Too much sun exposure can render your skin darker, particularly in exposed areas, such as the face, neck, forearms, and feet.
The initial darkening of the skin after sun exposure is known as suntanning, which is mostly temporary as it subsides on its own within a few days. There is a delayed tanning effect that occurs after prolonged sun exposure.
Many love soaking in the sun to acquire a golden-bronze tint to their pale skin. In fact, special chemical treatments and tanning beds are available to get a natural-looking tan without even going outside.
However, not everyone views tanning as a cosmetic improvement, but rather as a cosmetic concern. The skin discoloration can be unattractive if it is patchy and uneven.
Moreover, you cannot ignore the skin damage associated with excessive sun exposure. Sunlight carries ultraviolet (UV) rays that can spell major trouble for your skin.
Incidentally, it is this very same UV radiation that is responsible for skin tanning. Thus, you cannot go for a suntan without signing up for the associated skin damage.
The sun gives off two types of UV radiation, namely, UVA and UVB, which are absorbed by the skin and can result in a variety of different problems.
Tanning is triggered by UVA rays, which mostly burn the topmost layer of the skin (sunburn) and is also known to increase the risk of skin cancer. UVA radiation, despite being less powerful than UVB radiation, accounts for nearly 95% of the total sunlight and has a longer wavelength, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin.
UVA rays reach the lower layers of the skin to stimulate the melanocytes, which are skin cells that produce the brown pigment that gives your skin its color. This pigment, known as melanin, also serves a protective purpose as it keeps the skin from burning.
Thus, when the UV radiation enters the skin, your body responds by activating the melanocytes to secrete more melanin in an attempt to minimize damage. The overproduction of melanin is what leads to the darkening of your skin.
The ability of the melanocytes to produce melanin varies across different skin tones and also determines how deeply one will tan.
People who are inherently darker, tan more deeply than fair-skinned individuals because their melanocytes are naturally capable of producing more melanin.
Whatever your skin tone, your tan will wear off sooner or later, however deep it is, provided you stay out of the sun during peak hours or at least wear proper sun protection when stepping out.
Shutting out the sun completely is impossible, but the least you can do is avoid going out during the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm, when the big ball of fire is at its zenith.
If you must venture outdoors, do so after applying generous amounts of premium-quality high-SPF sunscreen on all the exposed areas of your skin.
You can also wear sun-protective gear such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to keep the sunlight out of your face and eyes.
Everyone needs a little bit of sunshine daily to help the body make vitamin D. Natural sunlight for 10-15 minutes before peak hours is enough to trigger innate vitamin D synthesis.
Light therapy also modulates the immune system and is helpful for a variety of skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo. It is only when your skin is subjected to excessive sunlight that tanning and other skin problems may result.
Getting rid of a tan naturally requires little to no effort, but it can be a long process. For quick results, you can try DIY anti-tan face masks made from a variety of skin-lightening ingredients that are commonly available in most households.
Lemon juice, aloe vera gel, rose water, gram flour (also called chickpea flour), cucumber juice, tomato pulp, and yogurt are some of the most popular natural bleaching agents that can help fade your summer tan without any untoward side effects.
The regular use of homemade tan-removal masks will not only remove the tan faster but will also help lighten other skin blemishes and impart a healthy glow to your skin.
In this article, you will learn how to make effective homemade anti-tan beauty masks.
Know Your Ingredients
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is one of the most sought-after skin-protective bounties of nature. It is routinely used in home remedies to address a whole range of skin problems.
Not just that, aloe vera is widely used as a base material for top-of-the-line skincare and beauty products, from sunscreen lotions to shampoos, moisturizers, shaving creams, makeup products, bathing gels, and soaps.
The overwhelming popularity of aloe vera, both in the cosmetic industry and as a skin remedy, points to the efficacy of its purported beauty benefits.
Bear in mind, many of these skin-enhancing properties are not entirely anecdotal but also evidence-based.
In other words, aloe vera has fared well as a potential skin healer when subjected to scientific investigation. Its merits for treating a variety of skin problems have been tested and supported by several clinical trials. (1)(2)
However, further studies are needed to establish the effectiveness of aloe vera in treating a suntan. Despite the need for more studies, there is no harm in trying this relatively mild and gentle ingredient on your skin to lighten a tan.
Aloe vera application is unlikely to cause any damage. In fact, aloe gel may restore moisture to your parched skin.
Honey is often called the “nectar of the gods” for its significant medicinal virtues.
This supersaturated, viscous fluid is primarily composed of fructose and glucose along with a slew of other nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, and amino acids. It is on account of this nutrient-dense composition that honey is credited with various skin-healing properties.
The fact that honey is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the manufacturing of cosmetic and bathing products only goes to show that its purported beauty benefits actually hold water.
There are honey-based lip ointments, cleansing milk, moisturizing creams, after-sun lotions, shampoos, and conditioners available on the market, which gives substantial credence to its dermatological benefits. (3)
And if the popular usage is not enough, there are clinical studies to demonstrate its efficacy.
This bee-derived ingredient may work as an effective topical agent for treating wounds and fighting skin infections due to its inherent antimicrobial potential.
Moreover, it is recognized as a natural humectant, which means that it helps seal moisture in the skin to keep it sufficiently lubricated. The skin needs to be properly hydrated to perform its barrier function.
Clinical evidence also suggests that honey can form a protective shield over the skin against the immunomodulatory and photocarcinogenic effects of sun-induced UV radiation. Of all the varieties of honey, manuka honey is touted to be the most effective for skin protection and wound healing. (4)
However, there is still a need for more extensive studies to conclusively establish the dermatological benefits attributed to honey, which include its ability to de-tan your skin.
The topical use of honey is generally considered safe, but it can sometimes dry out wounds, which could delay healing. Moreover, some people with allergies might not respond well to it.
For instance, people with severe pollen allergies can suffer a reaction after eating or applying honey, as this nectar often contains pollen grains. In such a case, extra precaution is warranted.
Note: If you develop skin irritation or any kind of adverse symptoms after using honey, discontinue its use immediately.
Oatmeal has long been used as a natural exfoliant to remove the dead cells and other impurities accumulated on the skin. Its fine granules have a gentle abrasive action that exfoliates the skin without irritating it.
Thus, oatmeal can help polish your skin by scrubbing away the tanned, damaged, and dead skin cells from the surface to reveal fresh layers of skin. The removal of dead skin cells is an essential prerequisite to trigger the regeneration of new ones.
Colloidal oatmeal is also known to exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat a variety of dermatologic inflammatory diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, acneiform eruptions, pruritus, and viral infections.
Not just that, these properties can also help shield your skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. For this reason, oatmeal extracts are often used in cosmetic preparations and skin protectant lotions that aim to block out the sun’s harmful rays and thereby prevent skin tanning. (5)(6)
Lastly, the topical use of colloidal oatmeal may also help improve your skin barrier, which is necessary to minimize the damaging effect of the sun’s UV radiation. (7)
Oatmeal is generally considered safe for external use when used properly. In fact, skin lotions containing colloidal oat extracts are widely popular and have been extensively used by consumers without any reported side effects for up to 3 weeks.
Homemade Face Mask Recipes to Remove Suntan
Disclaimer: Since your facial skin is extremely thin and delicate, it can get easily irritated by any new topical ingredient. So, to rule out any adverse skin reactions, such as burns and rashes, first, perform a patch test of the mask on the underside of your arm. In case of irritation, avoid its use.
Needless to say, people who are allergic to any of the ingredients of these masks must avoid their use. Moreover, people with naturally sensitive skin are advised to take extra precautions before trying out any topical remedy.
1. Aloe Vera De-tan Mask
- 2-3 teaspoons aloe vera gel
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Wash the aloe vera leaf and then slit it to expose its insides.
- Scoop out the gel from the leaf into a clean bowl. Alternatively, you can use packaged aloe vera gel, provided it is from a credible company.
- Add the honey to the gel, and mix them well.
- Apply this mixture evenly all over your face and neck and leave it on for 10 minutes.
- Once the mask feels dry, gently scrub it off with damp hands.
- Wash your face and neck with plain water to get rid of any leftover stickiness.
- For best results, use this mask at least once or twice a week.
You can use this mask on other tanned areas of the body, such as the hands and legs.
2. Honey-Oatmeal De-tan Mask
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons oatmeal powder/colloidal oatmeal/oat flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- Put the oatmeal flour into a clean bowl. If you only have rolled oats, you can grind them into a fine powder and use it.
- Add the honey and water to the bowl and mix everything well together.
- Wash your face and neck using warm water and a gentle face cleanser.
- While your skin is still slightly damp, apply an even layer of the mixture all over your face and neck.
- Leave the mask on for 20 minutes, and then gently scrub it off with wet hands.
- Splash your face and neck with plain water to get off any remaining bits.
- Once your skin is clean, apply a moisturizer while it is still a little moist.
- You can use this homemade honey-oatmeal face mask once or twice a week.