How to Reduce a Bad Tan Line

Shoulder straps are often tan line culprits.
... Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images

A little fun in the sun is a great way to add some color to your skin, but the downfall can be unwanted tan lines. If you have an event coming up and your tan lines are making you self-conscious, follow some easy methods to reduce and camouflage embarrassing tan lines so you look your best.

  • Exfoliating scrub
  • Moisturizing body wash
  • Loofah
  • Self-tanning lotion
  • Loose bronzer powder
  • Body lotion
  • Makeup sponge

1 Gradual Fix

2 Apply an exfoliating scrub exfoliating to tan line areas

Apply an exfoliating scrub to tan line areas in the shower to help reduce the severity of the lines. Gently scrub for a minute, and then rinse off. Follow with a moisturizing body wash and loofah to further exfoliate.

3 Pat your skin dry thoroughly

Pat your skin dry thoroughly. Apply self-tanning lotion to the tan lines, rubbing it over and just outside the lines to keep a blended look. Wash your hands thoroughly, immediately after applying. Wait 20 minutes before putting clothes on.

4 Repeat these steps

Repeat these steps every day for a week, or until your tan lines have finally reached a color that's well-blended with the rest of your skin.

5 Quick Fix

6 And exfoliate your skin

Shower and exfoliate your skin with a scrub. Follow up with moisturizing body lotion and a loofah. Pat skin dry thoroughly before proceeding.

7 Add a teaspoon of bronzing powder

Add a teaspoon of bronzing powder to your regular body lotion. Continue adding as needed until the lotion reaches a color a shade darker than your tanned skin tone. Bronzers come in a variety of dark and light shades, so find one that matches your skin tone.

8 Using a makeup sponge

Using a makeup sponge, apply the lotion and bronzer mix to your tan lines, blending outward so the mixture blends into your skin. Rub it in thoroughly, and apply more as needed. If the mix is too dark, wash the area with soap and warm water, and try making the mix again using a little less bronzer.

  • For tan lines on your face, you can buy special facial tanning lotions and facial moisturizers to use. Always avoid the eye area. You can use bronzer as eye shadow, though, to help get rid of bright "raccoon" eyes caused by wearing dark sunglasses in the sun.
  • Exfoliating is great for your skin, but over-exfoliation can be harsh. Only use the scrub for the duration of time you're trying to reduce the tan line; then stick to using it once or twice a week for safe exfoliation.
  • You can use spray-on tanners, sold at drugstores or beauty supply stores, instead of the moisturizer and bronzer mix. Apply to clean skin.
  • If a self-tanner ends up making your tan line darker than the rest of your skin, mix together sugar and lemon juice to make a scrub. Apply it to the areas where you’ve put self-tanner to reduce the darker color.

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.