Is it bad to shower after tanning? That’s a good question. Let’s look at the reasons why it might be.
We understand you might be worried that getting wet will mess up your tan. It could, especially if you’ve used tanning accelerators, bronzer, or sunless tanner. Instant bronzer will wash off and that’s no big deal. But you’ll want to give self-tanner or tanning accelerators time to work before bathing.
Here are examples of products you won’t want to wash off right away
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
Tanners love this lotion because it’s luxurious and leaves the skin silky. Moreover, it prevents the after tan smell so there’s no need to rush off to the shower after a session.
It’s bronzer-free so it doesn’t stain towels or clothing. But it does contain tanning accelerators, and that’s what you don’t want to wash off right away.
These tanning intensifiers stimulate melanin production to help you tan faster. They include Melano Bronze, Nouritan, and the Quad Tyrosine Blend. With them, the beautiful bronze you achieve is all your own. Reviewers who are new to tanning express shock about how dark they get after only a couple of sessions when using this tanning lotion.
Furthermore, the formula features tattoo fade protection and rich moisturizers like cocoa butter and coconut milk. No wonder it has a pleasing vanilla coconut fragrance that lingers for hours on the skin.
- Tanning accelerators stimulate melanin production for a deeper, faster tan
- Leaves skin like silk
- Protects tattoos from fading
- Coconut vanilla fragrance neutralizes after tanning odor
Millennium Tanning Products: Dark Tanning Lotion
Here’s another indoor tanning lotion that you won’t want to shower off right away. It has a 100X bronzer for even deeper color than you could get by tanning alone. But that bronzer needs a few hours to work. Also, you’ll want to either wear gloves or wash your hands after applying it to prevent orange palms and stained cuticles.
If you have naturally pale skin, you may prefer the 50X version as it doesn’t have as much DHA and doesn’t develop as dark a tan.
Like all silicone-based tanning lotions, it’s non-greasy and makes the skin feel super soft. The fragrance is called Orchard Blush and it neutralizes the tanning odor.
The main downside to this product is that it contains parabens. On the upside, it’s infused with natural oils like walnut, hemp, and pecan as well as peptides and vitamins for firmer, healthier skin.
- Deep, dark bronzer maximizes each tanning session
- Orchard Blush scent neutralizes odors
- Makes skin feel extra soft
How long should you wait to shower after tanning?
If you didn’t use tanning lotion or get a spray tan, you can wash right after tanning. But if you used a product with DHA to make your tan go darker, you need to wait at least one hour and up to eight hours. Check the label or ask the tanning tech.
This sunless tanning product is a handy example:
Devoted Creations GOING DARKER DHA Bronzing Drops
DHA is dihydroxyacetone, the active ingredient in fake tan products. It interacts with the top layer of skin to turn it brown similar to the way that sliced apples change color. Indoor tanning lotions sometimes contain DHA because it creates the appearance of a base tan more rapidly than UV exposure does.
Tanning brand Devoted Creations has released concentrated DHA drops that you can add to your favorite lotion. The drops also contain melanin stimulators that encourage pigment production so that you tan naturally, too.
Lastly, banana enzymes and antioxidants from açai provide an anti-aging boost for your skin.
The only con is the Pink Sugar Fragrance which is pleasant in its own right but might clash with whatever lotion you add it to.
- Turns any moisturizer into a gradual tanning lotion
- DHA develops a natural-looking bronze without the need for sun exposure
- Melanin stimulators accelerate pigment production
- Anti-aging ingredients combat wrinkles
How long should you let a tan sit before showering?
At the risk of being repetitive, let’s just say that the answer depends on which products you used, if any.
If you’ve gotten a spray tan, you need to wait at least 4 and probably up to 8 hours before showering.
If you did a regular indoor tanning session with a lotion that does not contain tanning accelerators or bronzers (like DHA), it’s probably okay to shower right away.
But if you applied lotion with ingredients to stimulate melanin production or give you a fake tan, you’ll need to wait at least two hours and possibly as long as eight.
Will taking a shower mess up a tan?
If you’ve just laid out in the sun or had a session in a tanning bed, and you didn’t use a lotion that shouldn’t be washed off, taking a shower or bath won’t mess up your developing tan.
You probably already know that it takes a day or two to get darker after tanning. Even sunburn might not show up for a few hours and that’s a pretty quick reaction to your skin getting injured by UV rays.
The process of developing a tan is called melanogenesis. Skin cells called melanocytes produce pigment that makes the skin go darker. It’s not something you can wash off like a bronzer, and neither cold nor hot water will make a difference.
If you want to help your skin along in the process of building a tan, apply moisturizer when you shower after tanning. Try one of these after tanning products below:
Ed Hardy INK Tattoo & Color Fade Moisturizer Tan Extender
Enjoy it as your everyday body lotion, but especially remember to apply it after tanning. This tan-extending moisturizer does a lot of good for your skin.
First, it keeps tattoos bright and crisp – one of the many reasons why some folks use it every day whether or not they’re tanning.
Second, it’s designed to keep skin soft without making it greasy. One of the highlights is shea butter, Nature’s perfect moisturizer for dry or sensitive skin.
Third, it keeps you younger-looking with a hefty dose of antioxidants to combat premature aging. UV exposure and environmental pollution activate free radicals that cause wrinkles and age spots. But antioxidants like vitamins C and E and lotus extract neutralize them. Plus, the Body Fit formula helps make cellulite less noticeable.
Fourth, the lotion contains no wheat or oil. However, it has a delicious bourbon and honey fragrance.
- Helps natural and spray tans last longer
- Hydrates and smooths skin while minimizing the appearance of cellulite
- Fights sun damage with antioxidants
- Protects and brightens tattoo ink
- Oil-free and wheat-free
Maui Island Secret After Sun Tan Sealer
If you’ve been on vacation or simply laying out in the backyard, be sure to put on this tan-extending moisturizer after bathing. Not only does it soothe sunburn and windburn, but it also minimizes peeling. After all the work you’ve done to be beautifully bronzed, not peeling is a good thing.
Reviewers say it has a soft tropical fragrance and it absorbs easily. It takes the sting away within moments and prevents flaking.
- Soothing lotion calms sunburn and minimizes peeling
- Helps a tan last longer
- Subtle tropical fragrance
Can you go swimming after tanning bed?
Scroll up a little bit and check out the answer above. If you didn’t use tanning lotion with any ingredients that shouldn’t be washed off, then by all means go for a dunk. It’s really refreshing after being in the hot tanning bed.
Is it best to shower before or after tanning?
We like to shower before we go tanning because the lotion seems to absorb better on clean, damp skin. Also, the extra boost from bronzers and so forth work better that way.
How long should you wait to shower after using tingle tanning lotion?
This is a tricky question. Tingle tanning lotion can get pretty uncomfortable. We’ve heard people describe it as rubbing VapoRub on a sunburn. Of course, you’d want to shower right after tanning and get it off your skin.
Go ahead and wash if it’s bothering you. Cleaning your skin won’t hurt the pigment production process or melanogenesis. Nevertheless, if the tingle tanning lotion contains DHA, showering too soon may halt the sunless tanning process. Still, you can use a self-tanner like the one below to make up for that.
How long should you wait to shower after spray tanning?
If you’ve gotten a spray tan, the tech should tell you how long to wait before showering. It’ll be anywhere between one to eight hours.
You’ll need to wait the same amount of time if you’ve used a self-tanner at home. Here’s one of the most popular sunless tanning products:
Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam
This lightweight foam will give you a natural-looking bronze within a few hours. It won’t turn your skin orange or streak if you follow the instructions.
The first trick is to shower and exfoliate before using it so that you’re putting it on clean skin. Oil (whether skin oil or an oily moisturizer) will keep the self-tanner from working properly.
The second tip is to shave the day before so that the pores have closed and the product doesn’t settle inside them and give you speckled skin.
Then, the last bit of advice is to use gloves or an applicator mitt because this stuff dries pretty fast and may stain the palms of your hands or your cuticles. Go light on kneecaps, elbows, and ankles – wherever your skin is dry – because those parts will go darker if you don’t. (You can try putting a little oil-free moisturizer on those spots before you self-tan).
Reviewers say it smells like coconuts and it’s easy to apply because of the guide color so you can see where you’ve put it. Be sure to let the skin completely dry before dressing.
Pro tip: use a self-tanning product to make the tan you develop outdoors or in a tanning bed last longer.
- Coconut-scented foam that absorbs quickly
- Develops a natural-looking tan within a few hours, no sun exposure needed
How to shower after tanning
If you’re using a self-tanning product like wipes, foam, or lotion, you’ll need to wait a few hours before getting wet. This includes exercise with sweating or going out in the rain.
But when you’re ready to shower, choose a moisturizing body wash that’s pH-balanced. Most kinds of bar soap are too drying and have a high pH that can mess up the results of self-tanning.
Don’t be alarmed if you see brown water at first. That’s probably the guide color or instant bronzer in the tanning lotion or sunless tanning foam.
Go ahead and enjoy a warm shower, but don’t stay under the water too long. You need your skin to stay hydrated and too much hot water for too long will (oddly enough) dehydrated.
Don’t exfoliate or shave right after tanning. Give your skin a rest. Use a soft towel and pat dry. Then apply tan extending moisturizer or your favorite body lotion and relax.