How To Tan Without Turning Orange – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

How To Tan Without Turning Orange

We all know those instances of seeing orange-skinned people come out after a tan, and I'm pretty sure that's not intended.

Here are some ways to get a naturally compelling tan.

Tan without Turning Orange

Why does our skin turn orange?

We've all seen those images of people who tanned, only for their skin to turn orange. But some of us might not know why this happens.

To better understand this phenomenon, you will have to know the main ingredient of many spray tans and self-tanners, dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

DHA can darken the color of your skin. It is what allows tanning to be possible.

So what causes DHA to create an orange color? The issue can lie in too much DHA being used. Excessive DHA can lead to discoloration, which could lead to an orange-colored tan.

Putting too much spray tan or using it too frequently can be a root cause of orange tan.

Another cause of orange skin is the way the self tanner reacts to your skin. Everyone has different skin types and skin tones. What works wonders for one may not necessarily work with another.

That's why there are different sprays and tanners that cater to different people and different goals for their tan.

Putting on a self tanner that may not match your skin can cause such a reaction.

The last reason is tanning unprepared skin. Unprepared skin is often equated to dry skin. Tan tends to gather in drier areas of the body. These parts include elbows, kneecaps, and ankles. The orangeness will manifest in these areas more.

There could be other reasons why orange tan emerges, but these are the more common ones that can be mitigated.

So now that you know why orange-looking tans occur, the next step is to figure out how to avoid them from happening.

Know your skin tone

The first step is to know your skin inside out. Identify the skin tone and skin type as well (dry, oily, combination, normal, sensitive, etc.)..

This will set the next course of action when buying the right self tanner for you.

Once you have figured out your skin, now is a good time to choose the right formula.

Gradual tanners are a good option for beginners. As the name suggests, it is meant to give a natural tan that comes gradually. This already solves the problem of over applying tanning products when you are not supposed to.

The best thing about self-tanners is that you can just stop using  it if your skin starts to turn orange.

The next part of the formula is the shade.

Different shades react differently with different skin types. Choosing the right one will depend on what kind of tan you want out of the process. To know more about this, click here.

How To Tan Without Turning Orange

How To Prep Your Skin Properly Before Tanning

It is also crucial to prep your skin before heading off to the salon or do the tanning at home.

You can't just grab the self tanner and put it all over yourself before the necessary prep work. Don't worry, these aren't difficult steps anyway.

The first thing to do is exfoliate your skin. What this means is to remove dead skin cells in your body.

Tanning with dead skin cells present will make your tan look inconsistent due to those skin cells taking in the tanning effect. Once they leave, fresh new skin cells will appear. This will result in white spots that can be very noticeable.

To avoid this, exfoliate properly. While this doesn't have an effect on your tan looking orange, this step shouldn't be overlooked.

Exfoliate a few hours (around 4) before your tanning session.

Another thing you should do a few hours before tanning is to take a shower. Make sure your skin is nice, fresh, and clean before starting the tanning process.

Post Tanning Dos and Don'ts

It's not just what you do before tanning that you should think about you should also keep in mind what to do after tanning as well.

Once you finish, avoid any moisture or moisture-related activity for the time being. The most common one is exercise.

This ties into something called over-moisturizing. It is important to moisturize your skin when tanning so that your skin doesn't dry when the tanner kicks. This causes the tan to look dry and unappealing.

However, putting on too much moisturizer can also affect the way the tan will react to your skin, especially if the self tanner you are using already has moisturizing properties.

Take some time before showering after you tan. Just like before, 4 hours should be optimal. It can be done later, but no later than 24 hours.

A general tidbit to do once you have finished tanning is to wear loose clothing. This is to avoid rubbing off the tan from your skin, and so it doesn't leave any shirt marks or other inconsistencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is using a tanning mitt helpful?

Using a tanning mitt helps protect your hands from having too much self tanner.

Staining your hands can cause orange palms due to the overabundance of tanner in the palm of your hands. The hands are also one of the last places to apply self tanner so it's best to keep those unapplied.

Using a tanning mitt for applying self tanner will help keep your hands from looking orange and even avoid putting too much into other areas.

Is there a way to cancel out orange tones?

There is. The best shades to cancel out orange tones are purple and green. 

What are the areas I should put more self tanner than others?

As mentioned, you shouldn't overly put so much tanner into your entire body.

There are a few areas that will require more tanner, and those are the areas that are typically dry.

These areas include elbows, knees, feet, and hands. Although for the hand and feet, avoid the palms as they shouldn't have self tanner to begin with.


Orange tan may be prevalent and unappealing, but that doesn't mean it isn't avoidable.

With the nature of self tanners, sprays, and skin in general being not as basic as we'd like it to be, getting the perfect tan is still attainable once you understand how it works.

Here's to getting a perfect glowing tan for your skin.