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Tried-and-tested beauty hacks to get rid of a sun tan

A sun tan isn’t something you catch only at the beach. You can develop a tan from traveling or playing outdoors during the day, or even when you run errands in the afternoon. You’ll notice your skin getting darker in places that are exposed to the sun—that’s a tan!

When your body is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, your skin cells bump up the production of melanin, a brown pigment that protects your skin from damage. But this pigment also causes your skin to become a couple of shades darker.

Why do we tan?

Tans are our body’s natural shields against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight contains two types of radiation – UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays only effect the upper layer of the skin, causing sunburns. UVA rays, on the other hand, penetrate deeper into the skin and trigger melanocytes to produce more melanin. The more melanin is produced, the darker your tan will be.

How to get rid of a tan?

While some tanning is great and can stop us from looking pale, too much of it can be harmful. Apart from changing the colour of your skin, it also effects its quality. Tanning means that the suns UVA rays have already penetrated your skin and done some DNA damage. UVA rays have been shown to break down collagen in the skin, leading to spots and wrinkles. Both UVA and UVB rays in excessive quantities can also cause skin cancer. (1)

To get rid of a tan, take the help of modern science! Laser toning makes use of laser beams to break down damaged skin cells and tigger the production of new, healthier cells. Chemical peels can be used to get rid of dead skin layers with excess melanin, so that your skin looks brighter. Certain creams can also help you treat a tan resulting from too much exposure.

How do you remove a tan from the face?

The best tan removal remedy for your face is a de-tanning face pack. Try out these easy-to-make packs at home.

Milk & rice flour: Take 2 tablespoons of rice flour and the same quality of cold milk. Mix it and apply it on your face for 15 – 20 minutes before washing off with cold water. Rice flour sloughs off dead skin cells, while milk rejuvenates the skin.

Oats & buttermilk: Soak 2 tablespoons of oats in 4 tablespoons of buttermilk for around 30 minutes. Apply it to your face for 15 – 20 minutes before washing off with cold water. Oats clear off dead skin cells while the lactic acid in butter milk lightens dark spots and sun spots (2).

Sandalwood & rosewater: Take 2 tablespoons of sandalwood powder and mix in 3-4 tablespoons of rose water. Apply it to your face for 15 – 20 minutes before washing off with cold water. Sandalwood has anti-inflammatory properties which help heal and reduce skin tans, and rose water is a great exfoliating agent. It helps remove dead cells from the skin and lighten the skin.

Natural remedies to remove a tan from your hands and arms

There are many natural ingredients that are great for skin health. Whip up these tried-and-tested combos to enjoy flawless skin on your hands and arms!

Lemon juice & honey pack: This effective combo can remove skin tans to a certain extent. Lemon is a natural cleanser and exfoliator, while honey has moisturising properties. Add some honey to a tablespoon of lemon juice and apply the mixture to a tanned patch. Leave it in on for half an hour before washing with cold water.

Turmeric & Bengal gram face pack: Gram acts as an exfoliator while turmeric has skin-lightening properties. To make this pack, mix a tablespoon of Bengal gram with a teaspoon of turmeric. Add some lemon juice and curd to make a thick paste. Leave it in on for 15 – 20 minutes before washing with cold water.

Papaya & honey pack: Papaya contains the papain enzyme, which is known for its skin-lightening properties, and honey exfoliates and nourishes your skin. Combine these two natural ingredients to make your own skin-safe de-tan face pack!

Glutathione supplements: The antioxidant Glutathione has powerful detoxification properties that cleanse your body and skin from within. It is necessary for skin health and promotes skin rejuvenation. With age or due to an unhealthy diet, glutathione levels in the body begin to decline. Taking a supplement like Setu Skin: Renew can help your body make up for this deficiency, and drinking detoxing mocktails can help your skin further!

How to remove a tan from your feet

Foot scrubs are relaxing, and they’re also great for your skin! They help exfoliate and de-tan your feet simultaneously.

Lemon juice & honey foot scrub: Mix lemon juice with a little bit of honey and coarse sugar. Apply it on your feet and gently scrub your skin with it.

Yogurt & tomato foot scrub: Remove the skin of a raw tomato and blend the pulp with yoghurt. Scrub your skin with the mixture and wash it off with warm water after you’re done. Tomatoes contain antioxidants that help in brightening skin, yoghurt is natural sun tan-remover that decreases pigmentation, dark spots, and blemishes.

Home remedies to avoid tanning

Prevention is always better than a cure! Here are some things you can do to avoid getting a tan to begin with:

Hydrate: Hydrating your body is the best way to keep your skin healthy. Drinking adequate amounts of water prevents dryness and keeps tanning and sunburn at bay. Make sure to drink a lot of water if you plan on spending a day at the beach!

Cleanse and exfoliate: Cleansing your skin rids it of impurities, and exfoliating takes off dead skin cells, promoting the growth of new ones. This keeps your skin glowing, supple and smooth to touch.

Wear protective clothing: Instead of shorts and sleeveless tops, opt for outfits that offer maximum coverage. Soft, light-coloured clothes are the best way to go. Also, always, always, slather on sunscreen! Your sunscreen protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Try to use lip balms and eye creams that also offer sun protection, and make them a part of your daily routine.


1) How long does a tan last?

The duration of a tan depends on your skin and how frequently it regenerates. A tan generally lasts between 7 to 10 days, after which the outer layer of your skin begins to shed naturally.

2) How long does it take for a tan to go away with treatments?

Chemical peels take about 1-2 sessions to show positive results. When it comes to laser toning it might take about 4-6 sessions to see results. A dermatologist will be in the best position to let you know the duration of treatment.

3) What happens if I ignore tanned skin?

If your tan is mild, it will naturally go away and your skin will get restored. However, if you get repeated, harsh tans it is important to treat them to avoid further skin damage.

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