Fake tans

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Fake tans change the colour of the outermost layer of the skin.  They can be used instead of skin camouflage, or in addition to it, on different parts of the body.  Fake tans have some advantages over skin camouflage:

  • They last longer (four to six days) before they have to be reapplied.
  • They do not rub off on clothing.
  • They are very useful for large areas of vitiligo and areas where cosmetic camouflage is less effective, such as the back of the hands.
  • They are easily available in supermarkets, chemists etc.


  • Fake tans are not usually able to provide a perfect match with your own skin colour (unlike skin camouflage).
  • They are not available for all skin tones.   There is no fake tan yet to match dark brown skin.
  • Fake tans are not available on prescription.

Applying fake tans yourself:

Follow the instructions on the product, but in general the following steps will ensure that you get good results:

  • If possible, try the product out first on a test patch.
  • Rub the area to be tanned with a cloth, brush etc. to remove surface dry skin cells.  The lotion will take better.
  • Make sure your skin is moisturised before applying the tanning lotion.
  • After moisturising, wait a few minutes before applying the lotion evenly.
  • Use less lotion on knees, elbows and feet, where more colour tends to be absorbed.
  • Wear loose, minimal clothing until the lotion is dry, to avoid staining.
  • Keep cool when applying the lotion and for several hours afterwards as excessive perspiration will cause streaking.