What Are the Best Tips to Exfoliate before Tanning?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2019
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It is important to exfoliate before tanning as it can help to provide one with an even color. One of the best tips is to use a grainy body wash on the entire body, and a dense exfoliating brush on rougher areas to even out skin prior to application. Shaving directly after scrubbing is also a good tip for exfoliating before tanning, as this helps to remove dead skin cells and can prevent the discomfort common when exfoliation is done after shaving. If skin is especially rough or sensitive, a good tip is to use an acidic exfoliator in lieu of or after manually scrubbing to smooth out skin.

One of the most popular tips in order to exfoliate before tanning is to use a granular body wash all over the body to remove dead skin cells. Rubbing this type of product into the skin with a loofah or washcloth in circular motions is one of the best ways to prep skin for the application of self-tanner. In most cases, it is ideal to work in small sections to make sure that the entire body is prepped. One patch of rough skin can make self-tanner look overly dark and splotchy.


The knees, elbows, and other rough patches may not be able to be properly exfoliated with a granular body wash. In this case, one of the best tips for exfoliating before tanning is to use a dense body brush on these areas after using a granular wash. Working in small, circular motions will help to slough off very rough patches that an exfoliating body wash cannot fix.

Shaving can also be a good way to exfoliate before tanning, as the blades of the razor can help to remove dead skin cells while removing unwanted hair. In most cases, it is best to complete this step right after using a body wash or scrub brush. Freshly-shaved skin is often more sensitive, and these exfoliating products can be irritating, often causing a burning or stinging sensation. Shaving just after exfoliating is one of the best tips for self-tanner preparation.

Often, especially rough or sensitive skin will not respond well to manual exfoliants. In this case, one of the best tips to exfoliate before tanning is to use lactic acid as a mild chemical exfoliant. Body masks, washes, or bath additives that contain milk proteins, yogurt, or honey often contain this ingredient, and can help to smooth out rough skin after manual exfoliants are used. For those with sensitive skin, skipping manual exfoliants and going straight to this option may be the best tip to exfoliate before tanning in order to avoid irritation.


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