Here are the effective tan removal treatments


  1. First: Sun Protect
  2. Lemon Juice
  3. Turmeric
  4. Yogurt
  5. Aloe Vera
  6. OTC Creams
  7. OTC Scrubs
  8. Soaps
  9. Laser Treatment
  10. Chemical Peels
  11. Microdermabrasion
  12. Conclusion

Quick Choices (Click on the preferred choice to see method)

Excessive sun exposure is the prime cause of tanned skin. In this article we will cover methods that show you how to remove tan from face, hands, feet and body.

Sun tanning is one of the most common skin concerns faced by men & women alike in tropical Asian countries, second only to acne, oily skin or sleep deprived skin.

The 4 body areas most prone to getting tanned in the sun are

  1. Face (Lips & Forehead)
  2. Neck
  3. Arms
  4. Legs & Feet

Spending a day trekking, hiking or at the beach or water park can leave your skin tanned. Frequent 2-wheeler commutes can also make your skin vulnerable to tanning.

Tans are obviously a seasonal concern because the onset of summer increases likelihood of skin tanning and sunburns.

To remove Face tan, first protect your skin from further tanning.

To deal with sun tan, most dermatologists advice that prevention is better than cure. This is because you cannot reverse a tan. But you can prevent it from happening.

This is why all doctors recommend using sunscreens, hats, full sleeve clothes & shades. Use a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen (UVA + UVB + IR) on all days that you are out in the open – sun or no sun. And if you are going to stay out all day then repeat application after every 3 hours.

Besides sun protection, keeping your skin healthy also helps. This ensures your skin’s recovery from a tan is effortless.

Sun tanning is also not good for acne. While sun exposure is not known to directly cause acne, tanned skin is notorious for exponentially increasing breakouts for those that have acne-prone skin.

So let’s assume that you spent a thrilling vacation by the beach for a week. But for some reason, forgot to use sunscreen and now your skin is pretty tanned.

How do we deal with this?

woman at the beach using sunscreen

Unprotected Sun Exposure at the beach can cause skin tan

Based on the body area affected and how soon you want the results, there are 3 options that can show you how to remove tan.

  1. At home with products in your kitchen
  2. With OTC products (available everywhere)
  3. Professional Tan Removal Treatments

Let us look at each one of these in detail.

Top Tan Removal Home Remedies

1. Best way to remove tan at home naturally (with products from your kitchen)

Effective for all body areas? Yes face, neck, arms & feet.
How long do results take? Depends, few days.

Here are some home remedies that you can prepare with ingredients found in most kitchens.

The results from these home remedies are generally mixed. Some people claim it they work while some think these are waste of time.

If you were to visit a dermatologist for a severe sun tan, you would not see these on your prescription. Remember to be open to trying something else if one of these don’t work for you.

Also, sun tan is a (very mild form of) skin burn. If your skin tan is severe and you have blistering, please don’t try solutions from the internet. Visit a doctor!

With that said, let’s look at the 3 most popular natural tan removal options.

Note: If any of these causes discomfort to the skin, then wash immediately. Try something else that may suit you.

Lemon Juice

sliced lime

Lemon Juice mixed with honey can help with skin tan

Most reports from around the web recommend rubbing a small slice of lemon on the affected area. But we are of the opinion that this may not be sound advice. Because lemon juice in its natural state is acidic with pH of around 2.

So it may be better to dilute lemon juice with honey and water or rose water and apply on affected area. Leave it for 15-20 mins, then wash it off with cold water.


turmeric powder

Ground turmeric powder and milk

One of the more powerful members in your spice cabinet is Turmeric. There is no established clinical evidence for its benefits. But, it has long been in use in Ayurvedic medicine. Plus its anti-inflammatory healing properties are well known.

Prepare a smooth paste of ground turmeric powder and milk and apply on the affected area of skin. Leave it on the skin to dry, then wash with water.



Yogurt is considered a natural tan remover

Many consider curd or yoghurt to be a natural sun tan remover. It also contains lactic acid and may help with exfoliation.

Mix a teaspoon of honey with 2-3 teaspoons of yoghurt and apply over the affected region. Leave for 20-30 mins then wash with cold water.

2. Sun Tan Removal with OTC products (creams, lotions etc.)

Effective for all body areas? Yes face, neck, arms & feet.

How long do results take? Depends, 2-3 weeks.

Are home based ingredients not your thing? Worry not, you could try one of several OTC products that help get rid of sun tan.

General advice! Try to avoid using too many new products at once. If something causes your skin to react, you won’t know what caused it. Give a product 2-3 weeks of time before deciding if it works or not.

Let’s take a look at few of the more popular OTC options

Aloe Vera

aloe vera

Aloe Vera gel can help you sooth the affected tanned region.

Most sun tans heal on their own. Aloe Vera gel can help you sooth the affected tanned region.

Aloe Gel is available in most places. If you prefer a more natural approach then you could slice a thin piece of a raw aloe vera plant and use it.

Skin Packs, Creams & Gels

sun protect creams for tan

Many OTC brands and products are popular for sun tan removal.

For most effective solutions, look for products with the following ingredients.

Bleaching is also an option but can be a little harsh on some skin types. Based on your skin type and severity of tan, some doctors may recommend Glutathione + Vitamin C.


Exfoliation is a vital part of recovery from a sun tan. A good suitable face scrub will help speed the process of restoration.

But one need’s to moisturise after exfoliation.

So either look for a sun tan reversal scrub with moisturiser or buy a moisturiser to use after scrubbing.



If you are fond of soaps, then the ingredients listed under creams will also work for soaps. Kojic Acid is the ingredient you want to look for.

Do not use more than 1 – 2 times per week. Start with leaving the soap on your skin for 20 – 30 seconds max. And be sure to moisturise.

3. Professional Tan Removal Treatment by a Dermatologist

Effective For: All body areas
How long do results take? Instant, as soon as one session.

Are you of the opinion that fruits are best suited for salads and not your face? And do you prefer to not trust OTC product recommendations from strangers online?

Congratulations! You have chosen the more rational & scientific approach amongst the 3 listed here.

Find an experienced board certified doctor, skin specialist or dermatologist in your city. And book your consultation with them. Here are the 3 most common treatments offered for sun tan at medispas.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment

Most dermatologists offer Nd:YAG Q switched laser treatments for sun damage.

The doctor uses a laser all over the affected region. Sometimes you may feel mild pin prick sensations, but these are very tolerable.

Slight redness can occur for few minutes during or after your session.

Immediate results are visible after your first session. Further improvements are noticeable with consecutive sessions.

All effective tan removal or reversal treatments involve exfoliation of dead skin cells. The next 2 treatments listed here (peels, dermabrasion) fall under the same category.

Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels

Based on degree of tan, your dermatologist may recommend peels of different concentrations.

Chemical Peels work by helping exfoliate the upper layer of the tanned or burnt skin cells.

Lactic acid peels are common options. Your dermatologist may recommend a patch test before applying to an entire area.

Many people buy chemical peels to try them at home. This is fine. But please remember that many OTC products are not as potent as those that a doctor can prescribe.



Microdermabrasion for Tan Removal

Microdermabrasion also works by removing the top most layer of sun-damaged skin. Your natural skin pigment then seeps through to reclaim its original, healthy state.

Sometimes doctors recommend the more intensive fractional resurfacing treatment. This does wonders in improving your skin tone & texture.

How to remove tan – Conclusion

Sun tans can range from being mild and temporary to severe and long-lasting.

What we have written tries to highlight the most used options and all types of approaches for you to understand an efficient approach on how to remove tan. Please regard the information in the article as non-professional advice only.

As a rule of thumb, writing blog content that tries to diagnose problems is not allowed at Tamira. Thus while we encourage you to try some of these options, we also strongly advice that you know when to see a doctor.

Here are some helpful signs that can guide you with that.

  • Sun tan not responding to 2 weeks or more routine use of OTC products.
  • Formation of visible blisters, ulcers or abscesses with swelling.
  • Sudden stark changes. Appearance of moles, spots or marks that don’t go away.

If you notice any of the above, please visit a dermatologist.

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