With summer fast approaching, people worry about a suntan, especially when it is prominent on the face.
In fact, many people have tan lines from glasses or other head gear or uneven color on the face. Since the face is often first in line to the sun before the other parts of the body, it is prone to turning darker. Plus, it is easy to cover up your arms or legs, but covering up the face completely when going out in the sun is not always possible.
A tan is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a sign that your body is trying to protect itself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to sun triggers skin cells called melanocytes to produce the chemical melanin under the surface layers of your skin to help absorb UV radiation. This in turn leads to skin darkening or tanning.
The more time you spend outside in the sun or the more frequently you use a tanning bed, the more melanin your body releases and you get more tanned.
Unwanted tans can be a pain. Anytime you can prevent getting a tan using sunscreen is good, but it’s not always possible. If your face has tanned, there are several things you can do to fade the color or even remove the tan completely.
Here are the top 10 ways to quickly remove a tan from your face.
1. Proper Sun Protection
To heal damaged skin on your face due to tanning, you need to stop going out in the sun without proper sun protection. Using sun protection won’t heal tanned skin, but it will prevent further tanning so the skin can return to its original tone faster.
The best advice is to use sunscreen every day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the use of sunscreen (1).
The best type of sunscreen offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant.
There are different types of sunscreens from which you can choose, depending upon your personal preference. For instance, cream-based sunscreens are best for dry skin and the face, while sticks are good to use around the eyes.
Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, be sure to apply it generously to protect your skin from UV rays and reapply it every two hours. Also, you need to use it year-round.
Another effective way to remove an unwanted tan from your face is to exfoliate your skin once a week. Exfoliating removes the top layers of tanned skin, revealing the new skin underneath, which is soft and supple.
When it comes to the sensitive skin of your face, you need to choose the scrub carefully. For your face, a gram flour and yogurt scrub is best. This scrub will help remove the dead and darkened skin cells, thus lightening your skin tone.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of gram flour and 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt.
- Apply the paste on your tanned skin.
- Leave it to dry for 15 minutes.
- Once it dries, gently massage your face, then rinse it off and pat dry your skin.
- Use the treatment once or twice every week for effective results.
3. Aloe Vera
If you have an aloe vera plant at home, you can use it to remove tanned skin from your face.
Aloe vera helps treat hyperpigmentation and can lighten tanned skin. It also has deep skin-moisturizing properties that give a natural glow to your face.
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Pharmacognosy reports that aloe vera may suppress the release of melanin and reduce pigmentation (2).
- Extract fresh aloe vera gel from a leaf and rub it on your face for 5 minutes. Allow the gel to do its work for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with plain water. Do this twice a day to lighten your skin color.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel and a few drops of almond oil. Apply this mixture on your face and massage gently until it is absorbed properly into the skin. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse your skin with water. Use this treatment twice daily.
Note: Do not go out in the sun after using aloe vera on the skin.
Although turmeric can leave a yellow stain on your face, it can effectively remove the tan. It has bleaching properties that can help get rid of the tan.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology highlights the photo-protective properties of the constituents of turmeric extract and can help protect against sun damage. Turmeric can also improve the skin’s hydration and natural protective oils (3).
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder and lemon juice. Apply it on your face and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Do this once daily before showering to maximize results.
- Alternatively, you can make a paste by mixing turmeric powder with milk in the ratio of 1:2. Apply this paste on the face and gently massage for 5 minutes. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. You can do this once daily for a few weeks to get rid of the suntan on your face.
After using turmeric on your face, you can remove the yellow stain with a natural makeup remover like rose water.
The red tomatoes that you enjoy in your salad can also be used to remove tanning from your face.
The high lycopene content in tomatoes protects your skin from harmful UV rays of the sun and also maintains the skin’s pH level. Tomatoes can also easily slough away dead skin cells, making your skin clear and radiant.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition reports that dietary tomato paste protects against ultraviolet light-induced erythema (4).
Tomatoes can be used both internally and externally to treat a suntan.
- Put 1 large tomato and ¼ cup of plain yogurt in a blender and blend it. Apply the mixture all over your face. Wait 10 to 15 minutes, then wash it off with cool water. Repeat once daily.
- Another option is to mix 2 tablespoons of tomato juice with 4 tablespoons of buttermilk. Apply it on your face for 30 minutes, then wash it off. Repeat once daily.
- Also, include tomatoes in your diet.
Raw potato is an excellent remedy for suntanned skin. It works as a natural bleach. It also helps soothe a sunburn. It has a good amount of vitamin C, which is used in many skin-lightening treatments.
- Simply cut a raw potato in half and rub the exposed, moist flesh on the tanned skin. Repeat as often as possible, until you begin to see results.
- Alternatively, extract potato juice from 1 potato, and mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply this on your face. Let it dry for 20 minutes, then wash it off with cold water. Repeat 3 or 4 times a week for best results. Do not use this remedy in case you have a sunburn, though.
7. Vitamin E
For removing a tan from your face, try vitamin E. Being an antioxidant, vitamin E neutralizes the effects of harmful UV sunrays and repairs and protects the skin.
Also, this vitamin helps keep the skin moisturized.
- Puncture 2 vitamin E capsules and pour the contents into a bowl.
- Add a few drops of castor oil to it and mix well.
- Before going to bed, apply the mixture on your face and massage gently using circular motions for a few minutes.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, wash your face well with lukewarm water.
- Do this once daily.
8. Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth helps exfoliate dead skin cells, thus removing the tan from your face. It also improves your skin tone.
- Mix 1 tablespoon each of fuller’s earth, honey and glycerin to make a smooth paste. Apply the paste on your face, allow it to dry naturally, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Use this face mask once or twice a week.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon of fuller’s earth and a little rose water and aloe vera gel to form a paste. Apply it on your face and neck. Let it dry for 30 minutes. Wash it off with cold water. Repeat once or twice a week.
9. Coconut Water
Refreshing coconut water nourishes and hydrates your skin to keep it soft and smooth. The natural moisturizing properties from the coconut will benefit your tanned skin.
For topical use:
- Apply coconut water on your face with a cotton ball and allow it to dry on its own. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. Apply it as often as you wish.
- Mix enough coconut water with 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder to make a paste. Apply it on your face and rinse it off when it dries completely. Use this mask 2 or 3 times a week.
For oral use:
- Do not forget to drink coconut water, as it is a great way to hydrate your skin from the inside out.
10. Keep the Skin Hydrated
Keeping your skin well-hydrated helps increase cell turnover and allow your skin to rejuvenate itself. This in turn helps the tanned skin on your face to fade away more quickly.
So, after washing your face, do not forget to use a moisturizer. It is recommended to use a moisturizer that contains natural fruit acids to aid with tan removal. Always massage the moisturizer onto your skin using circular motions to help it penetrate deep into the skin.
You can hydrate your skin internally, by drinking plenty of water and eating fresh fruit and vegetables that are high in water content.
- Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun’s rays are strongest during these hours.
- Plan outdoor activities for early morning, late afternoon or evening whenever possible, as the sunrays are less harsh during these times.
- Protect your face by wearing sunhats or baseball caps and sunglasses, or by carrying an umbrella during the hottest hours of the day.
- You can also use skin-lightening products that contains vitamin C, glycolic acid or a retinoid.
- Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs.
- Botanical Study of Skin Lightening Agents. International Journal Of Pharmacognosy. http://ijpjournal.com/bft-article/botanical-study-of-skin-lightening-agents/.
- Topical vesicular formulations of Curcuma longa extract on recuperating the ultraviolet radiation–damaged skin. Freshwater Biology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00586.x. Published December 08, 2011.
- Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/5/1449/4686953. Published May 01, 2001.