While self-tanning is the safest way to achieve a year-round summer glow, it does require some preparation and knowledge to use self-tanning products. The basic concept is straightforward. Apply the self-tanner, wait for it to develop, and enjoy your new, beautiful tan! But there are a few tips and tricks that can make your self-tanning routine more effective. Knowing these tidbits of helpful knowledge beforehand will ensure you avoid some of the most common self-tanning mishaps, like staining your favorite white tee with your favorite self-tanner. So, without further ado, let’s tackle a common self-tanning question. Will self-tanner stain my clothes?
The simple answer is yes, they can. But this is preventable, and if it does happen by some misfortunate occurrence, we will tell you how to fix it! In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why self-tanners may cause staining, what you can do to minimize the risk of staining your clothes, and how to remove pesky self-tanner stains.
What causes self-tanner to stain clothes?
Self-tanners contain pigments that darken the skin and provide the illusion of a suntan. These pigments are often made from dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless sugar that reacts with the amino acids in the outer layer of skin to produce a brownish color. Unfortunately, these pigments can also cause staining on clothing and other fabric materials due to the natural shedding process of our skin. When DHA reacts with the top layer of skin cells, it’s mainly reacting with the dead cells. We shed dead skin cells every day, but we never notice them because they aren’t tinted. When our skin is tinted with self-tanner, and the skin cells rub off onto our clothing, it can sometimes leave a slight residue.
This can occur when the self-tanner is wet or dry, but there is a much greater chance of color transfer from wet self-tanner than from dry self-tanner. For this reason, it’s crucial to allow your self-tanner plenty of time to dry before putting on your clothes. We recommend waiting approximately 20 minutes to be on the safe side, but there are things you can do to speed up the process. For example, use a hairdryer or fan to blow air on your body. This will speed up your drying time significantly. Also, if you apply self-tanner after a shower, move out of your steamy bathroom so the humidity won't delay drying time.
Sometimes even when we take all the appropriate steps to ensure our self-tanner is completely dry, the color can still transfer due to perspiration. We've all taken a hot shower and then dried off just to become sweaty again a few minutes later. If you're planning to apply self-tanner immediately after your shower, it can be helpful to end your shower with a cool rinse. This will not only help to close your pores so that the self-tanner absorbs more evenly, but it will also cool your body down and prevent sweating post-shower. If you are prone to sweating in your sleep, it may be helpful to turn down your thermostat and turn on a fan the nights you apply self-tanner.
If staining occurs, it can be made worse by factors such as clothing color and fabric type. On the nights you apply self-tanner, wear loose-fitting, dark clothing to bed. It can even be helpful to designate one special outfit as your self-tanning sleepwear. Of course, there's also the option of going to bed sans clothing. This increases the chances of staining your bed sheets, but there are remedies for that, such as buying a dark set of sheets or placing a soft blanket over your bottom sheet. Again, on the nights you apply self-tanner.
Wash your clothes immediately if you get self-tanner on your clothes, washing them as soon as possible is essential to remove any stains. The longer the self-tanner is allowed to set, the harder it will be to remove the stain. Also, like any stain, never apply heat to the fabric before the stain is removed. This can cause the stain to be permanently set into the fabric.
Before throwing your stained article of clothing in the washing machine, try holding the stained portion of fabric under cold running water. Then, stretch the material out flat and allow a hard stream of water to run through the fibers of the fabric. This will help to loosen the stain and prep it for the washing machine.
If the stain doesn’t lighten with water or looks particularly stubborn, you will likely need a stain remover. You can use a store-bought stain remover, or it is also possible to remove self-tanning stains using household items. One option is to use lemon juice, which can be applied directly to the stain and allowed to sit for several minutes before washing the garment. Another option is to use baking soda and water to make a paste, which can be applied to the stain and allowed to sit for several minutes before washing the garment. White vinegar is another alternative.
If these household items don’t work, it’s also possible to use an oxygen-based bleach like Oxiclean. Again, follow the directions on the package, and allow your garment to soak the appropriate amount of time. This can sometimes take overnight, depending upon the product you are using.
Although stained clothing isn’t an ideal outcome after a self-tanning session, it is undoubtedly better than the alternative of UV tanning, which will expose you to an increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Plus, there are many ways to avoid staining and many solutions if the occasional mishap does occur. Overall, self-tanning is still the safest and most convenient form of tanning.
If you’re ready to begin your self-tanning routine and aren’t sure what products you’ll need, then we have the perfect solution to make your experience fun and convenient. We’ve put together the Flawless Finish Bronzing Box, so you can get everything you need in one package. Remember to follow all of our tips and tricks for the ultimate endless summer tan!