Here's What To Do Next If You Get A Bad Spray Tan

Whether you want a sun-kissed glow for a special occasion or consider it a vital part of your weekly beauty routine, hitting the spray tan booth is a fantastic way to achieve a healthy, bronzed complexion. Indoor tanning services including spray tanning have become increasingly popular, with 7.8 million Americans utilizing them each year (via the American Academy of Dermatology).

Although spray tans sometimes get a bad rap, racking up tanning salon horror stories involving orange skin, streaky tans, and dark palms and knees, people around the world shelled out a collective $349 million in 2021 alone on the service (per Digital Journal). It's safe to say spray tans are a must-have for many people, providing glamorous and bronzed glows all year.

But, what do you do if you go for a spray tan and end up with blotchy application that's too dark and unnatural? Your first instinct may be to harshly scrub your skin in a panicked frenzy. Don't! There are things you can do after a bad spray tan so you don't have to hide from the public while looking like a streaky, life-sized carrot.

Take a deep breath and resist the urge to scrub hard

A bad spray tan is a huge hot girl bummer, whether it's blotchy and uneven or simply darker than you prefer. Luckily, there are steps you can take to remedy your tan. The first one includes stopping that panic attack in its tracks and taking a deep breath. The good news is that you aren't stuck with the bad tan forever, and even though it can be stubborn to remove, it's not impossible.

For a tan that turned out darker than you wanted, drench your body in some type of body oil, whether coconut oil or baby oil (via HuffPost). Then, lay in a warm bath. The oil and the water will work together to soften the spray tan, making it easier to scrub off during your post-bath shower. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, however, or you risk the chance of scrubbing your way to a splotchy tan.

For uneven spray tan patches, Los Angeles-based spray tan salon Be Bronze Studio recommends applying a lemon juice and baking soda mixture to the skin. The all-natural paste will break down the tan within a few minutes and reveal an even appearance. You can also invest in a spray tan remover specifically designed to remove stubborn sunless tanners. Taking a dip in a chlorinated pool or jacuzzi can help break down your spray tan, as well.

Spray tan prep and aftercare are important

Unfortunately, you can't just walk into a salon without the proper prep work and expect to achieve the best spray tan possible. Not only do you have to exfoliate before your appointment to ensure any dead skin is removed, but you must be mindful of the products you apply before your spray tan. You want to be cautious about using any moisturizers or body creams, or you risk the chance of an underdeveloped and patchy application (via InStyle). Don't wear makeup, body spray, perfume, or deodorant, either. A general rule of thumb is to arrive at your spray tan appointment thoroughly cleansed and au naturel.

There are things you should and shouldn't do after your spray tan. For starters, you want to ensure you wear baggy clothing and refrain from getting wet for at least four hours or the recommended developing time instructed by your salon or spray tan technician (via Palm Beach Tan). This includes partaking in any household chores that require water, like doing the dishes or laundry. You also want to keep that skin moisturized to upkeep the longevity of your tan. However, refrain from applying any lotions or body products that contain harsh ingredients that may strip the tan, like alcohol. These spray tan tips will help you achieve the best sun-kissed glow so that you aren't left with your own spray tan horror story.