“How long should you wait to shower after tanning?”
A majority of the new tanners and existing tanners are still confused about whether they can shower after tanning. To be honest, this is not a tough question to answer. You can, of course, shower after tanning. But how much time you have to wait for the first shower depends on the type of tanning technique you’re using.
How long to wait to shower after spray tan is not the same as the time to wait after a tanning bed session. This is a common sense as both these methods employ different techniques.
But one thing that worries me the most is the myths surrounded by showering and tanning. I have framed this article in a way to help you understand what some common misconceptions regarding this. We will also see the best time to take a shower after tanning for both spray tan and tanning beds.
One thing I can assume is that you will be relieved to know that you don’t have to wait for 24-48 hours(the time taken to achieve a perfect tan after tanning salon session) for your first shower after tanning.
Shower after Tanning: Myths and Facts
We all know someone who doesn’t want to shower after a tanning session just because of what people say. On the other hand, we also know someone who will want to shower immediately out of paranoia.
People are always worried about how long after a spray tan can you shower. This overthinking and overstressing has lead to a hell lot of misunderstandings and myths.
Here are some facts and myths people have associated with the tanning-showering relationship.
The Importance of First Shower after Tanning
If I say that first shower you have after a tanning session is significant, it’s an understatement. The truth is that the time at which you take a shower has a great role in giving you a dark tanned skin. It defines the extent to which you will get a healthy tan from the tanning session you just have gone through.
As I have mentioned before, the tanning process takes a couple of days time typically. But it’s not practical to sit in your room waiting for the lotions and accelerators to take action. The truth is that even if you wash these lotions off, the tanning process will carry on.
Depending on the tanning technique and indoor tanning lotions you use, showering will define how deep you can tan. Don’t worry! We have it explained later in this article.
Myth #1: Taking a shower after a UV tanning session washes the tan away
No, it does not.
The tan that you achieve after a tanning session is a naturally produced pigment in your skin, called melanin. During the UV exposure, the melanocytes in your skin are activated. These melanocytes then produce melanin. It usually takes 24-48 hours to see a visible difference in your skin tone.
This amount of time taken is only because of the complexities it involves for the melanin to set in. No matter how reasonable it sounds, your skin’s natural pigment cannot be washed off. If you could lose your tan with a simple shower, fairness creams wouldn’t exist either.
But there are few more things to focus on here. If you have used a bronzer or accelerator for tanning bed session, it is recommended to wait for at least 2-3 hours more for taking shower. Why? It will make sure that the bronzer and the accelerator can take it deep and give you a fantastic tan. You have to make sure that these products are designed to work throughout; not just for the tanning session.
Myth #2: Taking a shower after a spray tanning session fades the tan away
Yes, it does.
During a spray tanning session, most of the tanning on your skin is done by the bronzers in the solution. The primary purpose of bronzers is not to produce melanin but to give your skin the sun-kissed, chocolaty glow.
While most tanning lotions and applications use bronzers for customer satisfaction, they might not be present in all the products. Bronzers are made up of DHA (dihydroxyacetone) that sets on your skin and oxidizes with the air.
The oxidation then results in a dark tone that is temporary for your skin. Taking a shower immediately or shortly after applying bronzer will result in the bronzer to wash off. This will result in poor tanning results and uneven streaking too.
The best choice would be to give your bronzer application and shower a span of at least 3-4 hours.
Why is it Okay to Shower after UV tanning session?
Although people will themselves avoid showering after a tanning session and also suggest you to do so, it does have its own benefits. A shower might not be compulsory, but it shouldn’t be a taboo either. Here’s why:
- During the tanning process, your skin undergoes extreme stress. While inside tanning beds, your body sweats excessively. Before sweating, your skin has already been reddened and blotched with tanning lotions of all kinds. The sweat then clogs your pores. These clogged pores then result in acne and all types of skin disorders. Do you see where this is going? Yes, showering will clean your pores and skin of excessive sweat that can later be a problem.
- During sunless tanning, your body is exposed to all kinds of chemicals. These chemicals include bronzers, toners and also artificially manufactured pigment. All of these combine to give you the tan you want but are also extremely harmful if they stay on your skin for a long time. Showering will wash off any extra chemicals and save you from any further troubles.
- All kinds of tanning use up the moisture on your skin (unless you apply any extra moisturizers). The loss of moisture then results in cracking, peeling and formations of blisters on the skin. Water is the best moisturizer (we all know it!). Showering after tanning will hydrate your skin naturally and return any extra moisture lost during the process.
These benefits are logically needed for your body if you value your health over the cost of tanning. The waiting time between the tanning session and shower depends and varies from person to person, though. You can easily judge or ask from experience how much time you need to wait before showering but from my experience; 3-4 hours are enough.
For Fair Skin
If your skin is fair enough, I will never recommend taking a shower right after a UV tanning session.
Sun tanning and UV tanning doesn’t just mess with the upper layer of your skin but burrows deep underneath. These concerns, however, are only for people with a little sensitive skin.
Showering over reddened skin can cause reactions for people with sensitive skin types. During UV radiation, as I said before, your skin undergoes a lot of stress. The reddening caused is not because of any pigment but the blood vessels that come up to the skin layers. Pouring water over it is just like pouring water over a hot pan. Try it in the kitchen, and you’ll understand!
Why not to Shower right after Spray Tanning
The benefits are just one side of the picture. If you are concerned about your tanning experience and getting the most out of it, there are a lot of demerits that would catch your attention too.
A spray tan demands you to spend your time in the spray tan tent. Bronzers will be applied on your body using tanning machines and tanning guns. Showering immediately after spray tanning has its downsides and here’s why:
- If you have been using bronzers, showering will wash it off. Bronzers are an essential part of spray tanning, especially if you’ve been using sunless tanning booths. The bronzers give you a brief, but original sunkissed look. Running water will wash it off like it washed off the sweat.
- Showering quickly after a tanning session can cause uneven streaking. If the tan has not formed and absorbed correctly, you’ll end up looking like a Siberian tiger. The water will wash off any unabsorbed fake tan, while the absorbed one will start showing its results in no time. You should avoid showering if you want to avoid any uneven tan lines.
How to Shower after Tanning?
The merits and demerits of showering after tanning are equal and don’t outweigh each other. If you want to shower after the tan, there is a proper way you should do it.
- Use lukewarm water for the shower. Never take a hot shower! With all the tanning complexities and the burning, your skin has to go through to change its color; hot water is an enemy to your skin. Hot showers will not only disturb your sweat pores but also put your skin under extraordinary duress.
- Take a shower, not a bath. If you’re the bath kind of person, you need to put it away for a while. I prefer long baths in place of showers, but when I’m fresh out of the tanning session, I limit my shower time. All the extra time you stand under the running water or lie in the tub will wash your oils away.
- Avoid using soap. You can use it for places like the groins and armpits but don’t use it all over your body. Soaps are designed to break down oil. The oil that your body produces or the one you got from your tanning lotion also breaks down with the use of soap. Use fragrant soaps if you must, but keep them away from the places that will be most visible after the tan.
- After the shower, don’t rub the towel to your skin. Rubbing the towel not only removes all the tanning solution but also strips your skin off the moisture. Like we talked before, the water is also necessary for retaining your skin’s moisture. Now that you’ve taken a shower, don’t just take it all away. Pat dry your skin after the shower, don’t rub!
- Apply moisturizer after the shower immediately if you plan on doing so. Don’t wait. Here are some of the best lotion to use after spray tan session. After using UV tanning beds for your tanning, moisture is mandatory for your skin. Try to use moisturizers with hyaluronic acid.
What’s it with the Brown Shower Water?
One of the most alarming situations in the life of most of the spray tanners happens when they take the first shower after tanning. You will notice that the shower water is turning brown.
Don’t be panic by seeing this.
It’s nothing other than the bronzer in the solution. Bronzers are temporarily applied on your skin during the spray tanning process. It’s these chemicals that give you an immediate color. But the actual tanned look is not created by bronzers, DHA is responsible for this.
When you take a bath, these brown bronzers are washed off and that’s why you might notice brown showering water.
The bottom line and is that don’t get panic, enjoy your bathing.
The Best Time to Shower
Most people ask me, “When can I shower after tanning?” Speaking from experience, showering right after a tanning session isn’t the best choice you can make. Spending quite a few bucks over getting an amazing tan and showering is like pouring water over hard work (pun intended). It all depends on what type of tanning procedure you go through.
Showering after Tanning Bed
Showering after using UV tanning beds is not really a big deal. You can wait for at least 2-3 hours before showering and safely call it a day. This is because UV tanning doesn’t involve any artificial process but just triggering the production of melanin naturally. Showering after UV tanning may be fruitful for you to prevent sunburn or overheating of the skin.
How long after a Spray Tan can You Shower
As for fake tanning (or using a sunless tanning booth), you should wait for at least half a day before taking your first shower. This, I’m telling you from experience and knowledge. The bronzers and the melanin that you have used to get the tan will just wash away if you shower. You can even consider sleeping with the tan on if you’re comfortable with it.
|Normal Condition||Use of Bronzers/Accelerators|
|Spray Tanning||3-4 Hours||8 Hours|
|Tanning Bed||Right after the tanning session||2 Hours|
So, When Can You Shower after Tanning?
At the end of the day, it’s all about what you are comfortable with. Some people find it hard to survive with all the chemicals sticking to their skin after the tanning session and want to shower right away. If that’s the case, a little wait would not hurt.
You should wait for a reasonable amount of time to take a shower depending on what type of tanning you’ve gone through. UV tanning will not ask you to wait for a longer duration. But for a spray tan, you have to be bit careful. Just like the case of shaving after spray tan, showering also demands proper timing.
If you have no problem surviving with all the tanning solutions on, there’s nothing but good news.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing that smile on your face after having a wonderful tanning session.
My name is Stella Cristin, the owner of Tan Vogue. I am in love with beauty and health products. My great passion is to help people learn about tanning. Read More
Latest posts by Stella Cristin (see all)
- How to Get Rid of a Tan: Tips to Remove and Reverse Suntan - January 7, 2019
- How to Spray Tan: 16 Before & After Tips to Get a Good Glow - January 5, 2019
- Spray Tan Shades: What Color Spray Tan should I get? - January 5, 2019