Is it okay to shower after a spray tan? The short answer is YES.
However, your first shower right after your tanning appointment may not be the same as the one you take regularly.
There are some things you need to know before taking that first shower to make sure your tan develops beautifully and evenly.
Caring for your spray tan to make sure you keep that wonderful glow for longer extends beyond the tanning salon.
One aftercare step that may make or break your tan is the first shower.
After Spray Tan Shower Tips
Here are post-tan shower tips to help you achieve and retain that wonderful sun-kissed glow.
After your tanning session, wait for at least 6-8 hours before taking a shower.
Some tanning salons even advise waiting for 10 hours or overnight to allow your tan to develop on your skin.
Getting water or any type of moisture on your skin during this period will interfere with this process.
While allowing your tan to develop to give you the most glowing results, take note that you can only leave the solution on your skin for a maximum of 24 hours.
Avoid Hot Showers
A hot shower may be the best end to a busy day, but if you have a fresh spray tan, this might not be a good idea.
Hot water will break the tan down making its glowing effect fade.
If you want to make your tan last, opt for lukewarm water for your first shower.
Lukewarm water is enough to rinse off the bronzer most salons apply as a top layer, but it will not remove your tan.
Say NO to a Hot Tub
Tanning products contain a chemical called DHA or Dihydroxyacetone.
This is a type of simple carbohydrate that reacts with the skin and causes tanning.
Getting into a hot tub immediately will stop the DHA from developing.
Some hot tubs also use chlorinated water.
In small amounts, chlorine should not affect your tan, but in combination with hot water, it will cause your tan to fade faster.
You are also more likely to spend more time in a hot tub compared to a shower.
While it is okay to take a shower 6-8 hours after getting a tan, it needs to be a quick rinse instead of a long bath.
Keep Away From Soap and Other Shower Products
Some bar soaps and shower products contain sulfates, alcohol, AHAs, BHAs, Retin-A, and other ingredients that cause exfoliation.
These chemicals disrupt the action of DHA by drying out your skin and removing the dead skin cells.
When this happens, the DHA in the tanning solution comes off.
The DHA needs time to adhere and be absorbed into your skin for it to work properly.
For the best results, rinse only with water for your first shower after your tanning appointment.
Use your hands to gently wash off the excess bronzer from your body.
Pat, Don’t Rub
Rubbing too hard may smudge your tan and give you an uneven result.
It can also remove it completely. Be extra gentle with your skin after a spray tan.
After your shower, just pat yourself dry. This will prevent you from removing the DHA from your skin and allow your tan to develop evenly.
After coming out of the shower, it may be your impulse to rub yourself dry with a towel.
Make a mental note (or an actual note if you have to) to pat instead of rub after your first shower post-spray tan.
Some people avoid moisturizers after showering post-spray tan for fear that the extra product will hinder the tanning.
While other chemicals interfere with the action of DHA, moisturizers actually help it adhere and absorb into the skin.
For that reason, it is important to choose the best type of products to complement the tanning solution.
Choose moisturizers that are non-greasy such as jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Apply them immediately after your first shower while your skin is still damp.
This is the best way to lock in moisture and it makes your skin feel and look smooth.
Another benefit of using moisturizers is that they prevent the tan from fading too quickly or in uneven patches.
If you use a tinted moisturizer, make sure that it matches the color of your spray tan.
Frequently Asked Questions
A traditional spray tan takes 12 hours to set, while an accelerated one takes between 1-5 hours. For both methods, it takes 24 hours for your tan to fully develop. So while you get darker right after your tanning appointment, expect the color to reveal darker tones after a few hours.
Your first shower should be brief. Spending too much time under the running water may wash tanning oils away.
Your tan might get lighter after you shower, but give it some time to develop. You should see a noticeable result after 10-15 hours, peaking at 24 hours. Most salons apply a bronzer after the tanning solution to give you instant color and glow. This bronzer comes off after your first shower, but this doesn’t mean that you lost your tan completely.
There is no reason to be afraid of getting in the shower after a spray tan.
Now that you know how your first shower will affect your tan, there is no need to worry about having a patchy or streaky skin afterward.
Just follow our tips on how to shower after a spray tan, and you will get a wonderfully glowing tanned skin that will last for days.