Aged “mature” skin can be difficult to work with.

Skin will have more UV damage, time related wear and tear, fine lines, wrinkles, dry or scaly patches,skin growths, and laxness.

It will normally exfoliate faster naturally, and often unevenly, which can lead to a faster fading tan. The tan may not absorb as smoothly and evenly, as with younger skin.

A common client complaint is the appearance of “new” dark spots, which appear only AFTER spraying.

These look like moles or “age spots”, or odd dark “splats”

They will always appear in the exact same location, with repeat tans, even when you have exfoliated off all old color. They may feel flat or slightly raised.

The spots are a type of transparent raised growth, (there is more than one type, Actinic Keratosis, Seborrheic Keratosis, skin tags) related to aged or UV damaged skin, or damaged skin areas from friction. They increase with age, and often temporarily darken from sunless tanner use.  Their texture is dryer then surrounding skin, and they absorb solution heavily.

On untanned skin, they often start out clear (unseen)  or paler then surrounding skin, and cannot be felt when gliding fingertips over the skin surface.  But with time, some may gradually begin to protrude slightly above the skin surface, and may darken from excess skin pigmentation, even when sunless tanning products are not used.

Avoiding UV exposure,  (and adequate sunscreen use) will lessen natural pigment related darkening, but not always prevent it. Skin lighteners can lighten pigment related darkening, but will not effect temporary darkening from sunless products. Exfoliation, especial acid based, can lessen skin pigmentation darkening.

These spots are not caused by sunless tanning use, but are the result of the skin aging process. They may temporarily become visible (darken) with regular self-tanner use, because the “spot” is temporarily darkening from the use of self-tanners. The color is more concentrated in this area. The tinted “spot” color will fade slower then surround skin. But it will fade with time, and exfoliation, assuming no sunless products are not reapplied in the area.

They are very common on the legs, which also have more UV damage, on many women. Also seen on other areas of  regular sun exposure (arms, shoulders, backs, chest, hands)

It is very difficult, even impossible, to completely eradicate them. But you can help them look better.

Here is an example below, on my leg, after self tanning. When untanned, most are not visible, though some are very faintly pigmented, like a pale freckle. Most people on casual inspection would not see them, or think they are freckles. Most are flat, some are raised slightly. As I have aged, more have become raised, and have darkened with time. (I am in my early fifties). They have increased with my age, even when I go through many months of no sunless product usage, or UV exposure.

When tanned, they will darken . When using a dark bronzer tanning solution products, they are much darker. (almost look inky)

Spots always appear in the exact same spot, same shape, and size.  This indicates they are not spatters or solution drips, but an issue with the skin surface.

See image below, For myself the issue is mostly my legs, and primarily the backs of knees . Though entire leg exhibits these “spots” it is more distinct in these areas. With ageing, they have also started to appear on my arms.

This is a medium tan, that is about two days old, bronzer is washed away. When my tan is first applied they are less visible (though still visable), within  few days as fading starts, they become more distinct. (contrast between spots and surround skin is more pronounced. So they stand out more)

Note: I have older skin, and am a skin type 2-3 , went to tanning beds for many years when younger. I have a lot of UV damage on legs and back from many sunburns in youth, and tanning bed use. The spots are most visible on my legs, which coincidentally, is also where most of my teenage sunburns occurred.  I also have a few spots on my arms, and quite a few on my chest between my breast (also a location of many very bad sunburns), but legs are the worst for me.

Click image below, to expand to full size, so you can best appreciate the “lovely” detailed “freckle effect”



Some things that will help.


Make sure skin is well exfoliated. Aged skin may have areas that are a bit dryer, and produce a dotty or uneven look in tanning. Exfoliation regularly can help. An exfoliating glove, pad or mitt, with a mild shower gel works well.

Our TBT Exfoliation mitt set, is an example product type. This is both gentle on the skin, easy to use, and provides a nice exfoliation action. By adjusting pressure, client can adjust the degree of exfoliation action, so they can use the pressure that feels best for their skin needs.

Moisturize PRE TAN:

Premoisterizing skin with our Moistaire Dry Oil Hydration treatment may help for some clients. This is a Dry Oil spray formulated for safe use before applying your spray tanning solution. When applied correctly (do not over apply) it will not hamper Sunless tan development or penetration. It absorbs quickly, and can also be used for daily moisturizing.

This will premoisten dry areas, and help create a “Buffer”, which will allow the tanning solution to develop more even and smoothly, especially for skin with fine lines, age spots and other mature skin related issues. I personally really like this on lower legs, and the face, for skin with fine lines, ages spots, and invisible spots that tan darker.

Bronzer Type and Depth:

Use a solution product with a lighter Bronzer, like Revive, which is moisturizing and works better with older skin.  Some of the darker bronzer products, like Tan Envy or Rapid, for example, can make spots darken even more intensely. So would not be recommended.

DHA Level:

Use a lighter DHA product. Try a product in the range of 6%, 7% and 8% DHA. 10% and higher can be too dark for this type of skin. Skin also will appear less aged and younger, when the tan is a bit lighter, as opposed to “dark”.

Solution Shower Off Timing:

Do not leave solution on too long. Leaving solution on over 8 hours, helps “spots” absorb more or “to much” color. Shower at 6- 8 hours to help them absorb less. Tan will be slightly lighter, but spots will also be lighter.

Stay on top of exfoliation and reapplication timing:

At least for myself, the more time passes, and the more my tan fades, the worse they (spots) look. So for me, it is very important to exfoliate and reapply a touch up coat after 4-5 days of fading. (each client must use the time that works best for their needs)

If I ignore this step, the tan very quickly degrades to a spotty mess, that is hard to completely exfoliate evenly. Usually then I need to exfoliate it all off, and start over again. This is never a fun thing.

The key is to find the day the tan first looks bad, and when you exfoliate then, and reapply – you are unable to blend in the spots as well. This is the “Point of No Return” day. After this day, no matter what you do, it all goes downhill.

Plan to exfoliate lightly and ether do a touch up coat; (this gives you a few days before a heavier exfoliation and new fresh tan) –  or do a heavy exfoliation and reapply an entire new fresh tan, about 1-2 days before the “Point of No return” day.

Try ether method to see which option will work best for your needs.

The darker the tan, and fairer the client is untanned, the sooner this day will be. Skin dryness, lifestyle, hobbies and so on will all alter when this day falls for each client.

I work out very heavily daily, with lots of sweating, and rarely moisturize as I should, which effects this date/time-frame. I am very fair.

Taking Some Down Time:

About every 4-6 weeks the “spots” may get very dark from repeated tanning. Have the client take a break from tanning for a week or so, and exfoliate skin carefully, every day or every other day, to remove as much color buildup on the dark spots as possible. This will allow them to start tanning again, with less spots.

Older skin may be more delicate, and prone to dryness, so frequent moisturization, especially when client is regularly exfoliating, can benefit the skin, and provide a replacement of “healthier” new skin tissues, upon regrowth.

As the tan fades, the “spots” may become more visible – as they do not fade as fast.  They will eventually fade back to normal, with exfoliation and time. But can take a few weeks or longer, depending on skins normal exfoliation rate.

Temporary FAST FIX:

For a quick fix to help spots look better on legs, before you go out, apply a water restive body makeup product, such as Sally Hansen Air brush legs (or similar)

Water restive bronzers/Body make-up products, with a tint and light defusing particles, help the legs look smoother and less dotty. They will not completely cover spots – but makes them look much less dramatic.

Sally Hansens Airbrush legs is a bit tricky to color match, its a bit to “yellow” for me. But with blending, I can make it work. But once you find the correct shade, it can be a life saver. It’s also terrific when your feet, hands or chest are fading a bit too fast, and you want to spot refresh color.  I use it on arms also to boost color, as tan is fading.

Great to use if you are at the “Point of No Return” day, and can’t refresh color right now.

Mix with a bit of moisturizer if you find it difficult to blend, You can also mix two shade together too customize.

It is available at most drug stores and comes in a range of shades. It comes in an aerosol or a lotion. I prefer the lotion personally.

This is a temporary, water resistant, low transfer, Body Makeup. It washes away with soap and water.

I used to use  (and love) MAC Cosmetics Sun Sheen/Leg Sheen/Skin Sheen  Leg Makeup (names changed every season)- which was a lovely Body makeup mousse, but is discontinued now.  You can still find a few old ones around on Ebay, but I would worry about quality, as these are a few years old now. And they tend to be very overpriced.

I have one can I am hording for important events. I was an excellent color match for my sunless tan, and had some nice pearl essence particles which made legs look amazing.

Have a great week everyone, see you next TECH TIPS TUESDAY, when I Blog again – Vicki


Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Sally Hansen, MAC Cosmetics, etc, nor do I receive any compensation from use of their product line. I am employed as a product consultant with Tampa Bay Tan (and other company’s) but I do not receive commission or payment from  mentions of, or customer purchases of the products mentioned.

All Information provide is for education reasons only, or examples of general product types, that can be used.