How to Avoid (and Fix!) Weird Tan Lines

July 10, 2018
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
illustration of sunscreen bottle

Just because you can’t reach certain places on your body, doesn’t mean the sun can’t — and with cute bathing suits that have various strings here and there, weird tan lines are basically inevitable. Ahead, find a few tips and tricks to help you avoid odd tan lines — and how to fix them if you’ve already fallen victim 😱.

Apply Sunscreen Before You Put on Your Bikini

You may have already figured this one out, but you get a much more even (and easier) application of sunscreen if you’re in your birthday suit instead of your swimsuit. It’s also ideal to apply SPF at least 15 minutes before going outside, so the routine should always be product first, cute new swim look second.

RELATED: How to Practice Safe Sun


Reapply, Reapply and Reapply Again

This standard skincare rule is especially important for those beach or pool days. You should reapply sunscreen every couple hours to make sure those tan lines don’t creep in without you knowing. If you’re taking a dip in the ocean or pool, shift your reapplication to every time you get out of the water. Despite what you may have heard, sunscreen is not waterproof. There are water-resistant formulas for athletic individuals or those prone to sweating, but you’re not completely covered. So, approach water-resistant SPFs the same way you would a regular sunscreen. We love the La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen for this, or the Lancôme Bienfait UV 50+.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Skin Clear This Summer

Turn Over

We don’t encourage sunbathing or tanning on the reg, but long periods of time in the sun will probably give you some color, even with ample amounts of sunscreen involved. Make sure the color is even by giving both the back and front of your body equal time in the sun. Try to turn over every 20 minutes or so to make sure you even out that tan.

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Rock Self-Tanner or a Cover Up Instead

A sure-fire way to avoid tan lines (and harmful UVs in general) is throwing on some self tanner instead or a light cover up in the sun. These come highly recommended for those of you with a special event or wedding in the near future — the last thing you want is to have your look ruined because of one day at the beach. And there are actually some cover-ups that have special sun protection properties in the fabric.  We know what you’re thinking: “Wait, how am I supposed to show off my suit if I’m wearing a cover-up?” We recommend trying a sheer design or limiting your bikini exposure to under an hour (plenty of time to show off your suit) and wearing the cover-up for the duration of your sunshine time. Otherwise self-tanner is a go to, and we love the St. Tropez Extra Dark Tanning Mousse for this. Go forth and practice safe sun, weird tan line free!

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