How to Get Rid of a Streaky Fake Tan

by Erica Loop

You've fake baked your way to what you thought was a gorgeous glow, but now your faux tan looks sad and streaky. Instead of hiding away in the caverns of your home or covering up with a head to toe frock, take charge of your fake tan mishap and get rid of it. While you might not fully clear your flub, you can turn your tiger-type skin into a smoother style with some strategic skin care.

Start with a natural twist. Use a sliced lemon to lessen the look of dark mock tan lines. Cut the lemon in half or into wedge sections. Rub the lemon directly onto the area that you want to lighten. Rinse the excess lemon juice off of your skin before you get dressed to reduce the risk of getting your clothes stick or smelling sour.

Steam your skin in a sauna or the shower. Turn on the hot water and let the steam for 20 minutes to open your pores and prime your streaky skin for exfoliation with a damp towel.

Soak your skin in a baking soda bath to add extra exfoliation and lessen the look of the lines. Pour baking soda, add more for bigger baths and less for more shallow ones, into the tub along with the water. Stir the mix around. Get into the tub and soak your fake tan. Use a damp towel to begin exfoliation before you get out, or towel off and then move on to the next step while your skin is still damp.

Scrub the area with a gentle body brush, use a commercially-made exfoliating scrub or make your own with chunky brown sugar, lime or lemon juice and olive oil. Spoon a few tablespoons of brown sugar into a bowl, squeeze in enough olive poi to make it spreadable and squirt in half of a lime or lemon. Mix the foods together, and spread them over the area that requires attention. Wipe the exfoliator away with a warm, wet towel.

Spread a tan neutralizer over your skin. Follow the directions on the neutralizer product, wiping it onto the lines to fade the fake glow away.

Items you will need

  • Lemon wedges
  • Brown sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Exfoliator
  • Baking soda


  • If you notice the tan getting streaky before you wipe off the tanning product, rub it away with a cleansing or baby wipe to lighten the look.
  • Try swimming your tan away. Jumping into the pool for an hour or so with your streaky tan is still somewhat wet reduces the striped look.


  • Avoid overly harsh products. Test the products that you are using on your faux glow on a small spot before applying everywhere.
  • While neutralizing products and exfoliators will minimize the look, you may need to wait a few days for the tan to completely fade away.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images