If you want your spray tan to last, you’re going to have to take good care of it.
Tanning experts will tell you caring for your tan starts before you even have it applied. Of course, it’s even more important to preserve your tan after it’s been applied.
You may have questions about what you can and can’t do following a tan. One of the questions we see most often about what you’re allowed to do or what’s recommended after your tan is how soon you can take a shower following the tanning process.
Spray tan is a bit different from a natural tan or using a tanning bed to get the desired look. There are special care instructions you need to follow to make sure that the tan stays in place and you don’t have to redo it too soon.
With that in mind, let’s talk about showering after a tan- what you need to know and how long you need to wait.
How Long to Wait After Spray Tan to Shower?
Recommendations will vary from one tanning expert to the next, but the question of when can you shower after spray tan is probably most safely answered by saying 4 to 8 hours.
That gives your tan enough time to set and not be easily washed off. There’s a range there, as you can see, so you may be wondering if there are different factors that affect how long you have to wait.
Our recommendation is simply to wait 8 hours if possible, but you could go for your shower as early as four hours after the spray tan. The longer you wait, however, the better.
It’s not advisable to put off your shower for a whole day, though. What we do recommend is that you schedule the tan for early in the day so that you give yourself plenty of time between when you get that and when you would normally go for a shower.
You may also want to avoid working out and making your body sweat too much. The perspiration can be rough on the spray tan, washing it away or affecting its integrity at least a little.
What happens when you do shower after a spray tan is applied? You’ll probably notice some of the tanner washing down the drain as you clean yourself, but that’s perfectly fine.
If you’ve waited about 8 hours or so to have your shower, the tanning spray will already have done its work. You won’t lose any of the bronzed look just by taking a shower at that point. You will simply be getting rid of some of the residual surface tan that didn’t permeate your skin cells.
It shouldn’t affect how tanned you appear, even though you see some of it washing away. There will likely be some extra solution hanging out on your skin that needs to be washed away to allow your pores to open up and your skin to be healthy.
That’s why we recommend that you don’t wait too long to have your shower.
The extra tanning solution that’s stuck to your skin does need to be washed off and shouldn’t be left for a full 24 hours, if you can help it. If it’s not washed off in a timely manner, it can clog your pores and cause irritation, rashes, and breakouts, in some cases.
What to Do to Protect Your Skin after a Tan
You want to be careful about how you treat your skin following a spray tan. There’s a lot that could go wrong with that tan, and it could come off prematurely. There are few things you can do to protect your skin after you’ve had a spray tan.
Try to Avoid Getting Wet
It’s not just the shower you need to stay away from for several hours after a spray tan; you should stay away from any moisture that gets on the parts of your skin that had been spray tanned.
This means sweating, washing, taking a dip in the pool, and anything else where water could touch your tanned skin.
Out of all these, sweating will probably be the least damaging to the tan, but you still want to reduce your risk of losing some of the tan and try to keep your skin dry for the next few hours.
Wear Loose Fitting Clothes
It’s best to keep tight fitting clothes off your skin as much as possible.
They could press into the skin and the tan, pulling some of the tan off with them. If you want your tan to last, try to wear clothes that don’t stick close to your skin for the next 4 to 8 hours.
Be Careful about What You Put on Your Skin
If you’re used to putting lotions, skin creams, fragrances, and other substances on your skin, you should avoid doing that for the next few hours as well. These all contain liquids that can damage the integrity of the tan.
It’s better just to do without them for a little while. In fact, you should avoid oil-based skin applications until the tan has completely faded. These could pull the tan spray off, even after it’s been on your skin for an entire day.
Shaving yourself can remove some of the tanning spray as well. As long as the tan is on your body and giving you a bronzed look, you want to shave very gingerly.
How to Shower after a Spray Tan
If you’ve waited about 8 hours from the time you got your spray tan and you’re ready to shower, there are some guidelines you should follow for that first shower.
Don’t try to scrub your skin really clean that first time. Yes, you want to clean yourself and get rid of the excess tanning solution, but scrubbing out your skin can remove more tanning solution than you intend to.
You shouldn’t use any soap at all, as that will remove a lot of tanning solution and keep it from developing and solidifying like it should.
That first shower ought to be a quick rinse. It should be just enough to wash all of your skin down, and you don’t want to rub scrub, exfoliate, or soap yourself.
No soap should be used at all until you’ve had the tan on your body for at least 24 hours. This will help you achieve the best results and get the bronzed look you’re going for.
If you do want to rub yourself down a little bit for a better clean, you can use your hands to do so, but do it gently. We understand you might not feel incredibly clean coming out of the shower the first time, but that’s the price you pay for using spray tan.
While the spray tan is applied and until it fades out completely, you should be very gentle with your showers.
Use shower products that contain no sulfates or parabens, and make sure you’re not scrubbing your skin roughly but rather patting it clean and patting it dry.
If you can manage all of that, your spray tan should stay in place for a while.
I’m Jennifer a beauty and wellness expert. I believe in promoting a sustainable and healthy lifestyle from within. Helping people feel good is my passion; whether it’s teaching yoga or offering skincare advice.