How to Get Rid of a Bad Tan Line

by Kay Ireland ; Updated July 18, 2017

Laying in the sun can give you more than your daily dose of vitamin D -- it can also net you some strange tan lines. Depending on your choice of swimwear, tan lines can look unsightly in daily outfits and especially evening formal wear. To get rid of a bad tan line, a little sunless tanning lotion can go a long way in creating a smooth and flawless appearance. Next time, cover up with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays.

Exfoliate your skin to smooth it and make the application of the sunless tanning lotion easier, suggests beauty website Tres Sugar. Exfoliation helps to remove the dead skin cells that are darkened, lightening your skin for a more even match. Purchase exfoliating cream from the drug store, or make your own by combining a cup of brown sugar with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and rubbing it gently on your skin, concentrating on the area around the tan line.

Tap sunless tanning lotion onto the lighter skin of the tan line. Some common tan lines you might want to get rid of include around the neck and shoulders, especially if you must wear a strapless dress. Allow the sunless tanning cream to dry; a darker tone will develop in around 10 minutes.

Evaluate your tan line to see if the one application of sunless tanning lotion has effectively covered your tan line. If you notice a slight color difference between the areas where you received a natural tan and the sunless tanning lotion color, use a spray tan to blend the two together. Spray tans go on evenly with an aerosol applicator and can neutralize the color so you can't see a difference between the natural tan and tan line.

Fix any streaks or blotchy areas with a gentle depilatory cream, makeup artist Scott Barnes tells "Glamour" magazine. The depilatory will fade the color almost immediately, and you can restart the process for more even color. Apply for two to three minutes before rinsing away. If you don't have a depilatory on hand, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice and gently blend the areas where you can see streaks or spots. The lemon juice acts as a natural lightener to fix the tan for a seamless look.

Apply a sunscreen the next time you head out into the sun. What looks like a healthy tan is actually your body's natural defensive reaction to a burn. The skin creates more pigmentation to protect you, but the UVA and UVB rays can still damage your skin, notes KidsHealth.org, a division of the Nemours Foundation. Look for sunless tanning options the next time you want a healthy glow.

Photo Credits

  • Nicolas Agustin Cabrera/Demand Media

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.