Camouflaging vitiligo with sunless tanning products

Vitiligo is a disorder of the skin that causes a loss of pigmentation in parts of the skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause of vitiligo is unknown and about 1 to 2 percent of the world’s population are believed to have it.
Vitiligo is not painful, itchy or harmful to the person who has it and it is not contagious. Some people feel less comfortable about their vitiligo than others, especially if it is very visible, whilst others have accepted it and have no problems with it.
For those seeking a way to cover up or camouflage their condition then one effective option is to use sunless tanning products to hide or camouflage vitiligo.

Using a self-tanning lotion can help camouflage the vitiligo. You can strategically apply the lotion to the whiter areas of your skin. This will at least make the patchiness of the color difference much less noticeable and will give the appearance of a more uniform skin tone. Self-tanning lotions last for a few days so you will have to re-apply the self-tanning lotion regularly to maintain your tan. Using a good fine painting brush to apply the self-tanning lotion will help to achieve a more accurate result.

Alternatively you could also try using a bronzing lotion on the lighter skin parts. A bronzer differs from a self-tanning lotion because it gives you an instant color whereas the self-tanning lotion produces a gradual darkening due to the DHA (dihydroxyacetone) ingredient. Once again you will need to continue to apply the bronzer if you wish to maintain the camouflage. Once again applying the bronzing lotion with a fine brush will help achieve a more even looking color.

A spray tan is probably the best and easiest way to decrease the white patchiness caused by vitiligo. Your professional spray tan technician can do one of two things. Depending on how dark your pigmented skin is, the spray tan technician can pinpoint their spray gun on the whitest (non-pigmented parts) to achieve a camouflage. Another more preferred way is to spray the whole body once with an appropriate color, and then re-spray the whitest areas again to achieve the a more uniform tone.

You can continue to apply touch-ups several days or a week after your spray tan by applying either the self-tanning or bronzing lotions using a fine painting brush.

Doing the above every week might seem a bit tedious (and expensive) for some, which is why a lot of people with vitiligo I’ve heard of save these camouflaging techniques for special occasions or times of the year when they know they will be out and about wearing more revealing clothing.

So with a bit of practice and some trial runs you can achieve a remarkably more even skin tone and in a lot of cases make your vitiligo appear like a faint birth mark.

==>Check out some self tanning lotions here<==


  1. Annabella

    the tanning products work very well for some areas of my body which has vitiligo like my shins and arms. Not so good on my hands though but still better than before.
    thanks for the tips!

  2. HannahMontego

    I’m assuming that these tips also apply to men too, is that right?

    • Hi Hannah,
      Yes that’s right. Virtually anything I discuss on this site can potentially be done by the boys too but I think you’ll that most of them probably won’t want to :)

  3. pandorapamela

    Hi Kimberley,
    I got a lot out of this article regarding how I can minimize the visibility of my vitiligo.

  4. Jimmy83

    My son has vitiligo. It first showed when he was 3. He is now 9 and has not had any new spots appear since he was 4. I have him on a daily multivitamin. We also had some success with pigmentation with Elidel, and a cortisone cream.
    You’ve got great insights about Vitiligo, keep up the good work!

  5. karen millen

    One again, thanks for your helpful article regarding camouflaging vitiligo. thank you very much.

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