Can You Tan With Vitiligo? All You Need to Know

Vitiligo is a skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Vitiligo is not a life-threatening condition, it can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem. One of the most controversial questions on Reddit is,” Can you tan with vitiligo?”

The short answer is Yes, it is possible to tan with vitiligo, but the affected areas will not tan as they have lost their ability to produce melanin. Sunscreen should still be used to protect the skin.

In this article, we will explore the topic of tanning with vitiligo in more detail. We will discuss the challenges of achieving an even tan with vitiligo, the precautions that should be taken to protect the skin, and some tips for achieving a healthy glow without damaging the skin further. So let’s start and learn about it.

Can You Tan With Vitiligo?

Here we will discuss whether you can tan with vitiligo or not.

What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition characterized by the loss of pigment in certain areas of the skin, leading to white patches. The condition occurs when the cells that produce melanin, responsible for skin color, are destroyed or stop functioning properly. 


Vitiligo symptoms include white or light-colored patches on the skin, hair, or even in the eyes. The condition is usually diagnosed through a physical examination of the skin and a medical history evaluation by a dermatologist. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Exact Causes

The exact cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys melanocytes.


There are two main types of vitiligo, segmental and non-segmental. 

Non-segmental vitiligo is the most common type, accounting for about 90% of cases, and can occur anywhere on the body. 

Segmental vitiligo, on the other hand, is less common and usually appears on only one side of the body.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown, but several risk factors may increase a person’s likelihood of developing the condition. These include a family history of vitiligo, having certain autoimmune diseases, and exposure to certain chemicals or toxins.

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Can People With Vitiligo Tan?

The topic of tanning with vitiligo is controversial, and opinions vary among dermatologists and individuals with the condition. Some people with vitiligo tan blend the white patches with the surrounding skin and achieve a more even skin tone. However, others may choose not to tan due to concerns about the safety of tanning and the potential risks involved.

Risks & Benefits

There are both risks and benefits to tanning with vitiligo.

On the one hand, tanning can help to camouflage the white patches, making them less noticeable. It can also provide a psychological boost and increase confidence and self-esteem.

On the other hand, tanning can also increase the risk of skin damage, including sunburn, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. This risk is particularly high for people with vitiligo, as the white patches have less natural protection against UV radiation.

Research on This Topic

There has been limited research on the safety and effectiveness of tanning with vitiligo. However, some studies have suggested that controlled exposure to UV radiation, such as in a medical setting, may help to repigment the skin in some cases of vitiligo. Nevertheless, it is important to approach tanning cautiously and consult a dermatologist before attempting to tan with vitiligo.

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Precautions to Take When Tanning With Vitiligo

If you choose to tan with vitiligo, taking precautions to protect your skin and avoid overexposure is important. Here are some precautions to consider

  1. Use a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

When tanning with vitiligo, it is essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply the sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin areas, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

  1. Wear Protective Clothing

To further protect your skin, consider wearing protective clothing such as hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts and pants. Look for clothing made of fabrics that provide additional UV protection.

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  1. Avoid Over-Exposure

Limit your time in the sun, especially during peak hours when the sun’s rays are strongest (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Start with short exposure times and gradually increase them over time.

  1. Consider Alternatives

If you are concerned about the risks of traditional tanning, consider using self-tanners or spray tans. These products can help you achieve a more even skin tone without exposing your skin to UV radiation.

  1. Consult with a dermatologist

Before tanning with vitiligo, it is essential to consult with a dermatologist who can provide personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific skin condition and medical history. Your dermatologist may also be able to recommend safe and effective treatments to help repigment your skin.

Tips for Tanning with Vitiligo

If you have vitiligo and choose to tan, here are some tips to help you achieve the best possible results while minimizing your risk of skin damage

  1. Start Slowly

Begin with short exposure times and gradually increase them over time. This will help your skin to adjust to UV radiation and minimize the risk of sunburn and other types of skin damage.

  1. Choose the Right Tanning Method 

Many different types of tanning methods and equipment are available, so it is essential to choose the one that is best for your skin type and condition. Consider consulting with a dermatologist or tanning professional to help you make the right choice.

  1. Apply Sunscreen & Moisturizer

Before tanning, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin areas. After tanning, moisturize your skin to help prevent dryness and flakiness.

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  1. Avoid Sunburn

Be sure to monitor your skin for signs of sunburn or other skin damage, such as redness, blistering, or itching. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop tanning immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

  1. Be Patient
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Achieving an even skin tone can take time, so be patient and persistent in your tanning efforts. Remember to take breaks and give your skin time to recover between tanning sessions.

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Does Fake Tan Cover Vitiligo?

Yes, fake tan can cover vitiligo by darkening the affected areas to match the surrounding skin. However, it is important to test the product on a small patch of skin before applying it all over to avoid any adverse reactions.

Can People with Vitiligo Still Tan?

Yes, people with vitiligo can still tan, but the affected areas will not darken as they have lost their ability to produce melanin.

Should People With Vitiligo Use Sunscreen When Tanning?

Yes, people with vitiligo should use sunscreen when tanning to protect their skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Is it Safe for People with Vitiligo to Use Tanning Beds?

No, tanning beds are unsafe for anyone, including those with vitiligo. They increase the risk of skin cancer and can cause further damage to the skin.

Can Tanning Make Vitiligo Worse?

Tanning can make vitiligo worse by increasing the contrast between the affected and unaffected areas. It can also cause sunburn, which can further damage the skin.

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Vitiligo is a skin condition characterized by the loss of pigmentation in patches of skin, which can make it difficult to achieve an even tan. Individuals with vitiligo can still tan, but they should take extra precautions to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sunscreen with a high SPF should be applied regularly, and protective clothing should be worn when possible.