It's always important to use sunscreen.
Having fun in the sun can cause the skin to tan through ultraviolet (UVA) rays, especially in the summertime when these rays are the strongest.
While getting a tan and looking sun-kissed can be attractive, it is also pertinent to note that tan or tan lines are an indication of damage from the sun’s UVA rays.
Two types of UV rays that cause damage to the skin are UVA rays which cause ageing and tanning of the skin, and UVB rays which cause sunburn.
Desi skin, being melanin rich, can consistently tan and rarely burn when exposed to sunlight.
Sometimes a tan can be uneven when some parts of the body receive more sun exposure than others.
From traditional methods like using yoghurt and turmeric to modern skin care practices like using chemical exfoliants, ahead are 10 hacks to effectively remove an uneven tan.
Use a Cleanser containing Exfoliating Acids
Exfoliation is the process of sloughing away dead skin cells.
This can be helpful to remove dead skin cells that have been darkened by the sun’s rays, revealing brighter, more even-toned skin underneath.
A cleanser containing exfoliating acids such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, or mandelic acid will help to remove an uneven tan from your face.
To remove tan lines from your body, body washes containing such acids can also help to even out a tan by removing dead skin cells and revealing new, fresh skin.
Exfoliation can also help to improve the texture of your skin, making it smoother and softer to the touch.
The process of massaging your non-exfoliating daily cleanser into your skin can also help to speed up the desquamation process.
If you choose to use an exfoliating cleanser to speed up your skin’s natural cycle, then use it 2-3 times a week only.
Chemical exfoliants are considered to be much gentler than physical scrubs.
Scrub your Body
Scrubbing is a manual form of removing dead skin cells that shows results instantly.
However, it’s important to be gentle when using a scrub, as over-exfoliation can lead to irritation and damage the skin.
It is important to note that using scrubs is recommended specifically for the body and not for the face.
Unless you find a scrub that is non-gritty and gentle enough for the face, it’s better to dedicate scrubs for the body.
The skin on our faces is typically more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our bodies, which means that it may be more prone to irritation.
Using a scrub that is specifically formulated for the face can help to ensure that it is gentle and non-abrasive, while still effectively removing dead skin cells and impurities.
On the other hand, a body scrub may be more coarse and abrasive, which can be too harsh for the delicate skin on your face.
It’s important to choose a scrub that is appropriate for the specific area of your body that you are exfoliating.
Apply a Vitamin C Serum
While vitamin C cannot directly remove a tan, it can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation that may be contributing to an uneven skin tone.
Vitamin C works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its colour, which can help to prevent the formation of new dark spots and reduce the appearance of existing ones.
Additionally, vitamin C can help to protect your skin against further damage from the sun’s rays, which can help to prevent the development of new dark spots.
However, it’s important to note that using vitamin C alone may not be enough to completely remove a tan, and it’s always important to use sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage.
The Alpha Arbutin + Vitamin C Serum by The Ordinary contains alpha arbutin and vitamin C, both of which can help to brighten the skin.
It is also easily absorbed by the skin.
Use a Brightening Soap
While a soap alone cannot remove a tan, one that contains exfoliating ingredients can help to slough off dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more even skin underneath.
Look for a soap that contains ingredients such as glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid, which can help to loosen and remove dead skin cells.
A good option may be Kojie San Soap which has Kojic acid that can help to remove an uneven tan by inhibiting the production of melanin.
Sandalwood and saffron are natural skin brighteners that have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to help even out skin tone.
Additionally, using a brightening soap with a tool such as an exfoliating glove can help to further remove dead skin cells and promote skin cell turnover.
However, it’s important to be gentle when exfoliating, as over-exfoliation can damage your skin and make it more prone to sun damage.
Using a soap that contains nourishing ingredients such as shea butter or urea can help to moisturise and soothe your skin, which can be beneficial if you have been spending time in the sun.
Always use sunscreen to protect your skin from further damage from the sun’s rays, and be sure to moisturise your skin after exfoliating to help prevent dryness and irritation.
Use a Leave-On Exfoliating Product
Leave-on treatments are effective as they have more time to work.
When you wash off a typical exfoliator, it only has a few minutes to penetrate the skin before it is rinsed away.
Leave-on treatments, on the other hand, can stay on the skin for hours or even days, giving them more time to work their magic.
Some ingredients to look out for include urea, AHA’s like lactic, glycolic and mandelic acid and BHA’s such as salicylic acid.
Urea can be particularly helpful in areas of thick skin such as elbows and knees.
Some product suggestions include the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Lotion and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment.
Use a Brightening Cream
Brightening creams are a great way to help prevent an uneven tan and simplify your skincare routine.
They hydrate your skin while also evening out your skin tone and making you look brighter.
Some brightening moisturisers even contain ingredients that can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
So, if you’re looking for a one-stop solution to improve the look of your skin, a brightening moisturiser is a great option.
One product suggestion for daily use is the Cetaphil Bright Healthy Radiance Day Cream.
It’s described as a moisturiser designed to promote a more even skin tone with SPF 30, to protect against sun damage, and niacinamide to brighten.
Meanwhile, the Caudalie Vinoperfect Instant Brightening Moisturiser contains niacinamide and Viniferine – an ingredient specific to the brand.
The cream claims to “provide an exceptional dark spot correcting action that is 62 times* more effective than vitamin C”.
Sunscreen works by absorbing UV rays and reflecting them away from your skin.
This helps to prevent the production of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its tan.
If you already have an uneven tan, sunscreen can help to even out your skin tone.
This is because sunscreen will prevent your skin from tanning any further, so the areas that are already tanned will fade over time.
However, it is important to note that sunscreen will not completely erase an uneven tan.
To prevent an uneven tan, it is important to apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin, including your face, ears, neck, lips, and the tops of your feet.
You should also reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
The sun’s rays are strongest during the middle of the day – usually between 10 am and 4 pm.
It is important to avoid the sun during these hours or to seek shade whenever possible.
Take Sun Protection Measures
Sunscreen can only do so much – it’s not 100% effective at blocking UV rays.
Hence, it is important to use sunscreen in combination with other sun protection measures to get the best possible protection.
While sunscreen is important, it is not enough to rely on it alone to protect your skin from UV rays, so it is important to wear protective clothing, such as a hat, sunglasses, and long sleeves when you are in the sun.
When possible, try to stay in the shade during the middle of the day, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
If you are going to be in the sun, find shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a building.
Additionally, the less time you spend in the sun, the less likely you are to be exposed to harmful UV rays.
If you are going to be in the sun, try to limit your time to two hours or less.
Try a Traditional Remedy
Ubtans are traditional Indian beauty treatments that are made from a variety of herbs and spices.
They are often used to exfoliate the skin and to help remove dead skin cells which can help to lighten the appearance of a tan.
Some of the herbs and spices that are commonly used in ubtans include turmeric, saffron, sandalwood and neem.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to protect the skin from damage.
Saffron is a natural skin lightener that can help to fade the appearance of a tan.
Sandalwood has cooling and soothing properties that can help to calm the skin.
Finally, neem is an antiseptic and antibacterial herb that can help to protect the skin from infection.
Aloe vera gel and milk can also be used to help remove an uneven tan.
Consider getting a Chemical Peel
If you have tried other methods without success, you may want to consider more invasive options.
A chemical peel is an exfoliation treatment that uses acids to remove the top layers of skin.
This can help to reduce the appearance of a tan, as well as improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.
Chemical peels come in a variety of strengths, so it’s best to consult with a dermatologist to choose the right one for your skin type and the severity of your tan.
Laser treatments can be more effective than chemical peels for removing deep tans, but they can also be more expensive.
The most common types of laser treatments for removing a tan are fractional laser resurfacing and Q-switched laser treatment.
It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for removing an uneven tan.
The best method for you will depend on the severity of your tan and your skin type.
If you are unsure about which method is right for you, it is always best to consult with a dermatologist.