How to Get Rid of Fake Tan Smell

Tanned Skin
LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

There are so many reasons to love a well-done fake tan. It gives us that gorgeous summer glow without having to spend all that time burning under the sun or on a tanning bed to get some color on our skin. For many of us, using spray tans and sunless tanners has become a regular part of our beauty routine, allowing us to look beautifully bronzed with relative safety

However, as with nearly all good things, spray tans also come with their downsides. Yes, we’re talking about the nasty smell these products leave behind on our skin, clothes, and even the room. This smell is annoying, slightly embarrassing, and generally unpleasant. 

Don’t let this hold you back from your tan, though! There are several easy tricks you can try out to get rid of the spray tan smell.

This article will explain How to Get Rid of Fake Tan Smell.


How to Get Rid of Fake Tan Smell

If you’re sick of being surrounded by the lingering smell after a sunless tan, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are some quick and easy ways of getting rid of the DHA odor ASAP.

Invest in a High-Quality Spray Tan Solution

The best thing you can do before getting a spray tan is to make sure a good quality tanner is being used. Good quality tanners will last longer, and just look better. Some self-tanners smell worse than others due to carrying DHA concentrations.

Moreover, there are quite a few fake tan products in the market with additional ingredients to mask the foul smell.

High-quality tanning solutions, such as Norvell’s spray tan offerings, are generally fairly pleasant smelling.

Sale
Norvell Venetian Sunless Self Tanner Mist - Airbrush Spray Tan Solution with Bronzer for Instant Sun Kissed Tanning Glow Spray Tan, 7 fl.oz.
  • AIRBRUSH APPLICATION & FINISH: Norvell...
  • VENETIAN VIOLET TONES: Norvell’s...
  • ELIMINATE THE ORANGE: Innovative...
  • TIPS AND TRICKS: Keep can in constant...
  • SAFE AND CRUELTY FREE: Paraben free,...

For self-tanners, the Coco & Eve Honey Bali Tanning Mousse smells great and gives beautiful color.

Spray Tan Solution - SJOLIE No. 9 - Medium/Dark Blend (32oz)
  • Best #1 Organic Airbrush Spray Tan...
  • BENEFITS OF ALOE VERA IN SPRAY TAN...
  • VEGAN, ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS: We are...
  • PRO SPRAY TAN TIP: The DHA will start to...
  • NEVER TURN ORANGE: Our solutions will...

For those who love tanning waters, the St. Tropez Self Tanning Water smells pleasant and gives a super even tan.

Next, take out your strongest scented lotion and lather it generously all over your body, particularly over your chest, legs, arms, and stomach.

Try to put on loose, flowy clothes that don’t sit too snug on your body and follow it with a final spritz of your favorite perfume. You’ll be smelling absolutely divine by the end of it!

Keep in Mind Individual Attributes 

We mentioned earlier how different people might be more or less affected by the foul smell. Several factors contribute to how bearable your spray tan smell is.

If you tend to sweat profusely, chances are it’ll be stronger for you. Avoid exercise immediately after a fake tan. Stay in a cooler, air-conditioned environment for as long as possible.

Additionally, some diets and medications can also play a hand in making the DHA react strongly, thus producing a worse smell. Menstruation, hormonal imbalance, and pregnancy can all be elements that can make your spray tan scent stronger.


Which Products Mitigate Spray Tan Smell?

Scented body washes, powders, and perfumes can all help you smell better. If you’re worried about ruining your tan by applying perfume or deodorant directly on it, spray a generous cloud of perfume in front of you and walk through it. 

Also, antibacterial cleansers are a great way to get rid of odor-causing bacteria and sweat. These can make the spray tan smell worse. Antiperspirants can also help lessen the yeasty smell of DHA.

Try to look for products with aluminum and zinc, as they are known for their smell-absorbing effects.


How to Get Rid of Spray Tan Smell From Your Room

Did you self-tan at home and are now stuck in a horrible-smelling room? The list below covers some ways to get rid of the smell.

  • Wipe down all surfaces with a mild soap and water solution.
  • Mop the floor with a strongly-scented disinfectant.
  • Spray Febreze throughout the house.
  • Wash your sheets and use a scented fabric softener.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and carpet, then vacuum off after a few days.
  • If any object has absorbed too much of the scent, leave it out in the sun for a few hours.

How to Get Rid of Spray Tan Smell After Showering

After you’ve had a shower to wash off your fake tan solution, the noxious smell will probably disappear.

But not always.

For some people, the fake tan stink can linger on — sometimes for days afterward.

Luckily there are a few things you can try to help get rid of your fake tan stench. The first is to use a scented body wash when you first shower. Certain scents work better than others to cut the odor.

Products with hints of citrus or vanilla seem to do best.

Try using Andalou Naturals Mandarin Vanilla Vitalizing Shower Gel . This one does double duty as it contains fruit stem cells of both mandarin citrus and vanilla. This works to renew skin at the cellular level.

This skin conditioning shower gel also contains rosehip and argan oils, organic aloe vera and coconut water, and vegetable glycerin. It helps soothe your skin while you help it to get rid of your fake tan stink. In addition, it doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals.

There are no parabens, sulfates, perfumes, triclosan, or petrochemicals. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

Andalou Naturals Mandarin Vanilla Vitalizing Shower Gel, 8.5 Fl Ounce
  • Shower Gel: Leave skin feeling smooth...
  • Inspired By Nature: Rosehips, argan oil,...
  • Ingredients From Nature: Andalou...
  • Fruit Stem Cell Science: A blend of...
  • Ultimate Skincare: We believe you should...

Using scented lotions can also be very effective. And luckily there is !

It has a matching body lotion to compliment the shower gel, also with all-natural ingredients. It includes superfruit antioxidants and ultra-hydrating Aloe Vera. This will help to protect your skin’s moisture barrier.

Andalou Naturals Body Lotion Ounce, Mandarin Vanilla Vitalizing, 8 Fl Oz
  • For Bioactive
  • No Animal Testing Policy
  • Effectively hydrate and replenish to...

You should also keep in mind that it might just be you that smells the odor! You can always check with a friend.

If you’re new to spray tanning or you’ve undergone a recent change in your hormone levels, you may just be paranoid or super sensitive to the scent.


Why Do Fake Tans Smell?

The tell-tale scent of a spray tan can be accredited to the active ingredients present in the product, particularly DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). This substance is derived from plant sources like sugar cane and red beets and is present in varying concentrations in your spray tan products.

It is this DHA that undergoes a chemical reaction with the upper layer of your skin, also called the epidermis, to produce a darker coloration, i.e., your spray tan. Unfortunately, this same compound is responsible for the unpleasant smell too.

You win some; you lose some.

In its natural state, DHA has a distinct yeast-like smell that isn’t too overpowering. However, once this compound reacts with your skin to develop the tan, the smell becomes stronger and feels like it’s everywhere! It goes from a faint, bread smell to old gym socks.

Did you know that the odor that DHA forms differs from person to person? It can actually be extremely prominent in some while just a little whiff in others. The reason behind this is that compounds react differently to each person’s chemistry and skin make-up. Some people are lucky enough not to notice any scent at all!

So, to summarise, it isn’t the smell of the spray tan itself that stinks. It’s really just the chemical reaction between DHA and your skin that releases the unpleasant odor. If you aren’t among the blessed few to not notice any smell, welcome to the club.


Final Words

Fake tans can be the perfect summer and winter accessory, getting us ready for swimsuit season while also adding some color to our skin for the dull, colder months.

Through careful application and following our tried-and-tested tricks, we are sure you’ll be able to power through the foul smell until it’s gone.

One other issue you may want to consider is whether your fake tanner is expired (over 12 months old). If it is expired, the smell can linger for longer.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).