Buff Away the Bronze: DIY Tan-Fading Scrubs vs. Store-Bought Tan Removers

tan-fading scrubs

We all want the perfect summer glow: a healthy tan that screams of carefree days spent in the sun. However, as summer passes, so does the early brilliance, leaving behind patchy, uneven discolouration and a dull coating of dead skin cells. Don’t worry! The power of tan-fading scrubs comes into play here.

These tan-fading scrubs, whether DIY or store-bought, perform miracles by gently rubbing away the top layer of dead skin. This not only exposes the healthy, even-toned tan underlying, but also promotes smoother, brighter skin.

The difficulty lies in selecting the appropriate approach. Should you make a natural scrub in the kitchen or buy a pre-made solution? Both solutions offer benefits and cons. Fear not, for this comprehensive guide will be your beacon, guiding you through the world of homemade and store-bought tanning dead skin removal products.

We’ll look at the various sorts of tan removers available, discuss their benefits and drawbacks, and even provide step-by-step instructions for making your own DIY sugar and coffee scrubs. So, prepare to abandon the dullness and reveal your most gorgeous, even-toned tan yet!

The Science Behind the Shine: Tanning and Exfoliation

Before we eplore into the realm of tan removers, let’s take a little scientific detour to understand how tanning and exfoliation interact.

The Tanning Tango:

Our skin has a natural protection system against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When exposed to UV light, melanocytes, cells in the epidermis (top layer of the skin), generate melanin, the pigment responsible for skin and hair color. Increased melanin production causes a tan, which acts as a screen against UV radiation and protects deeper skin layers.

The Great Cell Shedding:

Our skin is continuously renewing itself. New skin cells are constantly formed in the lower layers and migrate upwards, finally reaching the surface and shedding as dead skin cells. This natural process typically takes about 28 days. Sun exposure, on the other hand, might speed up this process, causing dead skin cells to accumulate on the surface more quickly.

Exfoliation to the Rescue:

Here’s where tan removers come in. This layer of dead skin cells is carefully removed, revealing a fresher, more evenly toned tan beneath. Exfoliation also promotes smoother skin texture, improves skincare product penetration, and contributes to a more even tan fade as fresh, untanned cells take over.

DIY Delights: Crafting Your Own Tan-Fading Scrubs

The appeal of homemade tan-fading scrubs is clear. Not only are they substantially less expensive than store-bought solutions, but they also allow you to tailor your experience to your own skin type and preferences.

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice:

Sugar scrubs are the best DIY tan removers. Sugar’s naturally gritty texture works as a gentle yet powerful exfoliator, removing dead skin cells without causing irritation. Brown sugar, with its smaller granules, is a milder alternative for persons with sensitive skin.

Coffee Benefits Beyond the Cup:

Coffee grounds aren’t just for making your morning cup of coffee. They can also be used as an effective tanning dead skin remover! Coffee grounds have a double benefit: their texture helps physical exfoliation, and their antioxidant qualities may provide extra skin advantages. The caffeine in coffee grounds may also help with circulation, leaving your skin feeling energized.

Beyond the Usual Suspects:

While sugar and coffee scrubs are popular options, the world of DIY tan removers goes well beyond them. Let’s look into some other options for a more severe exfoliation!

  • Oatmeal Scrubs: Because of its calming characteristics, oatmeal is perfect for use on sensitive skin. Its delicate texture helps remove dead skin while leaving your skin smooth and nourished.
  • Yogurt Masks: Lactic acid in yogurt acts as a moderate chemical exfoliant, removing dead skin cells. Combine yogurt with honey for extra hydration and sweetness.
    A Word of Caution: While lemon juice is typically marketed as a natural bleaching agent, it may be rather harsh on the skin, especially when mixed with sunlight. If you have sensitive skin, you should avoid lemon juice scrubs or use them sparingly and properly diluted.

Remember that the secret to successful DIY removers is to use gentle ingredients and adapt your scrub to your skin type. In the following part, we’ll look at some simple DIY recipes.

DIY Recipe Corner: Whip Up Your Own Tan-Fading Magic

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of DIY removers, let’s get your hands dirty (in the best way possible) with these easy-to-follow recipes!

Sugar Scrub Recipe (for normal to oily skin):


  • ½ cup brown sugar (for a gentler scrub) or granulated white sugar (for a more intense scrub)
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or another carrier oil like jojoba or almond oil)
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. In a bowl, combine the sugar and olive oil. Combine the sugar and oil, mixing well until everything is incorporated.
  2. Stir in the honey until fully incorporated. The mixture should resemble wet sand.
  3. Patch test the scrub on a small area of your inner arm before applying it to your face. Wait 24 hours to check for any irritation.
  4. In the shower or while your face is damp, gently massage the scrub onto your skin in circular motions for about 30 seconds. Avoid the delicate eye area.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat your face dry.
  6. Apply a moisturizer to replenish hydration.

Coffee Scrub Recipe (for normal to oily skin):


  • ½ cup used coffee grounds
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil (optional – lavender, peppermint, or sweet orange are good choices)


  1. If using essential oils, add them to the melted coconut oil and stir to combine.
  2. In a bowl, mix the coffee grounds with the coconut oil mixture. Ensure the grounds are evenly coated.
  3. Patch test the scrub on a small area of your inner arm before applying it to your face. Wait 24 hours to check for any irritation.
  4. In the shower or while your face is damp, gently massage the scrub onto your skin in circular motions for about 30 seconds. Avoid the delicate eye area.
  5. Important Note: Coffee grounds can be slightly staining. Be mindful while rinsing and use a washcloth to remove any residue.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat your face dry.
  7. Apply a moisturizer to replenish hydration.

General Safety Tips for DIY Scrubs:

  • Always patch test any new scrub on a small area of your skin before applying it to your entire face.
  • Be gentle when applying the scrub. Avoid scrubbing too harsh on the skin. Harsh scrubbing may end up irritating your skin.
  • These scrubs are meant for exfoliation, not cleansing. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before using the scrub.
  • After exfoliating, it is crucial to moisturize your skin to prevent dryness and irritation.
  • Remember, these recipes are a starting point. Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on your skin type and preferences.
  • If you have any concerns or experience any irritation, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

Store-bought Solutions: Convenience Meets Customization

For those seeking a hassle-free approach, store-bought tan-fading scrubs offer a plethora of benefits. These pre-made solutions boast convenience, a wider variety of formulations, and targeted benefits to address specific skin concerns.

Science in a Bottle:

Many store-bought removers leverage the power of chemical exfoliation. These products contain AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) which work wonders by gently dissolving the bonds holding dead skin cells together, promoting their removal and revealing a brighter, smoother complexion. Common AHAs used in these removers include glycolic acid, known for its ability to target the surface layers of skin, and lactic acid, a gentler option suitable for sensitive skin. BHAs, like salicylic acid, penetrate deeper into pores to remove dead skin cells and excess oil, making them ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.


For those who prefer a more physical approach, store-bought scrubs offer a variety of textures and ingredients. These scrubs often contain crushed nutshells, like walnut shells, for a more intense exfoliation. However, it’s important to be mindful and avoid products with harsh microplastics, opting instead for those with natural or synthetic biodegradable alternatives.

The Magic of the Mitt:

If you’re looking for a gentler yet effective exfoliation method, consider exfoliating mitts. These mitts, typically made from microfiber or a material similar to Korean washcloths, physically remove dead skin cells through friction as you massage them over damp skin.

Choosing Your Weapon:

With the vast array of store-bought options available, selecting the right product can feel overwhelming. Here we’ve got you armed with a quick guide, helping you navigate the shelves:

Skin Type:

  • Dry Skin: Opt for gentle chemical exfoliants with AHAs like lactic acid or mandelic acid. Avoid harsh scrubs and abrasive mitts.
  • Oily Skin: Consider BHAs like salicylic acid or chemical exfoliants with glycolic acid. Look for scrubs with finer granules or exfoliating mitts for a deeper clean.
  • Sensitive Skin: Choose gentle chemical exfoliants with lactic acid or mandelic acid. Opt for very soft, microfiber mitts and avoid harsh scrubs altogether.

Desired Results:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Look for products with low concentrations of AHAs or BHAs, or opt for very soft mitts.
  • Deep Exfoliation: Choose products with higher concentrations of AHAs or BHAs, or consider scrubs with slightly larger granules.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns or if you’re unsure which product is right for your skin type.

DIY vs. Store-bought: Picking Your Perfect Match

The battle between DIY and store-bought tan-fading scrubs ultimately boils down to personal preference and what works best for your skin. To help you decide between DIY and store-bought options, let’s explore the key considerations:

  • Cost: DIY options are undeniably budget-friendly. However, keep in mind that you might need to purchase multiple ingredients, and some may not be staples in your pantry.
  • Customization: The beauty of DIY lies in its personalization. You can tailor the ingredients and intensity of your scrub to suit your skin type and preferences. This allows for a more gentle approach for sensitive skin or a more powerful scrub for tougher areas.
  • Convenience: Store-bought removers win hands down in the convenience department. They’re readily available, pre-made, and require no prep work. Simply grab the product and get started!
  • Effectiveness: Both DIY and store-bought removers can achieve similar results when used correctly. The key lies in choosing the right option for your skin type and following the recommended usage instructions.

Ultimately, the choice is yours! If you enjoy a bit of DIY creativity and are comfortable experimenting, homemade scrubs offer a budget-friendly and customizable approach. For those seeking a quick and easy solution, store-bought removers provide a vast array of options to suit your specific needs.

Safety First: Essential Tips for Tanned, Dead Skin Removal

Before diving headfirst into the world of exfoliation, remember – safety is paramount! Here are some key practices to keep in mind, whether you’re using a DIY concoction or a store-bought product:

  • Patch Testing is Your BFF: This applies to both DIY scrubs and store-bought removers. Always test any new product on a small, inconspicuous area of your skin, like your inner arm, at least 24 hours before applying it to your entire face. Patch testing allows you to assess your individual skin’s tolerance to the product, minimizing the risk of allergic reactions or irritation.
  • Don’t Overdo It: Exfoliation is beneficial, but too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. The frequency of using tan-fading scrubs depends on your skin type and desired intensity. Generally, for normal skin, 1-2 times a week is sufficient. For sensitive skin, once a week or even less might be preferable. Start slow and listen to your skin.
  • Gentle Does It: Remember, exfoliation aims to remove dead skin cells, not strip your skin raw! Apply any scrub or product with a light touch, using circular motions. Avoid scrubbing harshly, especially on sensitive areas like around the eyes.
  • Moisture is Key: Exfoliation can leave your skin feeling slightly dry or irritated. To combat this, religiously moisturize your skin after every exfoliating session. This helps replenish hydration and keeps your skin feeling soft and supple.

By following these simple safety tips, you can ensure that your tanning dead skin removal routine is both effective and gentle on your skin.

Farewell Faded Tan, Hello Radiant Skin!

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the wonderful world of tan-fading scrubs, both DIY and store-bought. Remember, by gently buffing away those unwanted dead cells, you’re not just saying goodbye to a patchy tan – you’re revealing a healthier, smoother, and more radiant complexion. So, embrace the power of exfoliation, choose your perfect remover, and get ready to flaunt your most stunning, sun-kissed glow!

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