How to get fake tan off

Julie Delahaye

Fake tan is a great way of getting a healthy-looking glow, but sometimes the wrong application or a simple beauty mishap can leave you with unwanted patches. Luckily, there are some very easy ways to remove fake tan – and we've rounded up the best ones…

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fake tan

Exfoliation is key to getting rid of patchy fake tan

Don't vigorously scrub

If you try to scrub it off, you'll end up with even more patches, or risk even damaging your skin. Instead, use a body polish or massage oil, and apply all over – it's better to have the tan fading evenly and have to repeat the process as it will make for a subtler look.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate

Whether you're using a mitt or a damp towel, make sure to gently exfoliate your skin in circular motions. This will help to get your skin cells working and renewing themselves, breaking down the tan and eventually causing it to fade.

Hit the steam room

Sit in a steam for 30 minutes – the heat and humidity will work to soften the tan. When you get out, rub your skin with a wet towel in circular motions to deeply exfoliate – this will loosen the remaining tan and help to get rid of it.

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Lemon and lime juice are great for helping a tan to fade

Get lemon or lime juice

The citric acid in these fruits helps to remove even the most stubborn of tans. Apply the juice to a damp flannel, and pop it in the microwave for no more than two minutes. Leave it to cool for a few seconds – make sure to check it's not too hot as you don't want to burn your skin - and then rub the flannel over the patchy areas – the tan should come off almost immediately.

Use bath oils

Soak in the tub with bath oils, as these break down the composition of the tan. When you feel your skin has softened, use a mitt and gently make circular motions on the skin – this will encourage your cells to renew, and make it easier for the tan to fade and eventually disappear.

Take a trip to the swimming pool

The chlorine in a swimming pool is abrasive on the skin, so it will help to break down the fake tan. Make sure to exfoliate gently in the shower afterwards – and a steam or sauna can help to soften it further.

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