Washing your hands is a common chore after applying self-tanner. Sometimes you may forget to wash your hands and between your fingers. Streaks and blotches form on your knuckles, and your nails and cuticles collect excess self-tanner. The same problem occurs on your feet. This is because the skin did not absorb the self-tanner and instead collected on top of the dry patches of skin.

Things You'll Need

Place first aid tape around the affected area. If you only have a small spot on your hands or feet that needs a fix, you can isolate the area with first aid tape so the removal process does not interfere with the rest of your sunless glow.

Apply acetone nail polish remover to a cotton ball and wipe the affected area. You can buy acetone polish remover at most beauty stores. Non-acetone polish remover will not work for removing self-tanner.

Scrub your hands and feet with a multipurpose hand cleaner such as those used by mechanics. Orange Goop works well for removing self-tanners, but any professional hand cleaner will do. Use the Resource Box for more information.

Use a pumice bar from Mr. Pumice. Mr. Pumice acts like a scouring pad for the body. Use it alone, wet or dry, or apply cleanser on the bar. Using it dry on dry skin is more effective in getting self-tanner off, but it may irritate your skin. Use it wet for a kinder approach on your skin.

Soak your hands and feet in vinegar. Mix one part vinegar to one part water for five minutes. Continue to soak for an additional five minutes for troubled spots.

Give yourself a manicure and pedicure. Cut your nails, trim your cuticles, and use a medium/coarse nail block on your nails. File the entire nail, not just the tips.

Use a fine or medium-coarse nail block on your skin between fingers and toes. A fine grain block is suitable for those with sensitive skin. If you cannot fit the nail block between your fingers and toes, use a nail file instead.


  • Wear disposable gloves when applying self-tanner.

    Use gel gloves and socks for an intense moisturizing treatment the day before you apply self-tanner. Your hands and feet will absorb the self-tanner better.

    To avoid sunless tanning mistakes, mix one part self-tanner and one part moisturizing lotion when applying self-tanner. Even if the tanning product claims moisturizing benefits, always mix the two for an even application. Mix one part self-tanner with three parts moisturizer when applying to hands, feet, elbows and knees.

    The removal process can irritate skin, so apply moisturizer after you remove the self-tanner. Do not apply moisturizer before or during the removal process because moisturizer makes the self-tanner adhere to the skin, making it harder to remove.

References and Resources

Orange Goop Hand Cleaner
Nail Blocks