6 Ways to Fade a Bad Tan
Remember that time Kim Kardashian fell asleep in the sun and woke up with a giant print of her sunglasses on her face?
Don’t let that happen to you.
READ: How to Keep Chlorine from Wrecking Your Skin, Hair and Swimsuit
When you’re too busy basking in the sun, you may not realize your SPF missed a spot or two. The result? Streaky tan lines and blotches. Even if you played it safe by applying a self tanner instead, you may be left with less-than-desirable brown patches.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer this summer, or any time of the year for that matter.
We asked the experts how to treat and fade a bad tan:
Prevent Like a Pro
The best way to combat a bad tan is to prevent it in the first place. The American Academy of Dermatology advises slathering on the sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30. Make sure it specifically says “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” on the label. The AAD also recommends reapplying every two hours, and after swimming or sweating. Also, don’t forget to apply SPF on your face, neck, and shoulders.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
According to New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, the most effective way to fade a bad tan is by exfoliating. “The easiest way to do that is with Clarisonic or another sonic cleaning system,” she explains. “Otherwise, you can use a loofah in the shower, a pouf, or exfoliating beads.”
Look for Key Ingredients
When exfoliating, it’s important to use specific products. Julia Tzu, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, says to look out for exfoliants with alpha hydroxyl acids or retinoids. “These help increase cellular turnover in the skin,” she explains. “For over the counter, Lancome has nice products that contain exfoliating grains and fruit extracts. Glytone also sells a variety of facial and body cleansers that contain glycolic acid, an excellent exfoliant often used in rejuvenating facial peels.” If you make an appointment to see your dermatologist for proper treatment, Tzu says to ask your doctor about ammonium lactate, which can also help hydrate the skin.
It's All Greek to Me
Greek yogurt may be a delicious snack, but did you know it can also give you great skin? So says Suzanne LeRoux, founder of organic beauty line One Love Organics. She credits it for helping erase an unwanted tan. “Full fat or 2% Greek yogurt helps,” says LeRoux. “The lactic acid in the yogurt serves as a gentle skin exfoliant, while its natural fat content acts as a moisturizer.” According to LeRoux, take one carton and apply like a masque for 10-20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with a warm shower.
Cover if you Can
With a little confidence and a few tricks, Emmy Award-winning makeup artist Vanessa Elese says there's no need to go into hiding when you've got an uneven tan. “Try a bronzing, tan glow makeup," Elese says. "Look for a water-based version that hydrates, which will treat your skin while you wear it. Also look for one that has antioxidant properties to help revive the skin. Apply with an airbrush applicator or spray some in a powder puff and apply directly for a more controlled delivery.” As an alternative, fellow celebrity makeup artist Tara Loren recommends mixing a foundation that matches your skin with lotion. “I Like Make Up For Ever Face and Body,” says Loren. “Apply to needed areas and set with a loose powder.”
If you’re red and inflamed, Tzu says it’s best to leave your sore skin alone as exfoliating will only exacerbate the pain. Good ol’ fashioned aloe vera gel, especially if left in the fridge, can provide cooling relief and applying SPF when heading out will prevent further damage. But if the bruising is bad and the discomfort too severe to deal, you’ll just have to swallow your pride and pay a visit to the dermatologist for a proper prescription medicine to combat your specific burn.