The style guru, who suffered racist abuse growing up as a gay Muslim in Doncaster, has told in his new book that as a youngster he would have given 'anything to be white.’
He wrote: "When I was five, I remember thinking, 'God, I'd give anything to be white.
Tan, who is of Pakistani heritage, says he "worried constantly" that "bad things would happen" to him because of his skin in his new book, Naturally Tan.
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He says he now knows it is "beautiful".
Tan, a fashion expert on the hit Netflix show, which sees a group of gay men give makeovers to others, grew up in South Yorkshire but now lives in the USA.
He has previously spoken about his difficulties growing up gay and Muslim in Doncaster.
In the book he writes: "The importance of being pale is very bizarre. The people around me certainly didn't intend to pass on this belief, but I was aware of it and affected by it just the same.
"I had been so conditioned to think that if you were white, you were automatically more attractive."
As a 10-year-old, he revealed he stole his cousin's bleaching cream to lighten the colour of his skin.
He said: "I haven't had the balls to tell her I took it, because, since then, I've been ashamed of the fact that I succumbed to the pressure.
"I kept the dirty little secret to myself. I'd only use it at night, before bed, when no-one else was going to catch me," he says, adding how painful the cream was to use.
But he says he is now proud of who he is and his skin colour.
"If you ask me what my favourite thing about my appearance is, I'll say my skin," he said.
"As a ten-year-old, I could never have imagined that you could find my skin colour beautiful, and I'm willing to bet most non-white people have thought the same thing."
A remake of 2003's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the show features the "Fab Five" as they give a makeover to someone who has been nominated by friends and family.
Tan, whose real name is Tanweer Wasim France, studied fashion at Doncaster College and then moved to Manchester before ultimately settling in London where he established himself in the fashion industry.
In 2008 he began working in the United States and he moved there in 2015.
He now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and is married to his husband Rob.
Last year, the presenter told how he was subjected to racism and homophobia growing up in Doncaster - and finds it easier to live in the USA as a gay Muslim.
He told Vogue magazine: "I don't get called the same names as I did at home in the north of England. I would often get called a 'P***', and that's sickening in this day and age."