Is Your Self-Tanner Making You Break Out?

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We recently reported that Victoria Beckham ditched her fake tan because she thought it made her skin look old. However, the biggest difference in her skin we can see is that it is much clearer than it was in the past. When looking at pictures of her five years ago (with a fake tan), her skin is broken out and ruddy. Today, with no tan, it is free of blemishes and looks radiant. Which begs the question: Does fake tanner cause breakouts?

La Jolla, CA, dermatologist Susan Stuart, MD, says yes. "Many self-tanning products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin and cause acne breakouts. Some products are quite oily and block the pores causing a build up of bacteria and flare up of acne," she explains. "Also, you really can't be sure how clean equipment is in a salon nor how often the chemicals are changed or inspected." New York dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, MD, agrees and says that if her clients are acne prone, she never recommends fake tans.

Does this mean that people with problem skin can never have a healthy-looking faux tan? "The best way to avoid breakouts with a fake tan is to look for self-tanners that are oil-free, alcohol-free and non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic. Such products will help you avoid the whiteheads and blackheads of acne," says Dr. Stuart. Try Jan Marini Bioglycolic Sunless Self Tanner ($28), which is non-comedogenic and contains glycolic acid to help keep the skin looking its best.

Or avoid a faux tan altogether and stick with makeup. Dr. Baxt says that for acne-prone patients she only "recommends bronzer powder for the face if you want to look tan." 

  • Carrie Holt
    Posted on

    There are definitely self tanners out there that do not cause you to break out! I've used Adonia and Clinique products for years without any problems. Check out for some pretty intense reviews on literally dozens of self tanners. That's where I found out about Clinique Self Sun :)

  • Maria Jones
    Posted on

    Usually people search for their private shelves or drugstore at first sign of acne. Although it may provide temporary solution to the problem however, proper treatment can only be provided with help of dermatologists. Dermatologists can help to identify the root cause of acne and can cure it at proper time before acne gets serious skin problem. There are various effective treatments available to control acne. Therefore, you should not let acne control your life. Acne should not make you feel embarrassed or ashamed of you. You should not take jokes or comments of friends and family members seriously. You should be sure of your personality as pessimistic thoughts and depression also enhance problem of acne.

  • HappyCouture2000
    Posted on

    I use Kona Tanning's Gradual Tanner and it's great! Perfect product all around. It smells really good too!

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