Why does self-tanner smell? In short, self-tanner smells due to the presence of DHA (dihydroxyacetone) in the formula, which is the ingredient that reacts with the amino acids in the top layer of skin to create a tan.
In this guide:
The Chemistry of Self-Tanner
Self-tanner works by reacting with the amino acids in the top layer of skin, known as the stratum corneum. This reaction causes the skin to darken, creating a “tan” appearance. The active ingredient in most self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless sugar that reacts with the amino acids in the skin to produce a brown color.
The presence of DHA and other ingredients in the product causes the smell of self-tanner. DHA has a distinct, sweet scent that is often described as “biscuity” or “nutty.” Additionally, many self-tanners contain fragrances and other ingredients that can contribute to the overall smell of the product.
Factors that Contribute to the Smell of Self-Tanner
When it comes to the application process, there are a few factors that can contribute to the smell of self-tanner. One of the most important is the amount of product used. If too much self-tanner is applied, it can create a more pungent smell.
Additionally, if the self-tanner is not evenly distributed on the skin, it can create hot spots of scent. This can be especially true if the self-tanner is being sprayed on, as it can be challenging to control the amount and distribution of the product.
Another factor contributing to the smell of self-tanner is the type of product used. There are a variety of self-tanning products available, including lotions, creams, sprays, and mousses. Each of these products can have a different scent, and some may be stronger than others. For example, self-tanning sprays can be more potent than lotions, as the scent is more concentrated.
It is also worth noting that some people may be more sensitive to the smell of self-tanner than others. This can be due to various factors, such as genetics, skin type, and personal preferences. If you find that the smell of self-tanner is particularly bothersome, it may be worth trying a different type of product or looking for a self-tanning product with a milder scent.
How to Get Rid of the Smell of Self-Tanner and Spray Tan
Self-tanner and spray tan can give you a beautiful, sun-kissed glow, but they can also leave behind an unpleasant smell. The odor is caused by the DHA (dihydroxyacetone), the active ingredient in self-tanner, which reacts with the amino acids in the skin to create a golden color.
Fortunately, there are several ways to eliminate the smell and keep your skin smelling fresh and clean.
Showering and Exfoliating
One of the most effective ways to get rid of the smell of self-tanner and spray tan is to shower and exfoliate regularly. Showering with warm water and mild soap will help to remove any excess DHA from the surface of your skin.
Exfoliating with a gentle scrub or loofah will also help to remove dead skin cells, which can trap the DHA and cause the smell to linger.
Using Fragrance-Free Products
Another way to eliminate the smell of self-tanner and spray tanning is to use fragrance-free products. Fragrances can interact with the DHA to create a more pungent smell, so it’s best to avoid using scented body washes, lotions, or deodorants while you have a self-tan or spray tan on your skin.
Instead, opt for fragrance-free products, which will not only help to eliminate the smell but also help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Applying Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can also eliminate the smell of self-tanner and spray tan. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to neutralize the DHA and reduce the odor. Simply mix equal parts lemon juice and water in a small bowl and apply to the affected areas using a cotton pad. Leave the mixture on for about 5 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Using Essential Oils
Essential oils like lavender and tea tree oil are also effective at neutralizing the smell of self-tanner and spray tan. Mix a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil and massage into the skin. Not only will this help to eliminate the smell, but it will also leave your skin feeling moisturized and refreshed.
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Moisturize after application
By moisturizing the skin after self-tanner application, you are helping to seal in color, which can help to reduce the smell. This is because the moisturizer creates a barrier on the skin that helps to trap the self-tanner molecules, preventing them from evaporating and causing an odor.
Additionally, moisturizing the skin can also help to keep it hydrated, which can reduce the chance of dryness and irritation that can cause a smell. Some good options for moisturizers to use after self-tanner application include lotions or creams that contain natural ingredients such as aloe vera or coconut oil, which can provide added hydration and nourishment to the skin.
It is also important to note that you should avoid using any lotions or creams that contain alcohol or other harsh chemicals as they may dry out your skin, which can exacerbate the smell.
Use a self-tanning mitt
Applying a self-tanner with a mitt can help reduce the amount of product that comes in contact with your hands, thus reducing the smell that may linger on your hands.
Apply in a well-ventilated area
Applying self-tanner in a well-ventilated area can help dissipate the fumes and minimize the smell. This could be an open window or a room with a fan.
In summary, to reduce the smell of self-tanner, try proper exfoliation and moisturizing before application, use self-tanners with less strong odors, use odor-eliminating products, and remember that the scent will fade over time. Always do a patch test before applying self-tanner all over the body.