How to Get a Glow (Without Breaking Out)

Natasha Burton
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

While we love using self-tanner, we don’t always love what it does to our faces. When you have sensitive skin, self-tanner can cause flare-ups, and when you’re dealing with acne, your topical meds can cause your tanner to get blotchy. Rather than battle back and forth with your products, here’s the inside scoop on how to get glowing without causing any skin issues.

Cleanse Correctly
It’s important to use a sulfate-free cleanser, says Stacie Norvell, brand development director at Norvell Sunless Tanning, before and after you use a tanning product. “This is to ensure pH-balanced skin,” she says. “Sulfates can neutralize the DHA in self tanners, causing discoloration and blotchiness.”

If you need to wash your face within a couple hours of applying tanner, a warm water rinse is ideal. If you can wait longer, your tan will develop better, she adds. But you don’t want to sacrifice keeping your skin clean so that you can get a better tan—that’s how breakouts happen.

Use a Tanner that Fights Acne
Norvell’s Clear Complexion Facial Gradual Tanner ($17, is actually  designed for sensitive and acne-prone skin:  It gradually builds a healthy-looking, natural glow while nurturing your delicate facial tissue, clearing blemishes (it contains salicylic acid), and smoothing skin at the same time.

Use Bronzer When You Break Out
If your face is breaking out, stay away from sunless tanner, especially if you’re using a topical cream that’s drying or exfoliates, which will jeopardize the look of your tan. “I recommend using bronzer without DHA or alternating a DHA product with your acne product,” Norvell says. Try Norvell’s Instant Bronze Wash Away Mousse ($10,, which can actually moisturize your skin but will come right off at the end of the day when you wash your face.

Wear Anti-Breakout SPF
Keep your skin at its optimal health by wearing SPF every day, supplementing your tan with some protection. Kiss My Face’s new Sensitive Side Sunscreen with SPF 30 (coming soon)  is non-irritating and specially formulated for sensitive skin and also contains green tea and carrot extract to lock in antioxidants.

Read more: Tips for Glowing Skin