Shower After Tanning: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you use indoor tanning beds or you go out in the sun to achieve that golden glow, what you do after tanning is crucial. It’s very important to take care of your skin to make your tan last.  We understand your craving to take a shower especially when you use a tanning bed. The session heats your body up. You feel hot, sweaty, and have this strong urge to take a bath. 

So, is it okay to shower after tanning? Well, that depends on a number of factors, including the type of tanning session you had. In this article, we’re going to help you find that out. 

How Long Should You Wait to Shower After Tanning Bed?

How about we start by bursting a popular myth? Showering after tanning bed washes off your tan. Well, that is simply incorrect. You see, when UVA radiations penetrate into our skin, the skin cells produce melanin as a way of protecting itself from the UV rays. Melanin is the brown pigment that gives us tanned skin. Basically, you cannot just wash off melanin.

Your tan is not going to fade if you just decide to take a shower. So yes, it’s okay to take a shower. However, tanning sessions can leave your skin dry. And hot showers could strip away the skin’s natural oils. 

So, you should avoid hot showers. Also, do not use harsh soaps and body washes. They can also make your skin worse. Be sure to use lukewarm (or cold) water and you should be good. Showering won’t have any effect on your tanning results. 

Does that mean you don’t need to wait to shower after tanning bed sessions? Well, here comes the tricky part. Usually, you can shower right away. 

But if you’ve used a tanning bed lotion before or during the tanning session, showering right away will not be a good idea. You see, tanning bed lotions are formulated with ingredients that help boost melanin production and maximize the tan results. 

If you choose to take a bath immediately, you’re washing away the lotion before it could even work its magic. Therefore, you should wait at least 4 hours in case you’ve used an indoor tanning lotion. 

You can always ask the tanning salon experts for suggestions on how long to wait. It’s nice to have expert advice. 

Bottom line: You can shower immediately after indoor tanning sessions if you haven’t used bronzers or accelerators during the process. Otherwise, it is advised that you wait at least 4 hours. 

Is it Okay to Take a Shower After Spray Tanning Session?

No! Showering after a spray tanning session will fade away the tan. During a spray tanning session, a fine mist is sprayed onto the desired parts of your body. The mist contains an ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA.

The DHA reacts with the dead skin cells in your body and gives your skin that sun-kissed look. You get temporarily darken the skin when you use products that contain DHA.

Now, if you choose to shower after your spray tanning session, the DHA will wash off and you won’t be able to achieve the desired shade. And you’re more likely to get uneven tanning results which do not look very good.

Therefore, it’s best that you wait at least 6 hours for showering after a spray tanning session. For optimal results, you should wait for 8 hours to take a shower. That’s a good amount of time for DHA to work its magic. 

The tan will last you from 5 to 10 days but the results vary by shade. For example, darker shades can last up to 10 days whereas lighter to medium shades last from 5 to 8 days. 

But spray tanning is a great alternative to UV tanning or sun tanning as it’s completely safe. You get that bronzed skin without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays. So, if you’re someone who wants to play it safe, spray tanning is the way to go. 

Tips on How to Take a Shower After Tanning

showering tips

When going for a shower, there are a few things for you to keep in mind. Here are a few showering tips to make your tan last:

Avoid Hot Showers

The most important thing to remember is to avoid hot showers after tanning. Hot water can strip away the skin of its natural oils. You will be left with dry and pale skin. If you have sensitive skin, hot showers will make the symptoms worse. Therefore, you would want to avoid hot water at all costs, at least for the first 24 hours.

In general, cold showers are great for the skin. They improve blood circulation and make your skin healthy. 

No Soaps

The first shower you take after your tanning session should be a warm water rinse. Yeah, that’s it. No soaps, no cleansing gels, nothing! That’s because the soaps contain harsh ingredients. They not only make your skin dry but also wash off the bronzer thus preventing it from giving you bronzed skin. You’re free to use gentle body washes or soaps after 24 hours. 

Don’t Rub

After taking a shower, don’t rub your skin with a towel. Pat it dry. Rubbing the towel on your skin can erase the tan if you took a spray tanning session. Additionally, it can also remove natural oils from your skin. Remember to be gentle on your skin. 


The final thing to remember is to moisturize your skin immediately after you step out of the bathroom. Tanning sessions have the tendency to overdry your skin. Therefore, it’s important that you moisturize the moment you step out of the bathroom. Moisturizers prevent moisture loss and keep your skin healthy. 

How to Take Care of Your Skin After Tanning

Irrespective of the tanning session you had, here are a few tips to care for your skin after tanning:


Be it sun tanning or indoor tanning, your skin is dehydrated while you undergo those sessions. Drink water after you’re done tanning, it will keep your skin hydrated. You can bring a bottle of water along with you and drink it whenever you feel thirsty. Your skin will thank you for this. 

Apply Moisturizer

No doubt, tanning heats your body up. You can apply a moisturizer after tanning sessions. It will cool your body down. Moreover, moisturizing lotions can also add hydration to your skin. It’s a great way to make up for the moisture loss during the tanning process. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can be quite damaging. Moisturizers can help undo that damage. 

Wear Loose Clothes

If you had a spray tanning session, you should wear loose clothing after your tanning session. Loosely-fitted clothes won’t rub off the bronzer or whatever tanning lotion you used. You could wear sweatpants and a t-shirt. Whatever clothing you wear, make sure it’s not rubbing off on your skin. 

Eat Dark Chocolates

Yes, you read that right! This may come as a surprise but dark chocolates are actually very good for your skin. Dark chocolate contains flavanols that increase hydration and protect your skin from sun damage. So eating dark chocolate is a great way to take care of your skin when you’re trying to achieve that golden glow. 

Use Sunless Tanning Lotions

Sunless tanning lotions, when applied on tanned skin, can help retain color for a longer period of time. Make sure your skin is clean before you apply it. Exfoliation can be very helpful. Apply the lotion evenly for the best results. 

Give Your Skin Time to Recover

You run a risk of damaging your skin when you tan too often. Make sure to take a break between your tanning sessions. You don’t want to go too hard on your skin. Space your sessions 2 to 3 days apart. This will give your skin enough time to recover from UV damage from the previous tanning session.


Sure, there are a lot of ways to achieve a golden glow, but it’s critical that you follow the tips mentioned above for the best tan possible. If you don’t follow these rules, you might get unexpected results. The amount of time you need to wait to take a shower generally depends on the type of tanning session you had. Also, there’s no need to be afraid of taking a shower so long as you stick to the basics. 

Now you know how long you need to wait to shower after tanning. It’s time to get that sun-kissed glow! 

Also Read: When is the best time to tan during the day?

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