Chances are good, we’ve all experienced it: Tan Leg Deficiency. (That’s NOT a scientific name – it’s an SBB “original”… LOL!) It’s when we feel like our legs just don’t have the same amount of color as the rest of our body. It’s a real thing, and I wanted to talk about it! What are some of the causes, and how to be proactive against it!

In part 1 of this series I’ll go over what causes TLD. Part 2 will cover how to prevent it.

Causes of Tan Leg Deficiency:

Skin Thickness:

A factor that contributes to how effectively an area tans is how thick the skin in that area is. Areas with thicker skin seem to have more problems absorbing UV light or sunless solution that makes it more difficult to achieve the tan you desire. Most of the skin on your legs is thicker than it is in comparison to other areas of your body. This prevents the light or spray tan solution from penetrating properly and working with your melanin to create the tan you’re after.


When it comes to achieving the perfect glow, melanin is what is going to make that happen. This is a pigment found all over in the body, but mostly in the skin. Everyone has varying amounts of melanin – thus how each person tans differently.
When melanin is exposed to UV rays, it darkens. This is also true with sunless, as well. Natural sunlight, bulbs in tanning beds and spray tan solution can help to “activate” the melanin pigments in your skin but some areas don’t seem to darken as well as others.
Different parts of your body have different levels of melanin in them. This seems to especially affect the legs. Generally speaking, legs are one area that don’t have an abundance of this pigment. That said, since legs don’t have as much melanin as say, your arms, you’ll often feel the legs aren’t tanning as dark or as quickly as the rest of your body.


Dryness of Skin: **THIS IS A BIG ONE!**

Dry skin is the archenemy of ANY tan for a couple of reason: Firstly, dry skin tends to act as a reflective barrier to light & sunless solution, preventing it from penetrating the skin and getting through to the melanin. Obviously, without at least ONE of these, your melanin can’t get darker. The skin on your legs tends to be drier, & seems to exfoliate at a faster rate. Anytime the skin is exfoliated – whether on purpose, or because it’s on the dry side, it results in any tan you do achieve being rubbed away through natural or purposeful processes. Beauty routines of shaving & exfoliating also plays into this process by drying the skin out even more and exfoliating the layers of skin, including the tanned ones.

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