Why Don't My Legs Tan? - The reasons why legs don't tan anymore

Heidi Reid

Posted on April 22 2015

                Photocred: @tansbyrachael using @customtan

Amazing fake tan - tick, but why aren't my legs tanning?  Or worst still - why do I have brown dots in my pores? 

The skin is thinnest on the front of your legs, specifically your shins.  Because the skin is thin there, it might mean that you are likely to loose tan there quickest.  Why, because your skin is constantly regenerating and legs often wear tights, and tights often rub, and rubbing often removes tan.  You see?

Also - be careful if you are shaving.  A fake tan will stay on your skin as long as the skin stays on your body.  If you are shaving your legs, chances are you're also shaving off your tan.  So - make sure any shaving or waxing is done before your spray tan - but not too soon before hand.

I had this conversation with a client of mine last week, I told her that I could see that she'd just raced home from work, showered, shaved her legs and come for her tan appointment.  She looked at me in awe as to how I could tell.  Simply, I could tell from looking at her skin.

When clients shave, and particularly they wax, the skin's pores are open.  This means that anything you apply over the top of it, can inhibit the ability for us spray tan technicians to apply to an even base.  It also means that when the pores do close, the spray tan bronzer will be locked underneath, resulting in ghastly dots

If you want tanned legs, avoid: 

  • Taking long hot baths or showers 
  • Avoid wearing tights that rub on your skin  


  • Shaving and waxing atleast 12-24 hours before your tan appointment 
  • Keep your legs constantly moisturised to maintain your tan and build it up.  To maintain your tan, you'll need to lock it in.  We recommend a 24 hour hydrating moisturiser like our vanilla bean moisturiser.  Click on the pic for more information. 

How long will your tan last?

ANY sunless tan is only going to last on your skin as long as the skin cells applied stay put.  You can add further colour by blending some fake tan in with your moisturiser, or alternate with moisturiser and the following day top up your tan.  

The Custom Tan Self Tanning and Instant Bronzer mousse has been voted Australia's Best Fake Tan 3 times.  You can grab it in regular or ultra dark, and will get atleast 10 full body applications from one bottle grab yours here.  



You've probably gathered that I like to help.  If you are new to Custom Tan, these posts are some of my most helpful-est:

You can also learn more about me, and Custom Tan - check out our Start Here page. 

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Thankyou x 

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  • Pam : October 02, 2019

    Hi! Ive lived in the sun my whole life. Although, I’m a redhead with blue eyes, I got really dark. About five or so years ago, my body just stopped tanning, period. I think because of my age, my body stopped producing melanin. I’ve been using sunless tanning, which looks like the real thing. Just don’t look too closely. I made my first appointment with a dermatologist, because I want her to check my body for any suspicious places. My mother has had several noncancerous places removed from her body. Anyway, thank you so much for the self-tanner tips. Love that you’re an advocate and you’re promoting self-tanning. I will subscribe to your page for new things you find out. Thank you!! OX..

  • hly in GA: June 05, 2016

    Hi there! Finally an answer. My legs stopped tanning- in fact, burn badly and swell, then go back to a lovely pale- and this is the first decent answer I’ve found as to why. I was a nut brown little girl, but my tan has changed since I reached 30 (as in, it doesn’t happen on my legs). WedMD just warned of the dangers of cancer, but had no real answer.
    Thank you. I’ll be moisturizing my legs more often, ditching the skinny jeans in the summer, and maybe find them looking a darker shade of pale soon!

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