How to even out an uneven tan

Written by cate girone
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How to even out an uneven tan
Erase your tanlines with these easy steps. (Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images)

In the summer, it's hard to resist the temptation to bronze your body. Some prefer to tan naturally in the sunlight, while others frequent tanning beds or apply self-tanners to achieve their perfect shade. However, there are times when you accidentally end up with an uneven tan, whether it's from swimming costume straps, a farmer's tan or uneven self-tanner application. With today's endless self-tanning and bronzing products, it's easy to fix these tan blunders quickly. Follow these steps and you'll have a beautifully even tan in no time.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Self-tanner
  • Sunscreen
  • Exfoliant

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Instructions

    Fixing an Uneven Natural Tan

  1. 1

    Assess which areas of your skin you need to even out. If your tan is uneven because you have many different swimming costume styles that create different strap lines, it may be worth it to invest in swimming costumes with the same strap styles. To eliminate strap lines altogether, a strapless swimming costume is the best choice.

  2. 2

    Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to the area of your skin that is already tanned, being careful to apply directly up to the line where your tan ends and the uneven lines begin. This will prevent this area from getting more tan while you try to "catch up" the untanned areas.

  3. 3

    Apply a sunscreen with a lower SPF to the untanned areas of your skin. While it may seem counter-intuitive to put sunscreen on the area you want to get darker, it will prevent these areas from burning and peeling back to the original lighter shade.

  4. 4

    Expose yourself to the sun as you do normally, and with this sunscreen combination, your skin will be evened out in about a few days to a week. If you need faster results, you may need to go to a tanning bed in a salon.

    Fixing an Uneven Self-Tan

  1. 1

    Check your skin to see where you need to even out your tan. Figure out why your tan is uneven -- are you applying the self-tanning cream unevenly? Are you applying it right before you go to bed, so it smears in the night? Understanding why your tan is uneven can help you prevent it from happening in the future.

  2. 2

    Exfoliate your entire body, using a store-bought product or a homemade sugar scrub. The pigment from the self-tanner is mainly in the top level of your skin cells, so removing this level will bring you closer to your original shade.

  3. 3

    Reapply the self-tanner, being sure to apply it evenly over all areas of skin. Ask a friend for help if it is difficult reaching tricky areas, such as your back. Be sure to give the self-tanner enough time to absorb fully before putting on clothes or getting in bed, as disturbing it prematurely can cause it to smear, leaving your tan uneven and blotchy.

Tips and warnings

  • If you need to even out your tan in a hurry, consider trying out a spray tan. They can be done by a machine or by a professional, and they will give you an even tan that will last about a week.
  • Remember that every time you tan, you are increasing your risk of skin cancer. Try using self-tanning creams or airbrush tans instead of depending on harmful UV rays!

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