Assuming your solution is not heat damaged or old, and has become green inside the bottle or a clear container (a quick visual check can confirm this) – the product is not to blame.

Green tans anywhere on the skin surface, are the result of some type of product, or product residue on the skin. Even if you cannot “see” anything, something IS there.

The products bronzer  (temporary cosmetic) colorant is reacting to something on the skin.

Just because the client says they showered, does not mean all debris, or product residue is fully removed.  Hair conditioner, shampoos, soaps, exfoliate products, moisturizers, shave products, sweat and skin oils, can all leave a residue on the skin. This residue is interacting with the brown bronzer colorants (the temporary dye) in your spray solution.

For future visits, this client should exfoliate skin well, with a baking soda and water paste, or a mild translucent (non-milky) non-coating shower gel/baking soda paste. Focus especially on Arm pits, behind knees, all of which are ares client may miss.

Alternatively a mild non coating shower gel with exfoliating gloves mitts or pad may also be used, if client cleans skin thoroughly hitting all skin areas after use of other showering products. (Click HERE for an example)

Scrubs may be used if  the client scrubs well over ALL skin areas as the final shower step – and if you already know their scrubs are PreTan Prep Friendly  (click HERE for a residue free scrub that works well for pretan prep)

Keep in mind, not all scrubs work well as a pretan prep product, as many may coat or leave residue on the skin. This is what you want to avoid.

The exfoliation or scrub should be the final step after shaving, and rinsing soaps, shampoos and conditioner from the body. The exfoliation step is done last to REMOVE previously used showering products from the skin. A final cleansing step may be needed to remove scrub residue, if it is not confirmed as spray tan friendly.

No products should be applied to skin pre-tan, until you “know” they are not causing the green issue. A skin prep spray, or disposable exfoliation cloth/wipe, can be used for last minute skin cleaning at the spray facility. (CYA Prep spray available HERE)

Sweat –

Green from sweat residue happens in arm pits, behind knees, elbows and neck bends, around and under breasts etc.

If the client sweats in any body areas just before or after applying a fresh spray tan, they may see green patches.


Green only in armpits comes from Antiperspirant products or residue of these products. Clients should gently scrub/exfoliate underarms before being sprayed, and avoid antiperspirants until roughly four hours after being sprayed, or if possible after showering off the bronzer. Powder underarms after spraying if needed, for comfort.
If they can handle them, the long lasting “Clinical” level Antiperspirants, are a good option. They can be applied the day before the tan, skin can be washed the next AM, yet you will still stay dry. (apply before bed to minimize irritation or itching)

Deodorant only products (that contain no antiperspirants or aluminum salts) may be applied after tanning. These will not prevent sweating, but will lessen odor.

Will the Spray Tan Stay Green?

Normally upon showering the green color will wash away, since it is primarily the cosmetic Bronzer that is green – not the DHA Tan. However, if client has a large amount of antiperspirant build up in the dead skin layers under the arms, and has not exfoliated well in this area, then some temporary staining may appear even after showering.

If this occurs advise client to briskly exfoliate under the arm pits with a damp rough wash cloth only, to help remove some of the dead skin  and build up. The will lighten the tan in the area, so if client scrubs to hard, they can create white patches. These can be corrected with a at home Sunless tan product applied lightly to this area and blended with a cosmetic sponge or fluffy powder brush, or use of a Body Make-Up product (Sally Hansan Airbrush Legs for example)

What about using a Clear solution, as a preventative?

Because the Bronzer temporary colorant is the component that is turning green, then a clear solution would not turn green; or at least from Antiperspirant products. :)  I know, because I tested it to show you. (see below for photo proof)

This is an image of spray tan solution with a dark Bronzer, wiped onto new clean white card stock (DHA Does not “react” on card stock)

This image was taken immediately after application of solution to the paper (before any product breakdown can occur from air exposure, or before a DHA reaction would even start)

I used a fresh cotton ball for each swipe, and went back and forth over each area to create a liberal coating,  this also created a bit of mixing of the antiperspirant into the wet solution.

Below are three lines on the paper, two are swiped over a clear Aluminum containing drugstore Antiperspirant product.

Stripe 1 is wiped on the left side of page, (not on the Antiperspirant stripe) as the BROWN CONTROL


Stripe 1 – uncontaminated, and a nice true brown. This is how product looks in the bottle as well.


Stripe 2 – (center), same brown product as used in stripe 1 – is distinctly turning green from the rubbing of Antiperspirant  (AP) into the swatch. This happened in about 30 seconds and continued to get greener with time passage.


Stripe 3 – (hard to see ) This is a clear solution with no Bronzer, and it is still clear. It continued to stay clear until it dried on the paper, no green ever appeared.




This indicates we are dealing with a clash between the bronzer temporary dyes, and the antiperspirant. Other cosmetics and skin care product on the skin can also produce a green effect.

– Cheers – Vicki