Why is Exfoliating Important Before Self-Tanner?


In the quest for that flawless, sun-kissed glow, you hear a whole lot about exfoliating. It’s a pre-tan staple for every exceptional self-tanning product out there, and it’s not something you want to gloss over. In this guide, we’re going over everything you need to know about tanning and exfoliation, including why it’s so important.  Find out how you can do a quick all-over exfoliation before every self-tan application.

What is Exfoliation?

Simply put, exfoliation is the act of removing the top layer of dead skin cells from your skin. It can be done either chemically or manually. Chemical exfoliators are commonly found in face cleansers containing skin-safe acids such as salicylic and azelaic acid. These acids break the bonds that hold skin cells together, unveiling a fresh layer of skin beneath. Manual exfoliators, such as the tiny micro-particles in your face wash or the rough surface of your exfoliating wipes, do the same thing, except they use physical movement and friction instead of a chemical reaction.

Since there are two ways to exfoliate, which kind is best for tanning? Actually, both are crucial not only to tanning but also general skincare. Manual exfoliators may do a more thorough job, especially if you’re working with particularly rough skin, while chemical exfoliators tend to be more uniform. Manual exfoliants may be a little too rough for some skin types, especially on the face. We recommend using a gentle chemical exfoliant, such as a face wash with a gentle acid such as glycolic acid, on the face. Break out your manual exfoliants for the legs, arm, elbows and bottom of the feet.

Why Pre-Tan Exfoliation is Key

Now that we know the basics of exfoliation, let’s look at why it’s such an important part of the tan preparation process. Whether done chemically or manually, exfoliating the skin brings a host of benefits that enhance your glow.

  • It Creates an Even Surface for a More Flawless Glow — You’ll get the best results with self-tanner if you start off with a clean slate. The best way to get that is through exfoliation. The dead, dry cells that linger at the surface of your skin can cause buildup in certain spots. Removing them allows you to start with a fresh surface  that allows for an even application with no dark spots, light spots or streaks.
  • It Helps the Color Absorb Deeper for a Long-Lasting Glow — Exfoliating also helps you get the most out of your tan and helps to develop into a darker tone. Removing the top layer of skin eliminates one barrier for the formula, so it’s able to absorb deeper into the skin and develop into a warm, even glow. This isn’t just important for helping the product develop properly, but also for ensuring it long-lasting and won’t rub off at the first sight of sweat or humidity.
  • It Cleanses and Softens for More Beautiful Skin — So many of us adore self-tanning products because they help conceal imperfections and creates a gorgeous complexion. Exfoliation in and of itself helps purge the pores and stimulate skin cell turnover, which leaves behind stunning, youthful-looking skin. Healthy skin makes for a beautiful long-lasting tan, so make sure to keep exfoliation a part of your weekly routine.

Tips for Pre-Tan Exfoliating

Check out expert tips to help make your pre-tan exfoliation easier:

  • Use exfoliating wipes before application. Before you apply your self-tanner, give your
  • whole body a wipe-down with our Coconut Exfoliating Wipes.
  • Shave before application. The act of shaving is a form of manual exfoliation, so it can help even out coloring. On top of that, cleanly shaven skin better absorbs the pigments, leading to a deeper, more radiant tan.
  • Exfoliate all over. Remember to exfoliate everywhere you plan to apply self-tanner, including on the face, neck, arms, legs and torso. Pay special attention to those notoriously tough spots, including the palms, ankles, elbows, soles of the feet and in between your fingers and toes.
  • Only exfoliate once or twice per week. Don’t overdo it! Too much exfoliating can leave your skin dry, irritated and damaged, so limit it to once or twice per week.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate. In order to restore moisture to your skin, make sure to follow up any exfoliation session with a layer of oil-free moisturizer. This will also help enhance self-tanning application and help your tan last longer.

Don’t Wait — Exfoliate!

As you can see, exfoliating is an important step in the self-tanning process, and one that should not be overlooked. So the next time you’re aiming for that fresh-from-holiday glow — without the risk of UV damage, of course — don’t skip exfoliation!

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