I personally don’t mind tan lines. I was raised at the Jersey Shore — and now live in the Caribbean — so the beach has always been a lifestyle, and tan lines just come with the territory. “Believe it or not, some people love tan lines, especially Brazilians,” says Fabiola Trujillo, owner of Sobe Tan by Fabiola in Miami Beach, whose clients include Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez. “They come in to get sprayed in a G-string and a tiny top and leave very happy. But many customers don’t like tan lines, and as spray tan artists, we have to respect that.”
It is true, though, that for most people, tan lines are a hard look to pull off, especially the awkward ones: Those caused by your ring, your watch, your socks, your ratty wife beater, the cheap sunglasses you bought at Target that give you raccoon eyes, etc. So how exactly do you get rid of them, or at least reduce them? Fabiola advises defending yourself against them in the first place by protecting your skin and avoiding the strongest sunlight, but when all else fails, she suggests evening out the lines by spray tanning.
“To avoid tan lines in the first place, there’s nothing like using a good sunblock,” Fabiola says. “It should be at least 30 SPF, and you should apply it 30 minutes before going out and reapply it often. Also, be sure to use organic, paraben-free sunblock, and try to go out when the sun isn’t too strong — before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. But the best way to fix them is a spray tan. We recommend a full coat all over, and then a second coat with sponges to even out the lines. When tan lines are very dark, it’s difficult to even them out completely, but this technique will make you look so much better.”
If you don’t want to go the spray tan route, there are natural remedies that can prove pretty effective, too. In fact, according to Cleveland-based tanning supply company Artesian Tan, there are several DIY tricks that can smooth away your tan lines in no time. Such as…
Probably the most inexpensive and effective way to remove your tan lines. Mix a heaping spoonful or two in a glass of water and stir until it becomes a smooth paste. Slather the paste on the tanned areas around your lines and remove after about 15 minutes. After just a couple of days’ use, your tan lines should be nicely evened out. Thanks, Arm & Hammer!
Lemon Juice and Honey
With its acidic qualities, lemon juice is a well-known method of trying to lighten skin. Simply mix some with honey and apply it to the tanned areas around your lines. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash it off. You should notice your tan lines fading in a few days. Plus, lemon juice is packed with Vitamin C and honey is a great skin moisturizer, so you’ll be reducing your tan lines while increasing your epidermal health. (Caution: Do not use this method if you have sunburns, because holy shit, just no.)
That’s right, there is yet another beneficial use for this popular, natural slick stuff. Not only is it healthy for your skin, coconut oil is a potent tan line remedy. All you have to do is apply it on your tanned areas, leave it on overnight and wash it away in the morning. Repeat the process several times. You’ll probably end up changing your sheets every morning, but your tan lines should become barely visible.
Exfoliate and Scrub
You can also gently scrub the parts of your body where tan lines are most visible with an exfoliating cream — this way you can speed up the process of lightening the dark areas of your skin. The more you scrub, the faster your lines will fade, but be sure to use a quality moisturizer, as they contain Vitamin E and other natural extracts that’ll help the process along.
In addition to Fabiola’s advice of wearing at least an SPF 30 sunblock to ward off tan lines, quality aloe vera gel is also a great, natural preventative remedy. Packed with antioxidants and potent enzymes, it helps keep away those pesky lines and assists in preventing sunburns.
So, there you have it: Go deal with your tan lines, and remember, no one’s really judging you for falling asleep on the back porch in your girlfriend’s bikini top but you.