Fake tanning products, such as sprays, lotions, mousses and creams, can be removed through various methods that remove dead skin cells, like showering, massaging with a mildly abrasive washcloth or exfoliating with a rough-textured scrub.
According to ABC, fake tanners achieve their skin-coloring effects through the use of a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. This chemical reacts with the amino acids in the body's top layer of dead skin cells, much like the reaction that takes place when apples turn brown from exposure to air. The only way to remove a fake tan is to help the body to accelerate its normal process of sloughing off dead skin cells. StainExpert recommends rubbing baking soda into the skin during a shower. Baking soda has natural exfoliating properties that help to gently break down the loose dead skin cells and wash them away. Chemical exfoliants, such as low strength alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids, also work to remove the tanning product and reveal fresh, glowing skin. Marie Claire also recommends sitting in a sauna for a period of 20 to 30 minutes to allow the skin to become moist and softening up any skin cells that are ready to be shed in gentle motions with a dampened towel.