How to Remove a Suntan: 10 Suntan Removal Tips

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Getting outside during the summer season is magical. You get to experience the great outdoors in all its glory, put on the most exotic outfits, and of course, hit the beach with your loved ones.

Summer is a time of fun and recreation. It’s a time to travel, recuperate, and regroup from life. To enjoy picnics at the park, brunch on a sunny patio, and bike rides in the country. However, sometimes you stay out in the sun a little longer than you figured. Maybe you get more color than you anticipated.

Sometimes your color just isn’t right. Maybe you used the wrong outdoor tanning lotion. Or perhaps some bits of your body got overexposed, but not other parts.

The best solution to this problem is to simply wait a few days for the color to even out. But if that’s not going to work for you, there are a few solutions you can try, both home-made and commercial.

In this article, we’ll look at how to remove a suntan, and how to lessen the impacts of sun on your color.

how to remove a suntan

Removing a Suntan

There’s no easy way to remove a suntan. Yes, you can find a ton of “home remedies” online, but the reality is that they don’t work.

This is because a real suntan (as opposed to a spray tan or sunless tan) is caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet radiation on the skin. UV rays impact multiple layers of skin, and UVB rays in particular travel all the way down into the dermis — the middle of the skin.

Melanocytes, located at the very bottom layer of the epidermis, are stimulated to produce melanin in the presence of UV light. They will change color to a darker brown color. This process is designed to protect the skin against harmful UV light, and is what occurs when you tan.

A suntan is the darkening of exposed skin when you’ve been out in the sun for too long. The UV radiation from the sun makes your skin produce extra melanin to protect itself from damage, causing your skin to darken.

Skin Diagram

This process really can’t really be reversed with the use of home remedies or commercial remedies, and this is a good thing! The darkening of the melanocytes that causes a suntan is a safety measure that protects the skin. If it was rapidly undone, the skin would be more vulnerable to cancer.

So What Now?

If a suntan can’t easily be removed, should you just stop reading and hit the back button? Just go hide for a week and wait for the tan to fade?

Well, no.

If you used any tanning products like tanning oils, lotions, bronzers, etc. during the time you got your excessively-dark tan, you may be able to remove those products.  By removing those products, you will lessen the overall depth of your tan, and therefore reduce the amount of color on your skin.

You can’t remove the suntan that occurred from UV exposure, but you can likely remove the bronzers, self-tanning additives, and the like present in many tanning lotions. And see this article if specific body parts like the hands and feet are at issue.

How to Remove a Suntan

The most basic routine to follow for removing a suntan is:

  1. Scrubbing
  2. Moisturizing
  3. Using SPF
  4. Keeping Skin Covered

Dark skin turns a deep brown due to suntan, and lighter skin usually turns red. Either way, no one likes uneven skin tones! So how do you remove a suntan?

To tackle an actual suntan, you can try a couple of natural products or perhaps some toxic unregulated cosmetics of South Asian origin (I wouldn’t). To remove any excess bronzers, self-tanners, tanning oils, etc., you can use several products easily available on Amazon.

Natural ingredients are easy to find and cheaper to buy. But some don’t want to go through the hassle of mixing and sourcing ingredients. For us, we’ve listed a few products easily found on Amazon.

However, you must understand that the longer you have stayed in the sun and the deeper your tan is, the longer it will take to fade. Your skin renews its cells every few weeks, so the tan will eventually lighten and go away. So forcing the tan to go away will only make your skin feel rawer than it’s already feeling!

Removing Suntan Naturally

Let’s look at what we can do with natural products.


The first line of attack for removing a suntan is to exfoliate.

You can use an exfoliating loofah brush, exfoliating scrub, or any reasonably gentle method you choose. Exfoliating the skin helps remove dead skin cells. Cells exposed to self-tanners, tanning oils, and the like will brush away. And some recently-tanned cells will drop off as well.

Just keep in mind that exfoliated skin is a bit more fragile, and you should use extra sunscreen the following day.


Moisturizing your skin will keep it healthy and supple. It won’t necessarily remove any tan from the skin, but it will help keep the tone of the skin even, and help the skin rejuvenate naturally.


Organic Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is well known as a treatment for sunburn. If you’ve had a sunburn, you’ve almost certainly used this stuff before! The cooling aloe gel soothes pain, and helps reduce skin redness.

But there’s also some (admittedly weak) evidence that aloe can slow the darkening of the melanocytes, and at least somewhat reduce the darkening of the skin from sun exposure.

Lemon and Honey


Lemon seems to do a pretty good job removing DHA from the skin, so any self-tanners, bronzers, and the like may be reduced with lemon. However, it’s unlikely to do anything to the melanocytes.

Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with some honey and mix it into a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area for half an hour and then wash it off with cool water.

Turmeric and Gram Flour

There is a bit of evidence that turmeric, in paste form, will help lighten skin. Just beware that turmeric may not just lighten the skin, it may discolor the skin as well. Start using it on an inconspicuous part of the body.

Turmeric is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine and is known for its healing properties. Gram flour is a long-kept South-East Asian secret for skin exfoliation. Mix a big tablespoon of gram flour with a teaspoon of turmeric, and add milk till it thins into a paste. Apply it and wash it off when it dries.

Sun Protection

Now that you’ve done what you can to remove or reduce suntan naturally, it’s time to protect yourself from further sun damage. Choose a good mineral-based sunscreen, broad-spectrum, to protect your skin from getting darker. Blue Lizard sunscreens rock.

Check the UV Index Forecast, and if it’s going to be over 3 while you’re outside for any significant amount of time, you should be putting on sunscreen.

You should also wear more covering clothes in order to get further sun protection. You might even want to grab a stylish parasol.

Asian-style parasol

Another way you can protect yourself from getting suntanned is by covering up. Use a parasol, sit under a pavilion, whatever. Fabric can be a great barrier between your skin and the scorching sun, even if it’s not specific UPF-fabric. This way, not only will you avoid a suntan, but you’ll also avoid being sunburnt!

You can also pick up a cute, cool sunhat to give you a good few inches worth of insta-shelter. When it comes to your face and upper body, a large sunhat does wonders in protecting you from any sun damage.

Removing Suntan With Suntan Removal Products

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle the problem with off-the-shelf products. Virtually all of these are primarily designed to attack self-tanners, bronzers, DHA, fake-tans, etc. They’re not going to take the melanin out of the skin, but they will take off the effects of the excessively dark tanning oils.

This will help even out the skin, lessen the level of tan, and make things better.

Let’s look at a few options.

Biotique Papaya Revitalizing Tan-Removal Scrub

Biotique Papaya Revitalizing Tan-Removal Scrub

Reduce your tan by using a good scrub in the shower. Take a handful of this amazing Ayurvedic goodness and gently rub it in circular motions. This organic scrub is great to use even on the face!

And the best part is that it’s really pretty cheap!

Why We Love It:

  • Contains natural brightening ingredients like papaya
  • Contains naturally cooling ingredients
  • Great for dry skin
  • Gently cleanses
Biotique BIO PAPAYA Revitalizing Tan- Removal scrub 75gm/ 2.65 Fl.Oz
Biotique BIO PAPAYA Revitalizing Tan- Removal scrub 75gm/ 2.65 Fl.Oz
Quantity: 75g; Item Form: Foam; Package Contents: 1 Scrub; Skin Type: All Skin Types. Target Audience: For Men & Women

Nature’s Essence Lacto Tan Clear

Made from milk protein and honey to restore the skin’s suppleness and moisture, this amazing tan removal cream contains organic ingredients to remove unwanted suntan on the face and body.

Available on Amazon, this cream is designed to quickly return your skin back to its natural color!

Why We Love It:

  • Contains milk and honey
  • Safe to use on the body and face
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Makes skin brighter

ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Soap

ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Soap

Those looking for a powerful solution to get rid of DHA, bronzers, and tanning oils should try this amazing suntan removal soap by ModelCo.

It helps to remove tanning treatments when lathered and scrubbed onto the skin. It even works to remove tan chemicals, DHA, etc. in stubborn areas like in between fingers and toes, thanks to the natural pumice it contains. It leaves your skin polished, smooth and hydrated.

Why We Love It:

  • Contains moisturizing goat milk
  • Contains vegan ingredients
  • Great for daily use
  • Shows instant results!

VLCC Anti Tan Facial Kit

VLCC Anti Tan Facial Kit

Great to use every now and then, this anti-tan facial kit by VLCC is great to soften skin that has been dried out because of excess sun exposure and excess tanning chemicals. The kit comes with an assortment of 5 packets: oatmeal scrub, melawhite gel, melawhite powder, pistachio cream and a sunblock sample.

Why We Love It:

  • Quick to use
  • Leaves skin radiant
  • Shows quick results
VLCC Anti-Tan Facial Kit (5 Sessions) For Tan-Free & Radiant Skin(300gm)
VLCC Anti-Tan Facial Kit (5 Sessions) For Tan-Free & Radiant Skin(300gm)
It Lightens Blemishes, Removes Dead Cells And Leaves The Skin Clear And Radiant.


Though most of us love the look of a natural suntan, sometimes it doesn’t land the right way! It’s too dark on one half of the skin, or uneven. Maybe you used too much tanning lotion, too many bronzers, and too many tanning accelerators.

You may not be able to do much against the melanin changing the color of your skin. You’ll just need to wait that out, exfoliate, and maybe apply some aloe. But if you’ve been using any tanning chemicals to make you tan faster, you can combat those.

Once you’ve done what you can, stay out of the sun as much as possible and use sunblock. Your tan will even out and fade away over the next couple of days.

Good luck. Beautiful skin ahead!

Written by Kayla Young

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