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How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of a Tan Completely?

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD

A tan will usually last 7-10 days, but this varies due to factors like your skin type, genetics, daily habits, and the weather. Depending on these factors, it could even take you as long as 2 months for your tan to fade.

Below, I’ll discuss all these factors in detail and help you figure out why your tan won’t go away. I’ll also give you the 6 top methods on how to get your tan to fade faster.

Let’s dive right in and start getting rid of that tan!

What Factors Affect How Fast My Tan Will Fade?

Factors like your skin type, genetics, daily habits, and the weather affect how fast your tan will fade.

The type of tanning method also affects how long it takes for a tan to fade. Spray tans are the shortest, tanning beds are in the middle, while natural tans under the sun usually last the longest.

To fade your tan and tan lines effectively, you need to keep the factors below in mind.

  • The tanning method you use
  • Your daily habits
  • The weather
  • Your skin type and genetics

1. Tanning Method

The duration of your tan mainly depends on the method of tanning.

  • The shortest tan would be from self-tanners or spray tans. With these, it can take as quickly as 24 hours.
  • If you opt for a tanning bed, your tanned skin will stick around for a week.
  • If you’ve got a natural sun tan, your tan can last for a week or more.

FAIR WARNING: Don’t tan for hours underneath the sun in hopes of having a long-lasting tan!

If you want your tan to last without damaging your skin, it’s better to build up your tan slowly with multiple short tanning sessions.

2. Daily Habits

You can’t just wait for your tan to fade. If you want quick action, you need some lifestyle changes.

If you’re always out and about in the sun with little to no protection, melanin is constantly being produced. Every day you expose yourself to the sun, you become tanner!

Not wearing proper protection can also be to blame. Block UV light and rays with sunscreen and cover-ups (hats, jackets, etc.).

3. The Weather

You can wonder how long it’ll take for a tan to fade on and on, but if you have constant, scorching summers where you live, expect it to take a while. 

There aren’t enough factors for the tan not to fade by then.

Those with wintry, cloudy climates will make a tan fade a lot faster, whether they like it or not.

4. Your Skin Type and Genetics

You might just have naturally tan skin. It’s harder to shake away the melanin when it’s in your genes.

If you unintentionally stayed out for too long and got a sun tan, it’s time to put down the self-tanner and reach for skin-lightening products.

Tanned skin will stick around longer the older you are. Your skin naturally exfoliates because of the skin cell turnover. 

Unfortunately, this process takes longer and longer for people as they age.

Younger people will experience more tanning sessions if they want to keep their golden color as much as possible.

Kids have the best experience – they can get sunburned and get over it quickly. 

Meanwhile, their moms might be itching to fade away from their tan and sunburn while on their job.

Can You Tan Permanently?

Your skin just won’t get lighter. Or maybe you’re tired of seeing tan lines and the drastic color change in between them.

Your question has shifted from “How long does it take for a tan to fade?” to “Can I have tanned skin permanently?”

The answer is NO. You can’t get a permanent tan. Your body will undergo skin cell turnover, remove the dead skin cells, and you will get your original color back.

Can Tan Be Removed Permanently?

Sadly, no. You will constantly be exposed to the sun, and you’ll always tan and produce melanin. 

Your skin cells can’t combat the natural order of things!

How Can You Get Rid of a Tan?

There are no magic products that can restore your original skin color.

What you CAN do is try out these methods and see which one can work to remove your tan and tan lines.

It takes a LOT OF PATIENCE and some trial and error.

1. Limit Sun Exposure

Method #1

It’s time to act like a vampire. When you’re outside, wear a hat, umbrella, or long-sleeved clothing with breathable fabric.

Whether you’re inside or outside, wear SPF protection. The UV rays can diffuse inside your home and reach your epidermis!

As the American Academy of Dermatology says, effective treatment always starts with sunscreen. Your skin cells will thank you later!

Beyond trying to fade your tan, limiting sun exposure is also A MUST if you want to avoid skin cancer and sun damage.

UV rays are NO JOKE. If skin cancer and sun damage don’t scare you away, maybe age spots and wrinkles will. 

UV radiation is notorious for causing those!

2. Exfoliate Your Skin to Get Rid of Dead Skin Cells

Method #2

Tanned skin fades due to natural skin cell turnover. When you exfoliate, you help that outer layer of skin speed up the process! 

Aside from a faded tan, exfoliation can leave your skin feeling silky smooth. You’re basically going to remove dead skin cells! 

As a result, you enjoy smoother, more supple skin.

The body can benefit from physical scrubbing – meaning you can use body scrubs and loofahs.

If you want your skin tones to be balanced, your face can benefit from chemical treatments. 

Use products with tretinoin, retinol, and other active ingredients (AHAs and BHAs).

3. Go Natural with Aloe Vera and Lemon Juice

Method #3

The sun may have left you with a not-so-nice tan – maybe even a harsh sunburn! 

But NO WORRIES! There are a bunch of home remedies for that.

Aloe Vera

As you recover indoors, soothe your skin with aloe juice or aloe vera gel. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory product!

It also contains aloin and aloesin, two compounds that can treat hyperpigmentation to lighten your skin IN NO TIME. 

It can also speed up the disappearance of your tan lines.

Plus, it’s all organic!

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another way to lighten the skin up. 

With that much vitamin C in the fruit, it can effectively combat dark spots and remove tan from your skin quickly.

If you’ve got some lemon juice leftovers, you can even make a refreshing drink. Who says your lightening session can’t be fun and refreshing, too?

4. Try Turmeric and Tea

Method #4

Turmeric is more than a yummy spice. It can even out your skin tone if you give it a try! 

You can make a turmeric mask with the following:

  • Unflavored yogurt (or full-fat Greek yogurt)
  • Organic honey
  • Your choice of turmeric

Apply it to your skin.

Unflavored yogurt has lactic acid, honey has anti-bacterial properties, and turmeric basically has anti-everything to benefit your skin cells.

We want to remind you of the following, however:

  • Turmeric can leave discoloration on your body (a yellow-ish and orange-ish one at that)
  • Turmeric has an odor that’s yummy on food but not necessarily on your skin.
  • Despite what online guides say, DO NOT COMBINE LEMON JUICE OR LIME WITH TURMERIC. It can be too much for your skin. One thing at a time, people!

Okay, now what about tea? Like turmeric, black tea is nothing short of a miracle for a tan.

Black tea has all these antioxidants that can flush out the worst bacteria and toxins in your body.

It can clear up acne and blemishes, too. You can make it into a mask or just drink it – either way is excellent for skincare!

5. Lighten the Skin with Special Soaps and Lotions

Method #5

If there are tanning products, then there are also lightening ones. 

Look for soaps and skincare products infused with the following:

  • Kojic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Papaya extract
  • Azelaic acid

Whether it’s a lousy tan or unwanted tan lines you’re dealing with, they are all perfect for skin lightening!

After, you can apply lightening lotions. It helps if the lotion has some kind of sun protection in it, too! 

You’re essentially doubling down on limiting sun exposure.

6. Book an Appointment for Skin Peels

Method #6

Are you too impatient for your tan to fade? Skin peels can help

These chemical peels target the superficial layer of the skin, effectively clearing dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and inflammation.

When needed, you can always ask your dermatologist for a deep skin peel. 

Here’s what deep skin peels do to human skin:

  • Goes further than the epidermis – or the first layer – and targets the skin DEEP
  • Rewinds time with age spots
  • Evens out your face and body discoloration
  • Takes away those stubborn blemishes

If you’ve had an unfortunate time at the beach, you might have skin damage. A deep skin peel can undo that damage from the inside out.

What to Avoid When Trying to Get Rid of Tan?

Now that you know what methods to try, you should also know what methods to AVOID when trying to get rid of your tan.

1. Avoid Overdoing Skin Whitening Methods

With skin lightening, there are many natural home remedies to let your tan fade. 

We have yogurt, turmeric, and black tea above. They have their uses – but DO NOT OVERDO IT.

Just because something is organic doesn’t mean it serves your health.

Instead of lightening your skin, it can just irritate it. This is especially true when you apply too much lemon or lime onto the outer layer of your skin.

Lemon has high acidity. While it can work as a skin lightener, it can cause irritation and increase your sensitivity to the sun.

SPF protection, water, lotion, and baby oil become more critical in that case. 

Please don’t overdo it! Make lemon and orange juice instead of using these fruits for skin whitening.

2. Avoid Glutathione Drips

Aside from skin peels, a popular way to lighten your skin is to go for glutathione drips. 

It involves getting glutathione-infused IV drips and deactivating the enzyme that produces melanin.

While you will look paler and brighter after a session, this kind of lightening method has serious health risks. 

Don’t compromise your health just to brighten that layer of skin!

3. Avoid Using Unbranded Lightening Soaps

You want your tan to go away, but the lightening soaps for your face and body no longer cut it. 

While it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon for some soap you see online!

You could just be damaging your skin cells instead of lightening them. 

There are many healthy ways you can fade out your tan!

4. Avoid Tanning for Too Long or Too Much

On the flip side, if you want to eventually fade out your tan, don’t stay in a tanning salon for too long.

Aside from the damage your face and skin will incur, you’ll have a more challenging time getting the topmost layer of your skin to revert to its original color.

If you want to reduce the appearance of tan lines, it’s best if you don’t overdo it. 

No one wants tacky tan lines to ruin their look!

How to Make My Tan Last Longer?

Okay, you’ve changed your mind. You love how the spray tan or self-tanner looked on your skin, people have noticed, and now you want MORE of it. 

How can you make a tan last?

Get Ready to Tan Regularly

You can either invest in your own tanning bed or buy a bundle of sessions at the local tanning shop. 

Keeping that bronzed color is all about work, but if you deem it worth it, then this is the way to go!

You can tan once a week or twice a week, depending on your preferred skin tone.  It’ll definitely be less work than a self-tanner that you need to manually apply.

If you like a dark glow, you can go thrice a week. Just know that sun damage and melanin production increase with each session! 

Your health should still be the most important thing.

No Time or Budget for Constant Tanning Sessions?

You can always tan in your backyard. 

Just remember to do the following:

  • Exfoliate before you get your sun exposure. Gentle exfoliation will soften skin.
  • Apply a healthy amount of SPF protection. You want the golden glow, not the skin cancer!
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Skin hydration is crucial to keep skin moisturized as well!
  • Drink water or orange juice if you want to spice things up! And they’ll also make skin moisturized.

As much as possible, wear bikinis and bathing suits. You want your tan to be even and also avoid tan lines! 

Tan lines from bathing suits look fine and usually are covered, but it’s jarring to see the tan end right where your shorts began.

Use Bronzers to Maintain Your Tanned Skin

Remedy a quickly fading tan and tan lines with bronzers or tanning lotion. A self-tanning product works well on human skin.

They’re specifically designed to keep your skin bronzed as if you just stepped off the beach – or the tanning bed!

You can even opt for some with body glitter if you like. 

There’s no end to these tanners! They can mask a fading tan quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Tans Go Away in the Winter?

Tans usually go away during the winter because of reduced exposure to the sun’s UV rays. This does not mean you still can’t get tan during colder times of the season, though. As long as you’re frequently exposed to UV rays, there is a chance for you to tan and maintain that tan.

Can a Tan Last for Years?

A tan is never permanent, so, therefore, it cannot last for years. The body undergoes frequent skin cell turnover and removes dead skin cells. This is when you will slowly get your original skin color back.

Why Do I Tan So Easily?

People with medium to darker skin types have higher levels of melanin, which means they tend to tan more easily. This isn’t the case for people with paler and lighter skin types, who tend to get sunburns instead of getting a good tan.

How to Remove Sun Tan From Face?

To remove sun tan from your face, you can use special whitening skincare products that contain kojic acid, vitamin C, papaya extract, or azelaic acid. Make sure to consider your skin sensitivity when using these products and follow product instructions properly.


Getting a tan to fade requires time. If you want to speed up the process, don’t damage your skin cells with unhealthy methods!

You can urge your skin cells to turn over faster with different techniques, but no matter what happens, the bottom line is to keep your skin healthy. 

Always have SPF protection in place, drink water, and eat organic food.

I hope you found the answer to how long it takes to remove your tan in this article.

Take care of your skin cells, and remember all our methods above!