How to Fix Tan Lines

by Vanessa Newman ; Updated September 28, 2017

Tan lines happen, but there are some treatments to minimize their appearance.

tanning on sobe image by Wimbledon from

Unless you are going to wear your birthday suit outside, or in a tanning booth, you are bound to get tan lines. Most people do not view them as a fashion statement, but an annoyance. They are more problematic before a big event like a wedding or on-air interview. Although the best medicine is preventative – wear sunscreen -- all is not lost. There are ways for you to minimize tan lines.

Minimizing Tan Lines

Step 1

Wear clothes that cover them up. The easiest solution is to find clothes to put on that hide the tan lines. You might wear a shawl around your arms or a pair of nylons a darker shade than your skin. But sometimes this is not possible if wearing a bridesmaid dress or the tan lines are in obvious places.

Step 2

Apply a sunless tanning product. To blend the tan lines so they are not so visible, a sunless tanner might work. These come in creams, sprays, and lotions. Clean and scrub the skin first, apply some moisturizer, wait for it to dry and then use the sunless tanner. You would apply the product to the areas right around the tan lines to lessen the demarcation. Be careful that you find the right shade and a reliable product. An unusual shade of orange next to your tan lines might look worse.

Step 3

Exfoliate the areas. Use a loofah sponge directly on the skin where the tan lines are prevalent. Do this several times in the course of 24 hours, for the best effect. You might even use a rough washcloth to scrub the area. Add lemon juice as a natural skin bleach during the exfoliation.

Step 4

Apply a mixture of baking soda and water directly to the tan lines. Let it set to allow the ingredients to lighten the dark lines naturally.

Step 5

Get a spray tan. Go to a salon that offers spray tans and ask for a treatment on the areas that did not get exposed to the sun. If you spray tan over your whole body, the tan lines could become more pronounced. Also if you have never had a spray tan before, have a consultation first to see how many tanning coats to apply.

Step 6

Visit a dermatologist. You can get dark spots on your face and body that are sun spots. These will not fade like a tan does. You may need to use dermatology-strength bleaching creams. Also, alpha hydroxy acid is an ingredient in skin creams and lotions that might help if your dermatologist recommends them.


  • The Federal Drug Administration has not approved the use of the chemical (DHA) in tanning booths yet. The chemical is only for external use and should not get on the mouth, or in the eyes or ears.

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About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.