How To Remove Tan

How To Remove Tan: A Detailed Guide

Picture this: You've just come home from a vacation. You see yourself in the mirror and realise that your face and neck are tanned from all the afternoons you spent exploring. Your face, hands and legs contrast the rest of your body, and the difference in the tone is not so subtle.  

Suddenly, all the uneven pigmentation makes you conscious. Suntan makes your hands and legs resemble a patchwork quilt, and you wonder, "How do I remove this tan?"

We're here to show you how to remove tan using natural home remedies as well as how to adapt your skincare routine for effective tan removal. It's time to spill some secrets! 

What Is a Tan? Sun's Kiss or Melanin Mystery?

Wondering why you get that sun-kissed glow after spending some quality time under the sun? When you soak up some sunshine, your body goes into defence mode, increasing the production of melanin, the skin's pigment. The result: a darkening effect that's called tanning! 

Here's the science behind it. When your skin gets sunlight, melanocytes move melanin to the cells in the top layer of the skin. This stops the UV rays from damaging your skin more. 

So, does everyone get equally sunburned? The short answer is NO. People with lighter skin get sunburned more easily than tan as their skin doesn't have enough protective melanin to absorb and dissipate the heat from the UV rays. Meanwhile, darker-skinned individuals tan more deeply because they naturally produce more melanin, and their melanocytes are more active than those of lighter-skinned individuals. 

Unveiling Your Arsenal: Natural vs. Chemical Solutions & Products 

If you're thinking of how to get rid of tanned skin, you've got two broad options – 

  • Natural
  • Chemical 

Natural tan removal methods, like sugar or lemon juice, are gentle DIY remedies but take a bit of time. In contrast, chemical exfoliation (like scrubs) or skin-lightening products (like bleaching agents) can speed things up. Mind you, they can be a bit intense and might irritate your skin. 

Additionally, you can introduce tan removal moisturiser, serum, exfoliator, or special cleansers to your routine to remove tan more effectively. The bottom line here? It depends on what you prefer – a slow and gentle method or a quick but intense one. 

Remember, your skin is as unique as you are. So, take a moment to understand what your skin needs and find the right balance between effectiveness and keeping your skin healthy. That being said, let's take a look at some DIY remedies for natural tan removal.

Harnessing Nature's Power: DIY Recipes & Ingredients for Brighter Skin 

If you are someone who is not into harsh chemicals and wants natural remedies to get rid of tan, you're in for a treat. Because guess what? We have not just one but eight DIY tan removal remedies with natural skin-lightening ingredients that promise brighter and healthier skin:

Recipe 1: Papaya Honey Mask

  1. Mash half a cup of papaya.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey.
  3. Apply, let it dry, and wash off with lukewarm water for a radiant glow.

Papaya contains enzymes like papain and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that help exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing brighter and fresher skin underneath. Plus, the presence of vitamins A, C, and E helps nourish the skin and promote its rejuvenation. 

On the other hand, honey is a natural humectant. This means that it will draw all the moisture from your environment and retain it in your skin for intense hydration. Besides this, honey has antibacterial properties that can help prevent acne and other skin issues, as well as antioxidants to protect your skin from free radical damage. It's a proven recipe to fight against premature ageing and sun damage.

Recipe 2: Turmeric Gram Flour Paste

  1. Mix a cup of gram flour with a teaspoon of Turmeric.
  2. Use milk or water to form a paste.
  3. Apply and let it dry.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water for an even skin tone.

 Turmeric is rich in curcumin and boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its anti-inflammatory nature helps calm skin irritations, including sunburn, while its antioxidant content aids in reducing redness and promoting an even skin tone. Meanwhile, gram flour acts as a natural exfoliant, gently sloughing off dead skin cells. The best part? Its oil-absorbing abilities make it particularly beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin types. 

Recipe 3: Lemon Honey Brightening Mix

  1. Squeeze fresh lemon juice, and add honey to create a paste.
  2. Apply and let it stay for 15-30 mins.
  3. Rinse with a mild cleanser for a refreshed complexion.

Lemon is rich in citric acid, a natural exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells and lighten dark spots. Its acidity also aids in promoting a more even skin tone and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Additionally, lemons are full of vitamin C, which boosts collagen production. On the other hand, honey attracts and retains moisture in the skin, helps combat acne and other skin issues, and protects the skin from free radical damage.

Recipe 4: Cucumber Lemon Mix

  1. Mix one half-mashed cucumber with a few drops of lemon juice.
  2. Apply for 15-20 mins.
  3. Rinse off for tan-free, revitalized skin.

This mix is a powerhouse of skin-refreshing ingredients. Cucumber is known for its high water content, which hydrates and revitalizes the skin, while its natural cooling properties help soothe irritation and reduce puffiness. Lemon, on the other hand, is packed with vitamin C and citric acid, which brighten the skin and promote a more even tone. 

Recipe 5: Lemon Sugar Scrub

  1. Mix a few drops of lemon juice with half a teaspoon of sugar.
  2. Make a grainy paste.
  3. Massage onto tan lines, and leave for 10-15 mins.
  4. Gently scrub off, rinse, and pat dry.

This one is perhaps the easiest and most common recipe of all. Sugar granules gently slough away dead skin cells and impurities, revealing smoother, softer skin underneath. Meanwhile, lemon's citric acid helps to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation, leaving the skin looking brighter and more radiant. This scrub not only polishes the skin but also stimulates circulation, promoting a healthy glow.

Recipe 6: Yoghurt Turmeric Paste

  1. Mix a tablespoon of yoghurt with a pinch of Turmeric.
  2. Apply, and let it sit for 15-20 mins.
  3. Rinse and massage gently for exfoliated, tan-free skin.

It's hard to forget Turmeric when it comes to skincare, isn't it? After all, there is so much we have heard about it. Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, helps to reduce redness and inflammation while brightening the complexion. Yoghurt complements Turmeric really well, thanks to the presence of lactic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin. Plus, its moisturising properties help to hydrate and soothe dry or irritated skin.  

Recipe 7: Turmeric Gram Flour Mask

  1. Mix 1 tsp turmeric with a cup of gram flour and water or milk.
  2. Apply, and dry for 15-20 mins.
  3. Scrub off with circular motions, and rinse for a fresh face.

This recipe may be one of the oldest recipes to exist in Indian history. As mentioned before, Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant curcumin. As a result, it helps to reduce inflammation, fight acne-causing bacteria, and fade dark spots and scars. Gram flour, meanwhile, acts as a gentle exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores.  

Recipe 8: Oats Buttermilk Soothing Pack

  1. Soak 2 tsp oats in half a cup of water.
  2. Add 2-3 tsp fresh buttermilk and honey.
  3. Apply, let it dry, and rinse for moisturized, tan-free skin.

Oats contain compounds called saponins, which act as natural cleansers. As a result, they gently remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Their texture also provides a mild physical exfoliation, helping to slough off dead skin cells. Meanwhile, Buttermilk, which is rich in lactic acid, allows the dead skin to be sloughed off easily while moisturizing and nourishing your skin.

There Are Some Limitations Too!

While DIY tan removal recipes are a natural and cost-effective option for removing tan, unfortunately, they don't help that well with stubborn tan. Why do we say so?

Well, there are a couple of reasons. 

  • First, stubborn tans often run deeper into the skin's layers, making them challenging to remove with surface-level treatments like DIY recipes because natural ingredients may not be able to reach deep enough to effectively lighten or remove the pigmentation. 
  • Second, natural DIY remedies require consistency and prolonged use. Similarly, stubborn tans require time and patience. And we all know our patience levels, don't we? 
  • Thirdly, there may be a risk of irritation. Not all ingredients suit all skin types. Plus, your skin is extremely delicate and sensitive. As a result, lemon juice or certain essential oils can be irritating to sensitive skin or cause photosensitivity, especially when exposed to sunlight. 
  • Fourth, overuse or incorrect application of these ingredients may lead to redness, inflammation, or even burns.

So what do you do? Pair your natural remedies with gentle cleansers and moisturizers for top-notch skin care. Why? Because they make home remedies work even better. 

Power Up Your Skincare Routine: Products to Boost Tan Removal

Let's come to the most important part – creating a tan-removal skincare routine. Here's how you can power up your routine for tan removal:

Brightening Serums

Brightening serums are packed with ingredients like vitamin C, Niacinamide, or alpha-arbutin.

Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C fights against free radicals and helps your skin look even and nice, while Niacinamide helps make dark spots lighter and strengthens your skin. Similarly, alpha-arbutin targets dark areas. The result? No tan lines, just a glowing and radiant look!

Gentle Exfoliators

How do gentle exfoliators help remove tan? Well, ingredients like AHAs (like glycolic acid) and BHAs (like salicylic acid) do the trick! AHAs boost cell turnover and brighten your skin, while BHAs target oily spots, which are perfect for combo skin prone to tanning. 

Face Scrub

ILEM JAPAN's gentle Face and Body Scrub is packed with the heritage Japanese ingredient, Uji Tea Extract, which soothes your skin. Besides this, it contains Corn Cobb Powder and Goji Berry Stem Cells that remove dead cells and boost collagen, respectively. Plus, the scrub beads are derived from Japanese Konjac (Glucomannan), which glide effortlessly on your skin, thanks to the creamy base. 


There are some non-negotiables when it comes to skincare, and a good cleanser is one of them. Cleansers help clean the skin thoroughly, making it easier for other products, including your DIY natural recipes, to work their magic.

gentle cleanser

It's important to choose a Gentle Cleanser that helps cleanse impurities built up on your skin, such as makeup dirt, while leaving you with supple, baby-soft skin.

Hydrating Moisturizers

When it comes to saying bye-bye to that tan, reach for a deep moisturiser packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or shea butter. Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture, ceramides are your skin's protective pals, and shea butter is great for intense skin repair. This makes sure that your skin stays soft and well-nourished while you're getting rid of your tan. 

Deep Moisturizer

Remember, every skin type is unique. You've got oily, dry, combination, sensitive, and normal skin. They all have their quirks, and each type demands its own love. For example, acne, hyperpigmentation, or the subtle signs of ageing need retinoids, antioxidants, and peptides in your tan removal tailored ingredients. 

Unveiling the Power of Consistency: A Tan-Busting Routine 

Some tans can be stubborn. As a result, they need consistent attention and treatment. Here's a tan removal routine to keep your skin tan-free all day and night. Remember to tailor it to fit what your skin likes and can handle:

5-Step Morning Routine

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser to clean away impurities that gathered overnight. 
  2. Apply a soothing toner without alcohol to balance the skin's pH levels.
  3. Put on a brightening serum containing vitamin C or Niacinamide to fade tan spots. 
  4. Use a hydrating moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or shea butter to keep your skin moist and soft. 
  5. Finish off with an SPF 30+ sunscreen for sun protection.

6-Step Evening Routine

  1. Cleanse your face again to remove makeup, dirt, and oil accumulated during the day.
  2. Use a gentle face and body scrub 2-3 times a week to get rid of dead skin cells.
  3. Apply a balancing toner to rebalance the skin after exfoliation.
  4. Use a brightening serum with vitamin C or alpha-arbutin to target tan spots and even out skin tone.
  5. Apply a nourishing eye cream to take care of the delicate skin around your eyes.
  6. Finish off with a rejuvenating night gel or a moisturizing cream to retain moisture overnight.

Additionally, consider adding a sheet mask to your routine. For instance, a Brightening Bio-Cellulose Face Mask with vitamin C and Japanese Sakura extract will work wonders for hydration and brightness. Apply it carefully after applying your toner, and let your skin soak all its goodness for 10-15 minutes. 

Brightening Sheet Mask

But what if you don't let the sun's rays enter your skin in the first place? Yes, it is possible. How? Along with having a proper skincare routine, you must make applying sunscreen a daily habit. After all, it acts as a barrier that stops harmful UV rays from entering your skin and making it produce more melanin. This way, sunscreen keeps your skin healthy and defends it from developing dark spots or hyperpigmentation.

Finding Your Perfect Match: Skin Type & Concerns 

To pick the best way to remove a tan, it's important to find out what works best for your skin type and concerns. Here are some recommendations for you! 

Sensitive Skin with Concerns like Sensitivity, Redness, and Irritation

  • Go for chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Harsh scrubs are a big no-no!
  • Add gentle moisturizers containing aloe vera, chamomile, and calendula to calm your skin down.
  • Patch test first, always! 

Dry Skin with Concerns like Dryness, Flakiness, and Rough Texture

  • Use exfoliants with moisturising properties, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, lactic acid, or glycolic acid. Why? Because you want to remove just the tan and not natural oils!
  • Include a rich, hydrating moisturizer to get the lost moisture back.
  • Say no to products with alcohol or excessive fragrance; they can make your skin more dry.

Oily Skin with Concerns like Excess Oil, Acne, and Enlarged Pores

  • Look for tan removal products with gentle exfoliants like salicylic acid to unclog pores and control oil production.
  • Use a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated without adding extra oil.
  • Choose tan removal products labelled non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic means that skincare won't clog your pores or create acne issues. These products are made to be gentle on your skin, reducing the chances of getting blackheads and whiteheads.

Combination Skin with Concerns like Oily T-zone and Dry Cheeks

  • Find products that balance oily and dry areas with a mix of alpha and beta hydroxy acids. 
  • Experiment with separate products for oily and dry zones to tailor your regimen. For example, you can apply a non-comedogenic moisturiser on your T-zone while a hydrating one on your cheeks.
  • Stay flexible—adjust your routine according to seasonal shifts or changes in your skin's needs.

Lasting Brightness: Preventing & Caring for Sun-Kissed Skin

You must be proactive and diligent for ample sun protection. Here's how to care for your skin when you're out in the sun:

Sunscreen is Essential

Go for SPF 30+ to tackle both UVA and UVB rays. Be generous with the application. Remember, you should reapply every two hours, especially after a swim or sweat session. And don't overlook spots like ears, neck, hands, and feet. 

Sun-Protective Clothing

Shop for sun-smart wardrobe essentials. Slip into clothes with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) for an extra layer of sun defence. 

Wondering what's a UPF? This factor measures how effectively a fabric can protect your skin from UV radiation. Top it off with a wide-brimmed hat, and throw on sunglasses with 100% UVA- and UVB-absorbent protection or UV 400. Plus, wear long sleeves to keep your skin safe from direct sunlight.

Seek Shade

Get in the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM to avoid the scorching sun. You can hang out under trees or set up a pop-up tent at the beach. Plus, when you buy an umbrella, make sure it is dark-coloured and labelled UPF 50 so that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. And if you've already got a sunburn, please avoid further sun exposure until your skin has fully healed.

Healthy Habits 

Drink enough water to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Why? Because hydrated skin is less prone to sun damage. And that also means no sugary or caffeinated drinks, as they can cause dehydration. Plus, load up on antioxidant-rich foods – think fruits, veggies, and nuts. They fight off free radicals from UV rays. 

Cooling Measures

After a day under the sun, treat your skin right! Refreshing cool showers can help. You can add some colloidal oatmeal or baking soda to a cool bath for sun relief. Also, dab on a cool compress to calm any redness. You can also add ice cubes or use a refrigerated cloth for extra cooling. Then, gently moisturise to bring back lost moisture. You can also apply aloe vera gel for an extra soothing feel in sunburned spots. 

Avoid Harsh Products

If you're dealing with a sunburn, be cautious about using products with alcohol or fragrances – they might just make things worse. So what works the best? Over-the-counter solutions with ingredients like hydrocortisone can bring relief from itching and inflammation. 

Regular Skin Checks

Keep an eye on your skin for any shifts, like new moles or spots. Or you can schedule regular check-ins with a dermatologist. Stay informed about sun safety and skin health; it helps you make better choices when it comes to soaking up rays. 

Embrace Your Radiant Skin: A Journey to Brighter Hands & Legs 


Tan lines may be pesky, but with proper aftercare, you can bid them goodbye. All you need to do is find what works for your skin type and take a personalised approach. Always remember: healthy skin is beautiful skin!

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