The Right Way To Prep Your Skin Before Applying Tanning Products

Sharing is caring!

In recent years, the use of tanning products has grown significantly as more individuals want to acquire a bronzed, sun-kissed glow without being exposed to dangerous UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. To guarantee you get the greatest results and prevent any negative effects, it’s also crucial to properly prepare your skin before using these products.

Steps to Prepare Your Skin for Tan

1. Cleansing

To prepare your skin for tanning, it’s important to cleanse it thoroughly to remove any residue from products, perfume, or dirt. This will ensure that nothing can interfere with the even and flawless application of the tan on your skin.


To go a step further, try taking a cold shower or lowering the temperature of your shower to assist in shutting your pores and obtaining a totally polished appearance.

2. Exfoliation

Exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and impurities that can interfere with tanning product absorption and distribution is needed to achieve an even and natural-looking tan. You can exfoliate using a scrub or a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid, paying extra attention to rough spots like the knees, elbows, ankles, and heels.


This critical step in your pre-tanning ritual helps ensure that the tanning product is evenly applied and adheres effectively to your skin. Exfoliating before applying tanning products can create a smooth and even surface for your tan coverage.


Not only does exfoliation smooth and prepare your skin for tanning, but it also promotes circulation, giving your limbs a healthy glow. So, remember to exfoliate before you do your tanning mitts, and you’ll be sure to achieve the best possible results.

3. Moisturizing

To ensure optimal results when using tanning products, moisturizing is an essential step that should not be overlooked. By hydrating your skin, you can improve its receptiveness to tanning products, which in turn helps to extend the lifespan of your tan.


It is important to note that applying moisturizer all over your body just before tanning can interfere with the product’s ability to adhere to your skin. This is why it’s recommended to use a lightweight moisturizer, specifically on rougher areas, such as your elbows, to ensure they are properly hydrated before tanning.


On the other hand, to prevent certain areas from turning dark or orange, such as your nostrils, knees, elbows, and ankles, it’s best to dab on a light layer of moisturizer before applying the self-tanner.

Considerations for Best Result

1. Patch test

Patch testing tanning products before use is crucial to avoid adverse reactions and ensure compatibility with one’s skin type. It helps identify allergic or irritant reactions and prevents skin issues such as acne breakouts, rashes, or irritation. To patch test, apply a small amount of the product on an inconspicuous area and observe for 24-48 hours.

2. Keep your skin type in mind

For individuals with sensitive or acne-prone skin, choosing tanning products specifically formulated for sensitive skin is essential. These self tanning foam products are typically free from common irritants and allergens, such as fragrances and certain preservatives, that can trigger a reaction. 


Avoiding products containing oils or other ingredients that can clog pores and exacerbate breakouts is recommended. Opting for oil-free and non-comedogenic products can benefit individuals with acne-prone skin.


Keeping your skin moisturized is important in preventing dryness or irritation, especially after tanning. It is recommended to use a moisturizer formulated for after-sun care, as these products typically contain ingredients that can soothe and hydrate the skin. Applying the moisturizer immediately after tanning, while your skin is still damp, can also help to lock in moisture and improve its effectiveness.