I Turned Orange So You Don't Have To: A True Story

Live and learn, right? A few weekends ago, I decided to test a new self tanner. I normally use Beautisol or Bare Escentuals Faux Tan, but I opted to try something new. You know, for science. So here is how the day went:

I prepped my face.

I applied the tan.


I went to the movies (Bridesmaids was great).


I came home and took a nap with Bean.


 Loxy woke me up to get ready for dinner at The Friends' house.


I went into the bathroom and screamed dirty words.

"Loxy!! Why didn't you tell me!" I shrieked.

He came running upstairs and said, "What? What is the matter? Are you ok?"

"Look at me! I'm orange! You let me walk around orange!" I screamed back.

"Well, I thought you were trying something different. I wasn't sure. It's not that bad." Loxy reasoned.



(I'm smiling, because I'm hoping it's not as bad as I was thinking.)

Yeah. It's not his face. (Or my mushroom-shaped hair, thank goodness -- Loxy) I immediately got in touch with Sinead, the founder of Beautisol, and begged her for help. The product I had used didn't contain a guide color, so I had no hopes that a little color would wash off. I scrubbed my face and the color lightened a teensy bit. I slept with a strong Retinol product by Peter Thomas Roth (thanks for the emergency sample, Sephora!). The next morning, I scrubbed again (which was against the advice of Sinead, by the way) and my skin was slightly less orange.

After getting in contact with the company, the PR person and I started politely giving their Research & Development Squints the what-fors. A little research found out what I suspected.

It was my fault.

Turns out, doing a chemical peel (I didn't) or having a laser treatment (guilty!) can dramatically affect the way your skin interacts with the bits that make faux tans work. Granted, I had the laser treatment about a month before I used the self tanner (I had actually waited for a month just to be safe, as I thought there might be a small risk). But it turns out, a month just isn't long enough.

So let this be a lesson. Don't mess with your face and then put on self tanner. You'll be an Oompa Loompa in the blink of an eye and it takes several days to go back to normal. While I'll still fake bake my body, for the rest of the summer I'm sticking to bronzers. Like smooth operator™ Amazonian clay finishing powder in bronze by Tarte, which is gorgeous.


The More You Know, I suppose...

UPDATE! I asked my derm, Dr. Noelle Sherber, about the likelihood of the Squints in R&D being correct about a laser affecting a self tanner. Here are her thoughts on the matter:


Since the active ingredient in self-tanners, DHA, reacts with the stratum corneum (the layer of dead skin cells on top of the skin), only a laser treatment that disrupts that layer of skin should affect the color.  Since you had IPL rather than a resurfacing laser that would peel the top layer of your skin, your prior laser treatment wouldn't impact your results.

So the plot thickens. Am I really to blame? I somehow think it's still my fault, as I tested the same tanner on my leg and the color was fine. But now, I'm not so sure....

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9 Comments:

  1. I feel like the real test is when you let this wear off, try the Beautisol. Somehow I just don't buy that this was purely because of a laser peel over a month ago....

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  2. That's hilarious! Probably best to test a self tanner somewhere other than your face. It should wear off in a week or so.

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  3. That's what the R&D department said would have caused it. I did a test on my leg, for scientific purposes, and it came out a fine color. It took 4 days of effort to just look tanner than usual. I'm nervous to try it again. I should maybe ask a derm how long it would take for the skin to heal from a laser treatment....

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  4. Oh no, that's terrible Kelly! I'm glad you figured it out - thanks for sharing your story. Definitely lessons to keep in mind!

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  5. Baahhhhaaaahhhaaa! We've all been there girl- you're braver then most doing a post about it!

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  6. Baaahhhaaaahhhaaaa! We've all been there girl, you're braver than most doing a post about it!

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  7. And I thought it was only my skin that reacted to self tanners. I've had IPL treatments over several years and we could be self tanner twins. Every season, I try a new product (Clarins, Kate Sommerville, Tan Towels, Beautisol, etc.) and even 6-months post-IPL, I end up with a mottled, orange face. It's just another reason to stay pale and embrace bronzers.

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  8. I also turned orange from faux tanning and because exfoliating/scrubbing didn't work, I had to wear lighter foundation for a week to mask the oompa-loompa look...

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  9. You look pretty! I was looking at the picture expecting something ugly or wrong with you, but nope. Loxy is correct - you look nice. And even after examining you picture more I saw only dark circles under the eyes.

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