Fashion & Beauty

How to Make Bare Legs Prettier After 50

Have you noticed how bare legs are fashionable everywhere right now? It’s not just during hot weather – it continues during cool weather, too. We admire the look but we all know that having beautiful sleek legs can be difficult for most women over 50. Large veins, blotches, bruises and pigment loss are all issues we wish we didn’t have. About half of all people over 50 are affected by varicose veins, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. There are other problems too, including spider veins – the tiny bluish ones.

However, legs can look beautiful with the right approach. Try these fixes for legs over 50. (Yes, exercise is good too.)

1. Exfoliating Legs to Make Skin Smoother

Exfoliating Gloves

These loose gloves are woven from roughly textured fibers. They are best used during a warm shower or bath. Rub your skin briskly, in a circular motion, to remove dead skin particles and increase circulation. Linda Exfoliating Bath Gloves, Pack of 4

Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub

Legs can be scrubbed with a mixture of sugar and olive oil to smooth out the skin. Make it fresh so that the sugar doesn’t dissolve too much. You can add some lemon juice to make a more pleasant experience, but be careful not to use it after you’ve just shaved. This is a natural, non-chemical scrub but it can be more difficult to use.


Cosmetic Scrubs

Department stores and drug stores carry many exfoliating scrub pastes. Many of them are formulated with appealing ingredients such as fragrances, Himalayan salt and essential oils for a pleasant experience.

2. Spray Tan for Legs

Darkening your legs can minimize the colors of blotches and spider veins by creating an attractive, tanned look. Now that we know lying in the sun is a health issue, we can use other sunless options to achieve a sun-kissed glow.

Home Self-Tans

A variety of sprays and lotions are available for home use, but finding one that won’t turn your legs orange is important. After showering and drying your skin, apply the tanning lotion to your legs or wherever you like. Rubber gloves can be useful to help spread around the lotion for more evenness. Some people prefer using their hands directly for more control. If you touch the self-tan lotion, your hands will need to be thoroughly washed to avoid stains. Neutrogena is an especially popular brand. For a natural looking gradual approach you might try Neutrogena Build-A-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning.

Tanning booths

If you go to a tanning salon remember that you will probably need to exfoliate with a scrub at home before going in for a treatment. For stand-up spray tans in a small booth, you control the spray by twisting your body around in front of the jets. (Be sure to wash the palms of your hands afterward.) At first it can be a bit tricky but it’s a very popular method.

Salon Tan

In the salon, you will stand naked in a little booth or tent (a tiny thong is usually offered if you want it). The operator moves the spray gun around your body to create an airbrushed look. If you only want to tan your legs, you can discuss personalized options with the salon ahead of time. A nose mask is also suggested, in order to avoid breathing in the spray.

3. Leg Makeup

These products have really improved over the years. They’re now easier to apply, last much longer, don’t rub off on your clothes. You can wash them off in the shower with soap and water. Match your own skin tone or go darker as you wish.

They work much like foundation makeup used on your face to conceal flaws. Remember that you need to smooth them out with your hands and wash your hands afterward. Try Dermablend Leg and Body or Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

They should be applied while you’re naked in the bathroom at least a couple hours before the event so you don’t feel rushed – it does last. Practicing ahead of time is also good to remove anxiety about the process.


The popularity of tattoos, and the need to sometimes hide them, has been a big incentive for the development of heavier coverage products. They can also be applied to cover scars, blemishes, veins and any other marks. Tattoo Concealer, Professional Waterproof Scar Concealer Hiding Spots Birthmarks Makeup Cover Up Skin Camouflage Cream Set

4. Toeless Pantyhose

As you know from years of wearing pantyhose, legs tend to look better when smoothed over by sheer fabric. The problem is that when wearing a peep toe shoe or sandals, the pantyhose covering the toes is unsightly. Now there are a few clever toeless styles to help with this.

Donna Karan has very sheer toeless pantyhose. They’re super-fine so that they look virtually invisible, They’re quite effective in giving a smooth glow to the legs which looks very close to bare. The Commando brand is toeless with a control top. For toeless hose be sure to conceal the edge of the toe hole inside the shoe as best you can. (Check this carefully, as it won’t work with some shoe styles.)




5. Medical Procedures to Improve Skin on Legs – Spider Veins and Varicose Veins


This procedure is best for small spider veins which often develop in women over 50. The larger veins may be treated after evaluation of them. A saline (salt water) solution is injected into the veins, causing them to harden and become scar tissue. Blood reroutes through other veins while the treated vein eventually disappears. This technique has been around since the 1930s.

Relatively minor pain is involved in the treatment, but you do need to wear heavy compression stockings afterwards and avoid certain activities. Several treatments are usually required. The veins disappear over a period of three to six weeks for spider veins, and several months larger veins. Unless there are medical issues or pain, insurance is unlikely to cover the procedure for spider veins, and it’s not 100% successful in every case.

Laser Treatment

A blast of laser can make very small spider veins disappear. While this technique is easier and faster, it has proven to be less successful than others.

Varicose Vein Treatments

These large, and sometimes painful, veins can develop for many reasons – heredity, birth control pills, hormone replacement, weight gain and many others. Some varicose veins will respond to sclerotherapy, but many require more serious treatment such as radio frequency thermal ablation, vein stripping, endoscopic vein surgery and other procedures. Treatments, aftercare and risks should be thoroughly discussed with a physician experienced in these specialties before undergoing the procedure.

photo: Shutterstock.com

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  • Dianne Morris

    I was invited to a summer cocktail party by a pool. Having just come from New York, my legs looked pale and blotchy. I’d packed toeless hose and self tanning gel but the panty hose looked artificial in that environment and there was no time for self tanning. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs rescued me. It worked really well for cover-up color until I washed it off in the shower next morning. (Didn’t rub off on the sheets either.) I used Medium Glow for light to medium skin tones.

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