Ever wondered why your legs don’t tan as fast as the rest of your body?
There’s nothing like a bit of a tan to make you feel more confident, especially when you’re wearing a swimsuit. Often though, the body doesn’t tan at the same rate and it’s hard to achieve an all-over even colour. Here’s why:
- Melanin is the natural substance in your body that tans the skin when you go in the sun – it’s also responsible for skin pigmentation and the dark colour of skin. Compared to the rest of the body, skin on the legs does not produce the same amount of melanin, which means legs get less tanned.
- The skin on most areas of your legs is thicker and harder than the rest of your body and ultraviolet (UV) rays can’t easily penetrate it. The skin here is also dryer, resulting in quicker exfoliation of the outer layers. On top of that, dry skin deflects UV light, making the whole tanning process less effective.
- For women, the process of tanning their legs can be more difficult because we tend to depilate more frequently – shaving especially exfoliates the top layers of already tanned skin.
- The shins – the area of skin that covers the front of your legs – is comparatively thin and so more prone to dehydration and sun damage, as are the backs of your hands, which is why these areas often develop dark spots more easily than other areas.
The perfect tan is an even sunkissed colour – not too dark, that lasts as long as possible, and the skin hasn’t got burned. Here are Kate’s top tips on getting a quicker, more even and less damaging tan on your legs:
- Exfoliate before going in the sun – especially the skin on your legs. Using an exfoliating scrub will remove any dry, dead skin that can block or deflect UV light and leaves skin clean and soft, ready for an application of sunscreen and to receive a few rays.
- Avoid waxing and shaving. If you try to wax or shave your legs right after being in the sun, you will end up removing the top layers of your newly tanned skin. Give it a few days at least before depilating.
- Keep your skin moisturised. Skin on your legs tends to be dryer so keeping it moisturised both before and after being in the sun maximises a tan. Smooth, hydrated skin assists UV light absorption and intensifies melanin production.
- Protect broken veins. Apply sunscreen to your entire body at least 20 minutes before going in the sun, and always use full block on areas where there are spider veins or varicose veins. Broken veins can look worse in summer because increased temperatures cause the veins to dilate and enlarge.