Why won’t my lower legs tan?

I received comments as to how good my legs looked and how could they get legs like mine?


If you have lower legs that won’t tan please don’t despair.  As a Tanning Technician I also suffered from lower legs that wouldn’t tan.  That was until I decided to find out why and then find a solution.

According to the Edinburgh University our body parts don’t all tan the same way.  Our legs and in particular our lower legs tan differently for the following reasons:

  1. The skin is thinnest on the front of our legs, specifically our shins;
  2. Legs are naturally low in moisture and become dryer with normal activities;
  3. Your legs may not produce as much melanin as the rest of your body;
  4. If you are shaving your legs, you’re also shaving off your tan;
  5. Wearing tight leggings, stockings and jeans rubs against the skin and rubs off your tan;
  6. Taking showers and baths that are too hot.






Olivia Foley, tanning professional and nominee for IMAGE 2018 Business of Beauty Awards advocates “Preparation is key. The better condition your skin is in, the better the application. Exfoliate the day before you apply your tan and keep your skin hydrated in the days before your tan application with lots of moisturiser, but no moisturiser on the day.”

I totally agree with Olivia.  Your skin does need to be in good condition.  You do have to exfoliate and you do have to moisturise.  But what if that’s not enough?  What if you do all of that and your lower legs still won’t tan up?  This is my dilemna,  or I should say, was my dilemna.  The following worked amazingly well for me which gives me great pleasure to share with you:





The solution to beautiful, tanned legs every time

After consulting with 2 cosmetic scientists who formulate lotions specifically for dermatologists and surgeons for their patients to repair and heal the skin after surgery, I learnt that you have to use a moisturiser containing macadamia and almond oil. These two, are the closest of all botanical oils to human sebaceous oil. They restore to adult skin an equivalent amount of the essential palmitoleic acid as is present in the youthful skin. Palmitoleic acid is an important building block in our skin and helps heal damage including blemishes, age spots, burns, wounds and skin scratches and is an active anti-microbial. Adding palmitoleic acid to mature skin restores skin integrity, fades out age spots and blemishes and adds brightness.

You also need to ensure that you use a moisturiser that will penetrate deep into the layers of the skin and not sit on the top of the skin.

As I found it a challenge to find a moisturiser that was budget friendly with either macadamia or almond oil I decided I would try just macadamia oil as my preferred moisturiser and see what happens.  I used the regular cooking variety that was labeled “pure” and “cold pressed”.  To my absolute amazement when I tanned my legs not only did they accept the tan, but highlighted the golden hues of the tan and gave my legs a really nice sheen. The tan stayed on my legs and faded out gradually like the rest of my body.  This Tanning Technician is very, very, very happy.  But not only that my legs got noticed!  In fact, I received comments as to how good my legs looked and how could they get legs like mine?  I later learnt that body oils don’t just hydrate, they also make your legs look longer, more toned and perfect to use before a night out.





The benefits of Macadamia and Almond Oils

Both Macadamia Oil and Almond Oil are a wonderful marriage for the skin both internally and externally and are so rich in essential fatty acids your skin will beg for more.

  • Their chemical profile is very similar to that of human sebum, perfect for mature and dry skin;
  • Non-greasy feel on the skin;
  • Palmitoleic acid is a potent antioxidant known to support healthy cells, hydrate and support skin healing;
  • Oleic acid is moisturising and an anti-inflammatory;
  • Phytosterols are protective, aiding in skin recovery, work like cortisone on the skin which helps to reduce itchiness and inflammation;
  • Phytosterols act as a penetration enhancer, delivering the all-important benefits to the deeper layers of your skin;
  • The linoleic fatty acid content means it’s great for a skin that has difficulty retaining moisture;
  • Linoleic acid restores the skin’s barrier function and keeps skin hydrated;
  • Macadamia and Almond oils contains the perfect ratio of essential fatty acids, that are not naturally created by the body. Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory, and Omega 6 work as a pro-inflammatory, which is why they are great oils for those who suffer from a sensitive skin condition.





How to prepare your legs for a flawless tan

  • use a hydrating exfoliator

Exfoliate the night prior to your appointment to smooth the skin surface.  However, not with a body brush or exfoliating glove.  The reason being, your legs, like mine, are probably dry and low in moisture, therefore you need an exfoliator which will not only scrub away the dead skin cells but hydrate your legs as well.  I found the best exfoliator was an organic one which I was able to prepare myself using 4 ingredients – Epsom salts, sea salt, raw brown sugar and olive oil.  The olive oil hydrated my skin and left it feeling soft and smooth.   For details please see the best organic pre tan body scrub.

  • Shave and wax at least 12-24 hours before your tan appointment

When you shave, and particularly wax, the skin’s pores are open.  This means that anything you apply over the top can affect the outcome for us spray tan technicians to achieve an even tan for you.  It also means when the pores do close, the spray tan bronzer will be locked underneath, resulting in brown dots.

  • Start to moisturise your legs a week before your scheduled appointment

Tanning is like a painting.  Unless there is a really well-prepared surface your tan will be streaky and patchy.  To ensure the best skin surface possible, start moisturising your legs a week before your scheduled tan appointment with either Macadamia or Almond oil to really hydrate and repair dry areas.  After your tan keep your legs constantly moisturised to maintain your tan.

Please note:  oils need water to help them absorb into your skin.  Please make sure your skin is damp when applying.


For more tanning tips information:

9 thoughts on “Why won’t my lower legs tan?

  1. Hello,

    I’m very happy that I found your blog. very informative and well-written article. You’ve made some good points here. My girlfriend always complains that her legs won’t tan. I will definitely show her this post. It’s nice to know that there are some natural products that can help. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful tanning tips! I’ve experienced this before, being furious as to why my legs would tan at a different rate, and this gives a good explanation for that one.

    No wonder my lower legs are often paler than the upper ones. I’ll be sure to follow your tips!

  3. Enjoyed this article and can totally relate!

    What about inner arms? Is this similar? Do the products and same advice apply to this area of the body as well?

    I have ALWAYS had difficulty with my inner arms and related it to decreased pigmentation…BUT…maybe there’s more to the story! ((:

    1. Your inner arms and stomach will always be lighter as they don’t get direct sun like other parts of our body. Moisturising advice is the same and product advice the same. When you go to get a fake tan ask the Tanning Technician to check all parts of your arms for even colour all over. This will ensure that your inner arms will be as close as possible in colour to your outer arms. Having said that you want a natural look. You want your inner arms to be lighter and your tan to give you a really healthy beautiful glow where people are commenting how well you look and where have you just holidayed. You are the hero and the one that should shine not your tan.

  4. Hi there i like your page when it touch about a topic that a guy wont understand perhaps. but it is a good writing and i enjoyed reading it so much. I also like that part when you mentioned about the benefits of macadamia, almond oil and how it will helps skin to be better. The review part, perhaps you can include some other products and methods that can helps you market geelong. however, i do feel that your theme is nice and look professional. That’s all from and thanks for the beautiful article review., please do comment my page as well any time at your convenience.


  5. Hi Jenene, I loved your post, being someone that was born in England but now lives in Tasmania, my legs hardly ever see the sun and when they do they are the last to actually tan. Your post is very informative, especially the part about waxing and shaving 12 to 24 hours before. I have always wondered why I get the little black dots and streaks. Thanks for the heads up,next time I will definitely follow your tips.

    1. Hello Tracy! thank you so much for your comments and am so happy you found my tanning tips for your legs helpful. Wishing you stunning, gorgeous, beautiful legs you want to show off for summer 🙂

  6. Hi there, I really enjoyed the article, my wife has tried many fake tans all with damaging chemical compounds to hold the tan to the skin. however, she has been using a natural sugar tan recently which only lasts a couple of days, will following the guidelines you talk about in your article help to maintain this longer?

    1. Hello Peter,
      From personal experience and from the feedback I received from my clients I can say yes. Some moisturisers will actually remove the colour. Here in Australia if you use Sorbelene or Q10 these will take the tan off because they are barrier creams. Another thing to be careful of also is if your wife is someone who tans weekly the skin can develop an immunity to the DHA which means the colour won’t hold. The solution is to give the skin a rest from tanning and tan every 2nd or 3rd week instead. She may also need to leave the tan on the skin longer. I hope that helps. If you have any further questions or would like any more help please email me at geelongorganicspraytanning@gmail.com and I will be happy to help as much as I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.