How Long Does It Take For a Tan to Go Away?

girl tanning

When you have tanned your skin, an essential thing that comes up in your mind is how long it lasts. Are you stuck with the dark skin or wonder how to prolong it? The answer to it lies in how long does it take for a tan to go away.

On average, a tan can last from 7 to 10 days. However, it takes up to 30 days for the tan to fade away completely with the natural processes of the body. There are plenty of factors that can determine the duration of a tan.

If you’re wondering about the time that your tan will take to fade away, read on to learn more about how long a tan lasts. 

How Long Can a Tan Last?

Firstly it is imperative to know how the process of tanning works. When you expose skin to UV radiation, whether it is natural sun rays or the radiation emitted by lamps in tanning beds, it can lead to tanning.

The radiation penetrates the layers of your skin and interacts with the cells called melanocytes to trigger the production of a chemical called melanin. Melanin is responsible for the darkening of the skin and the development of a tan.

On the other hand, when you use sunless tanning methods like spray tan or self-tanners, they contain DHA as an active ingredient. DHA binds with the amino acids in the dead skin cells present in the epidermis to darken the skin. 

How long does it take for a tan to fade away completely? Typically, a tan through sunbathing can go away after 7 to 10 days just like tan lines too. If you continue to expose your skin to radiation from sunlight, it might even last for longer. The duration of tanning from sunbeds is also similar.

When it comes to spray tan or self-tanners, they might last much less and fade away within 5-7 days. Spray tan starts to fade within 1 day if not taken care of; however, if you care properly, you can extend it for up to 10 days.

How Does a Tan Fade?

Whether you are sleeping or doing any activity while you’re awake, your skin continues to work and shed away. You can lose around one million skin cells within a period of 24 hours, and how fast does a tan fade depends on it.

The outer layer of the skin sheds off and replaces completely within a period of 28 days. The cells on the surface keep flaking off while the new cells continue to grow in the bottom layer.

As time goes by, the tanned cells on the top layer of the skin fall off, and the new skin cells take their place. Because they have less pigment or melanin, they appear to be lighter.

If you exfoliate your skin after a tan, you will scrub off the dead skin cells present in the top layer of your skin. It will make the tan fade away much more quickly.        

Which Factors Decide How a Tan Fades?

The amount of time a tan stays on can depend on plenty of factors. You can determine the time by keeping in mind the following pointers:


The process of replacement of skin cells is also impacted by age. As you grow old, the cell production cycle slows down, much like every other bodily process. For young people, it can take around 14-21 days to regenerate new cells; however, for older people, it may take around 28 days or more.

If you are between the age group of 20-30, the tan might fade away more quickly than people who are over 30 years in age.   

Sun Exposure:

The level of sun exposure you receive can decide how long a natural tan lasts. While it is important to get adequate sun exposure for skin health and tan, it is imperative to be careful.

You must choose the right time to tan safely, which is before 10 am or after 4 pm. However, the sun rays are brightest in the afternoon, and you get a darker tan during this time. It is also essential to use sunscreen and lip balm with SPF while sunbathing to prevent yourself from damage.


Recent research by Live Science has shown that hormones can also impact the skin cycle and how you tan. According to the findings, sex hormones progesterone and estrogen can regulate the synthesis of melanin in your body. When exposed to estrogen, skin cells can produce more melanin which leads to a darker tan.

Similarly, the hormone progesterone also opens up unique paths in the membrane of skin cells and directs them to make more melanin. 

What Can You Do to Make It Go Away Quickly?

In case you want to get rid of your tan, there are a few remedies that can come to your aid. Follow these easy tricks to make the tan go away quickly:

Avoid Sun Exposure:

The most prominent reason for tanning of skin is sun exposure. Even if you are taking all the precautions by applying sunscreen and keeping your skin covered at all times, exposure to radiation can cause tanning. You can even tan in the shade or on a cloudy day.

If you don’t want to tan or make your existing tan darker, you must avoid getting your skin exposed to UV radiation.   

Use Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera is one of the many plants that are abundant with soothing properties, but it can do wonders for your skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera can slow down the release of melanin and prevent pigmentation.

You can apply aloe vera gel directly on the parts of your body where you are tanned to remove it faster.      

Exfoliate Your Skin:

The most effective and easy way to remove tan is exfoliating the right way. When you scrub your skin, you gently remove the dead cells from the epidermis and also strip off the tan along with it. You can exfoliate your skin every day while showering to speed up the process of skin cell regeneration and fade away the tan.

Apply Turmeric Mask:

Turmeric is not a spice rich in antioxidants but can also work great as a skin lightener. You can make a mask using the spice and apply it to your skin. It may help lighten the skin tone and also protect your skin from sun damage.    

Long Showers:

Taking a long shower or soaking up in the pool or beach can also help fade away the tan. It can dry out your skin, ensuring the tan doesn’t stick to your skin and help you get a lighter skin tone.  

Related Questions:  

Why Does My Tan Last So Long?

As long as your skin layers are saturated with melanin or continue producing more melanin, your tan will last. It can happen when your skin continues to get exposed to sunlight and triggers the production of melanin. You must avoid stepping out in the sun to avoid it.   

How Long Does a Tan Last for Brown Skin?

A skin tan tends to last longer for people with brown skin and might be visible for 2-3 weeks. Your skin already has more melanin than fair-skinned people, and it can ensure you have darker skin for longer. 

Can a Sun Tan Be Permanent?

A tan from the sun can never be permanent. Since the skin regenerates the cells, the tanned cells flake off and get replaced by new skin cells. 

How Can I Remove Tan in 5 Days?

You can try numerous tips to get rid of the tan. Stay away from the sun, take longer showers, and apply aloe vera, black tea extra, or even tomato to lighten your skin tone quickly. 

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