How To Remove a Sunless Tanner

A lot of us have been in this situation before: we buy a sunless tanning product, probably one that our dear friend has recommended and sworn by for years. We go home, apply it as directed, and wait for it to sink into our skin. A few minutes later, we go to check up on ourselves in the mirror and – GYAH! What have you done?! Whether it’s streaky, super orange, or so dark that your skin has changed 10 shades, you know that you have made a horrible mistake. But just how do you get this horrible tanner off of you?

Sunless tanners are made up of one primary ingredient, DHA. DHA, or dihydroxyacetone, is a color additive that reacts with the amino acids that are on our skin’s surface. This reaction is what gives our skin that tanned look. As days go by, our skin cells flake off and the tan eventually fades out.

But what if you don’t have time to wait for this darn tan to fade out?

What you need is:

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • A tub that is filled with warm water
  • A loofah sponge to exfoliate your skin

Start off by taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you won’t be stuck with this horrible tan forever. Fill up your bathtub, and then add in those 2 cups of baking soda. Stir it in with your hand so that the baking soda is completely dissolved.

The baking soda is not only a great skin softener, but it is also a gentle yet effective skin bleaching product.

Step into the tub, and allow yourself to soak. Relax and calm yourself and allow your skin to simply soak. Once a few moments have passed, take your loofah sponge or exfoliating product and rub it over the skin that you want to remove the tanner from. Don’t scrub your skin too hard; that will only make your skin sore and inflamed. Be gentle and take your time.


If you’re not a fan of sitting in a tub, you can also get into the shower and rub the baking soda directly over top of your skin.

If you’re Removing Streaks…

If you don’t want to get rid of an all-over tan and only want to get rid of streaks, apply some baking soda to a washcloth and then gently rub the cloth over the streaks in a circular motion.


Do not use baking soda on your face or any other delicate areas of skin.

Next, take a cotton ball and dip it into rubbing alcohol. Wipe the cotton ball right across the streaks. The sooner you get the streaks with the rubbing alcohol, the more effective it will be.

You can also choose to use lemon juice to help bleach out the bad tan. Dip your cotton ball or swab into some lemon juice and wipe it right over the tanned area of skin. The lemon juice will both bleach and exfoliate your skin, which expedites the tan removing process.