Spray tanning, a popular alternative to traditional sunbathing and tanning beds, offers a quick and easy way to achieve a bronzed glow without harmful UV rays.

However, an unexpected side effect that some people experience is body odor. The question “Why Does Spray Tan Cause Body Odor?” may seem puzzling to many, but it is a reality for others.

What could link a spray tan’s pleasant, sun-kissed skin effect to an unpleasant olfactory experience? This article aims to unravel the mystery behind this phenomenon, delving into the science of spray tanning and its potential to cause body odor.

Why Does Spray Tan Cause Body Odor?

A spray tan can cause body odor due to a chemical reaction on your skin. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the primary active component in most self-tanners. DHA mingling with skin bacteria can yield an aroma similar to sweat, yeast, or old bread, commonly described.

What Causes The “Self-Tanner And Spray-Tan Smell”?

Like spray tans, the scent linked to self-tanners usually arises from DHA interacting with amino acids on the skin’s surface. The Maillard reaction, akin to cooking, generates the tan hue by altering DHA, akin to how food transforms when cooked. However, it can also create compounds with an unpleasant smell, which is how spray tan can cause body odor.

How Can A Self-Tanner’s Odor Be Covered Up?

 To cover up the smell of a self-tanner, you can take a few steps:

  1. Use a Fragrant Moisturizer or Lotion: Apply a moisturizer or lotion with a pleasant scent after washing off your spray tan. This will not only help to mask the smell of the self-tanner but also keep your skin hydrated and prolong the duration of your tan.
  2. Apply a Body Deodorant or Antiperspirant: Use a body deodorant or antiperspirant to combat the smell. Make sure to choose a safe product for use on tanned skin.
  3. Wear Perfume or Body Spray: Spritz on a fragrance or body spray you choose. Be subtle in your application, as too much scent can be overpowering and may have the opposite effect.
  4. Use Scented Body Wash: Shower with a nicely scented body wash. This can help to remove the self-tanner smell while leaving a more pleasant scent on your skin.

Remember, the smell of the spray tan can cause body odor, but it is usually temporary and can be easily masked or covered up. If the smell persists, it could be due to other factors, such as your diet or personal hygiene, and it would be a good idea to consult a dermatologist or doctor.

How Can I Avoid Sweating Off My Tan And Leaving A Bad Odour?

Sweating can exacerbate the body odor caused by the spray tan. To prevent this, avoid rigorous activity and stay relaxed for at least a few hours after application.

Giving your tan time to develop without interference from sweat will help mitigate the odor and ensure a more even and long-lasting tan. Remember, a spray tan can cause body odor, but it can be managed effectively with the proper precautions.

Despite the potential for body odor, it is essential to note that spray tanning remains a safer alternative to sunbathing or tanning beds, which expose the skin to harmful UV rays.

With proper precautions, you can address any accompanying odors and enjoy the confidence-boosting effects of a golden tan. Moreover, advancements in spray tan formulas continue, with manufacturers striving to reduce the characteristic smell. With informed choices and appropriate aftercare, you can ensure your self-tanning journey is positive.

Unraveling the Mystery: Why Does Spray Tan Cause Body Odour and How to Combat It

How To Get Rid Of Spray Tan Smell?

If you notice an odor after a spray tan, several strategies exist to eliminate it.

Firstly, you can apply a fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer immediately after the tanning session, which can help lock in the tan and reduce the smell.

Secondly, using a body wash designed explicitly for spray-tanned skin can also help to minimize the odor. Some people also find that applying baby powder to areas prone to sweating reduces the smell.

How Can I Get Rid Of The Spray Tan Smell After Showering?

To further combat the smell after showering, here are some additional tips:

  1. Use a Lemon Rinse: Lemon has natural deodorizing properties. Mix lemon juice with equal parts water and rinse your body with the solution after showering. Be sure to rinse thoroughly afterward to prevent any skin irritation.
  2. Apply Baking Soda Paste: Baking soda is known to absorb odors. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to your skin, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse off in the shower.
  3. Use a Vinegar Rinse: Vinegar, like lemon, can help neutralize odors. Mix equal vinegar and water, and rinse your body with the solution after showering. Again, ensure you rinse thoroughly afterward.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins from your body, reducing body odor.

Do not let the potential for body odor deter you from enjoying the benefits of a spray tan. Remember, the spray tan can cause body odor, but with these tips, you can tackle the issue head-on and enjoy a fresh, sun-kissed glow.

Why Does Spray Tan Cause Body Odour and How to Combat It

How To Combat The Sunless Tanner Smell?

Combating the smell caused by sunless tanner involves a combination of strategies. Adhering to skin hygiene, opting for light self-tanners, loose attire, and cool showers effectively minimize the odor. Additionally, using high-quality tanning and pre-tan and post-tan care products can help further reduce the smell.

Remember, while a spray tan can cause body odor, it is manageable. You can enjoy a beautiful, sun-kissed glow without unpleasant smells with the right products and practices.

Use A Quality Product?

The quality of your tanning product plays a significant role in whether a spray tan can cause body odor. High-quality tanning solutions often contain less DHA and other odor-reducing ingredients to minimize the “spray tan smell.” They may also include perfumes and botanical extracts designed to mask any potential odor.

Therefore, a premium spray tan product can significantly improve your tanning experience.

Fake Tan Smells. Why?

The reason why a spray tan can cause body odor primarily lies in the active ingredient of tanning products – Dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead skin cells in the epidermis’s upper layer to create a color change.

As the DHA breaks down and interacts with your skin, it can sometimes produce an unpleasant, musty smell similar to sweat or body odor. This is why some people notice their spray tan can cause body odor.

Can I Choose A Self-Tanner Without DHA?

While DHA in spray tan can cause body odor, opting for DHA-free tanners might not solve the issue.

These alternatives can also generate disagreeable smells and lack the lasting, genuine tan DHA products offer. Prioritizing quality, proper hygiene, and application methods remains the better strategy to counter spray tan-related odor.

Use A Lighter Self-Tanner And Wear Light Clothing.

Consider using a lighter self-tanner to mitigate the issue that a spray tan can cause body odor.

Lighter formulations will have less DHA, which can reduce the intensity of the smell. Wearing light clothing after your spray tan is also advisable, as it allows your skin to breathe, reducing sweat and subsequent odor.

It also prevents the transfer of tanning products onto your clothes.

Keep A Tanning Kit Handy And Take Cool Showers.

Combat spray tan odor with a tanning kit ready, offering an effective solution to address potential body odor issues.

This kit should include exfoliating scrubs and lotions to prepare your skin before tanning and mild, alcohol-free body sprays to mask any likely smell after tanning.

Taking cool showers instead of hot ones also helps because hot water can intensify the DHA reaction and, thus, the odor. Cool showers will slow down this process, reducing the smell.

How To Keep Self-Tanner From Streaking

So, what causes body odor after spray tanning? Your skin is naturally covered in sweat glands and pores that release oils, perspiration, and other substances. When combined with self-tanner ingredients, skin secretions can foster bacterial growth due to the mixture, potentially affecting skin health. This bacterial growth can create an unpleasant smell emanating from your body – body odor.

To prevent this from happening, it is essential to take certain precautions before you spray tan:

  1. Ensure your skin is clean and free of dirt, sweat, makeup, deodorant, or other substances before application.
  2. Ensure you follow the product instructions carefully when it comes time to rinse off the bronzing agent after it has been applied to your skin.
  3. Apply a light moisturizer after the spray tanning session to create a barrier on your skin and prevent excessive bacterial growth.

By taking these small steps before and after spray tanning, you can help reduce any potential body odor and enjoy the sun-kissed glow without any unpleasant odors.


In conclusion, while it is true that a spray tan can cause body odor, it is essential to remember that this is a manageable issue. It largely stems from the reaction of DHA, the active ingredient in tanning products, with the skin.

However, this odor can be minimized by choosing high-quality tanning products, maintaining good skin hygiene, and following appropriate pre-tan and post-tan routines. Other effective strategies include:

  • Using lighter self-tanners.
  • Wearing loose clothing.
  • Taking cool showers.
  • Keeping a tanning kit handy.

These steps can help ensure you enjoy a beautiful, long-lasting tan without worrying about any unpleasant smells. Ultimately, the sun-kissed glow you achieve makes these efforts worthwhile.