Ah, the allure of boasting glowing bronze skin in the depths of January! Who doesn’t want to look as though she spent her winter vacation in the Caribbean instead of binge-watching TV burrowed beneath a blanket? The temptation to try a fake tan is strong. If you are an old hand at fake tans, you may be ready to get rid of one that’s fading to make way for another that’s new. If you’ve experimented with your first fake tan and wound up with a dreaded orange glow, you’ll want help fast.

Don’t panic and don’t scrub wildly trying to erase dark patches. Remember that a fake tan only goes as deep as the outermost layers of your skin, and the ghastly color will fade as those cells slough off naturally. You can help speed the process with exfoliation and careful scrubbing that doesn’t irritate your skin. A combination of home remedies and beauty products can help remove a tan that looks more fake than fine.

Try these basic home remedies for overall removal.

Lemon and sugar (or brown sugar and baking soda)

These pantry staples are natural exfoliants.


Oil breaks down the DHA in tanning fluid. That’s good if you want to remove a fake tan and bad if you use oil as a moisturizer on your fake tan. Switch to a moisturizing body cream to preserve your bottled glow.


Steam from your bath or shower will help soften the tan.

To fade the overall glow.

Fill a bathtub with water and add bath oil. Linger a while to let the oil works its magic and exfoliate with a loofah or mitt to remove stubborn patches evenly. Don’t scrub too hard or you’ll irritate your skin.

Make a paste of lemon juice and sugar and apply to your skin. Use an exfoliating mitt or glove to gently scrub the area using circular motions. Rinse with warm water. If streaks are the problem, use your gritty exfoliant only on those areas that have too much pigment.

To fade legs and get rid of streaks.

Waxing and depilatory creams can help lighten skin tone on legs. If your skin is not sensitive to hair-removal creams such as such as Veet and Anne French, try them on other patchy areas. These creams contain chemicals which are very effective in breaking down the fake tan. Read the label carefully and leave the depilatory cream on for only half the recommended time.

To lighten hands and feet.

You’ve applied fake tan with your bare hands and now they glow deep orange. Banish the iridescence with a paste made by adding some water to two tablespoons of baking soda. Smooth the paste over your hands taking care to apply into creases. Leave on for a few minutes before rinsing off. This also works on feet when misjudging the amount of needed tanner produced a blotchy result.

To even out a fading tan.

Hide patches by applying an even wash of color using tanner diluted with oil-free body lotion. Apply all over your skin.

Take advantage of your gym’s swimming pool.

Take a plunge in your gym’s swimming pool. Chlorine will break down the tan. Visit the steam room and saunas to take advantage of additional steam to soften your tan. When you take a shower afterwards, rub your skin in circular motions with exfoliating gloves or loofah.

When you’re ready for de-tanning products.

For a light body polish and an even all-over fade, mix a body scrub with a little bath or massage oil. Repeat using the mixture a couple of times.

There are a number of gels and creams on the market that will remove fake tans. Make sure you do a patch test before applying liberally all over your body. Two that you may want to try are Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser and the St. Tropez Remover Mitt.

Read More: The best body scrub for your smoothest skin ever