Does Self Tanner Expire

Does Self Tanner Expire

Self-tanners are designed to give you a dazzling tanned look without sitting under the sun for hours. They create a natural-looking and flawless tanning, due to which people often opt for them.

If you have found the right tanning product for your skin, and want to buy a large bottle of it, think about its shelf-life before investing. It is because self-tanners have an expiration date.

When it comes to self-tanners, some common questions that revolve around the mind are-

  • Are self-tanners safe?
  • Do self-tanners expire?
  • Are self-tanners effective even if they have been kept for a long period?

To answer all your queries, we have compiled a detailed guide on self-tanners to help you know whether you should use an expired self-tanner or not.

Do Self-tanners Go Bad After Some Time?

When it comes to beauty products, their expiration date is the major concern among people. Just like any other makeup product, self-tanners also come with an expiration date, after which they become ineffective.

Most self-tanners have a shelf life of 12 months. Even though they are non-toxic and you can use them after a year, the result would not come as you desire. In fact, the skin may get blemishes and marks. Once a self-tanner expires, the skin doesn’t absorb it, and you will not get the kind of tan you want.

Besides avoiding an expired self-tanner, you should always wear high-quality sunless tanners to ensure a wonderful streakless tan that lasts longer. Apart from using a self-tanner, you can also apply a tanning mint to make the process easier.

What Makes Self-tanners Lose Their Effectiveness?

Usually, a self-tanner comes with a shelf-life of six to nine months. If you use a spray tanner with a pump, the shelf-life may increase up to 12 months as it consists of an enclosed lid that is tightly sealed.

As a bottle of self-tanners opens, the liquid component starts evaporating, and as it evaporates, the DHA content becomes denser. Dense DHA doesn’t lead to a good tan, and that’s how the product loses its effectiveness.

The market is flooded with self-tanners, so make sure you buy a good one to get the best result.

Are Self-tanners Safe?

Compared to sunbathing or sitting under the harmful sun’s rays for longer hours, self-tanners are safer options. Dermatologists often recommend using a self-tanner instead of sitting under the sun for hours.

The active ingredient of self-tanners is DHA, which causes the skin to darken. Since DHA is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no harm in using it to get the desired tan.

You can find self-tanners as a spray, lotion, cream, powder, and pills. The result of these self-tanners lasts only a few days until the outer layer of your skin or dead skin sheds. As the dead skin sheds, the color wears off as well. To keep the tan, it is advised to reapply the self-tanner after 3-4 days.

While buying self-tanners, go for products formulated with ingredients that nourish the skin. Such products will tan your skin, keeping it well-nourished and moisturized.

How To Check If Your Self-tanner Has Expired?

While some self-tanners come with an expiration date, some should be used within specific days from opening the bottle. It becomes easy to know the expiration date when it is mentioned; however, for the latter, you need to take note of the date as you open the self-tanner.

To check the status of your product, you can do the following tests-

  • Patch Test- Apply a small amount of sunless tanner on a small area of the skin. It could be your legs or arms. If the tanner gives the color you desire, it is still usable. If it doesn’t give an even tan, it is better to throw it.
  • Color Test- Do a visual test to know if your tanner is still usable. If it looks green, it hints that the self-tanner is expired. Air and heat exposure may degrade the product and turn its color. Beauty products containing DHA (like sunless tanners) often turn green when they degrade.
  • Consistency Test- Self-tanners contain oils and other ingredients that often separate when they expire. If you see lumps and the consistency feels too watery or thicker than usual, it could be because the self-tanner has gone bad. But, before throwing it, shake the bottle, mix well, and check the consistency again. If it’s still the same, better not to use it.
  • Sniff Test- You can also smell the product to know its status. DHA doesn’t smell good and turns even worse when the self-tanner is expired.


Self-tanners have an expiry date, and their lifespan is usually a year. If you have applied an expired self-tanner accidentally, do not panic as it is non-toxic and would not hurt the skin. But, do not expect an even and good tan.

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