Showering After Tanning—How Long Should You Wait Before Hopping Into the Shower

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. 

showering after tanning

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 tan.

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.

The Best Time to Shower 

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, 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. However, you don’t necessarily need to avoid showers because they will not impact your results.

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.

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: 

  • You want to keep your skin as hydrated as possible. In terms of showers, opt for lukewarm or cold water instead of hot because you don’t want to peel or fade your tan. 
  • Apply a shower oil that delivers high doses of moisture and hydration to your skin. 
  • Drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated from the inside out can extend the lifespan of your skin cells, including those that are tanned.

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.

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.

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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