How to Get Self-Tanner Off Hands [Plus Expert Tips]

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When thinking of lying in the sun, you think of tanning and sun-kissed skin, but it’ll take a while to see the results. And thoughts about harmful UV radiation and skin cancer may come up. Luckily, there’s a shortcut to get that summer-bronzed glow – a spray tan.

Using a self-tanner is an excellent way to boost your natural tan without excessive sun exposure or tan salon visits. You only have to apply it on your skin and wait a few moments until it adapts to your skin tone and makes it shinier and a bit darker.

But some self-tanner mistakes happen, and one of the most common is orange hands. Let’s be honest; a faux glow on palms can really spoil the impression. Don’t despair, as there are many ways how to get self-tanner off your hands.

How to Remove Self-Tanner from Hands

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Orange patches on your hands and palms don’t look good, especially if they settle in spots with particularly dry skin, like between your fingers. But don’t worry if self-tanning goes wrong; there are many ways to fake tan removal.

Try Baking Soda

Baking soda is an essential ingredient in every kitchen, not only for cooking but also for many other miraculous effects of this simple ingredientOpens in a new tab.. In the case of removing self-tan residues from your hands, baking soda can be your great ally.

All you need is a paste made of baking soda and just a few drops of water, which you will gently rub into the skin of your hands and palms.

You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub your fingers and spots between them. Leave the paste on for a few minutes and then rinse.

If baking soda doesn’t work this way, you can enhance it with lemon juice. Mix these ingredients to make a paste and apply it to stubborn patches. Repeat the previously described procedure until the orange patches fade away.

Use Oils

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Coconut oil is a magical ingredient with many uses. Thus you can benefit from it when correcting mistakes from self-tanning, even on sensitive skin, as it’s super gentle and nourishing. If you don’t have it, olive oil can be a good alternative, but jojoba oil will also work wellOpens in a new tab. for self-tanner removal.

These oils break down the top skin layers and cancel out darkened patches after self-tanning. When combined with mild exfoliators or a tanning mitt, coconut oil can provide gentle peeling and even remove dead skin cells, evening out your fake tan if you apply it to the entire body.

Baby oil is another fatty matter that can get self-tanner off your hands. Smear it on your hands and palms and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. That’s enough time for baby oil to soften the top layer of the skin and degrade orange pigments from self-tanner. After 15 minutes, soak your hands in hot water for a minute or two before rinsing them thoroughly.

Apply Lighteners

Lighteners are natural ingredients with acids that should break down the self-tanner on your palms. Or these are commercial products like whitening toothpaste or nail polish remover with lightening properties.

If you give an advantage to natural tan removers, you will try lemon juice and baking soda in the already mentioned way. Or you can go with lemon juice solely.

Citric acidOpens in a new tab. can help with orange spots on your hands here and there. Just rub a slice of lemon on them or soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it directly to the orange patches.

White vinegar, nail polish remover, and rubbing alcohol might also remove self-tanner, but not everyone is delighted with their smell. Use a soaked cotton pad to apply these ingredients to your palms and leave for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. The smell should vanish, too.

As vinegar and alcohol can dry out your hands, make sure to moisturize them properlyOpens in a new tab..

As for whitening toothpaste, try the one with sodium bicarbonate for your patchy hands. Rub it into your palms using circular motions, then wash it away with warm water.


Self-tanner residues create uneven patches on your palms when they ”stick” to dry skin cells. So the key to removing them is proper exfoliation, as abrasive matters can scrub away self-tanner and even out your skin tone.

There’s no need for chemical exfoliation, as you can use simple ingredients like sugar and salt will gently exfoliate your skin. For example, sugar scrubs are super easy to make and useOpens in a new tab..

One simple recipe is mixing two parts of sugar and one part of body oil. Apply this sugar scrub to your palms using an exfoliating mitt or a loofah.

In case you can’t make a body scrub at home, you can try Tree Hut Shea sugar scrubOpens in a new tab. that can remove orange patches and nourish your skin.

Baby Wipes

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Baby wipes work when you have no other self-tan remover on hand. These can correct minor self-tanner mistakes and be super-gentle to your dry skin, but these aren’t an all-might tan remover.

Hair Removal Cream

When you have no time to exfoliate or scrub your hands, you can use hair removal cream. It won’t exactly remove self-tanner from your skin, but it’ll make it lighter and less visible.

Tips on Preventing Self-Tanning Mistakes

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Before you get that faux tan, you can prepare yourself and your skin.

  • Buy a high-quality self-tannerOpens in a new tab.. If you’re new to self-tanning, opt for a lighter tanner that self-tans your skin gradually and washes off easily. You can also try a self-tanner that won’t wash out. It’s long-lasting and doesn’t leave stains on your clothes.
  • Be patient. Most self-tanners have a ”waiting period” because they need up to eight hours to adapt to your natural skin and make it glow.
  • Use exfoliating gloves when self-tan. Besides preventing orange palms and ensuring even application of self-tanner, these will exfoliate and even out the rest of your body.
  • Don’t use harsh cosmetics before applying a tanner. If you have to shower before self-tanning, do that at least four hours before to let your pores clog and avoid an uneven finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Moisturize Skin Before Applying Self-Tanner?

Moisturizing is highly recommended before applying a self-tanner, especially for very dry areas like hands. Apply moisturizing products at least two hours before self-tanning, and use products specialized for different skin types.

How Long Does Fake Tan Last?

Depending on the self-tanner you use, your bronzed glow can last from three days up to a week. Before re-applying self-tanner, make sure your old tan is completely gone.

How to Maintain My New Tan?

With proper maintenance, your new tan can last up to 10 days. You have to exfoliate and moisturize your skin regularly to ensure it fades evenly.

Wrap Up

Patchy hands are a common mistake in most people doing self-tanning. And while there’s no quick fix for orange palms, you have several options at your disposal to make DIY self-tanner removers. Just be persistent, and you’ll quickly say goodbye to orange spots and bad tans.

Paulina Romain

Paulina Romain is an entrepreneur and artist in the beauty industry. She is the founder and owner of The Art of Ink Studio, where she provides services such as permanent cosmetics, microblading, and artistic ink, focusing on personalized body art. Additionally, she owns Mill Pond Salon, through which she aims to deliver big-city salon services in the comfort of a small town. Apart from her hands-on work in her studios, Paulina Romain is also active on social media platforms like TikTok, where she showcases her fine line and cosmetic tattoo work. Furthermore, she's been in the salon and beauty industry for over 14 years and operates Team True Beauty with Sam Romain. This platform includes a blog on various beauty-related topics and marks the opening of two beauty brands by the couple.

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