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How to Get Rid of Spray Tan Smell

Tanned Skin
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There are so many reasons to love a well-done spray 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 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 they 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 Spray Tan Smell.


Why Do Spray Tans Smell?

Spray Tan Kit

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 arent among the blessed few to not notice any smell, welcome to the club.

It’s time we go over some easy tricks on how to get rid of the spray tan smell.


How to Get Rid of Spray Tan Smell

GigaTent 50'' x 37'' Spray Tanning POP UP Tent

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

Here are some quick and easy ways of getting rid of the 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. Some spray tanners smell worse than others due to carrying DHA concentrations.

Moreover, there are quite a few spray 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.

Norvell Venetian Sunless Self-Tanning Mist - Airbrush Spray Solution with Bronzer for Instant Sun Kissed Glow, 7 fl.oz.
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SJOLIE Organic Spray Tan Solution also works pretty well, and most find that there is very little scent that lingers after washing off your spray tan.

Spray Tan Solution - SJOLIE No. 9 - Medium/Dark Blend (32oz)
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AUSSIE Bronze is yet another popular spray tan solution, and their cantaloupe scent does a good job masking the DHA smell.

Aussie Bronze 12% Dark Sunless Airbrush Spray Tanning Solution 32oz
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While spray tan solution manufacturers can’t eliminate the presence of DHA, they have instead added ingredients to block our nose from detecting the scent. And good brands are less likely to result in an orange tan.

Also, be sure you’re applying the spray tan with a high-quality spray tan machine.

Masking Ingredients

Quite a few spray tanning brands have started incorporating different masking ingredients into their products to make the overall application process more enjoyable for users. While the effect of these additional elements doesn’t last for too long, they do improve your initial experience and save you from that first hit of that overpowering stench.

If your spray tanner doesn’t have any masking ingredients, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

Baking soda and baby powder are two at-home products that can work great as your masking ingredient. They are often called odor neutralizers before of their scent-absorbing properties. Here is how to use them.

  • Apply your first layer of spray tanner as directed.
  • Make a mixture of 50% baking soda and baby powder each as you wait.
  • Sprinkle the powder mixture all over the body areas that you tanned.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Apply the final layer of your spray tan.

This trick will not only absorb the bad DHA smell, but the baby powder also prevents the tan from transferring to your clothes and bedsheets. Talk about hitting two birds with one product!

Take a Shower Sooner

It is generally advised to avoid taking a shower for 6 to 8 hours after your spray tan session. A good practice is to take a shower an hour before you start the tanning process. Be sure to exfoliate well during your shower to wash off any dead skin cells that can make the smell worse.

When using a spray tanner, wear a shower cap to keep your hair safe and odor-free. See our article on washing hair after spray tan for more details.

If you find the smell of spray tan particularly intolerable, you can try taking a shower sooner to scrub it off your skin. This also ensures the scent doesn’t sit on your clothes for too long. While it will significantly reduce the unpleasant smell, there is a problem too. Showering before six hours leaves lesser room for your tan to develop, so you won’t be able to enjoy a darker, bronzed look. See our article on showering after tanning for more information.

Also, we have noticed that the scent seems to be more prominent during nighttime. So showering before heading to bed and applying a scented lotion can help you sleep in peace.

Use Strong Scents

Do you wish to get rid of the bad smell but aren’t willing to compromise on a lighter tan? We have just the solution for you!

Use strong scents, particularly with citrus or earthy undertones, to cover up the spray tanner’s smell. When showering after the 6 to 8 hours mark, wash your skin with a strong-smelling bath gel instead of regular soap.

A strong, but not overly sweet, option like LOLLIA Wish Sugared Pastille bath gel is a great choice.

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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 spray 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 your spray tan scent stronger.

Exfoliation before spray tanning can also help with the post-spray smell.


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 spray tan at home and are now stuck with a horrible-smelling room? The list below covers some ways to get rid of the smell. But the best way to solve it is to use a dedicated spray tan tent.

  • 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.

Final Words

Spray 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.

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 change.

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