Do you want tanned legs like the actors of Baywatch, but no amount of hours on a tanning bed seems to be helping?
While your arms, neck, and face can soak up the natural sunlight efficiently and tan evenly, leg tanning is a different ball game altogether. It’s tricky to get an even tan and maintain the same color on the legs, especially if you are using self-tanning products.
However, there are some easy tips and tricks that can drastically change the results and we have mentioned them all in this comprehensive guide. So, keep reading to find out about important tanning tips for a healthy glow.
Why Aren’t Your Legs Tanning?
It is difficult to tan your legs, and these factors may be making it worse for you:
1. Due To Lower Melanin Production
Melanin is the black pigment that gives color to your skin, hair, and even the iris in your eye. It is the primary factor that decides the complexion of your skin and the tanning process too. The production and activation of melanin are responsible for pigmentation, so we can say that a tanning session essentially increases the melanin in your skin.
Sunlight, or, to be more accurate, UV rays, activate melanin production in our body, and that’s why people often get that sun-kissed glow after spending hours on the beach. But the reason legs don’t get a flawless tan like other parts is that the skin produces less melanin.
2. Due To Thicker Skin
Observe the skin on your face, arms, abdomen, and legs. What do you notice?
You will find that the skin on your legs is much thicker and tighter, while the skin on other body parts is paler and stretchier. And that’s another reason why legs take a lot of time to tan because the skin on our legs is thick, it doesn’t allow UV radiation to penetrate.
While it is great to protect you from skin cancer, it isn’t good news for tanning. People with fair skin can sit in direct sunlight all they want, but their legs won’t tan quickly, as melanin won’t be produced unless the legs receive UV rays.
3. Due To Dry Skin
On top of being thick, the skin on the legs is pretty dry. While it’s mostly because it doesn’t produce much sebum, external factors also contribute to the dryness, among which the primary culprit is too much exfoliation.
If you scrub your legs pretty often, use dry soap or shower gel, and don’t moisturize them properly, they will fail to retain their youthful glow. When you want a tanned body you can’t forget to moisturize, as spray tans stick better to soft and hydrated skin.
4. Due To Hair Removal
Another reason your self-tanners might not be sticking to your legs could be hair removal. No matter what method you follow, be it waxing, shaving, or using an epilator, it can affect the golden glow on your legs.
That’s because when hair is pulled out of the skin, it leaves the pores open, and that is bad news for tanning. When skin pores are open, they become dry and cannot hold the tan. So, if you just took a trip to the tanning salon, unfortunately, you will have to say goodbye to hair removal for a few weeks.
5. Due To Tight Clothing
The skin needs proper air circulation to tan properly, so if you are someone who wears tight bottoms like leggings, skinny jeans, and tights, you might face difficulty while tanning. That’s because tight clothing can rub against your legs and exfoliate the tan from the skin. Similarly, too much rubbing or massaging can affect the tanning on your legs, so try and avoid it.
Tips To Quickly Get Tanned Skin On Legs
Now that we have discussed the problems, we can move on to the solutions. The following tanning tricks can help you get that golden glow on your legs:
1. Remove Dead Skin Cells
One of the easiest ways to make your light skin hold the tan is by removing the layer of dead skin cells. This layer might be the reason your tanning spray isn’t able to penetrate the skin effectively.
It also stands true if you are aiming for sun exposure to get tan. So, you can clear the clogged pores and cleanse your skin using a gentle exfoliator or body scrub.
However, note that too much exfoliation can rip the skin off its natural oil, and the skin on your legs is anyway drier compared to other parts. This can do more harm than good if you aren’t careful and we recommend using a gentle scrub to remove the dead cells without dehydrating your skin.
2. Position Yourself Correctly In A Tanning Bed
Remember Ross’s mishap with tanning in the popular sitcom series ‘Friends’? If you do, it was majorly because of wrong timing and wrong positioning.
Jokes apart, your position in tanning beds can seriously affect your tanning. While it’s no rocket science, and you just need to lay still, your legs are likely to get less exposure that way. What you can do is, book another tanning session and cover your upper body this time around.
That way, your leg skin will get a double session of tan, which will most probably give the legs the same shade as the rest of your body. And your upper body will be spared from getting darker than you want.
3. Use Tanning Body Lotion
Once your tanning session is over, your legs will start losing the tan over time. But to avoid that, you can use tanning accelerators like bronzer and tanning lotion. Self-tanners work, though not as effectively as tanning sessions in salons but they are great for aftercare and can make your tan stay for a longer period.
While many people believe that they contain too many chemicals, we would like to bust the myth. There are plenty of organic options on the market that are made of natural ingredients and won’t harm your skin. They stimulate melanin production in your legs and are quite effective if applied before sunbathing.
4. Avoid Waxing Or Shaving
As discussed, hair removal can make your tan dull, giving you uneven, lighter, and darker areas. It’s best to shave or wax 12 hours before your session and avoid it for at least a week afterward. You want the tan to stay, and disturbing your skin and opening the pores is not a good idea at all.
5. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Next, tan sticks much better to hydrated and well-maintained skin, so make sure to drink plenty of water and include vitamin C in your diet. For that, you can have cucumbers, lemonade, citrus fruits, etc.
Additionally, apply loads of moisturizer and SPF, as increased exposure to the sun can raise the risks of skin cancer. You can also cut back on coffee too if it easily makes you feel dehydrated. The aim is to keep the skin soft and your body hydrated, so feel free to tweak your habits accordingly.
6. Wear Baggy Clothes
Avoid tight clothing and give your skin air to breathe, thus switching to skirts and shorts for a few days, will be excellent for your tan. This will also reduce the risks of your favorite pair of jeans getting stained because of tan, while exposure to sunlight will keep your legs glowing.
Q1. Can tan hide cellulite on legs?
Cellulite is less visible in darker tan as compared to light skin, and that’s why a lot of people use tanning sprays and lotions. However, cellulite can be aggravated due to increased exposure to the sun, so you’ll have to be careful.
Q2. Do you tan better with shaved or waxed legs?
Yes, tan sticks better to your skin if it is hairless, as removing the hair provides a smooth and even surface, which is great for tanning. But you need to do it at least 12 hours before a tanning session to ensure that the pores don’t stay open.
Tanning your legs is no easy feat, as they are least affected by tanning products or UV radiations owing to their anatomy. The skin on the legs is thick and dry, which naturally makes them less receptive to sunlight.
Additionally, skin cells within the legs produce less melanin, making it even more difficult to get a tan. But by exfoliating them properly and keeping them hydrated, you can achieve darker skin faster.
By avoiding the use of hair removal products and simply letting your skin breathe, you can make the tan last for a longer period. And even though it seems difficult, you can tan your legs much faster by following these simple trips.