Acne prone skin can deter some people from getting a tan even though they want to have bronzed skin.

Luckily, tanning with acne-prone skin is still possible!

What to Avoid

From the outset, avoid indoor tanning.

Indoor tanning already poses some health risks, and it’s riskier if you have sensitive skin. It may not be a good idea to go tanning in a salon if your skin is prone to acne.

Since the most common way of tanning is out of the question, is it still possible? Fortunately, yes. There is another way of getting a tan without going to the tanning salon. In fact, you can go for a tan without having to leave your house at all.

This is called sunless tanning.

Sunless Tanning

Tanning is an important part of many people’s beauty routines, but for those with acne-prone skin, it can be a challenge to get a sun-kissed glow without exacerbating the problem. Fortunately, there is a safe and effective way to tan acne-prone skin without spending hours in the sun: sunless tanning. Sunless tanning is a great option for those with acne-prone skin, as it does not require any direct contact with UV rays. For best results, it is recommended to use an organic tanner which is specifically designed with keeping acne-prone skin in mind, featuring ingredients that help soothe and nourish the skin while providing a natural-looking tan.

Here are some tips to go about sunless tanning if you have acne-prone skin.


Exfoliating is the first step for any tanning method. It is crucial to remove dead skin cells present in your body.

If you have dead skin cells lying around, they will eventually fall off. You want to remove those skin cells on your own before deciding to tan.

Tanning with dead skin cells can cause your tan to look patchy or uneven.

Now, what kind of exfoliant can you use if you have acne-prone skin? We have both physical and chemical exfoliants.

Both kinds of exfoliants can be used for acne-prone skin. It is crucial to know which ones are good for your skin.

Physical exfoliants utilize natural ingredients that won’t have many risks when coming into contact with your skin. You will have to take note of the scrub you use.

Make sure that it does not irritate your skin. Lightly scrub your skin with the exfoliant to avoid damaging it.

The first thing to think about is knowing what your skin reacts to and what doesn’t.

Honey, green tea, oats, cinnamon, and sea salt are common examples of physical exfoliants.

On the other hand, chemical exfoliants are intended to be smooth and soothing to the skin. Chemical exfoliants that have beta hydroxy acid (BHA) are usually the preferred choices.

BHA can unclog your pores from acne-causing oils. They can also help improve your skin’s texture and are less likely to be irritating.

How can you be really sure if the self-tanner is safe?


Even if this is done indoors, sunscreen is still an important thing to put on before tanning.

A minimum of broad spectrum SPF 30 is recommended to protect your skin.


The next thing to think about is the kind of self-tanner that you will use.

The good thing about self-tanners is that there are different kinds of tanners for different skin types and tones. No need to worry about this method being only for certain skin types.

That said, it is still necessary to choose the right tanner for you. Just as you need to choose which one will fit your skin tone, you also need to choose which will not cause acne or other skin irritations.

Before going to the store and purchasing a self-tanner, do some background checks on the ingredients used.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the most common ingredient in self-tanners as this is what gives it color. However, you are in luck because there is no evidence that says that DHA causes pores to clog. So there’s no need to worry about DHA being a cause of acne.

While you can check off DHA as a safe ingredient, other ingredients may cause acne and other allergic reactions. So be on the lookout for those.


Certain fragrances can cause skin allergies as well, so that’s one ingredient to be wary of. Get a self-tanner that has little to no fragrance in the mix.

Other Things to Look For

Is there a certain kind of self-tanner that I should get as a way to help identify what is ideal for me?

Focus on hydrating self tanners so your skin doesn’t end up looking dry. Ingredients with glycerin and sodium hyaluronate/hyaluronic acid are a plus!

It’s also advisable to use self tanners with “non-comedogenic” found in the packaging. There are less chances of these products causing acne.

Sun Tanning

You still might be asking if it is okay to sun tan. Even if my skin is prone to acne, is it still okay for me to go tanning outside?

The answer is yes. It is still okay to go sun tanning, but not for a long time. Excessive tanning can cause acne formation for some people. Besides, it is not a good idea to spend an excessive amount of time in the sun in one place.

When you do go sun tanning, be sure to apply sun lotion and moisturizer to keep your skin both protected and hydrated.

As for the times to go outside and tan, avoid peak hours. Tan either before 9 am or after 4 pm so that you are still safe from harsh UV rays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you be really sure if the self-tanner is safe?

The best method to do with any tanner is to do a patch test. Apply a small portion of the tanner on a small section of your skin. From there, see how your skin reacts to it.

If the reaction is okay, then it is good to go. If not, then that’s one product to avoid. That way, you are not completely running the risk of any acne or allergic reaction in your entire body.

Any indicators to keep an eye on when looking for a tanner?

Keywords to help you include “dermatologist-tested” and “non-comedogenic.”

For ingredients that are hydrating, common examples are aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.

How to put on self-tanner

Gently rub your skin with the self-tanner. Start from the bottom of your feet and work your way up to your face.

You can use a long stick like a backscratcher and attach a mitten to apply self-tanner on your back.


Despite the likelihood of acne formation in certain skins, there are ways to work around these risks while still getting glowing, tanned skin.

So long as you remember to prioritize skin safety and health, you should be able to achieve such skin with ease.

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