Should You Shower After Tanning in the Sun?

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you wondering whether to hop into the shower after basking in the sun? Contrary to popular belief, showering after tanning can provide numerous benefits for your skin. This article is packed with useful information that unpacks when and how to shower post-tanning, contributing towards healthier skin and prolonged tan.

Ready to glow like never before? Let’s dive in!

  • Showering after tanning helps your skin relax and prevents sunburns by minimizing inflammation caused by heat exposure.
  • It provides hydration to your skin, preventing dryness, and keeps it looking healthy and fresh.
  • Showering after tanning washes away residual chemicals from sun tanning or self-tanner, preventing potential irritations or reactions.
  • It enhances the natural look of a spray tan by washing away excess bronzer or solution for a more even finish.

Benefits of Showering After Tanning

Showering after tanning has several benefits for your skin, including relaxation, hydration, and removing chemicals.

Helps your skin relax

Taking a shower after tanning does more than clean your skin. It gives your skin the much-needed relaxation, especially when you use cold water. Just like how we cool down after an intense workout, our skin also needs to unwind after being exposed to UV rays or tanning solutions.

This cooling effect can help prevent the onset of sunburns and promote healthier complexion by minimizing any inflammation caused by heat exposure. Showering post-tan will not only leave your skin refreshed but also enhance a natural-looking tan.

Provides hydration

Showering after tanning not only helps your skin relax but also provides much-needed hydration. Cold water is recommended for showering after tanning, as it can soothe the skin and prevent dryness.

By hydrating your skin through showering, you can help maintain its moisture levels and keep it looking healthy. Additionally, showering can remove sweat and dirt from the skin’s surface, promoting a fresh and clean complexion.

Remember to follow any specific instructions provided by the tanning salon or product manufacturer for optimal results.

Washes away chemicals

Showering after tanning is crucial as it helps to wash away chemicals that may be lingering on your skin. Whether you’ve been sun tanning, using a tanning bed, or applying self-tanner, there are often residual chemicals left behind.

By showering, you can remove these substances and prevent any potential irritations or reactions they may cause. Additionally, showering helps to cleanse your skin from sweat and sunscreen residue, leaving you with a fresher and healthier complexion.

So don’t forget to give yourself a good rinse after your tanning session to ensure that your skin is clean and chemical-free!

Enhances the natural look of a spray tan

A refreshing shower after getting a spray tan can do wonders for enhancing the natural look of your tan. By washing away any excess bronzer or solution, you can achieve a more even and seamless finish.

Additionally, taking a shower helps to remove any stickiness or residue that may be left on your skin after the tanning process. This not only improves the appearance of your tan but also ensures that it feels comfortable and looks natural.

So, don’t forget to indulge in a gentle shower after your spray tan session to enhance its overall effect and enjoy a flawless sun-kissed glow.

When to Shower After Tanning

After sun tanning, using a tanning bed, or applying sunless tanner, find out the best time to shower and why it’s important for your skin’s health.

After sun tanning

Showering after sun tanning is an important step to take in your post-tanning routine. After spending time in the sun, it’s crucial to cool down and soothe your skin with a refreshing shower.

Not only does this help remove sweat, dirt, and sunscreen residue from your skin, but it also promotes a cleaner and healthier complexion. Additionally, showering after sun tanning can wash away any bronzers or self-tanners you may have applied, giving you a more natural look.

Remember to use cold water when showering after tanning as it can help relax and calm your skin. So go ahead and enjoy a relaxing shower after soaking up the sun!

After using a tanning bed

After using a tanning bed, it is important to consider when you should shower. While there is some debate on this topic, the general recommendation is to wait at least three or four hours before showering after a tanning bed session with bronzer.

This allows the tan to fully develop and ensures optimal results. However, it is important to follow any specific instructions provided by the tanning salon or product manufacturer regarding showering after tanning.

Keep in mind that immediate showering may minimize the effectiveness of your tan, so waiting for a certain period can help maintain its longevity.

After sunless tanning

Showering after sunless tanning is important for maintaining a natural and even tan. It is recommended to shower immediately after your spray tan session to remove any excess solution, moisture, or toxins that may have accumulated on your skin.

This will help prevent clogged pores and potential inflammation. Remember to use cool or lukewarm water when showering to ensure the longevity of your tan. By showering after sunless tanning, you can achieve a clean and refreshed look while maximizing the effectiveness of your tan.

After using tanning lotions

Using tanning lotions can provide a beautiful and natural-looking tan, but it’s important to know what to do after applying them. After using tanning lotions, it is recommended to wait at least 2-4 hours before showering.

This allows the lotion to fully absorb into your skin and develop its color. When you do finally take a shower, use lukewarm water instead of hot water as it can strip away the color.

Additionally, choose a gentle cleanser that won’t remove the tan from your skin. Remember to pat yourself dry with a towel instead of rubbing vigorously, which can cause the color to fade faster.

After a spray tan

After a spray tan, it is important to shower as soon as possible. Showering after a spray tan helps remove moisture and toxins from the skin that can block pores and cause inflammation.

It is recommended to use cold water when showering after a spray tan, as this helps soothe the skin and minimize any potential irritation. Additionally, showering after a spray tan can also wash away excess bronzer and its scent.

However, keep in mind that most bronzers are only active for a limited time, so washing them off may not affect your tan’s overall longevity. Follow the specific instructions provided by your tanning salon or product manufacturer for best results.

After using tanning mousse

After using tanning mousse, it is important to wait for a few hours before showering. This allows the product to fully develop on your skin and achieve the desired tan. When you do shower, use lukewarm water instead of hot water as it can strip away the color and potentially affect the results.

Gentle soap should be used to avoid drying out your skin and disrupting the tan. Remember to pat yourself dry with a towel instead of rubbing vigorously, as this can also fade the tan faster.

Finally, don’t forget to moisturize your skin after showering to maintain its hydration and prolong the life of your tan.

Things to Avoid in the Shower After Tanning

Avoid using hot water, as it can strip your skin of its natural oils and dry it out. Use a mild, gentle soap to avoid further irritation, and try not to take long showers as this can also dehydrate your skin.

Avoid shaving or exfoliating immediately after tanning, as these activities can remove the top layer of skin and fade your tan more quickly. Instead, wait at least 24 hours before shaving or exfoliating.

Be gentle when towel-drying your skin after showering, as aggressive rubbing can also fade your tan faster. Lastly, don’t forget to moisturize after showering to keep your skin hydrated and help maintain your tan for longer periods of time.

Hot water

Using hot water for showering after tanning is not advisable. Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture, leading to dryness and irritation. It may also worsen any existing sunburn or tan lines by further dehydrating the skin.

To soothe your skin and maintain a healthy tan, opt for lukewarm or cool water instead. This will help keep your skin hydrated and prevent any unnecessary damage or discomfort.

Harsh soap

Using harsh soap on your skin after tanning can be detrimental to your tan and overall skin health. Harsh soaps contain chemicals that can strip away the natural oils in your skin, leaving it dry and dehydrated.

This can lead to premature fading of your tan and make it look patchy or uneven. Instead, opt for a gentle, moisturizing soap or body wash that will help maintain the moisture balance in your skin and keep your tan looking fresh for longer.

Taking care of your skin with the right products is essential for preserving the results of your tanning session. So remember to choose a mild soap that nourishes and hydrates instead of stripping away precious moisture.

Short version:

Taking long showers

Taking long showers after tanning is not recommended. When you spend too much time in the shower, especially with hot water, it can strip away the natural oils from your skin. This can lead to dryness and even cause your tan to fade faster.

It’s best to keep your showers short and use lukewarm or cool water to maintain the health of your skin and preserve your tan for longer periods of time. Remember, shorter showers are better for both your skin and the longevity of your tan.

Shaving and exfoliating

Shaving and exfoliating are activities to avoid immediately after tanning. When you shave or exfoliate right after tanning, you can strip away the fresh tan that has developed on your skin.

It is best to wait at least 24 hours before shaving or exfoliating to ensure that your tan fully develops and lasts longer. Give your skin some time to settle and lock in the color before engaging in these activities.

This will help maintain a more even and natural-looking tan without any patchiness or unevenness caused by premature hair removal or exfoliation. So remember, hold off on shaving and exfoliating for at least a day after tanning for the best results!

Aggressive towel-drying

Aggressive towel-drying can have a negative impact on your tanned skin. When you vigorously rub the towel against your skin after tanning, it can cause the tan to fade faster and leave your skin feeling dry and irritated.

Instead, gently pat yourself dry with a soft towel or air dry if possible. This will help maintain the longevity of your tan and keep your skin moisturized. So remember, be gentle when drying off after tanning to ensure beautiful, long-lasting results.

Skipping moisturizer

Skipping moisturizer after tanning can be detrimental to your skin’s health. Moisturizing is essential as it helps replenish lost moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. After tanning, your skin needs extra hydration to soothe any potential dryness or irritation caused by sun exposure or tanning beds.

Moisturizers also help to lock in the color and prolong the life of your tan. By skipping moisturizer, you may risk having dull, flaky skin that doesn’t retain its glow for long. Therefore, make sure to use a good quality moisturizer after tanning to keep your skin soft, smooth, and healthy-looking.

Remember that not all moisturizers are suitable for post-tan care. Look for products specifically designed for tanned or sensitive skin types, as they are usually formulated with ingredients like aloe vera or shea butter that provide calming effects while deeply hydrating the skin.

FAQs about Showering After Tanning

1. Should you shower before or after tanning?.

2. Is sunless tanning risk-free?.

3. Should you apply sunscreen before and after tanning?.

Is it better to shower before or after tanning?

To get the best results, it is generally recommended to shower after tanning rather than before. Showering after tanning helps your skin relax and prevents sunburns. It also washes away sweat, dirt, and sunscreen residue from your skin, leaving you with a cleaner complexion.

Additionally, showering can remove bronzers and their scent, although this may not be necessary for most bronzers as they are only active for a limited time. When you do shower after tanning, using cold water is recommended to soothe the skin.

Overall, showering post-tan promotes healthier-looking skin and helps maintain your tan’s longevity.

Is sunless tanning risk-free?

Sunless tanning is generally considered to be a safe alternative to traditional sun tanning. The risk of skin damage from harmful UV radiation is significantly reduced, as sunless tanning products do not require exposure to the sun or tanning beds.

However, it’s important to note that some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to certain ingredients in these products. It’s always recommended to perform a patch test before applying self-tanners and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for proper application and aftercare.

Remember, if you have any concerns about using sunless tanning products, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized advice.

Should you apply sunscreen before and after tanning?

Applying sunscreen before and after tanning is crucial for protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation. Before tanning, make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating during your tanning session. Even if you’re using indoor tanning beds, it’s essential to protect your skin by applying sunscreen before exposure.

Remember that while sunscreen provides some protection, it does not block out all UV rays, so it’s still important to limit your time in the sun and seek shade when possible.


Showering after tanning in the sun is important for various reasons. It helps your skin relax and stay hydrated, removes chemicals and toxins from the surface, and enhances the natural look of a spray tan.

Whether you’ve been sun tanning, using a tanning bed, or opting for sunless methods, showering afterwards can improve your overall tanning experience. Remember to follow the recommended guidelines provided by professionals to ensure optimal results.


1. Can I shower immediately after tanning in the sun?

No, you should wait a few hours before showering after tanning to avoid disrupting the tan development and absorption process.

2. What happens if I take a cold or hot water bath soon after tanning?

Showering with extreme temperatures like hot or cold right after exposure to the sun can negatively impact your skin health and also may remove some of the developed tan.

3. Is it a myth that showering right after attending a tanning bed session affects my tan?

Yes, it’s mostly a myth as your actual full tanning process takes hours, which is usually beyond immediate post-tan times typically considered for showering.

4. What are some tips for proper post-tanning care?

Avoid high-heat environments like hot tubs after a tanning session; wait an appropriate time before taking showers and focus on moisturizing and relaxing your skin for optimal results.

5. Does frequent use of sunscreen cause melanoma?

No! Sunscreen helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays that could potentially cause melanoma when used appropriately along with other forms of sun protection measures.

Should You Shower After Tanning in the Sun?
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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