How to Get Rid of a Suntan

Stay out of the sun to help your tan fade.
... Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

When the weather is nice, it's hard to resist spending hours swimming, lounging at the beach or just hanging out with friends. For many people, all that sun will naturally lead to a golden-brown tan. If you prefer a paler look, you don't have to wait for the tan to go away on its own. Help speed up the process by exfoliating your skin. Exfoliating scrubs away dead skin cells, so it gets rid of the tan color and leaves paler skin behind.

Take a shower, then pat yourself with a towel so your skin is damp, but not dripping wet. Alternatively, dampen your tanned skin with a wet washcloth.

Apply a dab of a gritty exfoliant to a sponge or loofah. For best results, use an exfoliant that contains retinoids or alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs). These ingredients strip color and boost skin cell turnover.

Rub your tanned skin with the exfoliant using small, circular motions. Rinse the product off with cool water. Repeat this exfoliating process daily.

Massage some full-fat Greek yogurt into tanned skin, then let it set for up to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. The lactic acid in yogurt helps fade your tan.

Apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to exposed skin before going outdoors. By wearing sunscreen, you'll avoid darkening your tan, so it will fade faster. For even better protection, cover skin with clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat on your head. Try to stay in the shade when you go outside. If you're headed to the beach, for example, sit under an umbrella to avoid the sun's harsh rays.

  • If you have tan lines, don't use a self-tanning spray to hide them. You'll only make the tan look darker or more uneven.
  • You can use makeup, such as foundation or concealer, to cover up your tan as it fades. For reddish tans, opt for makeup with a yellow base.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.