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Product Ingredients to Avoid for Spray Tanning

Going bare is best!

Some ingredients found in cosmetic products can act as barriers to sunless and spray tanning applications. This can prevent formulas from adhering to the skin properly. Therefore, bare skin that’s free from fragrances, make-up and deodorant, is the perfect foundation for sunless and spray tanning applications.

The following is a list of commonly used body care products that can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your tan. This list is not all-inclusive, but simply a guide for products to avoid, as they can lighten or make a sunless tan blotchy or change colour:

  • Cosmetic make-up
  • Products containing mineral oil, petroleum or parabens
  • Aerosol sunscreens
  • Deodorant and antiperspirant products
  • AHA products (Alpha Hydroxy Acids: Glycolic, Lactic, Malic, Citric, and Tartaric acids)
  • Anti-acne products that exfoliate or dry the skin, such as Accutane and Salicylic acid
  • Antibiotics or other medications that affect your skin can also affect your tan
  • Anti-aging products that “renew,” “refresh,” or otherwise exfoliate skin
  • Band-Aid or adhesive tape applied to skin will pull the tan off
  • Bar soaps, shaving cream and body wash with sulfates, especially deodorant or antibacterial varieties
  • BHA Products (Beta Hydroxy Acids: salicylic acid)
  • Body hair bleach products will bleach the tan. Non-bleach skin lighteners are fine
  • Biore-type adhesive facial strips or “peel-off” masks
  • Bug spray, perfumes, or body sprays that are sprayed directly onto skin can remove or fade the tan. Instead, spray clothing, or spray a “cloud” of spray that you can walk through, instead of spraying directly onto skin.
  • You must avoid the following ingredients when using a moisturizer: Mineral Oil, Petroleum, Paraffins, Paraffinum Liquidum, Ceresine.
  • Curel lotions will fade a tan faster, on some people
  • Avoid lotions with a high alcohol content such as CeraVe
  • Facial masks
  • Exfoliating scrubs
  • Hair Inhibiting Lotions (Jergens, etc.) tend to make a sunless tan yellow
  • Makeup remover cleaning products, or oils used to clean away eye makeup
  • Retin-A type products (Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Tretinoin) all will cause faster fading
  • Toners containing alcohols or witch hazel in the top three ingredients listed can lighten a tan
  • Wax or Depilatory hair removal products such as Nair, Veet, Neet, etc.


A collective of brands curated to bring you the best in sunless tanning skincare. Sunless Canada is an online oasis of the best self tanning and sunless beauty products in the country. Perfect for achieving a year-round healthy glow day or night, our top-ranked products are formulated with high quality ingredients suitable for all skin types.

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