How To Exfoliate Correctly Before Getting A Spray Tan

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When getting a little color on your skin, one pre-ritual you should not skip is exfoliation. If you think exfoliating normally, like every other time, will just do before a spray tan, then change your perception. You should learn how to exfoliate before a spray tan session for the best results.

Tanning experts and regular users understand that exfoliating is a pre-ritual that should not be skipped because it helps your tan last longer. This, and many other reasons, have brought you here, looking for the right way to exfoliate before spray tan.

You can find that out here in this article. It will tell you all you need to know about exfoliating and how to exfoliate before you get a spray tan. 

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is simply a process of removing dead skin cells, debris, and excess oil from the skin.

It is a process necessary for maintaining clean, clear skin. It also helps to improve the skin’s appearance and increase skin cell regeneration.

Exfoliating comes in different ways- via the use of tools or chemicals to remove these particles on the skin.

You have the mechanical process, which uses tools or textured substances (particles) to remove dead skin cells. Then there is the process of removing dead skin cells through a chemical that sloughs off dead skin cells.

Using these exfoliating agents depends on your skin type. The tougher your skin, the more physical you need to get the dead skin off.

If you properly exfoliate, you get renewed skin because exfoliating starts the process of bringing out new skin and improving collagen production, which improves skin cell regeneration and, in turn, enhances skin elasticity and youthfulness.

Additionally, exfoliating helps your skin absorb skincare ingredients because your clogged pores are free. Furthermore, it reduces signs of aging and removes aggressors in the skin.

How to exfoliate before a spray tan

1. Using a pre-tan exfoliator

Pre-tan exfoliator works just as the typical exfoliator. However, the scrubs are mostly oilless. Oils can hamper the tan and cause streaks instead of leaving a smooth finish.

Therefore, a specialized scrub is needed to give the skin a balanced finish without greasing it up too much.

How to:

  • After a warm shower to open your pores, use the pre-tan exfoliator to scrub dead skin cells from your body.
  • Gently massage the scrub on every part of your skin. If you have dry or sensitive skin, be extra careful with it. Aggressively scrubbing could inflame or peel your skin.
  • To get a smooth finish, cover every area, including your sensitive part. Leaving a part of the skin would show after tanning.
  • Focus on the flaky and dry part of the skin. Remove dead skin in this area gently.
  • After exfoliating thoroughly, rinse off the scrub.
  • Moisturize the body to hydrate the skin.

2. Using an exfoliating mitt

This is another mechanical tool that’ll help remove dead skin cells and leave smoother skin after exfoliating.

To use:

  • During your warm bath, leave enough lather to act as a lubricant (a body wash is better than a bath soap because it is more moisturizing).
  • Wear your mitts and scrub your body.
  • Gently work on the sensitive areas of your skin.
  • Scrub off every part of your body until you feel smooth skin after.
  • Rinse off your body with water.
  • Moisturize the skin.

Note: Sensitive skin can opt for a washcloth or loofa if the mitt is too harsh on the skin. 

3. Using DIY scrubs

Another way to exfoliate before a spray tan session is to use DIY scrubs with ingredients right in your home.

A personal favorite is baking soda. This wonder powder can exfoliate the skin smoothly without leaving residue. To make a paste, use either water or lemon juice.

To use:

  • On a wet body, apply the baking soda mix.
  • Rub in a circular motion until all parts of your body are completely covered.
  • Use an exfoliating mitt, loofa, or washcloth to hasten this process. They help remove dead skin cells faster.
  • Rinse off the mix on your body after.
  • Moisturize your skin.

Note: You can use other DIY scrubs you know. Himalayan salt scrub, Epsom salt scrub, sugar and honey scrub, or even coffee scrub all help exfoliate the skin.

Why do you need to exfoliate before a spray tan?

As mentioned earlier, exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells. Therefore, exfoliating the skin before spray tanning would not only help smoothen the tan on the skin, but it will also look flawless.

Additionally, spray tan contains DHA, a component that reacts and sticks to dead skin cells. This reaction leads to a darker or patchy tan. To avoid this, you need to remove dead skin cells from your skin as much as possible.

Moreover, it helps tan last longer. With dead skin out, the tan would not fade or peel off due to the heavy amount of dead skin, products, and excess oil on the skin.

When you spray paint, you need a clean canvas. This is what exfoliating provides. It gives your skin a clean canvas to work on.

Tips when exfoliating before a spray tan

  • Exfoliate at least 4 hours before spray tan.
  • If shaving and exfoliating, do so 24 hours before spray tan.
  • Exfoliate, then shave. Exfoliating before shaving makes it easier for ingrown hairs to be removed because pores are open and clear.
  • Avoid exfoliating scrubs with parabens or artificial ingredients because they can react or irritate the skin.
  • Moisturize dry skin after exfoliating.
  • Avoid scrubs with oils because they can block the spray tan.


how to exfoliate before spray tan

Is it necessary to exfoliate before a spray tan?

Yes, it is.

Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells and prep the skin before tanning. Without properly exfoliating, your tan may come out patched or cracked.

How long should you wait to exfoliate after spray tanning?

At least a week.

If you want to exfoliate after spray tanning, you need a week’s interval. By then, the tan would have reduced considerably, and enough dead skin cells would have built up on the body. Moreover, that is about the time you need a touchup.

Why shouldn’t you moisturize before spray tanning?

A moisturizer contains oils, which is not good before a spray tan.

Keeping your skin clear and fresh, ready for the tan, would help you get a better result. However, if you have dry skin, you can moisturize a little to keep your skin balanced.

How long does it take to spray tan?

It takes about 20 minutes for a spray session. A spray tan doesn’t take too long to get if you plan on bronzing your skin a bit.  


Spray tanning is bronzing up or giving your skin a sun-kissed shade. However, an important routine you shouldn’t skip before getting one is exfoliation.

Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and smoothens the skin, prepping it for some color. Additionally, it helps create a clean canvas that improves the flawlessness of the tan.

You can either use DIY home methods like baking soda or Epsom salt scrub or get a pre-tan scrub without oil. And you can use the traditional exfoliation mitt to slough off dead skin cells.

Whichever method you use, be thorough to avoid a patched tan. Doing this properly is one of the ways to ensure the best tanning experience and longevity.

Thanks for reading.

Get more helpful skincare tips here on MBGON.