Come clean. Once you have self tanned or received a spray tan, you are given strict orders not to use any products containing alpha hydroxy acids, as these will remove your tan. When your self tanner is fading, or you are prepping for another spray tan, removing the old self tanner and subsequent dead, dry skin is imperative. Reach for a glycolic acid facial cleanser; I love Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash. The glycolic acid will gobble up dead skin and old self tanner quickly and effectively.
Rub a dub dub. The easiest (and most relaxing!) way to remove old self tanner is to soak in the tub. Think about how soaking dishes makes them easier to clean and remove stuck on food. Soaking in warm water helps remove self tanner from your skin. The outermost layer of skin is what has been tanned; these skin cells soak up water like a sponge. The water softens dead skin cells and makes them easier to slough off.
Supe up the soak. To really increase your exfoliating and skin softening efforts, make like Cleopatra and add milk to your bath water. Simply add a half gallon of Vitamin D (full fat whole) milk to your warm bathwater. Milk contains lactic acid, a hydroxyl acid that descales skin, removing dull, dead cells-along with your old self tanner. Milk is nutrient rich and has been used in skincare for centuries. Take advantage!
Polish your skin. While your soak is doing its part, you need to double your efforts with a physical exfoliation. The milk bath acts as a chemical exfoliation, loosening dead skin cells and making them easier to sweep away manually. Use a body scrub or polish to remove dead, dry skin cells even further.
DIY scrub. Another exfoliating option is to be a DIY diva and make your own. A simple one that is ideal for revealing fresh skin is a lemon sugar scrub. All you need is lemon juice, olive oil, and white granulated sugar. Combine olive oil and sugar (four tablespoons of each) in a bowl, and squeeze one lemon (microwave the lemon for 40 seconds beforehand to yield the most juice) mix together with a fork, adjusting the scrub to your preference. Use in the bath or shower, but BE CAREFUL the olive oil can make the tub/shower slippery.
Suit up. Another quick and inexpensive tool to have in your exfoliating arsenal is a buffing cloth or a pair of exfoliating gloves. These textured fabrics remove dead skin cells, increase the lather of your body wash, and promote circulation. In short? They are fantastic and give you more bang for your buck. I love Dermalogica’s Ultimate Buffing Cloth, it’s great for hard to reach areas like your back, and it really lasts (I have had mine for years). Use exfoliating gloves or buffing cloths alone, or with your favorite scrub for maximum exfoliation.
Slather and soften. Our skin does not slough off evenly or all at one time, that is why chemical or physical exfoliation on our part is so important. This is never more evident than when you need to remove old self tanner. Some self tanners are more stubborn than others and may require a little extra work. Another option to help remove self tanner is to moisturize with an alpha hydroxy acid enriched moisturizer. One of my favorites is Alba Botanica Very Emollient Maximum Dry Skin Formula. This lightweight, fresh scented lotion does a wonderful job at softening and hydrating the skin. The AHAs sweep away dull skin cells, revealing fresher, glowing skin. I swear by it not only for removing old self tanner, but it is a wonderful product for those with chronic dry, scaly skin.
What are your tips for removing old self tanner?