If you’ve ever used fake tan, you’ll know that after a few days it can start to flake off, and if you’ve applied it unevenly you’ll want to buff out the stain ASAP.
I was pretty excited when I saw Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser ($19.99 AUD for 200 mL). It’s a product that claims to remove fake tan – as someone who has had a lot of fake tan mishaps, I had to know whether it worked or not!
A quick refresher on how fake tan works, from my previous post on the topic (The Science of How Fake Tan Works): fake tan contains ingredients (usually dihydroxyacetone or DHA) which reacts with amino acids in the top layers of your skin to form a variety of brown compounds via a Maillard reaction over the next 1-3 days. This stains the top layers, and the tan slowly fades as your skin sheds (or desquamates, if you want to be fancy).
There are generally three types of tan removing product:
- Immediate removal: These are generally just cleanser, which washes away the fake tan before it has a chance to sink into the skin and react.
- Scrubs (physical exfoliants): This mechanically buffs away the dead skin cells faster than they would normally drop off. Unfortunately, this usually requires you to scrub your skin raw to really get rid of the tan.
- Chemical exfoliants: These loosen your dead skin cells and helps them come off faster than they normally would.
Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser is in the third category. The (not so) secret ingredient in it, and most other similar chemical exfoliant fake tan removers, is urea. Urea is naturally present in your skin as part of the hydrating natural moisturising factor, and acts as a humectant moisturiser as well as a chemical exfoliant that helps loosen the top dead layers of your skin. Urea’s an ingredient that doesn’t get a lot of love, and it tends to be (in my opinion) massively underused in skincare products. It’s a bit more popular in Europe for some reason, and it’s in a few hardcore heel and hand creams like Du’it Tough Hands, PurSources Foot Cream and Eucerin Intensive Lotion.