How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Tanning?



by Lydia


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Skin tanning is a straightforward process, but you will need to know some crucial information before you begin. First, it is necessary to fully understand how the tanning session works and what you require for a successful tan. You know how sticky and hot you can get after tanning if you have done it before. So how long should you wait to shower after tanning? Keep reading to find out!

Should You Shower After Tanning?

Before we understand how long you should wait to shower after a tanning session, let us first know if you are supposed to shower in the first place. Of course, you will need to shower eventually to get rid of sweat and all chemicals that could irritate after a tanning session.

During tanning sessions, regardless of the method you opt for, your skin will be exposed to a substantial stress level, leading to a lot of sweating. During the process, the sweat produced by your body is accumulated in your skin pores leading to clogging, which is a huge risk for your skin's health.

Sunless tanning sessions require you to use tanning accelerators like a spray tan or tanning lotion that will most likely contain many chemicals. Most of the chemicals are very effective for tanning, but they will have harmful side effects if left on your body for long durations.

Surprisingly, the best way to keep an even skin tone and color after tanning is to avoid showering immediately. Instead, keeping your skin hydrated with the best moisturizing lotion will prevent your skin from drying out, particularly for dry skin.

Having understood that, let's dive in and see how long you should wait to have a shower after the tanning process.

How Long Should You Wait to Shower After Tanning?

A post tanning shower will most definitely affect the entire process. Most tanners believe that the tanning process should take 2 to 3 days before you take a shower. However, different factors may affect the waiting time, such as the tanning method, your products, and your skin type.

We will look at the three main tanning methods and the appropriate waiting time.

1. Tanning Bed

Tanning bed sessions entail UV rays penetrating your skin and encouraging the skin cells to produce melanin. The most important thing about the tanning bed method is that you can use Bronzing lotion or bronzer Bronzers to make the process more effective. However, you should use products specifically designed for the tanning bed. Also, you could use what the tanning salons use.

The production of melanin will be a means of skin-protecting you from exposure to UV light. Melanin is a dark brown pigment that your body makes to give you tanned skin. Therefore it is not a product that can be easily washed off using water. It usually takes up to 2 days or 48 hours to visibly see a change in your complexion.

The best part about using this UV tanning method is that you will not need to wait long before showing. If you dint use any bronzer, tanning lotion, or tanning accelerator, you can shower immediately after the tanning session. However, you should wait for at least 20 to 30 minutes after you hop out of the tanning booth for your skin and body to cool down naturally to get a full effect of the process.

If you are using tanning products or accelerators before and during the UV tanning process, you will need to wait for a longer period. If you used a tanning bronzer when you had your tanning bed session, it is advisable to wait for at least 2 to 4 hours before showering if you are using a tanning bed.

2. Spray Tanning

A spray tan is a process that requires you to stay in your spray tan tent for a while. Bronzers are sprayed on your body using tanning guns or tanning machines during spray tanning. So basically, the products are on your skin, and a shower after tanning would not be a great idea.

During a spray tan session, you will use tanning lotions that contain bronzers, causing a temporary tan. Most tanning lotions used for this method contain dihydroxyacetone or DHA, which sits on your skin surface and oxidizes, causing a dark color.

Showering immediately after the spray tanning session could cause the tan to fade away and cause uneven tan. Unlike the tanning booths or tanning beds stimulated by UV rays, the tanning spray will not produce melanin. Instead, spray tanning uses liquid tanning products to stain or tan your skin.

Accordingly, showering directly after a spray tanning session will wash away the products from your skin rendering the whole process useless. More so, it will give you uneven tanning. So for excellent results, it is advisable to wait for at least 3 to 4 hours before showering.

3. Sunbathing

Sun tanning or sunbathing is another effective tanning method favorable for those with sensitive skin. This method does not require you to use a bronzer or any other tanning accelerator, so a shower shortly after the tanning session will be fine. However, it is necessary to know that the ideal time to tan using this method is usually between 10 am and 4 pm.

However, if you use any tanning lotion or tanning bronzer before or during the process, you will need to wait for 3 to 4 hours before showering to get the best possible tan. Remember you can immediately shower after tanning if you dint use any accelerators.

How to Shower After Tanning?

After a tanning session, you will require to take a shower regardless of the period you waited for. If you want to capitalize on the tanning session, here is how to shower after tanning:

1. Use lukewarm water

Regardless of the method you use, you should use lukewarm water to shower after tanning. A tanning session causes stress to your body, so you should avoid using hot showers or hot water.

Again while showering, it is advisable to take a shower, not a bath. This is because the water will wash away the natural and fake products, unlike in bathtubs.

2. Avoid using soap

After a tanning session, it is advisable not to use soap to clean your body. However, you could use mild soap in places like the armpits and groin. Since most bathing soaps are designed to break down natural body oils and other fake tanning oils, you don't want them to break the one you got for the tanning products you used.

Nevertheless, if you have to use any soap, you should use non-fragrant soaps. Also, remember that using harsh soaps will rip off the oils you got from your tanning lotions, but it will also affect your skin, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin.

3. Do not exfoliate

Exfoliation should be done before the tanning session. Exfoliating after the tanning session will remove the tanning lotions and bronzer causing uneven tanning or even rendering the whole process useless.

4. Pat dry the skin

After your shower, avoid rubbing your body with a towel. Typically you will need to pat your skin dry to prevent removing the tanning solution or the moisture in your skin. Remember keeping your skin well hydrated is the ultimate goal.

5. Apply moisturizer

After patting your skin dry, applying a high-quality moisturizer to prevent skin dehydration is necessary. Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid are considered the best after a tanning session. Remember, after using UV tanning beds, your skin becomes more dehydrated, and you may need a stronger moisturizer. Applying the moisturizer will also benefit you if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Importance of the First Shower After Tanning?

After tanning, the first shower plays a vital part in achieving a perfect tanned skin tone. If you are out under the sun or using an indoor tanning lotion, showering will determine the shade and tone of your tan.

You will find that most people oppose the idea of showering after tanning. However, having observed the right waiting time, here is the importance of the first shower:

1. Provides Cooling Effect

As mentioned, tanning exposes your body to stress and could even damage the skin. Therefore taking a shower will provide a cooling effect and soothes the stress.

2. Rinses Away The Chemicals On Your Skin

If you are applying tanning lotion or other accelerators like artificial pigments, toners, or bronzers, you need to shower after tanning. Even high-quality tanning products contain chemicals that could potentially damage your skin if left on for long.

Taking a shower will remove all the chemicals and reduce the chances of having clogged pores, acne, skin irritation, and other skin-related disorders.

3. Keeps your skin hydrated

In addition to rinsing the chemicals in the tanning products, having a cool shower will help keep your skin well hydrated. As we stated earlier, if you get UV exposure for a tanning bed, your skin will most likely become dehydrated. Therefore to add hydration, taking a shower will help.

4. Freshens you up

If you have been in a tanning salon or you have had an indoor tanning session at home, you will need to at least take a quick shower to freshen up after all the sweating. You will feel dirty if you continue with your normal activities after a tanning session, so taking a shower will help.

Tips on How to Maintain a Great Tan

Following the right process will guarantee a great tan, as indicated earlier. Even so, you will need to know how to keep the tan on your body for as long as possible. In addition to following the right procedure, you can follow a few tips we provided to help keep that glow for a longer time.

  1. Invest in high-quality products. Investing in the best products will give you exceptional results and protect your skin from exposure to harsh chemicals.

  2. You don't want your skin dehydrated. Having a hot shower can be relaxing, but it will get your skin dehydrated much faster. When the skin is dry, it tends to peel, resulting in tan fading.

  3. Apply a great moisturizer. If you are spray tanning or using tan beds for melanin production, you should invest in a good moisturizer. The moisturizer will also help keep your skin moisturizer, minimizing tan fading.

  4. Apply shower oil. If you want to maintain a gorgeous tan, using the shower oil will help. These products are formulated to deliver very high doses of moisture to your skin.

  5. Taking lots of water will also help maintain the tan for longer. After a tanning session, it is recommended that you drink a lot of water and avoid sugary beverages like sodas or juices. Drinking the water will help with skin hydration and extend the life of your skin cells.

  6. For spray tanning, you will need to keep the application tools properly and maintain a very high standard of hygiene.

  7. You will need to store the tanning lotions and bronzers in the right places to avoid spillage and spoilage. Remember, some of these products will require you to keep them in the dark areas to avoid direct contact with sun rays.

  8. When you are planning to get tanned, you must be insured

  9. If you are pregnant, you must consult your doctor before using any tanning method. There will be no issues if you are sun-kissed for a few hours, but you need to be very careful if you want sunless tanning methods.

  10. If you are using any electrical appliances for the tanning session, you need to make sure that they are thoroughly tested before use.

  11. The secret to having a longer tan is to create a simple, easy, and manageable routine to maintain.

  12. Eat food rich in beta carotenes can recreate the glow of sun-kissed skin from the inside. The best food in this category includes apricots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots.


In conclusion, how long you should wait to shower after tanning will depend on the method you choose to go with. However, give it at least a couple of hours before showering, regardless of your method. If you are using the tanning bed or UV tanning, you should wait for up t 20 minutes before showering. For tanning lotions and bronzers, showering should be at least 2 to 3 hours after tanning.

Image credit: beauticure.com


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