History suggests that people have been sun tanning since the dawn of time. Man has always relied on the sun for its healing properties. Sunbathing was used as a treatment for psoriasis as well as a host of other skin problems. However skin tan is an unwanted side effect in Indian skins to prolonged sun exposure. We all crave to look fairer but unfortunately, due to the weather conditions and lifestyle, tanning is quite inevitable in daily routine life.  

Side effects of tanning

  1. Frequent tanning can cause premature ageing of the skin.  
  2. Tanning can cause the skin to change. Common changes in the skin include darkening of freckles and sunspots.
  3. Tanning results in more superficial and deep wrinkles.   
  4. Tanning excessively over a prolonged period of time can decrease your immune system's ability to combat diseases.   
  5.  Certain skin diseases can get aggravated by sun exposure. 

Positives of tanning

Some women still feel tanning has a lot to offer. It is a beautiful camouflage to the appearance of cellulite, scars, blemishes and patchy skin. It helps skin in making vitamin D that helps in preventing diseases like osteomalacia. 

How to pull off that unwanted Tan? 

Since in India, people have more craze for fair skin, many remedies, as well as treatments, have been tried successfully in pulling off the unwanted tan.   

1) Sun protection

The summer is not the only time you are at risk for damage from the sun. Find out how to protect yourself no matter what the season is. Everyday exposure counts, So:

  • Choose a sunscreen of SPF 25 or higher whenever you spend time outdoors. 
  • Choose a sunscreen with ingredients that block both UVB and UVA rays. 
  • Apply liberally and evenly to all exposed skin. Reapply at least every 2 hours, more often if some of the product may have been removed while swimming, sweating, or towel drying. 
  • Always avoid the peak hours of sunshine between 10 A.M to 4 P.M.        
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. A broad-brimmed hat goes a long way toward preventing skin cancer in often-exposed areas like the neck, ears, scalp, and face. UV-blocking sunglasses with large frames protect your eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes. 

2) Home remedies

  • Lemon juice can be rubbed on the skin to remove the effect of tanning. 
  • Then a mixture of aloe juice with vitamin E can be used to moisturise the skin. 
  • Good skin lightening effects can be achieved by rubbing the skin with the inside of watermelon slices. 
  • Curd is one of the best remedies for reducing sun-tan. Apply it on the face and body before bath every day. 
  • Tomato juice can also be used to lighten the skin due to sun-tan. 
  • Applying a paste of cucumber and honey is useful for soothing the redness due to sun-tan. 
  • Sun tanning from arms and feet can be removed by using apricot scrub followed by a moisturiser. 
  • Applying sunscreens frequently helps in reducing excessive suntan. 
  • Raw milk is a very good treatment for reducing suntan. Mix some lemon juice into raw milk and apply it on the tanned area. Let it stay for 15-20 minutes and wash it. It is very helpful if done regularly for at least one month.  
  • Another valuable cure is applying a mixture of milk powder and almond oil on affected area. It not only helps in reducing skin tan but also helps in bringing back the lost glow of the skin.  

3) Medical treatments

Skin lightening agents can be used to take off the tan. Most of these ingredients should be used at night and preferably a patch test must be given prior to use. They could produce sensitivity and allergy. 

Role of lasers and other treatments: Since the mechanism by which tan happens is the distribution of the melanin in the top layers of the skin, many procedures are aimed at reducing the melanin content and causing skin lightening. Some of these include:

1. Microdermabrasion

2. Mesotherapy

3. Dermaroller

4. Chemical peeling

5. Lasers

If you notice any side-effects of any of the above remedies or treatments, consult a dermatologist immediately.
Have Happy Skin, Healthy Skin!