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How to remove fake tanner from hands (8 easy methods)

How to remove fake tanner from hands (8 easy methods)

The warm weather is finally here. People are starting to address their pale winter skin by applying some fake tan to give it that subtle golden glow.

However, we don’t always apply the perfect tan and there is often a couple of common mistakes we make which can give us a blotchy or streaky look.

One of the most common tell-tale signs is the dreaded patchy hands. This happens for a few reasons which are explained below.

If you find yourself in this situation, then you’re in luck. There are ways you can remove fake tanner from your hands using mainly household items.

We’ve listed some of the easiest and most effective methods below, so read on to find out more!

Why am I getting blotchy hands?

There can be a couple of reasons as to why you maybe be getting patchy hands, so before we talk about how the fake tanner can be removed, we’ll discuss some of these reasons.

Applying too much self-tanner

The skin on your hands naturally has more dead skin than the rest of your body. This is because they are often touching things, causing the skin to dislodge, and shed.

The result? A darker tan on your hands than other parts of the body. This is mainly because the DHA colours dead skin cells, and there are a lot more dead skin cells on the upper layer of your hands. 

The remedy? Use less on your hands than you would on the rest of your body. If your hands go darker than other body parts then it makes sense to use less.


Applying the tan in a rush

Most people apply the tan to their legs first, then their body and arms. The hands are almost always the last part to be done.

This means the hands are often rushed. After spending 20 minutes applying your tan, you just want to finish and get on with your day. Besides the hands aren’t as important anyway…

Well, when people apply their fake tanner in a rush that’s when you see a patchy application. It’s because you don’t apply it evenly, and you may apply too much (See above point!)

The morale of the story? Take your time!

Not using a mitt when applying

Probably the most common cause of blotchy hands comes from not using the right equipment.

Often people forget to buy the tanning mitt, or they don’t have it to hand. They apply their fake tan without a mitt and their hands turn blotchy.

Using a tanning mitt is essential for ensuring an even application on the body and hands alike.


How to remove fake tanner from your hands

1) Use bath oil

Using bath oil is a great way to get rid of your fake tan. The oil breaks down the DHA on your skin meaning you simply need to wash your skin afterwards to get rid of the upper layer of tan.

If you want to get rid of an entire tan you can take a bath. But if you’re just targeting your hands, then simply rub your hands with bath or baby oil. Then, leave it to sit on your hands for 5-10 minutes before washing them. This should create an even fade of your fake tan.

To get rid of stubborn parts it’s recommended to also use an exfoliator when rubbing the oil off.


2) Glycolic Acid

Like baby oil, Glycolic acid causes DHA to separate from the skin. This means it will begin to fade, and you only need to wash your hands afterwards to lift that tan completely.

The best way to do this is to put some Glycolic Acid onto some face wipes and wipe the parts of your hands which have the blotchy tan.

The tan will instantly look lighter, and if you want to go further you can wash your hands with warm water and lightly exfoliate.


3) Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice isn’t recommended if you want to remove tan on a very large area. This is mainly because of the sheer amount of lemon juice required to remove a full body’s worth of tan!

But if you have a small area (Like your hands) that needs to be removed then this is perfect for you.

Just make sure you test this on a small patch of skin beforehand to ensure it doesn’t irritate your skin.

Simply squeeze some lemon juice on a clean tanning mitt or cotton pad. Then add a little bit of water and microwave it for about two minutes. You can also add some sugar to the mix to help make it more effective.

Leave it to cool slightly and then lightly rub the cloth on your hands. Make sure you pay close attention to the skin in between your fingers.

It’s also important to warm the pad beforehand as it activates the hydroxy acids in the tan which help it fade quicker.

4) Toothpaste

This method is ideal for getting in between those fingers. Simply rub some teeth whitening toothpaste in between your fingers before leaving it to penetrate for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes has passed, wash the toothpaste off with warm water.

If you want to erase a stubborn bit of tan, then use an old toothbrush to scrub the area. It should do a good job of erasing those darker stains.


5) Baking Soda

Normally baking soda is better for larger patches of skin, but there is a useful trick which makes it perfect for removing fake tanner from your hands.

You can make a baking soda scrub by mixing 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a little bit of water (or coconut oil) to form a paste.

Rub your paste over the area you want to lighten and leave it for 5-10 minutes before washing off with warm water.

A user on Reddit has claimed that you can “Super charge” the paste by adding a small amount of washing up liquid which is supposed to be perfect for cleaning nails and hands. The best ratio to have is around 1:1 of washing up liquid to baking soda.

If you decide to use washing up liquid, only use it on your hands and make sure to thoroughly moisturise afterwards as it can dry your skin.

Below is a great example of someone making the baking soda paste!

6) Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish is very effective for removing fake tanner. Whilst it can sometimes be harsh, using it for small areas means you won’t damage your skin too much.

It’s the acetone in nail polish remover which breaks down the tan. This will also still occur after the tan has fully set in your skin, which is why it’s so good for emergency situations.

Put some nail polish remover on a cotton pad and apply it to a very small part of your skin. Wash it off shortly afterwards and give it a light rub with a flannel. You will see the tan fade straight away!

7) White vinegar

Vinegar is great at lightening your tan. This is due to the acid in the vinegar which takes away the colour of the tan and helps to dissolve it.

This is best for lightening dark patches rather than removing a whole tan. It’s also better for smaller patches, rather than the whole body, making it ideal for the hands.

The best way to do this, is to get any vinegar, apply it to a cotton ball and lightly dab the dark area of your skin with the vinegar. Leave it to sit for around ten minutes before washing it off with warm water.

8) Exfoliate

You should always exfoliate when a tan starts to fade. We explain in this article why that is.

It can be particularly useful when trying to even out your tan, or if you just want to erase that particularly dark patch.  The best way to exfoliate is to use an exfoliation mitt, but there are a few other methods you can use:

Washcloth: If you want the exfoliation to be lighter, you can use a washcloth. It’s more soothing and is less likely to irritate sensitive skin.

Sugar scrub: Sugar is a natural exfoliant that you can make at home. You simply add sugar to cold water. You can also add some oil to the mix and if you want to make it particularly soothing, why not some scented oils.

OatsOats are a great natural exfoliant. Simply add oats to buttermilk (about 2:1 ratio of buttermilk to oats) to create a natural exfoliant you can rub into your skin. It will sooth your skin but also remove the dead skin cells which will help to erase your tan.

As mentioned above, lemon juice is a great way to remove your fake tanner. So why not add some lemon juice to your exfoliant mix?  The acidity of the lemon will help to remove the fake tan.

It also contains citric acid and Vitamin C meaning it can help to lighten the skin and remove the fake tan colour.


How do I stop it happening again?

Once you’ve managed to remove your blotchy fake tan, you might want to reapply it later.

Below are a few tips on how you can avoid getting a blotchy tan in the first place, so you don’t have to go through tan removal process again.

Use a barrier cream

This method works well in two ways. Firstly, the barrier cream will hydrate your hands. Fake tanner will be much darker on dry skin. So, applying the tanner with moisturised hands will hugely help to keep them a light colour.

Secondly, the barrier cream will act as a film between your hands and the tanning solution. This will stop some solution from penetrating and colouring your skin.  

Don’t use too much

The main error people make when applying fake tan is by directly applying fake tanner to their hands. The number one rule for tanning hands is, never apply the tanner directly!

Whenever applying fake tan to your hands, always use leftover fake tan from either gloves or brushes.  This will stop it from overdeveloping and will keep the tan nice and light.

Use a tanning mitt

When applying the tan to the rest of your body, always try to use a tanning mitt. If you use your hand to apply the tan, it will overdevelop on your hands, and you’ll end up with a patchy application.

You can buy an Unreal tanning mitt at an affordable price here.

The bottom line

There are plenty of ways to remove fake tan from your hands. Ultimately the best method for your skin is using baby oil with an exfoliator. It leaves your skin in good condition without drying it out.

But if you have a particularly stubborn patch then any of the other methods will be much more effective. Just make sure you moisturise shortly afterwards as many of these methods will dry your skin.

If you want to get more tanning tips, then make sure to subscribe to our email list below. We send out a monthly newsletter with tanning tips from industry professionals, as well as deal and offers on our products.

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