When does fake tan go patchy?

You may have wondered what was going on with your self tanner and why it goes patchy, we wish we had an exact answer for you. Unfortunately, the beauty industry isn’t always so black and white. Products can work differently on different people and even sometimes the same person will see different results from one day to another. So don’t worry if your self tan doesn’t look perfect at first; here are a few reasons why that could be:


This is not as much of a problem as it used to be but it does occur in small cases. When applied correctly (i.e. exfoliation etc.) self tanners should not cause adverse hormonal issues. Yet, if you are pregnant or if your body is producing excess hormones (for example puberty) the self tanner may go on blotchier than usual.

Skin type  

If you have dry skin this can cause the product to not adhere correctly and create areas of unevenness that is why your fake tan go patchy. Try using a richer moisturizer before applying the lotion so that it will stay put for longer. Even being dehydrated can have an effect on how long the fake bake stays looking great. Drink lots of water!


The cold weather often sucks all of the moisture out of our skin leaving us flaky, dry, and just generally awful feeling. This can happen in summer too if you are spending a lot of time in the sun or at the pool. Most people unaware about this reason of patchy skin and blame their self tanner is causing this. If you are living somewhere that is very arid this can affect your product application. Try using a moisturizer before applying waterproof self tanner and try to stay out of the wind as much as possible if your skin is feeling extra dry.

Lotion Layer  

There are many formulas of self tanners on the market today with different consistencies so it may just be that you used too much lotion for how concentrated it was. Make sure you’re applying an even layer and not missing any spots.

Too Much of a Good Thing  

We’ve all heard this saying before, but it’s true! You can exfoliate way too intensely or scrub off what should have been left alone. It’s best to listen to your skin and keep it clean but not stripped of all oils. If you feel like your tan is too dark, exfoliate lightly in the shower with soap and a washcloth instead of scrubbing aggressively in the sink.

Excessive Moisturizer  

Did you apply moisturizer after self tanner? We don’t want to say this is wrong because everyone’s skin can handle different things, we always discouraged people from putting more product on top of their self tanner! This may be why yours looks splotchy or uneven. Try applying one layer for just a minute before getting dressed then let that absorb into your skin before adding any lotion.

Some tips to fix a patchy fake tan?

  • Make sure that you’re exfoliating before applying new layers of self-tanner. Never try to fix an already somewhat-dry layer with another one without proper exfoliation because that would just clog up your pores even more than they already are after your tan.
  • Fix that streaky sunless-tanner look by mixing the product you’re using right now with your previous layer of self-tanner. Mixing two different products together will make one good final result instead of two bad ones!
  • Use an exfoliating mitt or sponge not only while applying self-tanner but also while washing it off in the shower. That way you can remove any possible stain left behind on your skin for a flawless appearance!
  • If none of the above advises work, just try waking up earlier than usually and applying another layer before going to work while dry instead of wet because this trick might actually save you big time! We hope these tips can help you fix that patchy tan!

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Sarah Jay
By Sarah Jay

Sarah Jay is a beautician that loves to write about the fashion and beauty industry. This love of writing led her to start her own blog, where she shares articles on everything from hair care tips to how-to guides. She's also passionate about gadgets, and has knowledge of the latest trends in her field. Sarah knows what people want when it comes to caring for their skin and hair.

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