For people living in tropical countries, tanning is a common problem. One cannot avoid going out under the sun due to daily necessary activities. 

Even going for a vacation, a visit to the beach or a relaxing hike can result in suntan and sunburn. 

The problem gets worse during scorching summers.

What Is Tanning?

Tanning is the process by which our body's natural skin colour is darkened.

Tanning mostly occurs on the exposed areas of our skin, for example, our face, neck, back, hands, legs, arms and feet.

Sun Tan

Tanning can happen in two ways-

1. Natural Sun Tanning

Sun tanning is the result of exposure to the harmful UV-A rays of the sun. UV-A rays penetrate to the lower layers of the epidermis.

(Also read: 10 Best Budget Sunscreens In India For All Skin Types)

Our body responds to excess exposure to ultraviolet rays by creating and releasing extra melanin into the skin cells.

Melanin darkens the skin colour thereby giving it a tanned appearance. Melanin can be of two types pheomelanin (red colour) and eumelanin (dark brown colour).

2. Artificial Tanning Salons

Artificial tanning salons use tanning beds and tanning lamps to expose the skin to UV-B rays.

UV-B rays penetrate less deeply into the skin compared to UV-A. UV-B rays burn the outer layers of the epidermis to cause tanning.

Harmful Effects Of Tanning

UV-A rays can penetrate through the epidermis to reach the dermis, where blood vessels and nerves are found. These rays can damage the body's natural immune system.

UV-B rays exposure can lead to many types of skin cancer including the deadly Melanoma.

Exposure to the sun can also cause sunburn and speed up the skin's ageing process.

Chemical Treatments For Tanning

1. Laser Toning

Laser toning uses Q switched lasers to break down the pigmentation and reduce tan, sun spots, etc.

The laser's light therapy heats the skin to stimulate collagen production and improve its overall appearance. It also tones down the melanin and makes the skin brighter and clearer.

2. Chemical Peeling

Chemical peeling involves applying a specially formulated solution to the affected area. The old skin slowly begins to peel off and gives way to new, fresh and youthful skin.

Chemical peeling removes all spots and blemishes and increases the production of collagen and elastin.

3. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion involves spraying tiny crystals onto the affected skin to gently remove the outer layers.

Diamond tip microdermabrasion uses a suction instrument to treat the face and increase blood circulation in the area.

Microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin and rejuvenates it to make it softer, smoother and brighter.

De-Tan Product Ingredients

While buying a de-tan product from the market, make sure to look out for the following skin lightening ingredients :

  • Vitamin C
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Kojic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Retinoids
  • Liquorice
  • Niacinamide

10 Home Remedies For Removing Tan

Lemon for removing tanning

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice should always be diluted before using. (Do not use if you have sensitive skin)

Lemon juice mixed with cucumber paste is the magic potion for tanned skin. It soothes and cools the skin.

Lemon juice has natural bleaching and lightening properties and is also packed with Vitamin C.

2. Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is every Indian households first choice for getting a glowing complexion.

A paste of turmeric mixed with Bengal gram flour is effective in removing tan and discolouration. Turmeric can also be mixed with curd. Keep this mask on for 20 mins on the affected areas, wash with cold water.

3. Tomato Juice

Tomato is another commonly used ingredient for rejuvenating the skin. It evens out the skin tone and protects the skin from damage. It also slows down ageing in the skin.

Tomato juice can be applied on its own or can also be mixed with sugar to make a paste. Apply on the tan and wash after 10 mins.

4. Potato Juice

Potatoes are very good for the skin. They have natural bleaching properties to lighten and brighten the skin. They also keep the skin oil-free and fresh.

Potatoes can be blended for extracting their juice or potato slices can simply be rubbed directly on the affected areas.

5. Aloe Vera

When regularly applied, aloe vera gel is a miraculous blessing for the skin. Aloe vera's antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties soothe sunburn.

It also makes the skin's complexion clearer and brighter.

Simply apply aloe vera gel every day to reduce suntan.

6. Yoghurt

Yoghurt contains lactic acid which exfoliates the skin and fades out the tan. Zinc in it prevents ageing while the vitamins in yoghurt remove spots, marks and discolouration. The milk astringent properties make the skin tight and firm.

Yoghurt can be mixed with turmeric, rice flour, honey etc to make a body/face mask.

7. Sandalwood Paste

Sandalwood exfoliates, moisturizes and is packed with antioxidants. It lightens the skin's complexion and gives it a natural glow.

The fragrant sandalwood paste can be mixed with rose water or curd or milk and applied on the skin. Sandalwood has medicinal properties too.

8. Oatmeal And Buttermilk

Oatmeal exfoliates and cleanses the skin to remove tan and discolouration.

Buttermilk has lactic acid which improves the skin's tone and texture.

Oatmeal should be finely ground into powdered form and mixed with buttermilk to make a paste.

9. Coconut Water

Pure coconut water has Vitamin C which treats pigmentation spots. Coconut water also cleanses away the toxins in the skin and keeps it hydrated. It gives the skin a shiny glow.

10. Papaya And Honey

These two golden ingredients are very helpful in removing pigmentation and brightening the skin. 

Papaya's enzyme called papain removes tans and blemishes. Honey soothes and nourishes the skin making it supple and soft. Make a paste of papaya in a blender, add 1 tbsp honey & apply to affected areas.

7 Best De-Tan Masks Recommendations

  1. MCaffeine Naked And Raw Coffee Face Mask
  2. Lotus Herbals WhiteGlow Skin Whitening & Brightening Gel Crème
  3. VLCC Specifix Skin Brightening De-Tan Pack
  4. Biotique Bio Papaya Revitalizing Tan Removal Scrub
  5. Pearl Organic Skincare Saffron And Rose Petal Face Pack
  6. Jovees Ayurvedic De‑Tan Scrub
  7. Mamaearth Ubtan Face Pack Mask for Fairness, Tanning & Glowing Skin


  • Always wear sunscreen before going out to protect your skin from getting tanned and damaged.
  • Try to avoid staying directly under the harsh sunlight from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Wear protective clothing and carry useful accessories like hats, sunglasses and umbrellas during the summer.
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.

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