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How Long Does a Tan Last? The Ultimate Guide

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Most of the time, a tan is a valuable commodity and one we want to keep hold of for as long as possible.

But there are also times when we might want it to disappear as quickly as possible, especially when it’s uneven and unflattering.

A tan will typically last between 7 and 10 days, depending on the person’s skin and other factors. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to either prolong the tan or get rid of it, so however you feel about it you aren’t without options.

A day at the beach in the middle of summer is the perfect recipe for the most glorious of tans, or the worst of tans.

Some people love to leave the beach with prominent tan lines and the warm embrace of the sun’s rays, others would rather hide under an umbrella, read a book, and go home with their delicate skin untouched by the heat.

Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll have an opinion about tans one way or the other.

You’ll either do your best to keep it for as long as possible to hold onto the summer glow, or you’ll be desperate to get rid of it before anyone notices.

Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered in this guide, with solutions for prolonging a tan and getting rid of one.

How Long Will Your Tan Last?

To understand how long a tan will last, you’ll need to understand the various factors that go into making a tan.

A natural tan is a result of the skin’s exposure to sunlight, which leads to the development of the pigment melanin in the body.

Melanin is the skin’s protective barrier against sun-related UV damage, and it’s what causes our skin to get darker and change color following sun exposure.

Too much UV damage can be detrimental to your health, and can lead to skin cancer, so you have to be careful not to burn to a crisp when you’re out enjoying the hot weather.

A tan will last on average between 7-10 days, and this will depend on whether it’s naturally caused by exposure to sunlight or whether it’s the result of a sun tan spray or artificial exposure to UVA/UVB rays.

How to Make It Last Longer

There are many reasons you may want to extend the lifespan of your tan, and while there’s no benefit to having one other than perhaps aesthetically, it only comes a few times of year so why not make the most of it?


If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where you’re bathed in sun 24/7, then you’ve probably never wondered how to make a tan last longer as it’s effortless.

However, for most of us, the reality is that outside of the hot summer months there’s slim to no chance of picking up a tan – unless we seek out an artificial one at a tanning salon or in a spray can.

Since a tan can seem so fleeting, it only makes sense that you’d want to prolong it, so here are some ways you can do just that.

Exfoliate

The first tip is to exfoliate.

This one is tricky, though, because it’s also the number one recommended thing to do if you want to get rid of a tan.

So what exactly does exfoliation do to your tan?

Well, when you exfoliate your skin you remove dead skin cells which can allow for an even tan whether it’s caused by the sun’s rays or it’s a spray tan.

As such, if you want your tan to last as long as possible, make sure you exfoliate before you spend time in the sun as this will prevent the skin from flaking.

Take Warm Showers

Another thing you can do to preserve and maintain a tan is to take a lukewarm shower.

The idea here isn’t that a lukewarm shower specifically does anything for your tan, but that a hot shower can fade your tan, so it’s best to avoid those if you want your tan to last.

Moisturize

It’s important to moisturize your skin as much as possible, but even more so if you want a long-lasting tan.

If your skin is well-hydrated, it will keep your skin from exfoliating and removing the skin cells responsible for creating your summer glow.

How to Get Rid of it Fast

We’ve all been there: we’ve spent an hour too many at the beach, or enjoyed a vacation a little too much, and arrived home with an awful tan that will turn us into the laughing stock of the workplace.

If this is the case, or you just generally don’t take to tanning well, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process of getting rid of the tan.

Exfoliate

Exfoliating your skin is the most effective way of removing a tan – after you’ve already got one.

Using a scrub will allow you to get rid of dead skin cells, and slowly fade the tan.

Scrub gently, though, otherwise you might be exposing your skin to sun damage and setting yourself up for an even worse tan next time around!

Use Aloe

Aloe is one of nature’s best remedies for sun-kissed skin.

If you want to accelerate the tan removal process, applying some aloe cream topically to your skin as it can diminish the body’s ability to produce melanin.

Try Skin-lightening Products

There are many skin-lightening products out there, which can help you get rid of a tan quickly.

To make sure you’re onto a winning formula, try and find a cream that has vitamin C in it, or retinol.

If you have darker patches of skin as a result of prolonged sun exposure, a skin-lightening product can be your best bet for lightening these areas and restoring your skin to its previous shade.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sun Tans

Do sun tans go away?

Yes, after some time your sun tan will start to subside and your skin will revert to its original shade.

On average, it will take just a few weeks for a tan to fade away, and the tan lines will gradually disappear too.

Even if you use tanning products or a bed in a salon, the tan won’t last forever as the dead skin cells will be replaced over time.

Why does my tan last so long?

Some people are luckier than others when it comes to holding on to a tan.

While for some a sun tan will fade within a few days, others can boast a summer glow for up to 21 days or so.

This is due to various factors, one of which is how hydrated you are and how often you shave and exfoliate. So if you want your tan to last longer, it’s possible with good hydration and less exfoliation.

How do you get rid of a tan fast?

If you spent a little too long soaking up the sun on holiday, and you want to return to reality without comments from your colleagues and peers, there are a few ways to reduce a tan.

Some of the most efficient things you can to get rid of a tan include exfoliating with a scrub to remove dead skin cells, treating the skin with an aloe salve, and using a skin-lightening cream with vitamin c or a retinoid.

Generally, though, it’s tricky to remove a tan fast so you’ll just have to be patient and remember for the next time you’re out in the sun.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

Tans can be the lasting warm embrace of a summer’s day spent at the beach, or they can be the curse of a vacation spent burning up in a hot country.

However you got the tan, you will either want to keep hold of it for as long as possible or get rid of it quickly, depending on your circumstances and preferences.

Fortunately, there are ways of both prolonging and getting rid of a tan, so you have options.

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The Trending Man

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of The Trending Man Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!

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