how to get self tanner off hands

How to Get Self Tanner Off Hands (Effective Hacks!)

Have you ever found yourself admiring the streak-free, sun-kissed glow of your body after using a self-tanner, only to look down and see your hands resembling a pair of overripe oranges? It’s a self-tanning blunder many of us have experienced. 

But don’t worry, you don’t have to stick with those tanned hands. We are going to show you some easy ways to clean off that extra tan from your skin. We’ll go over simple steps on how to get self tanner off your hands to their natural color. No need to wear gloves to hide your hands – help is right here!

Understanding Self-Tanner

Self-tanners are composed primarily of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a harmless chemical that interacts with the outermost layer of your skin. This layer is made up of dead skin cells, and when DHA comes into contact with the amino acids within these cells, it creates a chemical reaction that results in a darker pigment, mimicking a suntan. 

This reaction typically develops over a few hours and, once complete, can leave a color that is quite resilient to simple washing. Due to the depth of color and the way it binds to the skin cells, removing self-tanner, especially once it’s dried and set, can be a tricky task, requiring more than just soap and water.

The key is to act fast; the sooner you tackle the tanning mishap, the better your chances of reversing it. If you notice your hands have turned too dark immediately after applying the tanner, wash them with warm water and a strong soap. Exfoliate with a loofah or a scrub to slough off the outermost layer of skin where most of the DHA has attached itself.

How to get self tanner off hands with DIY remedies?

When you’ve missed the window of opportunity to immediately correct a self-tanning faux pas, don’t fret. Your home is likely stocked with a handful of ingredients that can aid in reversing that dreaded orange tint from your hands. Here’s how to leverage common household items for self-tanner removal.

Baking Soda Paste

Good old baking soda isn’t just for baking or keeping your fridge odor-free—it’s also a champion at removing self-tanner. This is due to its mildly abrasive nature and alkalinity, which can help to dissolve the DHA responsible for the tan. 

To create a potent exfoliating paste, mix three parts baking soda with one part water until you achieve a thick, spreadable consistency. Smear this onto your hands, and let it work its magic for about five minutes. 

As you wait, the mixture will begin to loosen the uppermost layer of tanned skin. Using a soft toothbrush or your fingertips, gently scrub in a circular motion. This not only lifts the tanner but also sloughs away dead skin cells, revealing fresher, lighter skin underneath.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has been a beauty hack for lightening hair and skin for ages, courtesy of its high citric acid content. This natural bleaching agent can help fade the self-tanner, much like it does with hair highlights. 

Drench a cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice, or cut a lemon in half and use it directly, rubbing it over your hands. The acidity helps to break down the tan. For an amplified effect, sprinkle baking soda on top of the lemon-treated areas, creating a fizzy reaction that can further lift the tan. After a few applications, you’ll notice the tan getting lighter.

White Vinegar

Similar to lemon juice, white vinegar is another acidic wonder that can help in your de-tanning quest. Its acetic acid component works to lighten the tanned areas. Dab it onto your skin, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then rinse away. Repeat a few times, and you’ll see the tan begin to fade more and more with each session.

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste can come to your rescue, thanks to its mild abrasives and bleaching agents. Non-gel toothpaste, preferably one that contains baking soda, can be applied to the over-tanned areas. The toothpaste’s properties designed to remove stains from your teeth can similarly strip away the unwanted tan from your hands. 

Apply a pea-sized amount onto the affected areas, massage it in for a minute or so, then leave it for a few minutes. As it sits, the active ingredients work to break down the tan, allowing you to rinse off the remnants and enjoy a more natural-looking skin tone.

How to get self tanner off hands with professional products?

When the clever tricks from your kitchen cupboard fall short, it’s time to consider professional products that are specifically developed to undo the bronzed bonds of DHA on your skin. These products have been scientifically formulated to target the tanning agents and offer a more potent solution for those particularly stubborn tanning mishaps.

Self-Tanner Remover

First on the list is the self-tan remover, a product that is a must-have for regular self-tan enthusiasts. These removers often contain ingredients that are designed to break down the active chemicals in self-tanner, offering a more powerful removal method than your average home remedy. 

They are crafted to penetrate the skin and dissolve the dihydroxyacetone that has reacted with your skin cells. Application methods may vary — some require you to apply the remover onto dry skin, while others work best on damp skin. 

It might come in the form of a cream, a foam, or even a spray. You’ll usually need to leave the product on for a specified amount of time, anywhere from a few minutes to overnight, depending on the product’s strength and instructions. After the waiting period, a simple wash or a gentle scrub can reveal tanner-free skin.

Exfoliating Scrubs

Another effective option is the range of exfoliating scrubs available over-the-counter. These products often contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid, which are known for their ability to penetrate deep into the pores and exfoliate the skin. 

This isn’t just useful for acne and skin texture; it can also remove the outermost layer of skin where the self-tanner resides. They come with the added benefit of cleansing the skin, which means they can be incorporated into your regular skincare routine, potentially preventing the self-tanner from settling too deeply again in the future.

How To Prevent Self Tanner From Getting On Hands

When it comes to self-tanning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ensuring you don’t have to deal with overly tanned hands starts well before the tanner touches your skin. By implementing a few simple preventative measures, you can keep your hands natural while the rest of your body enjoys that sun-kissed glow.

Barrier Cream

Before you even open your bottle of self-tanner, reach for a barrier cream or a heavy-duty moisturizer. By applying a generous layer of moisturizer to your hands, you create a protective layer between your skin and the self-tanner. 

Pay special attention to the areas between your fingers, around your nails, and the wrists — spots where self-tanner can often accumulate. The cream works by filling in the drier, rougher parts of your skin, which typically absorb more color. This method doesn’t just help with your hands; you can apply it to other dry areas like elbows, knees, and ankles for an even tan all over.

Tanning Mitt

The tool of the trade for an even, streak-free application is a tanning mitt. These mitts are designed to evenly distribute self-tanner without absorbing it, preventing the product from dying your palms. They come in different materials, but all serve the same purpose: to keep your hands clean and your tan flawless. 

For a disposable option, you can use latex or nitrile gloves. They are equally effective in creating a barrier between your hands and the tanner. Just be sure to smooth out any creases or folds in the gloves to prevent uneven application on the rest of your skin.


While self-tanner can give your skin a beautiful, sun-kissed radiance, the tell-tale signs of orange palms are a common mishap many wish to avoid. Whether you choose to employ household items like baking soda and lemon juice for a DIY solution, or opt for professional products like self-tan removers and exfoliating scrubs, the key is to act quickly and gently to lift the unwanted color. 

Prevention, however, is the most effortless approach. Using barrier creams and tanning mitts can save you from the hassle of removing tanner from your hands altogether. By taking these precautions and knowing the effective methods of removal, you can enjoy the benefits of self-tanning without the downsides, ensuring that your bronzed look is flawless from head to toe.

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