How Long After A Spray Tan To Shower? Here’s The Answer

Some tanning experts believe that it’s best to shower after tanning, but is there a chance it might affect your glow?

Most avid tanners follow a stern routine. They use a certain type of bed, a specific type of lotion and a meticulous skin care routine to maintain their color. For the case of many, this routine also entails waiting for a period of time before showering. Some wait for a few hours while others 24 hours after they tan. 

Though the majority abides by this strategy, there is little truth to this post-tanning ritual. 

how long after a spray to shower

Why Do People Wait to Shower Before They Fake Tan?

Before delving into the specific of showering after tanning debate, it’s important to address where this belief originated. Most believers avoid showering right after tanning because they believe that the full tanning process takes 24 to 48 hours to complete. This is true—the process can take up to two days for the UV lights to reflect a full color. However, a shower isn’t really capable of washing away the spray tanning solution.

When you lay down in front of UV rays, the lights activate cells known as melanocytes. These cells will then start producing melanin, or change the skin pigment. Soap and water will not be able to reverse this process.

What About Lotions and Bronzers?

Many people fret having their tan washed away by tanning lotions, particularly bronzers. In fact, most bronzers are only active during the tanning process. Should you have a bronzer that claims to be working all day or for hours long after a session, then we suggest you take advantage of that and wait a few hours after tanning to rinse. 

Make sure to first, consult a tanning expert on the presence of any long-term bronzers in your lotion.

How Long Does A Spray Tan Last?

Because your skin is constantly producing new skin cells on the epidermis level, any skin treatment is bound to fade over time. Spray tans typically last for 7 to 10 days, depending on the coverage. If you opted for a lighter color, your tan could fade more quickly than those going for a darker shade or tone. However, by taking care of your skin before and after your tanning session, you can help extend the life of your tan.

How to Seal in A Tan?

The best way to keep your color after tanning, isn’t necessarily to avoid showers. Instead, you work on hydrating your skin because dry skin doesn’t hold color well. 

Hydrate your skin with a thick, moisturizing lotion every day, particularly after you tan.

How Long After A Spray Tan to Shower:

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding spray tan is “when can I shower after a spray tan?”. We recommend waiting at least 4-8 hours after your spray tan before you jump into the shower for the first time, but avoid waiting for more than 24 hours. When we say wait at least 4 hours, we also mean steer clear of all moisture. This includes working out and sweating, moisturizing your skin, applying liquid foundation, or anything else that might wet your tan. 

Many have discovered that a pre-tan shower can help enhance their color. The heat from a shower helps to expand the pores, drawing in more oxygen, which is essential for melanin production. Plus, a shower helps to exfoliate, removing all the grime and dirt on your skin for UV lights to penetrate your skin better when you tan.

To get the most out of your tanning experience, you may use high quality beds, lotions with bronzers as well as moisturizers to keep your body and skin hydrated after the shower. However, you don’t necessarily need to avoid showers because they will not impact your results. You’ll probably see some golden glow being washed down the drain, but this is just some of the extra solution being washed off from your skin.

Here Is Why Taking A Shower After Tanning Might Be Beneficial

Your first shower after tanning also has a role to play in achieving that perfect, golden tanned skin. 

Whether you’re out in the sun, on a sunbed, or using an indoor tanning lotion, showering after tanning will further define the shade and tone of your tan.

1. The Cooling Effect of a Shower Soothes Your Skin

To a certain extent, tanning damages your skin. When you tan, your skin undergoes stress. It will experience heat and scorching on its top-most layer. Simultaneously, your body will also sweat during that process. Taking a cool shower afterwards can help distress your skin. 

2. A Shower Helps to Rinse Away Chemicals 

The variety of tanning lotions and substances you apply onto your skin can potentially cause redness and blotches. By the time you start to sweat, these chemicals will start clogging your pores. Having clogged pores may result in acne, skin irritation, and other disorders you are not ready to deal with. A shower can easily wash away all those products. 

Why You Shouldn’t Shower Immediately After Spray Tanning?

To maximise the effectiveness of your tan, leave it on for a couple of hours before hitting the showers. Showering prematurely has its downsides. Here are some of them. 

If you use a bronzer, the drizzling water will wash it away. The effect would be similar to rinsing off the sweat on your skin.

Even worse, showering right after can cause uneven streaking. You don’t want lines on your skin that make you look like a tanned tiger or a zebra.

How to Shower After a Spray Tan?

Now that you know when you can shower after a spray tan, let’s delve into the actual shower itself. If you’re a fan of long, hot, steamy showers, this might not be the best option for you after a spray tan. Instead, opt for cold showers with oil-, paraben-, and sulfate-free body wash to rinse the surface solution off using only the back of your hand! Refrain from using bar soaps or soaps that strip your skin of its moisture. 

When you come out of the shower, make sure to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it. Follow your shower with a rich moisturizer to lock in the tan. We recommend doing this twice a day to really bring out that bronzed glow.

Tips and Tricks on How to Maintain A Tan

Following the right regime will give you a gorgeous tan. Here are some tips you can implement that are easy to follow: 

A. Exfoliate

You can proceed with your regular exfoliating routine three days after your tanner develops. The process will only strip away the top layer of dead skin and not the tan itself.

B. Re-apply

After exfoliating, you can go in with a gradual tanner to prolong the lifespan of your tan.

C. Wear Loose Clothing

Wear loose and long pajamas to bed to minimize skin-to-skin contact. This is because when you get hot and sweaty at night, your skin touches your skin, and the process can create lines, patches, and dark transfer marks on your body that will also end up on your sheets.

D. Use Tanning Drops

We recommend mixing tanning drops (preferably those designed for the face) to your serum or mositurizer to tan your face for it to match your body. 

E. Mix Tan to Your Foundation

You can use a small amount of instant tan in your foundation to achieve that rich, darker shade. 

3 Best Moisturizers to Use After Spray Tanning

1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

showering after tanning

This ultra-hydrating and moisturizing cream from pioneering skincare brand CeraVe will give you that healthy-looking glow and keep your golden bronze tan intact. It’s fragrance-free and formulated with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin nourished and hydrated for 24 hours.

Check out 13 best CeraVe products here.

Key Feature:

Unscented moisturizing cream that delivers a natural protective barrier and prevents moisture loss.

2. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that absorbs quickly into your skin, look no further than Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. This is a tinted moisturizer that provides coverage, making it a great extender for your spray tan treatment.

Key Feature:

Tinted moisturizer that absorbs into the skin quickly.

3. St. Ives Renewing Collagen & Elastin Facial Moisturizer

With St. Ives’ Facial Moisturizer, rest assured that a youthful, healthy skin is within your reach. This product is formulated with anti-aging components—Collagen and Elastin—that help erase wrinkles and fine lines. We also love that it’s paraben-free and dermatologist-tested, making it a safe addition to your skincare regime.

Key Feature:

Dermatologist-tested, paraben-free moisturizer.

How to Speed Up the Drying Process of Spray Tan?

First of all, it’s important to wear loose-fitting clothing that’ll nor rub against your skin otherwise your tan will smudge or transfer onto your clothes. Next, try to relax under a fan or an air-conditioner. The air movement can help accelerate the drying process and prevent the tan from smudging or transferring. Remember to also wait before getting dressed. Allow your spray tan to rest a few minutes before you put on your clothes. Most importantly, you need to avoid engaging in any activities that will cause you to sweat, as sweat can lead to smudge or transfer. Alternatively, you may opt for a spray tan solution with a quick-drying formula. These products typically contain ingredients that can help speed up the drying process.

What to Do When You Experience Redness?

If your skin is sensitive, you may be experiencing some levels of redness and irritation. With that in mind, it’s not a good idea to hop into the shower right after your tan. 

The reddening of your skin may likely be caused by the blood vessels coming up and through the skin layers. 

If you pour water on your reddened, sensitive skin, it’s like pouring water over a heated pan. Yes, it sizzles.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does a fake tan last?

A fake tan can normally last anywhere from five to seven days, depending on the type of product used and how well you maintain it. 

  1. Is spray tan safe for my skin?

Spray tan is generally considered safe for all skin types, provided you use a solution that is formulated for your skin type and use it as instructed. However, some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to a degree, therefore it is important to perform a patch test with the product before going in with the rest of the body.

  1. How do I choose the right spray tan that suits my skin type?

When shopping for a spray tan solution, consider your skin tone and type. If you have fair skin, choose a lighter formula that’ll give you a gradual, natural-looking tan. On the other hand, if your skin tone ranges from medium to dark, you may opt for a darker formula to create a more intense tan.

  1. How do I apply a tanning solution to my skin?

It is important that you apply a tanning solution to properly cleanser, exfoliated skin using a tanning mitt or an applicator. Start by applying a thin layer of the product, gradually working from your feet up and blending the product evenly into your skin. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after the application to avoid it tanning your palms. 

  1. What are some of the common mistakes people make when applying a tanning solution?

Some of the most common mistakes include not exfoliating their skin prior, not using a tanning mitt or applicator, not washing their hands after the application, and not blending the product evenly into their skin.

  1. How can I avoid getting streaks or patches with my spray tan?

To avoid getting streaks or patches with your fake tan, make sure you exfoliate your skin before applying the tanning solution with either a tanning mitt or an applicator. Then, wash your hands thoroughly after the application, and remember to blend the solution evenly into your skin.

  1. Can I reverse a bad spray tan?

If you got a bad spray tan, you can attempt to remove it by using a tan remover or by exfoliating your skin. Alternatively, you can use a skin-lightening mixture, such as lemon juice or baking soda to help gradually fade the tan.

  1. Can I wait 24 hours to shower after a spray tan?

You can wait for 24 hours to shower after a spray tan and not more otherwise it may slowly turn orange or even lead to streaking.

  1. Will my spray tan get darker after a shower?

Your spray tan will turn darker after a shower. The DHA compound from your spray tan solution continues to react with your skin cells to produce pigment.

  1. Can I leave my spray tan overnight?

You can go to bed with spray tan on as long as it doesn’t exceed 24 hours since your spray tan session. Also, avoid wearing tight clothing during this time.

Celine So

Celine So

Be mindful of your words as they are impactful, which also explains why I am so fond of writing.

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