The Reality of Reverse Tanning


You may have heard buzzing about reverse or white tanning, a popular treatment in Seoul, South Korea where fair skin is a cultural preference due to historical class statuses.

Unlike the name infers, reverse or white tanning does not reverse the effects of damaging UV exposure, nor does it actually whiten skin.

Benefits of White Tanning

The system uses infrared light to help reduce erythema (redness), and promote healing, collagen synthesis and circulation.

Is this sounding familiar?

Reverse tanning is actually a treatment the skin care and spa industry has embraced as an anti-aging technology: red light therapy.

The difference from reverse tanning is that red light therapy devices used in the spa market are generally in handheld or panel form, focused on the facial skin.

Reverse Tanning in Action

An author at Refinery29, Joyce Kong, booked a white tanning treatment at Ibiza Tanning Studio in Seoul. Kong reported that each session lasts 20 minutes, and it takes five visits for collagen and elastic production to begin, and at least 10 treatments to see visible results.

To see significant changes, Kong added she would have to commit to several treatments a week for six to 12 weeks.

Red Light Therapy

To learn more about light therapy, its history and usage, check out Erin Madigan-Fleckā€™s article on photobiology and light emitting diodes (LEDs).


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