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Written By Chloe Taylor

What Can Happen if You Use an Expired Self-tanner?

What Happens if You Use an Expired Self-tanner

Some people might have a huge collection of different self-tanners as they like to experiment with different products and brands. So, most self-tanners get expired after some time as mentioned on their label.

The different chemicals present in a self-tanner make it expire over a period of time. Here, I will let you know whether self-tanners go bad and what happens if you use an expired self-tanner.

Do Self-tanners Really Go Bad?

Considering the expiry date should always be your priority before using any cosmetic products. So, people are very concerned about the expiration date of their self-tanners besides the side effects of using one.

An expired product will not get absorbed by your skin. expired self-tanners often become ineffective and lead to blemishes if used. It cannot give you that perfect dark tan that wants to achieve.

The average shelf-life of a self-tanner is up to 1 year. if you want you can use it even after one year. But, remember the result will not be the same as using a fresh tanner.

High-quality products always last long and help you get that perfect and even tan. One of the best quality self-tanners is my absolute favorite. This tanner will give you a long-lasting tan without streaks and patches. You can easily get this product from Amazon.

Try to use a tanning mitt while applying self-tanners to prevent your hands from turning orange after application.

What Happens if You Use an Expired Self-tanner?

Like most cosmetic products a self-tanner should not be used after the expiration period. It contains different ingredients and chemicals that may cause reactions and damage your skin.

Close Up Of Female Hands Holding Regular Lotion Tube

But, some high-quality products contain the best ingredients so, these tanners can be used even after the expiration date and are quite safe.

Using expired self-tanners of a reputed brand may not cause much harm to your skin. but you should always do a patch test 24 hours before using an expired product.

A patch test will help you to take a decision that whether you should use an expired self-tanner all over your body. Also if you notice no reaction on your skin 24 hours after the patch test then, you can try out the product.

As mentioned above don’t expect the same result as a fresh tanner after using an expired product. An expired self-tanner will not have a good consistency, not blend properly, and will also last for a very few days.

For How Long Can a Self-tanner Be Used?

A self-tanner has a shelf-life of 1 year although there is no law that says that a cosmetic product should always come with an expiration date. You can use a product for 12 months after opening the bottle.

usage of self-tanner info image

The packaging of the self-tanner plays an important role to determine how long it will last. Here, are some self-tanners with their formats.


Mousse self-tanners do not expire very soon as they are available in sealed containers with pumps and minimal air exposure.

It has the chance of getting worse if it gets more exposed to the air.


Self-tanning lotions that are available in bottles gets expired more quickly.

Whenever you open the bottle to take out the lotion it gets exposed to the air. So, the self-life of a tanning lotion becomes short and it gets expired soon.


Tanning towels are quite popular and some people love to use them to get tan.

These towels can last longer i.e, more than one year if kept away from air exposure. Over-exposure to the air can make these towels expire fast.

How to Identify an Expired Self-tanner?

Although most self-tanners come with an expiration date some may not have the expiration date mentioned on the bottle.

Beautiful young woman applying Lotion on her legs

So, it is better to stop using a self-tanner after one year if the expiration date is not mentioned. Here are some other ways to identify an expired product.

Color of the Product

By looking at the color of the self-tanner you can easily identify whether it has expired or not. If you notice the color of the product to be green then, be sure it is an expired tanner.

The colorants mixed with DHA in a self-tanner get bad when it expires. Also due to exposure to air and heat the color of the product changes to green. You can easily notice this change in an expired self-tanner that contains bronzer.


Along with the color, the consistency of the self-tanner also indicates that it is an expired product.

You will notice the tanner is more watery, thick, or lumpy. The oil and other ingredients also get separated when the tanner gets expired.

Go for a Sniff Test

Besides, self-tanning lotions and tanning oils also get expired. So, people who are using tanning oil to get a tan should identify an expired product and stop using it. sometimes, the smell of the oil is still there intact even, after getting expired.

So, you can identify an expired tanning oil by conducting a sniff test. You can try to smell the oil and identify whether it has expired or not.

But, sometimes the DHA present in a self-tanner produces a bad smell. So, it becomes difficult to tell if the product has really gone bad.

Patch Test Important

If you are still not sure if the product has expired after following the ways shared above then, go for a patch test. A patch test is very important before using a product that is more than a year old.

Apply a little self-tanner on a small part of your skin to check whether it is working fine for you. Always use a mitt to prevent your hands from getting orange.

After the patch test, if you notice that there is no harmful reaction and you have got the color you want then, you can be somewhat sure that the product can still be used.

But if you get an uneven tan after using the tanner then, discard it as the product has expired.


Most self-tanners gets expired after one year. But you can still use them as they are non-toxic and will not cause any severe damage to your skin. always go for the best quality products from reputed brands so, that you can use them without any worries even after the expiration date.

Although a self-tanner can be used after the expiration period, it will not give you that perfect result like a fresh tanner.

Always do a patch test before using these expired products to make sure there is no reaction and you can further use it without damaging your skin.

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Chloe Taylor

Hey there, I am Chloe Taylor, your trusted tanning expert. Dive into expert tips, product reviews, and skincare advice to unlock the secrets of a radiant tan. Also, join me in achieving that sun-kissed glow while safeguarding your skin, which can leave you feeling your best.

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