Using sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure are the best ways to keep your skin free of unsightly tan lines or burns, but sometimes overexposure is unavoidable. Tan lines on your face from wearing sunglasses can be particularly frustrating, since they are prominent and can't be covered up with clothing. Thankfully, there are simple home remedies that can help speed up skin cell renewal to fade tan lines, and easy ways to cover up and disguise the lines as well.
Diminishing Tan Lines
Cut a lemon in half and rub the inside on darker skin for one to two minutes. Then rinse your face. The acidity in lemon can bleach out dark skin and help fade tan lines. Do a patch test with the lemon juice first on an inconspicuous part of your body to be sure that your skin does not have any reactions to the acidity.
Use an exfoliating brush or sponge in the shower, focusing on the tan line itself. Be gentle with the skin on your face, as too much rubbing can cause irritation and redness. While it won't get rid of tan lines altogether, it will speed up your skin's cell renewal process, slowly fading the tan.
Apply a facial lotion with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), which shed dead skin cells and fade the tan line. Be sure to use a moisturizing lotion specifically labeled for the face, since body lotions can have higher concentrations of the acids and might damage fragile facial skin.
Covering Up Tan Lines
Use a bronzing powder or lotion to cover the lighter skin around your eyes. Bronzer is inexpensive and can be washed off easily if you make any mistakes. Just apply it to the area around your eyes with a powder brush or makeup sponge until it matches the color of the tanned skin.
Apply self-tanning lotion it to the lighter skin around your eyes sparingly. Apply a very thin layer at first according to the directions and only apply more after the tanner is finished developing (usually a few hours) to avoid making the area too dark.
Visit a tanning salon that offers face tanners, where just your face is exposed to UV rays like to the ones natural sunlight produces. Exposing your face to the sun without glasses can get rid of your tan lines after a few sessions, but you do run the risk of burning your skin and doing more damage if you aren't careful. If you plan on visiting a tanning salon, ask someone who works there to help you decide how long to expose your skin.
Apply bronzing powder and self-tanning lotion in natural sunlight for a more natural look. Low or fluorescent lighting can distort your perception of the colors and make the difference in skin tones even more noticeable.
UV rays from natural sunlight and bulbs used in tanning machines are unhealthy for your skin and have been known to cause cancer and skin damage, so always use sunscreen before going outside and avoid tanning beds if possible.
Based in Los Angeles, Dana Maris Buckley has recently begun her journalism career, pursing a master's degree in specialized arts journalism from the University of Southern California. She writes for "Neon Tommy," the online news publication of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.