Manual ExfoliationUsing body scrubs, loofahs, or exfoliating gloves to physically remove dead skin cells
Chemical ExfoliationUsing products with chemical exfoliants like AHA or BHA to dissolve dead skin cells
Dry BrushingUsing a dry brush to gently exfoliate the skin before the spray tan
Exfoliating CleansersUsing cleansers with mild exfoliating ingredients for gentle exfoliation
Enzyme MasksApplying enzyme masks to the skin to dissolve dead skin cells
Table 3: Exfoliation Methods for Preparing for a Spray Tan

Once you’ve chosen your product or tool or trade, it’s time to get scrubbing. You’ll need to start by soaking your skin with water, either in the shower or the bath, in order to begin the process of loosening the upper layer of dead skin cells. Unless your skin is wet, you’ll find it difficult to remove any dead cells from the skin at all, and only end up with irritated skin.

After a short soak, you can use either your mitt or scrub to begin massaging your skin in circular motions, making sure to apply enough pressure without being overly harsh. You should see the skin cells transferring from the skin to either your hand or the mitt but be aware that this step shouldn’t be overly aggressive or harsh – your skin shouldn’t become red or inflamed.

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Make sure to cover every area of the skin and be thorough in your exfoliation; any areas which have been left untouched will show, and the tan won’t be as smooth in these places. Anywhere with more flaky skin should be given plenty of attention, but make sure you don’t over-exfoliate any dry skin, as this can make it even drier which causes an uneven tan.

Once you’re finished, proceed with a shower gel or body wash to rinse your skin and you’re ready to go!

How to exfoliate your face before a spray tan

wasking my face by Anastasija thirtsty for tan

Although we’ve already seen how you should exfoliate the body before a spray tan, learning how to correctly exfoliate your face is important, too, as it is a little different to the rest of your body. Nevertheless, you still want your tanner to be flawless here, so the correct exfoliation is essential.

When it comes to your face, there are a few more product options in the way of exfoliation, as you can split facial products into either chemical or mechanical exfoliants. The category they fit into is dependent on the ingredients they contain, and whether or not they use solid, physical particles to exfoliate the skin.

As with your body products, there are many options to explore, and it’s, once again, worth doing your research on this. It’s also important that you don’t use the same product on your face as you do on your body, as the skin on your face is much more delicate and therefore much more prone to damage by excessive scrubbing.

Once your product is chosen, it’s best to follow the instructions stated on the packaging, as everything is different, and the method you use will depend on the item itself. Just make sure to do it at least four hours before the appointment, just like your body.

Also read: Does Exfoliating Help with Acne? (Tips That Help)

Final thoughts

Essentially, the main points for you to take away from this are that you should exfoliate at least four hours before your tanning appointment in order to allow the pores to close, and that exfoliating your face is different to exfoliating the rest of your body. And don’t forget to choose a product that suits your skin best!

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.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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