Skip to Content

Smell From Self-Tanner and Spray Tan: How to Get Rid Of It

Smell From Self-Tanner and Spray Tan: How to Get Rid Of It

The smell of self-tanner is something that many people don’t enjoy. The combination of stinky chemicals and the odor from your skin can be overwhelming for some people, especially when you are in a small room with them!

If this sounds like your situation, then there are ways to get rid of it. In this blog post, we will discuss how to get rid of the smell from self-tanner and spray tan products so that you can feel more comfortable around others.

Why Does Self-Tanner and Spray Tan Smell Bad?

The answer is when you apply self-tanners or spray tans, the products that contain DHA interact with dead skin cells in order to change your skin color.

As the DHA reacts with these dead skin cells, a byproduct is created called dihydroxyacetone or DH A for short. This chemical has a very strong odor that some describe as similar to the smell of paint.

The process is perfectly safe, and there are several ways you can reduce or eliminate the unpleasant (and sometimes overwhelming) smell associated with DHA.

You won’t be able to detect the product’s fragrance in the container to see if it has a yeasty odor. It’s not the tanner itself that causes the smell; it’s the chemical reaction DHA has with your system.

How To Make The Odor Less Noticeable? (How to Get Rid of the Smell From Self-Tanner and Spray Tan)

You can try wearing a lightweight scarf or bandanna over your nose and mouth while you are applying your self-tanner. Another option is to spray some perfume on the scarf or bandanna in order to mask the smell even more.

You can also try using a DHA odor eliminating spray before you put on your self-tanner, but keep in mind that this type of spray did not work all that well for me.

If the odor is still too much for you, then you might want to consider applying self-tanner at night instead of in the morning. The reason this works so well is because you will not have to worry about the smell until after you shower in the morning.

There are ways to also do this, let’s discuss further…

Use A Quality Product

The greatest thing you can do is use a self-tanning lotion that doesn’t have an unpleasant odor. In the end, it’s all about personal preference. The odor varies from one brand to the next. Some have a stronger DHA scent, and others just do a better job masking the fragrance.

  • The best way to figure out what smells the least is by doing a test run. Purchase one bottle of self-tanner and try it for several days before you make your final decision on which brand works best for you.
  • If you find that no matter how much perfume or cologne you use, there is still too much odor coming from your skin, then you might want to consider switching products.
  • You can also apply the self-tanner in a well-ventilated area or try using an unscented lotion and see if it helps at all. The more air that blows over your body while applying the self tanner product will help with eliminating odors as well.
  • There is no way to make the smell of DHA go away completely, but you can reduce it by using a high quality self-tanner.
  • Some people have had success with mixing baking soda into their self-tanning lotion or body spray in order to eliminate some of that unwanted odor.

This product, which you can purchase on Amazon, is my personal favorite.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a self-tanner with no scent, scroll down for some of our other top choices!

Odor Neutralizers

There are odor eliminating chemicals or encapsulation techniques that may be added to self-tanning lotions to aid in the capture of the DHA scent as it dries on the skin. Depending on the client’s skin and the surrounding environment, odor neutralizers may wear off quickly.

In order to make the odor neutralizers last longer, you can utilize some home treatments to capture the scent. Baking soda and baby powder, as well as other personal hygiene products, can be useful in eliminating odors.

Try Different Blends

Self-tanners are manufactured in different ways. Tanning lotions all have the same aim in mind: to tan your skin. However, they do so using distinct formulations.

  • There’s no way to know how one tanner will react with your skin, and which product would cause an offensive odor or not, so it might take some time to figure out which products work best with your skin.
  • It’s also important to consider what you’re looking for in your self-tanner. For example, some products are more moisturizing than others and this can contribute to an unpleasant odor as well.
  • Some tanners might not be right for certain skin types due to the high concentration of DHA. As mentioned earlier, DHA is known to cause a chemical reaction with the proteins in your skin. This can produce an odor that is difficult to get rid of.

If you have sensitive skin, it might be best to steer clear from products containing high concentrations of DHA and opt for a self-tanner which has less than two percent concentration instead. Some clients even experience irritation when using tanning lotions with high concentrations of DHA.

Rinsing Off

Showering or rinsing the solution sooner may help eliminate the DHA’s scent. It is possible that this will cause the tan to be lighter or less developed, but the odor will also be reduced.

The stench appears to be more prevalent at night, so bathing before bed and employing a scented product on the skin might also assist with this.

Masking Products

Some tanning products, however, include compounds that provide a pleasant scent to help mask the DHA odor in the product. During your tan, the chemicals in those fragrances help to give it a new scent, but they dissipate rapidly after application.

It isn’t a long-term solution to the DHA stench, but it does provide a new fragrance to the tanning session. You will have to reapply fragranced goods frequently in order to retain the fragrance.

DHA Levels

The amounts of L-DHA in self-tanners and spray tans differ. Because DHA reacts with your skin’s chemistry, the yeasty smell is a consequence of that reaction, thus using a product without DHA may help to minimize the smell.

Some consumers, on the other hand, notice a distinction between DHA from naturally occurring organic items like this one and the DHA that is manufactured synthetically.

How to Combat Body Odor that Reacts to Tanning DHA

We all know the embarrassment that a body odor can cause, especially if it has an embarrassing scent to it. Body odor often comes from bacteria, so something strong enough to combat this type of problem needs to have a bit of antibacterial properties about it as well.

Most spray-on deodorants don’t have this antibacterial property that is needed to combat body odor, but this recipe does.

This body deodorant will not only conquer the strong scent of your body odor, it will also fight off the bacteria that causes it. Since this is also a homemade product, you can be sure to know exactly what ingredients are in it and make sure they are all natural. This means no chemicals, which means no harmful side effects.

You can also use these products:

  1. Antibacterial cleansers – It is possible that you could also be washing the bacteria away before it has a chance to react with your DHA.
  2. Use antiperspirants – Deodorants only mask the smell, while antiperspirants typically stop sweat production all together (some have both properties).
  3. Use scented powders – Many of these powders will contain both antibacterial and deodorant properties, which makes them double as body powder.
  4. Exfoliate – Try scrubbing your skin gently with a pumice stone or loofah pad, and then rinse it off with warm water.
  5. Remove sweat with towel constantly – By removing sweat before bacteria has a chance to react you can prevent body odor.
  6. Use only clean cloths – When wearing clothes, make sure they haven’t been sweating in and try to change often.
  7. Wear natural fibers – Natural fibers such as cotton tend to allow for more air circulation next the skin, which reduces sweat and bacteria.
  8. Avoid spicy food – Spicy food can cause your sweat glands to work overtime to cool your body off, which results in more body odor.
  9. Antibacterial soap – Switching from a non-antibacterial bar of soap to antibacterial should help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin, which should keep you smelling better.
  10. Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is known to kill the stinky bacteria that leads to body odors.
Smell From Self-Tanner and Spray Tan: How to Get Rid Of It

Self-Tanning Products With No Bad Sell

Several self-tanning solutions claim to be odorless.

1. Self-Tanning Mousse – Miami Gorgeous Organic

The Miami Gorgeous Self-Tanner is made with high-quality components. It’s packed with argan oil and coconut oil, which are both beneficial to the skin.

The organic DHA is complemented with vitamins A, C, and D, as well as olive oil, jojoba oil, and elderflower extract. This blend leaves a pleasant scent after application. It’s a streak-free tanner that won’t leave an orange tint on your skin. The solution is gluten-free, paraben-free, and produced with environmentally friendly DHA.

2. My Skin’s Friend Organic Self-Tanner

With this overnight tanner, you won’t have to worry about any smell or streaks.

It moisturizes as it tans thanks to it ingredients and sweet potato extracts. Because of the natural components, the color will not be transferred to clothing or hair. 

Because they use no strong chemicals or a high concentration of DHA to achieve a fast tan, pre-mixed self-tanners have no distinct odor. You may also wash off your tan when it has developed to the color you desire.

3. Sunless Californium Bronzer – Skinerals Organic Self Tanner

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
07/02/2022 10:43 am GMT

The Skinerals is made of non-toxic, natural and organic chemicals. A wonderful choice for individuals who want a natural, consistent tan that lasts. The self-tanner’s minerals, rather than chemicals, help to avoid the strong self-tanning odor and instead provide a pleasant scent in its stead.

The final tan is streak-free and has a lovely radiance that lasts up to 7 days.

4. Golden Star Beauty Self-Tanner

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
07/02/2022 12:10 am GMT

You may get a perfectly bronzed tan without causing any damage to your skin. The Golden Star Beauty Self-Tanner is composed of natural and organic components, including jojoba oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, and evening primrose oil. The self-tanner also has a pleasant scent, like that of calendula and meadowsweet extract.

The absence of harsh chemicals eliminates the unpleasant chemical smell that can sometimes occur after a self-tanning application. It’s a streak-free and orange-free tanner that provides all of the benefits of a sunless tan without having to endure the unpleasant or unsightly odor.

5. NKD SKN Gradual Glow Daily Tan Moisturizer

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
07/02/2022 12:10 am GMT

You’re avoiding a greater amount of DHA, which might cause an unpleasant odor if you utilize a gradual tanner. The gradual tan odor will help you develop your tan gradually. It has a mild odor and is transparent. This is due to the fact that it includes 100% natural components.

It has a rich lather that softens and moisturizes your skin, but it does not have any scents, parabens, or alcohol. It won’t leave you smelling like another product, and the alcohol won’t dehydrate your skin, causing the tan to fade faster.

6. Bon Vivant Salon Organic Sunless Tanning Mist

When used as directed, this light tanning mist delivers a beautiful, natural-looking tan that gives you a hint of color. It includes natural and organic components that are ideal for all skin types, including sensitive, light, medium, or dark.

It has no fake tan scent and leaves no streaks. The moisturizers and organic oils used in the lotions protect the skin, which appears nourished and healthy. There are no harmful parabens, formaldehyde, or alcohol in this product, so you won’t have to worry about the dreaded fake-tan stench.

How To Avoid Self-Tanner From Streaking

When using self tanning lotions, there is always a chance that you could end up with streaks. If this happens, try the following steps:

  1. Before applying self tanner, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any extra oil. Also make sure that all oils are removed from the skin around your wrists, ankles and knees.
  2. Before applying it to the face, you can cover areas that tend to be more on the dry side with a moisturizer. This will prevent the tanner from over-drying those areas.
  3. Blend self tanner in circular motions starting from feet, continuing up legs toward hips and stomach and then on to chest, arms, etc.
  4. First apply it on your legs, then cover the upper body gradually with gradual layers of the solution. This will ensure even coverage across all areas for a smoother finish.
  5. Before applying self tanner on sensitive areas like armpits, bikini line or face, leave the solution on hands or fingers for a few minutes to avoid contact with the skin. If you do happen to touch those areas unintentionally, just wipe off as much as possible and continue on applying self tanner elsewhere.
  6. Before going to bed apply a layer of Vaseline or baby oil around your ankles, wrists, knees and elbows. The excess will be easily removed in the morning.
  7. If you do miss areas, don’t worry, just apply more self tanner the next morning and shower it off after a few hours.
  8. If you soak in water, your tan will simply lighten a bit but it won’t completely wash away. Most of the tanning lotions are designed to last for days or even weeks.
  9. If you don’t like the tan itself, exfoliating soap will remove it. But be careful not to scrub too hard as this can cause skin irritation and damage sensitive skin areas.
  10. You may end up with a light orange appearance that is finally gone after several showers. Light tans however are pretty normal and hardly noticeable once they fade away.

Many users of self-tanners (particularly spray tanners) report persistent odor that lingers after their tanning sessions. Many individuals, on the other hand, dislike uneven application. One of the most essential aspects of self-tanning to master is streakiness, which looks strange and awful. 

Why Use Baby Powder to Avoid Tanning Odor

There are many reasons to use baby powder to avoid tanning odor. However, before we can learn about these reasons, it is important to understand what causes tanning odor in the first place.

  • Tanning odors are caused by an excess of bacteria on the skin, resulting from excessive sweating. Of course, this happens more when someone is tanning, but it can also happen to someone who is just exercising vigorously.
  • When a person sweats a lot, the bacteria that feed on the sweat create a substance called thioalcohols. Thioalcohols is responsible for producing the foul smell associated with excessive sweating and body odor.
  • This is where baby powder comes in. Baby powder helps to absorb excess moisture, including sweat. In doing so, it can also help to eliminate the bacteria that produce the odors associated with sweating. It can even reduce or prevent chafing and rashes from occurring on areas of the body affected by a lot of sweating.
  • Baby powder is available for purchase at most pharmacies and supermarkets, and it is also relatively inexpensive.

It can be applied immediately after exercising or tanning, to help with odor before it starts. However, it can also be used regularly, in order to reduce the amount of sweat that causes odor in the first place. A light dusting of baby powder on any areas where a person sweats a lot is often enough to make a big difference.

Avoiding Sweats While Having Tan On

It is perfect to have a nice tan when summer comes along, but one of the worst things to happen is for you to burn and keep the sun tan while being in sweat. This causes your skin to dry up because of the sweat while having a tan on, without even nourishing your skin at all.

It’s best for you to stay away from sweating while you are having a tan, because it will dry up your skin. Always remember to wear sunscreen when you’re out in the sun. Going under the sun with a nice tan makes you look twice as good, but staying in the sun with burnt skin is not recommended.

Smell From Self-Tanner and Spray Tan: How to Get Rid Of It

Here are also some more ways you can do:

  1. Use a lighter self-tanner – don’t use one that is too dark or too warm for your skin tone. Using a light self-tanner allows you to repair your self-tanner if your tan starts to fade. It won’t be a thick layer, so your skin will not sweat and your pores will not clog. Self-tanners that are lighter in color also have less DHA, resulting in a lesser after-tan odor.
  2. Wear lighter clothing – dark colors absorb heat, which will make you sweat more. Wear lightweight clothing instead.
  3. Use an oil-free moisturizer – using products like petroleum jelly or mineral oil will only aggravate the situation by trapping sweat near your skin. Try using 100% aloe vera gel or a light-weight cream instead. These will lock in moisture without trapping sweat or leaving an oily film.
  4. Use a powder – if it’s hot, be sure to use a dusting of facial powder too. This will not only help absorb excess sweat but also prevent the self-tanner from coming off on your clothes or in your hair.
  5. Take cool showers – not only will this help cool you down, but it will also prevent your pores from clogging when they are open. Moreover, it prevents the tanner from getting into your hairline when in contact with water.
  6. Keep a tanning kit handy – you can use these kits when you’re out and about. This will help you freshen up your tan and it also has a cooling effect, preventing sweat from accumulating on your face.

Why Self Tanner Ingredients React with Skin

One of the most common questions I get asked about self tanning is, “I think my product has gone bad, what should I do?” Sometimes the answer is as simple as discarding it and getting a new one (if there are signs of spoilage), but other times the issue might be that your DHA-containing product has reacted with something in your skin.

This is an extremely common occurrence, even among long-time tanners who swear by their favorite products. The reaction can be anything from a light pink flush to severe irritation and sun sensitivity. Strangely enough it often only happens with self tanner alone (no sunscreen), so I always recommend using at least SPF 30 sunscreen when tanning.

What causes this reaction? The issue is that the skin’s chemistry changes after applying self tanner, and it might not be compatible with the ingredients in your DHA-containing product. It could also be caused by using too strong of a concentration of DHA in your formulation (i.e., if you’re using a super concentrated product). The different skin reactions range from person to person depending on their own unique chemistry.

How do I fix this? It’s actually pretty simple, but there is a bit of science involved. To make your self tanner compatible with your skin again, you simply need to adjust the pH of it. There are two ways to do this: 1) You can change the pH of your skin by applying a “pH adjusting product” (such as our pH Prep Lotion ), or 2) you can alter the pH of your self tanner by adding certain ingredients.

If you choose to adjust the pH of your skin, it should be done at least 30 minutes before applying self tanner. If you’re using our pH Prep Lotion , it’s best to apply that first and then wait for at least 30 minutes before applying self tanner. If you’re using your own “pH adjusting product,” I recommend following the directions for that specific product. It’s also important to wait at least 30 minutes before applying self tanner, so your skin can get back to its normal pH levels.

Think of it like rebooting a computer after installing an update or new software – sometimes things go wonky and you need to reboot the system before everything runs smoothly again. If you don’t want to adjust your own skin pH or use a “pH adjusting product,” then you can change the pH of your self tanner by adding certain ingredients.

Other Posts: