How To Get Rid Of Tan Lines

By Delphine •  Updated: 03/02/22 •  6 min read

Want to get rid of tan lines? You’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find important information about tan lines, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them.

Almost everyone has had tan lines they wish they could get rid easily but it’s not so easy to get rid of them.

What are tan lines?

A tan line is a clear division on the skin between an area of the skin that has been suntanned due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and an area which has not been exposed to UV rays and is relatively pale. 

The UV radiation may be from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. 

In an attempt to protect itself from UV rays, your skin produces melanin. Under the surface of the skin, melanin is released to absorb UV rays and this is what causes the skin to darken or tan. 

The more you expose your skin to UV rays the more it produces melanin and the more your skin tans. 

How to get rid of tan lines

It takes some time to even out tan lines, you only need to go in the right direction to fully restore your skin to its healthy state.

Here are some tips on how to get rid of tan lines.

  1. Exfoliating:

You can use a homemade or store-bought scrub to gently scrub and exfoliate the parts of your skin where there are tan lines. This will increase the rate at which the skin lightens by removing dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. 

The skin will lighten faster if you scrub more. Once you exfoliate, don’t expose your skin to the sun because the dead skin cells removed during the process help to protect the skin from sunburns.

 If you expose the skin to the sun after scrubbing and exfoliating, it may lead to skin damage. 

Make sure you use skin moisturizers as well because they provide your skin with Vitamin E and other essential extracts.

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  1. Essential oils:

All types of essential oils like coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, rosemary oil and others are very healthy for the skin and capable of getting rid of tan lines. 

Coconut oil especially is very effective when it comes to getting rid of tan lines. Just take some and apply it on tanned areas and leave overnight. Wash it off in the morning and repeat until tan lines fade out. 

Similarly, you can make a mixture of essential oils and follow the same process until the tans fade out.

  1. Use aloe vera gel:

Aloe vera is known to reduce pigmentation and the rate at which melanin is released. 

Aloe vera gels contain enzymes and antioxidants that will help to get rid of tans easily and are good for your skin’s health. 

Apply aloe vera gel to your skin everyday and within a week, the tanned areas will begin to lighten. 

Continue the process until the tan fades out completely. Remember to use sunscreen when out in the sun or don’t go out into the sun until your tan completely fades out.

  1. Skin lightening products:

You can easily purchase skin lightening products over the counter. It is recommended that you purchase a skin lightening treatment or cream with ingredients such as; glycolic acid, vitamin c, kojic acid, azelaic acid and retinoids such as retinol, tazarotene, adapalene gel and tretinoin. 

These ingredients will exfoliate the skin and promote new cell growth which will help lighten the tan.

It is advised that you use products and treatments which contain only one active ingredient at a time and use them under the supervision of your dermatologist. 

A product with too many ingredients may result in irritation. Similarly, too many applications result in irritation.

Too much use of skin lightening products can lead to skin atrophy and permanent dark spots.

  1. Baking soda:

Yes, baking soda! Apart from being a very great kitchen ingredient for cleaning hacks, baking soda is effective in evening out tans. Put some baking soda in a glass of water. 

Stir until you get a paste-like mixture. Apply on tanned skin and leave for 15 minutes. Wash off and your tan lines should be barely visible in a couple of days.

Don’t use;

Undiluted lemon juice:

Although it is popularly used for getting rid of a tan, never use undiluted lemon juice on your skin. 

Always use it diluted and thoroughly wash it off before stepping out. Lemon juice may help remove dead skin but can easily cause irritation. If you go out into the sun with lemon juice on your skin, it may cause irritation and in the worst case it may lead to chemical burns. 

Lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

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How to prevent tan lines

These are the hours when the sun is very powerful and may damage or burn your skin. You should not be outside during these hours which are usually between noon and three o’clock in the afternoon.

You should feel free to shed layers of your clothing in order to avoid unsightly tan lines. 

If you think the timing is appropriate and you’re alone, it’s necessary to shed clothing to avoid tan lines.

Women can take off the tops of their bathing suits so they get strap marks and men can take off their shirts when outdoors.

Sunblock, also known as physical sunscreens, scatter and reflect both UVA and UVB rays. It is necessary to prevent tan lines and the risk of getting skin cancer. Examples of sunblock are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Loose clothing will prevent tan lines because as you move, the cloth will move and so the exposed and unexposed parts of the skin will alternate.

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Final words

Tans fade away as your skin sheds dead tanned skin cells and replaces them with new cells which are untanned. 

So it does not matter what treatment you use, time is actually the best medicine to get rid of tan lines. Protecting your skin from UV rays is one of the best ways to get rid of tan lines. 

If your skin is damaged and tanned from too much exposure to the sun, lightning will only get rid of the tan but not the damage caused to the skin. 

Always use treatments as directed and if you get irritation from using a treatment, stop using it immediately and contact a dermatologist. 

Always spot-test treatments on your forearm for two to three days before you start using them. This will give you ample time to know if the treatment will help and if there will be any irritation.