The Best Dermatologist-Recommended Self-Tanner

Are you on the hunt for a sun-kissed glow without risking sun damage? Dermatologists praise self-tanners as a safe alternative to UV exposure, and it's a trend that's not going anywhere anytime soon. Our guide reveals top dermatologist-recommended picks to achieve that perfect tan at home, effortlessly. So, read on for your golden glow-up:

How to Properly Apply Self-Tanner for Best Results

For a flawless application, prep and prime your skin before applying self-tanner. Use a tanning mitt for even coverage and avoid streaks by taking your time during the application process.

Prep and Prime Your Skin

Before you begin, exfoliate your skin to create the perfect canvas for self-tanner application. Dermatologists stress this step because it helps remove dead skin cells that could cause uneven tanning.

Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt and pay extra attention to rough areas like elbows, knees, and ankles.

After exfoliating, moisturize your entire body, focusing on dry areas. This will help the best self-tanner dermatologist-recommended products glide on smoothly for a flawless finish.

Let the moisturizer absorb fully before applying any self-tanner to ensure even distribution and prevent patchiness or streaking.

Use a Tanning Mitt for Even Application

Once your skin is smooth and prepped, it’s time to grab a tanning mitt. Using a tanning mitt not only helps you achieve an even golden hue but also prevents the palms of your hands from staining.

Slide the mitt onto one hand and pour a small amount of self-tanner onto its surface. Smoothly blend the product onto your skin in circular motions, paying extra attention to areas like elbows and knees where color can collect.

To maintain that flawless finish, work diligently but quickly, as self-tanners tend to dry fast. A good technique is to start from the bottom up; begin at your legs and work your way towards your upper body for consistent coverage.

The key lies in overlapping each area slightly so you don’t miss any spots – think of it like painting a wall for a streak-free glow!

Avoid Streaks and Discoloration

After ensuring an even application with a tanning mitt, it’s time to tackle the common concern of streaking and discoloration. Make sure your skin is completely dry before applying self-tanner to avoid any unevenness.

Apply the product in sections, such as arms, legs, and torso, blending thoroughly at each step. Use circular motions rather than rubbing up and down, which may create lines.

Pay special attention to areas like knees, elbows, and ankles where skin can be drier and absorb more color, leading to dark patches. For a smooth transition around these tricky spots, use less product than on other parts of your body or dilute the self-tanner with a bit of moisturizer for those places specifically.

This technique helps prevent buildup that causes uneven tones.

Moreover, if you are using self-tanners for sensitive skin or trying out products recommended for beginners by dermatologists, ensure you read the instructions carefully because they often include specific steps for best results.

Perfectly bronzed skin without unwanted stripes or spots is achievable with careful application and patience during drying time; rush-free routines yield the best finishes!

Wait for Self-Tanner to Fully Dry Before Dressing

Ensuring your self-tanner has fully dried is crucial to prevent any unwanted stains on clothing or uneven patches on your skin. After you’ve carefully applied the tanner and avoided streaks, give it ample time to set.

This means waiting patiently before putting on clothes or lying down on fabric surfaces. It’s tempting to rush through this step, especially if you’re in a hurry, but resist the urge! Quick movements can cause smudges and remove the product from some areas of your body.

Choose loose-fitting garments when it’s time to dress after using self-tanners like L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze or St. Tropez Self-Tan Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse, which are popular with dermatologists for their even finish and quality formula that’s suited even for sensitive skin.

Dark colors are preferable because they’re less likely to show any transfer that might occur if the product hasn’t completely dried. This simple practice will help ensure that you end up with a flawless, natural-looking tan without any surprises on your favorite outfits.

Top Picks for Dermatologist-Recommended Self-Tanners

Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner

Forever summer

Get a natural, organic, and sun-kissed glow with this premium pick.
Best Overall

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  • Hydrating self-tanner suitable for all skin types
  • Paraben-free formula for gentle application
  • Lotion form for easy and even application
  • Creates a natural-looking tan without harmful UV exposure
  • Infused with nourishing ingredients to keep skin moisturized
  • Provides a healthy, radiant glow without streaks or orange tones

Achieve a flawless, sun-kissed complexion with Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner, the secret to a radiant bronzer glow. Meticulously crafted with natural and organic ingredients like organic aloe vera and shea butter, this self-tanning lotion pampers your skin while providing an even-toned tan that rivals the results of basking in the sun. Perfect for men and women alike who seek a medium to dark shade without exposure to UV rays or harsh chemicals.

Applying this clear, sunless tanning lotion is a breeze; it glides on smoothly, ensuring no streaks or patches, just pure golden perfection—minus any unwanted orange tint. Plus, you’ll love how it doesn’t transfer onto clothes or bedding! Whether you’re getting ready for a special event or want everyday confidence in your skin’s appearance, Beauty by Earth offers versatile tanning solutions, including mousse, drops, and sprays to cater to individual preferences.

This product stands out as our top pick because it harmoniously blends effectiveness with conscientious ingredient selection. Imagine looking in the mirror at your face and body, seeing nothing but an even bronze radiance—that’s what makes Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner indispensable. Not only does this USA-made bestseller champion clean beauty standards, but its dedication to long-lasting results clearly satisfies savvy consumers wanting their tan—and their health—to thrive together.


  • Long-lasting tan without sun damage
  • Easy, streak-free application
  • Suitable for face and body
  • Natural, sun-kissed glow


  • May require multiple applications for desired level of tan
  • Slight scent may be noticeable upon application

This self-tanner is perfect for anyone looking for a natural, organic, and long-lasting tan without any harmful additives. Ideal for both face and body use, it’s the go-to choice for those wanting a sun-kissed glow recommended by dermatologists. Try Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner now and achieve a beautiful bronzed look that lasts.

Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanner

Top brand

Achieve a golden tan while firming and hydrating your skin.
Runner Up

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  • Hydrating self-tanner for normal skin
  • Paraben-free formula
  • Creamy texture for easy application
  • Made in the USA by Jergens

Imagine stepping out with a sun-kissed glow that looks as natural as if you’ve just returned from a beach vacation. Jergens Natural Glow +FIRMING Self Tanner offers just that, plus the added benefit of firming and hydrating your skin. This self-tanning lotion for fair to medium skin tones is a game-changer for those who yearn for a bronzed look without spending hours under the sun. It’s meticulously formulated to reduce the appearance of cellulite, so you not only get an even tan but also smoother-looking skin.

What sets this product apart is its ability to deliver gradual yet noticeable results while improving your skin’s texture. Users rave about its refreshing aroma, which masks the typical tanning-lotion smell we’re all too familiar with. The secret lies in its essential ingredients – collagen and elastin – which work together with green tea infusions to enhance elasticity and overall health of your skin. As it nourishes deeply with antioxidants and Coconut Water, it earns its place at No. 2 on our list by giving women confidence in their own naturally glowing, toned complexion.

This Jergens tanner rises above others because it understands what women want: effectiveness paired with convenience. Applying daily, like any regular moisturizer, allows you to develop color gradually until reaching the desired depth of tan – no streaks or fuss involved! Plus, being cruelty-free makes it not only kind to your body but also conscious-minded towards animal welfare. With such dedication to both beauty and ethics wrapped up in one bottle, this self-tanner stands out as a smart choice among dermatologist-recommended options for achieving radiant-looking skin safely and gently.


  • Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanner provides a fresh-scented sunless tanning experience to keep you feeling refreshed
  • Acts as a firming tan lotion, boosting moisturization for healthier-looking skin and supporting daily skin hydration
  • With collagen, elastin, and green tea infusions, this self-tanner works as an effective cellulite remover, visibly reducing the appearance of cellulite in just 7 days
  • Gradually enhancing and deepening your natural skin tone, Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanner creates a flawless light bronze tan while nourishing and hydrating dry and extra-dry skin


  • May cause streaking or uneven color if not applied evenly
  • Scent may be too strong for sensitive noses
  • Requires consistent application for optimal results

Ideal for busy individuals with fair to medium skin tones who want a natural-looking, streak-free tan while also firming and hydrating their skin. Say goodbye to cellulite and hello to a glowing complexion with the help of Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanner. Try it out and achieve your desired tanned look without stepping foot in the sun.

Skinerals Self-Tanner Sunless Tanner

Kind to skin

Achieve a beach-ready glow in no time with this one.
Best Paraben-Free

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  • Made with antioxidants for skin nourishment.
  • Cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and vegan
  • Mousse formulation makes application smooth and convenient
  • Easy to achieve a streak-free glow

Skinerals Self-Tanner Sunless Tanner Bronzer Mousse slides onto your skin with ease, providing a flawless, golden glow that rivals a beach vacation bronze. Picture yourself stepping out with confidence, showing off smooth, radiant skin without any streaks or unpleasant smells often associated with tanning products. The Californium blend is packed with natural and organic ingredients to pamper your skin while delivering that sun-kissed look you love. Infused with Organic Aloe and other hydrating super fruits like Organic Gooseberry and Acai, this mousse not only colors but also cares for your body.

This self-tanner earns its place as the number three pick because it combines health-conscious skincare practices with premium results – perfect for those of us who are savvy about what goes on our skin. Its unique formula avoids the toxins found in many beauty products; it’s free from sulfates and parabens while still ensuring an even application every time using the Skinerals Microfiber Applicator Mitt.

And let’s talk convenience – there’s no more waiting around for hours or dealing with splotchy patches that scream “fake tan.” Suitable for all over use, including delicate facial areas, Skinerals Californium delivers consistent coverage and quick drying so you can get dressed without delay or worry about color transfer. For women seeking a durable tan solution between professional treatments or to maintain year-round radiance, this mousse proves ideal due to its superior fading pattern, which smoothly transitions as your natural color returns.


  • Nourishes and smooths skin with natural and organic superfruit
  • Quick-drying, non-sticky formula for easy application without transfer
  • Suitable for both face and body, providing a streak-free, even tan
  • Infused with natural ingredients such as Organic Aloe, DHA, Gooseberry, and Acai for hydration


  • Requires application with a mitt for best results
  • It may not last as long on certain skin types
  • Slightly more expensive than some other self-tanners

Are you looking for a natural, cruelty-free, and easy-to-use self-tanner that will give you a stunning beach glow and youthful skin? Then Skinerals Self-Tanner Sunless Tanner is perfect for you. Ideal for both face and body, this product is best for those who want to achieve a healthy, golden tan without harmful chemicals or streaky results. 

b.tan Ultra Dark Self-Tanner

Pacific Island glow

Achieve the darkest-of-dark glow with this high-end formula.
Best Dark

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  • Achieve an ultra-dark tan in just one hour
  • Paraben-free formula suitable for all skin types
  • Convenient mousse application for easy, mess-free use
  • Made in the USA by Marq Labs

Dive into a sun-kissed glow with b.tan Ultra Dark Self-Tanner, the go-to choice for those who desire deeply bronzed skin without the sun. This vegan and cruelty-free formula sets itself apart by ditching toxins like parabens and steering clear of that notorious fake tan smell. It’s your fast-track ticket to a dark, natural-looking tan in just one hour—perfect for an impromptu night out or when you simply can’t wait to be your most radiant self.

Imagine slipping into your sleek black dress, confident as ever, because b.tan has delivered on its promise without harming a single animal or compromising on ethics. With its easy application mousse, you’ll get even coverage and can control just how deep you want to go; leave it on for four hours or more if darker shades call to you. As a powerhouse product admired by skincare enthusiasts, this self-tanner ensures that anyone can flaunt their darkest possible tan while nurturing their skin with safe ingredients.


  • Achieve the darkest tan possible in just 1 hour with b.tan Ultra Dark Self-Tanner
  • Enjoy a natural-looking dark tan without any fake tan smell
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula, free from parabens and other unnecessary additives
  • Allows for customizable results by leaving on for 4+ hours for even darker tanning


  • Potential for streaking if not applied evenly
  • Darker results may be too intense for some users
  • Requires careful application to avoid staining clothes or sheets

Look no further than b.tan Ultra Dark Self-Tanner for your next sunless tan. With a fast 1 hour development time and no fake tan smell, this product is perfect for anyone who wants the darkest tan possible. Say goodbye to gimmicks and hello to the most awesome self-tanner on the planet. Dermatologist-recommended, this product is best for Earth-conscious beauty queens who want a dark tan without sacrificing their vegan values.

L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops

Tailor your glow

Achieve a customizable, streak-free glow with hyaluronic acid facial drops.
Best Drops

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  • Achieve a natural, sun-kissed tan
  • Hydrating and moisturizing formula for smooth skin
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Alcohol-free serum for gentle application
  • Made in the USA by L’Oréal Paris
  • Convenient dropper for precise and easy use

Achieve a radiant, sun-kissed complexion with L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops. Infused with Hyaluronic Acid, these innovative drops deliver a customizable tan while ensuring your skin stays hydrated and smooth. The easy-to-use formula allows you to control the intensity of your tan; simply blend it with your regular moisturizer for a natural glow that looks like you’ve just returned from vacation. Perfect for all skin types, these drops are formulated to be fragrance-free, removing the common tanner scent complaint and making them an excellent choice for sensitive noses.

Dermatologists often praise products that enhance appearance without compromising skin health, and these self-tanning facial drops fall right into that category. Gone are the days of orange streaks or overdone tans, as L’Oreal’s precise drop system means you can gradually build up color day by day until it’s just right for you – no surprises! This gradual approach mimics naturally sun-tanned skin and provides an extra layer of moisture care attributed to its star ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid.

In our experience using this product, we found it stands out due to its fuss-free application mixed directly with daily skincare routines. Our faces felt pampered – not parched – thanks to its hydrating properties. Plus, avoiding those harsh UV rays but still flaunting a healthy, bronzed look gives peace of mind alongside beauty benefits. Whether prepping for an event or enhancing everyday radiance, L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops offer flexibility in achieving that perfect hue; they’re definitely worth adding to your beauty arsenal!


  • Customize your tan with precision by easily adjusting the number of drops for a lighter or deeper bronze glow
  • Achieve immediate moisturization, smoothness, and an illuminated golden sun-kissed glow after just one application
  • Benefit from long-term benefits, including a streak-free tan for well-rested, healthy-looking skin with continued use
  • Enjoy fragrance-free self-tanning specifically formulated for the face and neck, suitable for all skin types


  • Can be challenging to determine the right number of drops for their desired level of tan
  • May not be suitable for individuals with extremely sensitive skin or those prone to breakouts
  • Not compatible with AHA or retinol serums

Looking for a natural, streak-free tan without the harsh effects of the sun? The L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops with Hyaluronic Acid is a great pick for those looking to achieve a gradual and customizable glow. Whether you have dry or oily skin, this fragrance-free formula is gentle yet effective on all skin types.

Coco & Eve Self-Tanner Mousse Kit

Worth the splurge

Naturally glowing skin without orange tones or harsh chemicals.
Cult Favorite

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  • Provides anti-aging benefits, giving a youthful glow to the skin
  • Offers a smooth and even tan for all skin types
  • Revitalizes and nourishes the skin with its alcohol-free formula
  • Comes in a convenient mousse form for easy application
  • Manufactured by Coco & Eve, known for high-quality beauty products
  • Made in the United Kingdom

Experience the magic of a sun-kissed glow with Coco & Eve’s Self-Tanner Mousse Kit. This superior tanning lotion stands out for its commitment to natural beauty, boasting an all-natural formula that’s both vegan and cruelty-free. Perfect your tan without stepping outside as this mousse pampers your skin with raw virgin coconuts and exotic botanicals, ensuring deep hydration. At the same time, it blurs blemishes and smooths over pigmentation issues. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling confident in your skin’s health.

Applying the Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Kit is a breeze thanks to its silky mousse texture and handy mitt applicator, which guarantees even coverage free from streaks or unsightly patches. Say goodbye to harsh chemical smells—this self-tanner envelops you in the delicious scents of tropical mango and guava as it works to deliver an instantaneous bronze glow that develops into a long-lasting color in just two hours. With each generous bottle offering up many applications, achieving consistently radiant, natural-looking skin has never been easier.

Forget about sun damage or harmful exposure; the Coco & Eve Self-Tanner Mousse provides a safe alternative that dermatologists would nod in approval of due to its nourishing ingredients list brimming with antioxidants like fig and papaya extracts. Users often share stories of walking into rooms filled with compliments on their luminous skin – evidence of how seamlessly this product fits into any skincare regimen aiming for that flawless bronzed finish without compromise.


  • Cruelty-free, vegan, and all-natural formula
  • Easy application with no transfer
  • Pleasant tropical fragrance
  • Anti-aging benefits without the use of harsh chemicals


  • May require longer application time compared to some other self – tanners
  • Tropical fragrance may not appeal to everyone’s preference.
  • Price is a bit steep

Ideal for those looking for a natural, streak-free, and anti-aging self-tanning solution, Coco & Eve’s Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Kit is perfect for the health-conscious individual who wants to achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed glow without any harmful chemicals or orangey tones.

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam


Nourish your skin and get a golden tan in the process with this classic choice.
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  • Easy to apply and dries quickly
  • Foam formula provides a streak-free, natural-looking tan
  • Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut for a hydrating effect on the skin
  • Pleasant coconut scent, unlike the typical self-tanner odor
  • Golden glow that lasts up to 7 days
  • Suitable for all skin types and tones

Experience a touch of Australian sun with Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam, a game-changer for achieving that desirable bronzed glow without any sun damage. Enriched with natural ingredients like Aloe Vera and Coconut, this lightweight foam nourishes your skin while delivering an even, streak-free tan. Imagine the fresh scent of coconut transporting you to the sandy shores as you apply this soothing blend, ensuring each application is as pleasant as it is effective.

Get ready to flaunt seamlessly sun-kissed skin that radiates health and vitality. Bondi Sands makes self-tanning easy and mess-free thanks to its quick absorption rate and non-sticky formula. It’s no wonder skincare professionals often recommend it; this self-tanner lifts your complexion while taking care of your skin. Whether preparing for a night out or just accentuating your natural beauty, Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam gives reliable results every time.

No more waiting for sunny days or risking harmful UV rays – achieve an enviable tan any day of the year with Bondi Sands. This self-tanner works harmoniously with various skin types, ensuring everyone can enjoy a luminous tan infused with hydration from Aloe Vera. Say goodbye to orange hues and patchiness; hello to effortless elegance you can trust comes from quality ingredients vetted by experts in skincare.


  • Provides a natural-looking, streak-free tan
  • Enriched with Aloe Vera and Coconut to nourish the skin
  • Lightweight foam formula for easy application
  • Dark shade for a deep, long-lasting tan


  • Requires careful application to avoid streaks
  • Can have a strong smell upon initial application
  • May transfer onto clothing if not fully dried

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam is the ultimate choice for golden girls who want a natural-looking, streak-free tan without the harmful effects of sun exposure. This is perfect for ladies looking to achieve a bronzed and glowing look with the added benefits of nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and coconut. Say goodbye to orange tones and patchy application with this dermatologist-recommended self-tanner. 


Q: What is a dermatologist-recommended self-tanner?

A: A dermatologist-recommended self-tanner is a product that has been endorsed by a dermatologist for its safe and effective use in achieving a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV rays.

Q: How do I choose the right self-tanner for my skin type?

A: To choose the right self-tanner for your skin type, consider factors such as your skin tone, sensitivity, and desired level of bronzing. It’s best to look for self-tanners that are specifically formulated for your skin type.

Q: Can using a self-tanner age your skin?

A: No, using a self-tanner does not age your skin. In fact, it’s a safer alternative to sun exposure, which can contribute to premature aging and skin damage.

Q: What should I look for in self-tanners recommended by dermatologists?

A: Dermatologist-recommended self-tanners should contain hydrating ingredients, be free of harsh chemicals, and provide natural-looking results without streaking or orange undertones.

Q: How often can a self-tanner be used on the skin?

A: Self-tanners can typically be used every few days to maintain a consistent sunless tan. However, frequency may vary depending on the product and individual skin type.

Q: Can a self-tanner be used in conjunction with sunscreen?

A: Yes, it’s important to use sunscreen in addition to a self-tanner, especially when spending time outdoors. The self-tanner does not provide UV protection, so sunscreen is still necessary.

Q: Are there any risks to using self-tanners recommended by dermatologists?

A: When used as directed, dermatologist-recommended self-tanners pose minimal risks. However, it’s essential to follow the application instructions and perform a patch test to check for irritation or allergic reactions.

Q: How should I prepare my skin before using a self-tanner?

A: Before using a self-tanner, it’s recommended to exfoliate the skin to remove any dead skin cells and create a smooth surface for the self-tanner to adhere to. This helps prevent streaking and ensures an even application.

Q: What is the best way to apply a self-tanner for optimal results?

A: To apply a self-tanner, massage the product onto the skin in a circular motion, working in sections to ensure even coverage. It’s also important to blend carefully around areas like elbows, knees, and ankles for a natural look.

Q: Can a dermatologist recommend specific self-tanning products?

A: Yes, a dermatologist can recommend specific self-tanning products based on your skin type and concerns. They may suggest options that contain added skincare benefits or are suitable for sensitive skin.


For a flawless, dermatologist-approved tan, Beauty by Earth Self-Tanner is an excellent choice. With its paraben-free formula and hydrating properties, it’s suitable for all skin types.

Additionally, Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanner offers a creamy texture for easy application and is made in the USA – perfect for maintaining that natural-looking glow without harmful UV exposure.

About the Author

Tanja is an advocate of all things clean-beauty. She's forever on the lookout for new and exciting products, whether they come from faraway Korea or the beauty labs of Paris.

Her favorite brand is Shiseido, a Japanese company who craft luxurious, high-end makeup in gorgeous packaging.

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