How to Remove Sun Exposure on Faces in Photoshop

Updated July 19, 2017

A long day in the sun can make faces rosy. Unfortunately, redness and uneven colour from time in the sun are usually prominent in pictures -- and can mar your photographs. You can repair your pictures by reducing redness with the "Color Balance" feature in Photoshop. "Color Balance" gives you control over the colours of the shadows, midtones and highlights in your image, allowing you to accurately restore natural skin tones. Making a selection of the face lets you edit it independently from the rest of the image.

Open Photoshop. Click "File," click "Open," then browse to the location of your file and click "Open."

Click on the "Background" layer and drag it to the "New Layer" icon found at the bottom of the "Layers" panel. Perform your edits on this duplicate layer to protect the original picture.

Pick the "Quick Selection" tool and then click and drag over the person's face to make a selection.

Click on the "Quick Mask Mode" icon located at the bottom of the "Tools" panel. Selection edges will disappear, and the selected area will be surrounded by a red mask that overlays the image.

Select the "Paintbrush" tool from the "Tools" panel. In the "Options" bar, pick a soft round brush in a small size that will be suitable for smoothing out the selection edges.

Choose to paint with white or black. Press "X" on the keyboard to switch between the two colours. Paint with white to increase the size of the selection. Painting with black will add to the red mask and decrease the selection. Pay special attention to the edges of the face and the hairline. Try to make the selection as accurate as possible.

Click on the "Quick Mask Mode" icon again to view the selection edges.

Go to "Image," "Adjustments" and select "Color Balance," or press "Ctrl" and "B."

Move the sliders to reduce the redness in your image. In the "Color Balance" dialogue box, you will notice three different sliders for colours. You will primarily edit the "Cyan" and "Red" adjustment. Drag the slider towards the "Cyan" side and Photoshop will remove "Red" from the image. Shift the slider towards "Cyan" for the "Shadows," "Midtones" and "Highlights." Also, increasing the "Yellow" and "Green" can improve extremely red skin. Make gradual changes to the colours. Click the box next to "Preview" to see how the colour correction has altered the image. Click "OK" when you are satisfied with the changes.

Choose the "Spot Healing Brush" tool and click the "content-aware" setting in the "Options" bar.

Click and drag with the tool over any other splotches or discolourations. Use this tool to repair marks caused by uneven sun exposure. Save the file when you have finished your edits.


Repeat these steps for additional subjects in the image. The colour tone and severity of the sun exposure usually varies, so it is advisable to adjust the colour balance for each individual. Reduce the opacity of the layer you edited if you feel you altered the skin tone too much. Lowering the opacity will reveal the original image layer.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nicole Hamilton has been a content writer since 2005. She uses her journalistic style to create informative articles for websites such as Hamilton earned an Associate of Science in multimedia design from Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Florida.