15 Best Self Tanners for Sensitive Skin: Gentle, Unscented, & DHA-Free

If there’s one thing that self-tanners are, then it’s tricky. Particularly if your skin type is already sensitive. The ugly truth about certain formulas is that they can get really messy. But you can eliminate such concerns by using the best self tanners for sensitive skin.

A bronzed body shouldn’t be so hard to achieve, right? So you don’t want to tan under the sun, I get it! At the same time, you want to use a product that doesn’t cause skin irritation. In that case, what you need is a fragrance-free, DHA-free self tanner. One that also doesn’t contain any amount of parabens. So how about I introduce you to such beauty products below!


Skinerals Californium Self Tanner

Skinerals Californium Self Tanner

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Every list of the best self tanner 2019 consists of the Skinerals self tanner. The mousse gives you a natural sun-kissed appearance that lasts for as long as 7 days. And the instant bronzing takes form without any blotches, orange-tinted effect, or streaks.

It’s a lightweight formula you’ll have no trouble applying on your face and all over your body. The best part about it is that the product is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. But the use of organic and natural ingredients is what makes Skinerals Californium safe for sensitive skin.

If you ask me, it’s the most effective and safest alternative to tanning beds, sun tanning, and other sunless tanners packed with harmful chemicals.

And lastly, the scent here is light and pleasant. Nothing that might trigger an allergic reaction or skin sensitivities.


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

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The next on the list is the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. It’s an easy-to-apply, super-lightweight, tinted formula. The mousse takes only a minute to dry, and then it provides a natural-looking, rich bronze tan within 4-8 hours.

It’s one of the most popular self-tanners because the application is streak-free. And also because all skin types can use it. And the tan you get lasts for a long time in case you’re wondering.

Now let me tell you that the self-tanner contains DHA, but the DHA is all-natural. So that means if you have sensitive skin, you CAN apply this bronzing mousse on your skin without any hesitation. As long as the DHA content is natural, it’s safe.

The streak-free, natural-looking tan even fades evenly. And this usually happens after 10 days. That’s a long-lasting tan in comparison to others. And to top it off, the formula is vegan-friendly. So no sulfates, no parabens, and no phthalates.

Many men and women even appreciate the non-sticky and quick-drying texture of this mousse. As for those with sensitive skin, they haven’t complained about its mild mood-boosting scent. So your skin is in good, safe hands.


Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion

Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion

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How about you get a self-tanner capable of delivering a deep, fast tan? If you’re curious to know what this one’s like, then keep reading. The Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion is perfect for tanning enthusiasts that want to tan and moisturize their skin.

The tanning lotion contains the most excellent moisturizing ingredients responsible for keeping those pores clear. What’s included here is argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, kukui nut oil, Kona coffee plant extract, green tea butter, and aloe vera. Talk about protecting and moisturizing the skin!

But here’s the most attractive quality for those with sensitive skin. This dark tanning lotion is hypoallergenic. It’s got only vegan ingredients for tanning and moisturizing your skin. That suggests zero damaging substances known to trigger allergies or clog pores.

Moreover, the product is cruelty-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free. So you get that deep, fast tan without causing any harm to your beautiful skin.


Hempz Dark DHA Bronzer

Hempz Dark DHA Bronzer

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Here’s another hypoallergenic self-tanner specifically created for delicate, sensitive skin. Yes, it comes with DHA, but the DHA seems to give rise to no negative reactions. In fact, DHA along with the natural bronzers provides instant color. And this tan continues to darken over time.

The Hempz Dark DHA Bronzer is equipped with natural hemp seed oil. It’s 100-percent pure, so it does an excellent job of hydrating, nourishing, and conditioning your skin. Tanned skin feels and looks even better when it’s smooth, soft, and moist.

Then there’s chamomile and oatmeal. Both ingredients offer soothing and calming properties. These are very helpful in the case of sensitive skin. On top of that, there’s mango seed butter. The richness of the butter here further contributes to hydrating and smoothing delicate skin.

The formula is lightweight and non-greasy. Meaning it gets absorbed into the skin rather quickly. To be honest, there’s no other DHA-packed hypoallergenic formula better than this one.


Miami Gorgeous Self Tanning

Miami Gorgeous Self Tanning Mousse

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You’re now getting to know about the best bronzing complex formulated using high-quality ingredients that make your skin look and feel radiant. This mousse is enriched with Vitamin D, Vitamin C, argan oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and elderflower extract. Of the highest quality that too!

The self-tanning mousse is quick-drying. It has the capacity to replenish your skin while the sunless tan takes form. No streaks, no scent, and no orange-tinted effect. You can use the self-tanner on your face and body. The application is very easy if you ask me.

As for what you’re risking by opting for the Miami Gorgeous Self Tanning Mousse? The answer is NOTHING. The formula is fast-absorbing and provides an instant, naturally bronzed look. At the same time, it leaves the skin feeling soft. Not many self-tanners can do both!


Bahama Tan Gradual Self Tanner

Bahama Tan Gradual Self Tanner

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You couldn’t find any other more natural and organic self-tanner than this creation by Bahama Tan. It’s a white, tint-free lotion equipped with ingredients that are perfectly blended for giving you the most natural-looking, beautiful sunless tan.

So what are these perfectly balanced ingredients? There’s Eco-Cert approved, meaning all-natural, DHA along with argan oil, safflower seed oil, babassu oil, and shea butter. These organic and natural ingredients deeply hydrate and moisturize the skin. And with the absence of parabens, the self-tanner becomes an even safer option for those with sensitive skin.

As for the lifespan of the tan, it lasts for 4-7 days. So you can enjoy this easy-to-achieve sun-kissed glow whenever or wherever you want. Speaking of wherever, it’s the best self tanner for face and body.

And just by the way, artificial fragrances are nonexistent. Once again, this is greats news for sensitive skin. The self-tanner’s natural, sugarcane-derived DHA and the naturally derived preservative blend work cohesively for creating the perfect tan shade. So no more having to use toxic ingredients and deal with an orange color or streaking anymore.


Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

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And that’s exactly what this is. It’s a vegan self-tanner, thus only natural ingredients are involved and no animal testing is done.

In fact, I’m currently reviewing the best self tanner for fair skin even. If you’re fair-skinned, then you know how troublesome it is to find a suitable tanning lotion. So here’s the ultimate solution to your worry.

The formula can transform the fairest of complexion into a natural-looking sun-kissed glow. Minus common issues like dark spots, blotches, streaks, and orange color. The self-tanner doesn’t activate early aging, sunburns, and even skin cancer. And that’s because it has zero harsh or harmful chemicals.

Natural stuff like organic coconut oil, organic green tea extracts, and organic shea butter is used. So whoever says that sunless tanning is a bad idea for sensitive or fair skin, then he/she has certainly not tried the Beauty by Earth Self Tanner.


Somerville360 Face and Body Self Tanning

Kate Somerville360 Face and Body Self Tanning Towelettes

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Ever heard of or used self-tanning towelettes? If not, then let the Kate Somerville360 Face and Body Self Tanning Towelettes be your first experience. They’re packed with an advanced tanning and moisturizing formula. You can now wipe on that natural-looking sun-kissed tan.
No uneven skin tone, and no streaking either. The towelettes are quick-drying just so you know. The self-tan they create darkens over time into a natural, beautiful, and complimentary shade within 2-4 hours.
For those with sensitive skin, no parabens are used. There’s calming cucumber for soothing and refreshing your body and face. Along with Vitamin E that conditions your skin.
What about DHA? Yes, DHA is involved; but like I told you, it’s paraben-free DHA. Meaning the coloring agent is safe for sensitive skin. And it doesn’t disappoint as far delivering a natural tan is concerned.


Botanic Tree Self Tanner

Botanic Tree Self Tanner

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Not every self-tanner out there is suitable for all types of skin, sensitive skin included. So it’s a huge relief to find one that actually is. The Botanic Tree Self Tanner is 100% natural and organic. The bronzing lotion leaves no orange-tint or an oily feeling on your skin. There’s no sensitivity or acne to deal with either. After all, zero chemicals and parabens are used.

The formula dries very quickly to give you the perfect streak-free sunless tan. It consists of shea butter, jojoba, rosemary, apricot, grape seed, avocado, passionfruit, vanilla, coconut, linseed, and moringa. There are enough skin nourishing and moisturizing substances for protection during the tanning.

And what’s even better is that the brand Botanic Tree doesn’t test their products on animals. On top of that, they only use organic, natural, and high-quality ingredients. So there is a safer alternative to getting that perfect bronzed look without having to soak under the sun or opt for spray tanning or tanning beds.


Devoted Creations Limited

Devoted Creations Limited Couture Hypoallergenic Dark Tanning Cream Oil

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So this one’s hypoallergenic and paraben-free. The Dark Tanning Cream Oil comes from a brand that manufactures some of the best outdoor and indoor tanning lotions. As for this self-tanner, it’s got multiple accelerators. They stimulate the production of melanin for long-lasting, dark results.

How about skincare during the self-tanning process? There’s macadamia oil and coconut oil for that. Both deeply moisturize the skin and extend the lifespan of your tan. The tanning cream is also enriched with vitamins for tightening and firming the skin. Along with matrixyl that targets aging-related signs such as wrinkles.

Have you ever come across a self-tanner that minimizes the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines? I’m guessing NO. So how about you make this paraben-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic dark tanning cream your first?


Famous Dave's Tanner Organic & Natural Self Tanner

Famous Dave’s Tanner Organic & Natural Self Tanner

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The list of ingredients, in this case, is definitely unheard of. So are you ready to introduce your skin to a self-tanner perfect for all types of skin? It’s the Organic & Natural Self Tanner by Famous Dave’s Tanner.

The formula contains argan oil, aloe barbadensis gel, jojoba oil, hyaluronan, CoEnzyme Q10, and sesame. The tanning lotion is smooth and creamy. And it produces results that range from medium tan to dark tan.

Argan oil boosts skin hydration. Hyaluronan is hyaluronic acid, and this too improves hydration as well as cellular function. As for CoEnzyme Q10, it’s full of antioxidants that reduce the visibility of wrinkles. And then jojoba oil, sesame, and aloe vera add moisture and soften your skin.

If you ask me, it’s the most moisturizing and silkiest self-tanner. The product doesn’t offer any setbacks when it comes to providing a golden-brown sun-kissed glow. The sunless tan looks as natural as you’d expect, and that’s the best part. Along the way, the formula also improves the texture of your skin.

Let me also bring to your attention that this self-tanner contains not only super-moisturizing but also excellent anti-aging properties too. And to top it off, it’s paraben-free. So you have every reason to buy the Famous Dave’s Tanner for your self-tanning sessions.


Candid Essentials Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion

Candid Essentials Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion

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The next option on the list comes from a brand that strongly believes your skin has the ability to tan beautifully without exposing it to harmful UV rays of the sun and tanning bed. No wonder their Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion is so effective. Even for sensitive skin!

The formula is fragrance-free, thus hypoallergenic. It doesn’t clog pores, which is good news if your skin type is also acne-prone. The use of 99-percent natural ingredients is a big deal. These ingredients include shea butter, Vitamin E, and natural oils. They keep the skin hydrated.

As for the consistency of the self-tanner, the lotion gets absorbed pretty quickly and evenly. It doesn’t stain at all. And you’ll see results within 4 hours only. This sunless tan stays for as long as 7 days.

The natural glow the tanning lotion delivers is what matters the most. But when hydration and moisturizing properties are brought into the picture in the form of shea butter and Vitamin E, then the center of attention shifts.

 So how about getting your hands on that perfect summer complexion without any side effects?

Vita Liberata Fabulous Organic Gradual Tan Lotion

Vita Liberata Fabulous Organic Gradual Tan Lotion

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Marula oil is the highlight of the show here. The Vita Liberata Fabulous Organic Gradual Tan Lotion works like a moisturizer. The kind that produces a beautiful, natural-looking sun-kissed glow! This tan you can deepen with daily use. Isn’t that amazing!

Only certified organic botanicals are used. Apart from marula oil, there’s shea butter and aloe vera. These types of ingredients are good for sensitive skin, dry skin, and mature skin. They deliver hydration that lasts for as long as 72 hours.

Like I already mentioned, it’s just like any other daily moisturizer but with a color boost. The formula softens and conditions your skin to make it feel and look nourished. And this is crucial when self-tanning or any other form of tanning is involved.


Vichy Capital Ideal Soleli Moisturizing Self Tanner

Vichy Capital Ideal Soleli Moisturizing Self Tanner

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Vichy is a very popular skincare brand. So it’s no surprise that they have created a self-tanner as well. And not just any self-tanner, a highly moisturizing formula that produces the perfect bronzed tan.

The texture of this Ideal Soleli Self-Tanner is non-greasy. It does an excellent job of enhancing your skin’s radiance. All you have to do is apply the tanning lotion 2 to 4 times every week on dry, clean skin.

The moisturizing self-tanner is equipped with Vitamin E. This ingredient is full of antioxidants for optimal skin hydration. Moreover, the product is dermatologist-tested and allergy-tested, much like every other Vichy creation. And it’s paraben-free. In short, the perfect for sensitive skin.

The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan

The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan

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The final product comes from a brand that never uses artificial fragrances, preservatives, and colorants. The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan leaves your skin feeling soft and looking uniformly, naturally tan. You can use it on your body and face. The tanning results are very quick by the way.

The formulation consists of sugar beet-derived DHA. This one’s responsible for bringing about the glow, but in a natural, chemical-free manner.

The self-tanner works wonders even on fair skin. It doesn’t make the sunless tan look streaky, dark, or fake. It’s a gentle formula ideal for the most sensitive skin types as well. There’s no unpleasant or overwhelming odor to deal with either.

To be honest, it’s a basic organic self-tanning lotion that goes on smoothly and works like magic.

Keep Away from Self-Tanners with DHA and Spray Tans

Getting a beautiful self-tan should be easy and mess-free. One other factor crucial here is safety, skin safety. A lotion that gives rise to no adverse reactions is perfect for sensitive skin. And speaking of adverse reactions, one common ingredient that triggers a negative reaction is DHA. The full form is dihydroxyacetone.

Now let me tell you what it is. DHA’s an active ingredient responsible for making your skin complexion glow. Generally speaking, dihydroxyacetone is not risky for normal skin. But when you have skin sensitivities, the component is an enemy. It’s a coloring agent very likely to trigger flare-ups. This is why even spray tans are not okay for sensitive skin. They contain DHA.

Choosing Self-Tanners for Sensitive Skin That Don’t Cause Irritation

First and foremost, whatever formula you pick, run a patch test on your sensitive skin. Select an out-of-the-public-eye area of your skin for the application. After applying it, look for any form of burning, inflammation, rashes, or redness. If you do experience any of these, then be done with that self-tanning lotion.

As to how to choose a self-tanner for sensitive skin, there is one particular ingredient you should always stay away from. And I guess you already know that it’s DHA (dihydroxyacetone). The natural form of this ingredient, however, is safe for sensitive skin.

Apart from that, make sure the formula contains organic and natural ingredients. Such as aloe vera, Vitamin E, argan oil, coconut oil, shea butter, etc. No harsh chemicals, no preservatives, and no fragrances. They cause mild to severe irritation, sometimes even when you don’t have sensitive skin. As long as the self-tanner is labeled “hypoallergenic”, you’re good to go.

Self-Tanners for Sensitive Skin – Play it Safe!

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly when applying

Every self-tanner comes with its own set of instructions. If you don’t follow them, you’re simply inviting unnecessary side effects. How you should apply the lotion, what body parts the lotion is safe to use on, and for how long should you leave the lotion on. The answers to these questions are often printed on the bottle by the brand itself.

Such details are very important if you want the results to be in your favor. Never apply the self-tanner on parts of your body that are not mentioned. And for that, you have to read the instructions displayed on the packaging.

Not all tanning lotions come with the same guidelines. So pay close attention.

Don’t overdo even if the idea seems tempting

A smooth golden glow does sound like a very desirable goal if you’re into tanning. But some men and women wish for a darker tan. So, at such times, the idea of leaving the lotion on for a longer time seems enticing.

However, know that one shade gives rise to another. And before you even realize it, your skin tone will end up looking an entirely different shade than the color you had in mind.

It’s a total waste of money, time, and energy when that happens. But, most importantly, it’s embarrassing. And you have to wait for quite a while before you get back to the tanning game or your natural skin complexion again.

The Most Useful Tips for Using Self-Tanner for Sensitive Skin

If you want your sensitive skin to not develop any form of irritation, then you have to take certain measures to do it right. And these measures aren’t too complicated or time-consuming. However, you have to walk the extra mile anyway when it comes to using a self-tanner.

  • The first step involves exfoliation. Before you get the fake tan or a real tan, it’s important to exfoliate. Eliminating dead skin cells is crucial for prepping your skin for the tanning lotion.
  • All shaving or waxing should be done at least a day prior to the tanning session. Nicked skin or open pores and self-tanners don’t go hand in hand.
  • Since the next step requires you to apply the self-tanning lotion, make sure this formula contains enough hydrating ingredients. Stuff like aloe vera or coconut is the best for moisturizing sensitive skin. Otherwise, you end up with excessively dry skin.
  • Read the instructions of the self-tanner carefully and even follow them properly. Along the same lines, don’t overdo the tanning session.
  • If you notice reactions like rashes, inflammation, or redness, then stop using the product. Figure out what went wrong and try again later when your skin has healed completely. Preferably around 2 weeks.
  • Once the tanning is done, take a shower immediately after that. Don’t wait for more than 2 to 3 hours. A fake tan takes around 7-8 hours to develop completely. So don’t worry about the first shower ruining the effect of your tan. The water, at this point, is only going to wash off the bronzer. And if you want to wash with soap, then make sure the soap contains natural ingredients like honey. And no SLS!
  • As for post-tanning skincare, keep your skin hydrated with the help of oil-free body moisturizers or lotions. This also increases the longevity of your fake tan.

Potential Allergy Symptoms of Self-Tanner

Developing a mild to severe allergic reaction due to the self-tanning lotion is a very common occurrence. There’s nothing to worry about here, even if the reaction is all over the body. The symptoms include redness, itchiness, skin irritation, or a mildly uncomfortable and painful feeling.

If one or more of these symptoms surface, then my advice to you would be to pay a visit to your dermatologist as soon as you can.

But if the issue is your sensitive skin, then you can fix those side effects by yourself. Provided they’re not severe!

  • The first step is to remove the lotion from your skin. Clean your skin properly and gently.
  • Obviously, don’t apply the product again. The chances are you’re not using an unscented self tanner or a hypoallergenic one.

Final Say

You don’t need to worry, as long as there are the best self tanners for sensitive skin, you can indulge in a little bit of safe tanning. The right formula is packed with gentle and moisturizing ingredients that don’t give rise to any skin irritation. And I have reviewed as many as 15 safe self-tanners.

And one last thing. If you’re dealing with skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, then it’s best to completely avoid tanning. First, treat those conditions, then wait for at least 2 weeks, and then get the fake tan. When you have sensitive skin, you have to be careful.

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