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You applied your self-tanner carefully to avoid streaks, but there’s just one problem -- you either forgot to wash your hands or you didn’t wash them effectively enough because now your palms are a streaky orange color. “Self-tanner hands” are a dead giveaway that your tan came from a bottle. To minimize the damage, consider using baking soda as an exfoliant to get rid of the self-tanning evidence.
How It Works
Baking soda is an all-star in terms of handy uses. From getting rid of smells in your refrigerator to uses in cooking, you probably keep a box of baking soda in your kitchen. That’s why it makes such a handy exfoliator when your self tanner collects on your palms. Baking soda is an acid-neutral compound, which means it is physically abrasive to your skin, but doesn’t contain a lot of chemicals that could irritate your skin. Baking soda’s teeny tiny grains make it ideal as a physical exfoliator, meaning when you rub it between your palms and over the top of your hands, it takes away the dead skin cells that have been dyed by your tanner.
One way to apply self tanner to your hands is to use the washcloth exfoliating method. This involves pouring about a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of baking soda on a damp washcloth. The washcloth serves as your applicator where you can rub the washcloth against your palms and tops of your hands to remove the excess self tanner. You can rub slightly harder on your palms since this skin tends to be less sensitive than the skin on the backs of your hands.
Another option for tanner removal with baking soda is to apply about a quarter-sized amount of liquid soap to your hand and then add enough baking soda to make a liquid paste (see references 2 and 3). The soap can break up self-tanning ingredients while the baking soda works to exfoliate the tanner away. Rub your hands together over a sink as if you are washing your hands, then rinse away after you have worked the paste over your hands.
While baking soda isn’t meant to be irritating to your tanner-stained hands, it can be drying to use it as a physical exfoliator. For this reason, it’s a good idea to apply lotion after using the baking soda scrub to keep your hands from drying out. Another way to avoid irritation is to keep from mixing several different exfoliating agents together at once, according to Sunless.com. This means if you use baking soda, don’t pair it with other self-tanner removal remedies, such as body hair bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Instead of tanner-free hands, your hands will be red because they’re too chapped.