After Tanning, Should You Shower? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Most tanning lovers have a regular practice they stick to. Usually they employ a certain technique, a certain product, and an involved process to obtain a perfect, dark tan. Generally, this routine includes taking a shower after the tanning session is complete.

Showering after tanning is generally considered to be acceptable, though the amount of time that should be waited before doing so depends on several factors. It is important to consider how showering may affect your tan and overall skin health.

If you’re considering getting a tan and you’re unsure of when it’s best to take a shower after the tanning session, keep reading to learn more.

Waiting before showering: Why Is It Important?

It is acceptable to shower after tanning, however it is advisable to wait a few hours before doing so.

Many tanners wonder why tannings can take so long to show results. Generally, tanning is a slow process, and it can take hours, even up to 24-48 hours, to achieve the desired tan. A majority of tanners believe that this period of time is necessary to attain desirable results.

Sometimes, you may not be able to notice a tan even after spending a long time in the sun, and sunburns can also appear hours later. The effects of tannings can continue to take place even after the tanning session is over.

If you shower and cleanse too soon, it can impede the formation of a natural, dark tan. You may not be able to achieve the desired shade, rendering the tanning ineffective. Therefore, we advise holding off on bathing for certain tanning procedures in order to gain the best results.

Instead of using other methods, showering shortly after tanning can help to maximize the effects.

After tanning, how long should you wait before taking a shower?

You must be wondering how long you should hold off on taking a shower after tanning. It depends on the tanning method you are using. It is essential to wait for a certain period of time following every tannings session before you shower.

The following are some of the more common tanning methods and the amount of time one should wait before showering: Sunbathing – around 30 minutes; Tannings bed – up to 2 hours; Spray tan – up to 8 hours.

Beds for tanning:

Tanning beds have become a popular alternative for achieving a sun-kissed look without having to bask in the sun. These beds, also called sunbeds, consist of 10-15 lightbulbs or lamps that use 100-200 watts of energy to generate artificial ultraviolet radiation, similar to that of the sun’s rays.

You can recline in the bed for 10-20 minutes, based on the color of your tan and also based on your skin type. These lamps emit 95% UVA radiation and 5% UVB radiation. When this radiation reaches your skin, it penetrates the layers, resulting in a dark and intense tan.

Before using a tanning bed, it is recommended to apply a tannings oil or lotion to achieve a smooth and even tan. If the lotion contains a bronzer, it is advisable not to take a shower afterwards, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the product.

It is recommended to wait for 3 to 4 hours after using a tanning bed before showering, to allow the tanner adequate time to take effect.

Once your tanning session is complete, applying a lotion or oil with a bronzer is recommended. However, if you choose not to, you can immediately enjoy the cooling effects of a cool shower or bath to help relieve the heat of the tanning bed and rejuvenate your body.

Tan spray:

For individuals seeking a fast, uncomplicated, and effortless tanning option, spray tanning is the most suitable choice. All that is necessary is to make an appointment at a well-known spray tan salon in your area. Once there, the tanning professional will spray a chemical solution on the parts of the body you would like to tan, while you just relax.

The spray tan remedy contains DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which is in charge of darkening the skin. This chemical binds to the dead skin cells that are found on the outermost layer of the epidermis.

In addition to DHA, the tanning solution also includes bronzer which is responsible for the quick tanning results. When you shower after the tanning session, the bronzer is washed away instantly while the DHA remains attached to the dead skin cells.

If you wash the spray tan off shortly after it has been applied, it may not have enough time to work and you could end up with a flat, light, and streaky tan instead of the desired bronzed result from the DHA.

If you’re aiming to get a spray tan, you need to allow it sufficient time to interact with your complexion to get a soft, dark tan. Refrain from showering for a minimum of 4 hours after the tan. Leaving the tan solution on for more than 4 hours might even result in a darker tan.

Depending on your skin type, the shade of base tan, and how dark you wish to tan, you can choose between 2 and 8 hours to wait before having a shower after the spray tanning session. There is no “perfect” time frame; however, you can select the most suitable time for yourself.


For a simple and cost-effective way to get a tan, try sunbathing. Taking advantage of the ample sunlight, you can achieve a natural suntan with the UV radiation of the sun’s rays. This is an easy way to get the bronzed skin tone you’re looking for.

The sun’s rays contain both UVA and UVB radiation, just like the bulbs in tanning beds. When these rays come in contact with the skin, they can penetrate deeply into the melanocytes.

The radiation causes these cells to generate melanin, the substance that is responsible for darkening the skin. The higher the amount of melanin in the skin, the deeper the skin tone will be.

The same rules regarding showering after tanning in the sun apply as they do for tanning beds. If you’re not using any creams or oils, it is recommended to take a shower right after your tanning session, as it will help soothe your skin from the heat of the sun.

If you are using a product that includes bronzer to obtain a darker tan quickly, it is advisable to avoid showering immediately. Give the lotion or oil a chance to interact with your skin by waiting 2 to 3 hours before you rinse it off in the shower for the best results.

What is the best way to shower after tanning?

Yes, you can shower after a tanning session, however it is essential to be mindful of the first shower. It is possible to ruin the results of hours spent tanning with one wrong move, leading to a patchy and inconsistent tan. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious when taking the first shower after tanning.

When showering after you have tanned, it is important to keep these basics in mind: use lukewarm water, avoid harsh soaps and scrubbing, and moisturize afterwards.

Mild water is best:

It is recommended to take a lukewarm shower after tanning as the skin is more sensitive due to the chemicals or radiation it has been exposed to. Avoid using overly hot or cold water as this could have an adverse effect.

Mild water should be used for the initial shower following tanning, whether achieved naturally or artificially.

Showers should not last too long:

It is advisable to refrain from taking a lengthy shower after tanning. Instead, it is best to get in the shower, lightly cleanse your skin, and get out as soon as possible. Prolonged exposure to water can cause more chemicals to be released from the skin, so it is best to avoid taking a bath or swimming.

Skip Exfoliating and Shaving:

If you desire to exfoliate or shave, it is recommended to do so 24 hours prior to tanning. Engaging in activities like exfoliating or shaving may remove the tan from your skin, resulting in an uneven and blotchy tan. This can counteract the objective of tanning, so abstain from exfoliating and shaving for several days after tanning. To learn more about how to use exfoliator, please refer to this link – how to exfoliate before a spray tan.

Don’t Use Harsh Products:

Right after tanning, it is best to limit the use of harsh products like soaps or cleansers. Your skin is sensitive after the session, so it is advisable to use natural soaps with no artificial fragrances or ingredients. If you’re looking for the best body wash to use after a spray tan, check out our article on the subject.

Moisturize Well:

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential, especially after tannings. Use an organic moisturizer that contains no damaging components and slather it over your whole body. Not only will this help nourish your skin, but it will also make your tan look more even.

Pat Dry Yourself:

After exiting the shower, take a moment to allow the water to naturally drip off your body. After that, use a soft towel to gently pat yourself dry.

Do not rub your skin vigorously when drying off, as this may lead to a fading or splotchy tan, as well as skin irritation.


What should I do after tanning? 

After tanning, it is important to shower with lukewarm water to remove sweat, dirt, and oils. It is also important to moisturize the skin to avoid dryness and irritation.

Is it necessary to shower after tanning?

Yes, it is important to shower after tanning as it helps remove sweat, dirt, and oils from the skin. This will help to maintain your tan and keep your skin healthy.

Is it okay to shower with hot water after tanning?

No, hot water can be harsh on the skin and can actually cause damage to your tan. It is best to shower with lukewarm water.

Is it important to moisturize after tanning?

Yes, it is important to moisturize after tanning to keep your skin healthy and hydrated and to avoid dryness and irritation.


Showering after tanning is a personal choice, depending on how it may affect your tan and overall skin health. While there is no exact formula for when it is best to shower, it is important to keep in mind that the longer you wait, the darker the tan may be. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your skin and your tanning routine.

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