When Do Tan Lines Fade?

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For some people, there is nothing better than having a tan.

The exception to this is when you unknowingly achieve a tan but have tan lines to show for it.

No tanner wants to have half their arm or leg tanned while the other half is still lily-white!

The question is, how long will these unsightly tan lines take to fade so that you can start the process over again and get an even tan?

The answer to this question can vary.

In some cases, a tan line can go away after just a few days.

If, however, your tan lines have been caused by the UV rays of the sun they can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to fade.

The timing all depends on how long it takes your skin to shed its layers naturally before your tan lines totally disappear.

In this article, we’ll discuss ways in which you can even out your tan and rid yourself of tan lines as well as how to prevent tan lines and get a long-lasting even tan all over your body.

How Do I Get Rid of Tan Lines?

How long does it take tan lines to fade?

You may think that spending more time in the sun is going to get rid of your tan lines, but unfortunately, this is not going to work.

Here are some tips on reducing and getting rid of tan lines without burning yourself to a crisp by spending long hours in the sun.

Use a Good Body Bronzer to Blur The Tan Lines

In some cases, your tan lines can be so bad that you are going to need a fast fix. The best way to achieve this is to use a wash-off body bronzer.

Spread the bronzer all over your body and then blend it into your skin as evenly as you can.

Use a Self-Tanner

Self-tanners can also make the world of difference if you are looking for a way to hide your tan lines.

Remember that you should always apply the self-tanner to only the lighter areas of your skin so that you can even out the tan lines.

Use Make-Up To Hide Tan Lines

Another quick fix to hiding tan lines is makeup.

Foundation and powder can help to hide your tan lines if you have a special event to attend.

This will work well if the outfit that you have chosen for the occasion does not cover your tan lines.

Use Retinol to Help Fade Tan Lines

You can also use retinol if you want to speed up the process and exfoliate your skin in half the time to get rid of your tan lines.

Bear in mind that retinoids can make your skin sensitive to UV rays putting you at a higher risk of sunburn, so it is advisable to use sunscreen when you are using retinol.

Exfoliate your skin

Exfoliating your skin will allow the dead skin cells on your skin to come off revealing new, smoother, and lighter skin. You can opt for a physical scrub or a gentle chemical exfoliant to achieve this. Ensure you do not overdo this as your skin is still sensitive from sun exposure.

Take advantage of Vitamin C rich products

Vitamin C is a known brightening agent and can help you lighten your skin slowly over some time. Besides that, Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that can help neutralize oxidative stress from UV rays and repair your skin.

Wait it out

If you’re in no hurry to jump into a revealing outfit, there is no harm in waiting out the process. Your skin will naturally correct this damage in 7-10 days as long as you are not continuously exposing the affected area to the sun.

Put On Some Sunscreen

If you want to prevent your tan lines from getting darker it is advisable to reach for sunscreen of at least a factor 30 before you venture out into the sun.

The upside to this is that you can use tinted sunscreen to make your tan lines look less obvious.

Here are additional tips on how to fade a suntan, according to a dermatologist.

How to Fix Fake Tan Lines

Sometimes tan lines can be self-induced, especially if you don’t follow the proper guidelines when applying a self-tanning mousse or lotion to your body.

Here’s how you can avoid that;

Start with clean and exfoliated skin

Always apply self-tanner on clean and dry skin. Exfoliated skin performs better as all dead skin cells have been removed allowing the product to absorb into the skin better. Dirt on the skin creates a barrier between the skin and the product creating an uneven application.

Do not use an oil-based moisturizer when tanning.

While using an oil-free moisturizer is acceptable, oil-based moisturizers sit on the surface of the skin preventing self-tanner lotion from penetrating the skin which results in an uneven application.

Be generous with your product

Avoid using too little tanning lotion on your body as it creates an uneven application. Instead, apply generously across your body as the pigment can only develop to a certain point regardless of how much product you apply.

If you find yourself with missed spots, simply apply more product to the spots while being careful not to overlap with the areas that turned out okay.

If you’re tanning in a tanning bed, you can research better lying down positions to expose your skin evenly and maybe if you’re comfortable, keep the least items of clothing on during your tan to prevent them from obstructing your skin. 

Remember to also let your self-tanner dry before you put tight-fitting clothes on.

When Do Tan Lines Fade | Preventing Tan Lines

If you want to extend the life of your tan and try to avoid it from peeling, then it is a good idea to use a good moisturizer as often as possible.

This will help to keep your skin hydrated and result in an even-looking tan.

Here are some sun safety tips to bear in mind and help prevent tan lines:

  • Do your best to avoid the sun during the peak hours of the day.
  • Always apply sunscreen even if it is a light one.
  • Remember to reapply the sunscreen every few hours.
  • If you feel that your skin is burning, then take a break and look for some shade.
  • Try to leave at least 24 hours between each tanning session so that your skin has time to recover.

Is tanning safe?

Bronzed skin to show off your time at the beach over the summer will never go out of style however the truth is; tanning oftentimes means exposure to UV rays. UVA rays are the rays responsible for your tanned skin as they have longer wavelengths that penetrate the skin and promote melanin production.

This melanin production is what allows your skin to get darker while you bask in the sun. While you can achieve your tan without sustaining any sunburns which are the clearest indicators of sun damage, it does not necessarily mean that your skin is not damaged. 

Dermatologists often recommend avoiding tans and UV exposure as research has proven time and time again that it is the leading cause of skin cancer. You can still enjoy the benefits of the sun with the protection of a broad-spectrum sunscreen and while using a tanning lotion to achieve your tanning goals.

Tips to Make Your Tan Last Longer

When Do Tan Lines Fade?

Let’s face facts, nothing beats sun-kissed skin, and a daily dose of vitamin D is also really good for you.

In fact, vitamin D has the ability to increase serotonin levels which can help to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Vitamin D also has the added benefit of keeping your skin, teeth, and bones healthy.

Here are some valuable tips to help you keep your tan for as long as possible:

1. Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

There are many benefits of using a light sunscreen when tanning, and although it may slightly reduce your ability to tan you will still end up with a beautiful golden glow.

Sunscreen Facts

When you use sunscreen, you can block the harmful rays that can cause sunburn and still get a tan without the risk of sunburn.

Because UVL rays are still able to reach through the sunscreen to the skin, your skin will still produce pigment in an attempt to prevent these rays from getting through the sunscreen.

The production of this pigment called melatonin is what gives your skin the ability to tan.

When your body responds to UV rays it produces melanin to protect itself from sun damage.

The longer you are exposed to the sun’s rays the darker your skin will go. It is important to remember though that your skin will eventually burn especially if you do not make use of a light sunscreen.

The Best Oil Based Sunscreen for Tanning

Tanning oil is widely used amongst most tanners and tends to make you tan a lot darker.

With so many brands to choose from you can most certainly find the one that is best for you.

Hawaiian Tropic Protective Tanning Oil Spray SPF 30 is a popular choice amongst tanners and has a wonderful oil texture that attracts the sun’s rays so that you can achieve a beautiful golden tan.

This product has an SPF of 30 which will help you to tan while at the same time keeping your skin safe and protected from unwanted sunburn.

2. Moisturize Often

Keeping your body moisturized and hydrated is probably one of the most important rules if you want to keep your tan for longer.

  • Moisturize your whole body as well as your hands, elbows, and knees.
  • Continuous moisturizing helps to keep your skin soft and healthy and allows your body parts to look tanned for longer.
  • Use a moisturizer that is not alcohol-based as this can dry out your skin.
  • Try to find a moisturizer that has a bit of a shimmer to it if you want to intensify your look.

3. Avoid Piping Hot Showers

Having a lukewarm or cool shower instead of a piping hot shower can significantly help your tan to last longer.

The reason for this is that hot showers can cause your skin to dehydrate and induce peeling.

Try to also use an oil-based shower gel. This will also help to make your tan last longer.

4. Always Exfoliate

Exfoliating is essential if you want to keep your tan for as long as possible. Before going into the sun make sure to exfoliate.

This not only helps the UV rays ability to penetrate your skin, but it also helps to rid your body of dead skin cells.

5. Use Body Oil

Body oil will make your skin glow!

By applying just a little bit of this oil to your body will make them look healthy and tanned at all times.

6. Eat Foods Containing Beta-Carotene

Now here is an interesting fact.

Beta-carotene is a, synthesized chemical compound that contains a red-orange pigment.

Eating foods that contain Beta-carotene can make your skin naturally appear darker, so reach for carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin as often as you can and add them to your meals.

7. Drink Water: Stay Hydrated

Drinking water can significantly help your body to prolong the life of your skin cells.

Drinking water is not only good for tanning, it can assist with weight loss and can also help you to maintain healthy nails and hair.

Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.