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How Long Should You Wait to Shower After Tanning: Expert Guide & Tips (2024)

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how long should you wait to shower after tanningMuch like a sculptor with their masterpiece, timing can be the key to whether you shower after getting out of the tanning bed.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a sunbed, a spray tan, or if you’ve opted for that self-tanning lotion—shower too soon and you’ve washed away all that work and color; wait too long, and you may just unnecessarily compromise your skin’s health.

This guide offers expert tips for mastering the perfect post-tan routine

Key Takeaways

  • Patience is a virtue: Showering too soon after tanning can wash away your golden glow. Hold off for a few hours, depending on the tanning method, to let your skin soak up the color.
  • Soft and gentle: Treat your tanned skin like a delicate flower. Use lukewarm water, mild cleansers, and pat dry instead of rubbing to preserve your tan and keep your skin feeling soft and supple.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize: Keep your skin hydrated to prolong your tan and prevent it from becoming patchy. Apply a good moisturizer after showering and throughout the day to keep your skin looking radiant.
  • Avoid harsh treatments: Exfoliating and harsh soaps can strip away your tan and irritate your skin. Give your skin a break from these treatments for a few days after tanning to maintain your sun-kissed glow

How Long Should You Wait to Shower After Tanning?

Wondering how long you should wait to shower after tanning? Here’s the lowdown:

If you use a sunbed, give it 6-8 hours before showering to let the tan develop.

For self-tanning lotions or spray tans, wait 4-8 hours.

Oils need 2-3 hours, while mousses and gels require 4-6 hours.

Stick to lukewarm water and gentle cleansers to keep your tan intact.

Pat dry, moisturize, and steer clear of harsh soaps and scrubbing.

Follow these steps to enjoy a longer-lasting, glowing tan. Stick around and discover the finer points for each tanning method!

Showering After Sunbed Use

Showering After Sunbed Use
You can shower immediately after using a sunbed, as it’s both permissible and recommended. Showering hydrates your skin, extends the longevity of your tan, and enhances its appearance, but remember to use gentle cleansers and pat dry with a soft towel to avoid damaging your newly tanned skin

You can shower after using a sunbed, and it’s actually recommended. It’s safe to rinse off immediately, unlike with spray tans.

If you’ve used tanning lotion, check the label for specific instructions. Remember to follow the 24-hour tanning policy between sessions and use a tan extender to maintain your glow.

Always be mindful of sun-sensitizing medications and choose skincare products designed for tanning beds

Hydrates Skin and Extends Tan Longevity

After your sunbed session, showering isn’t just permissible—it’s beneficial. A post-tan shower hydrates your skin and extends your tan’s longevity. Here’s how it helps:

  1. Rehydrates skin cells, preventing dryness and flaking
  2. Enhances melanin production, deepening your tan
  3. Activates tanning lotions, boosting their effectiveness

Use lukewarm water and gentle cleansers to maximize these benefits. Remember, proper skin hydration is key to maintaining that sun-kissed glow you’ve worked hard to achieve

Avoid Harsh Soaps or Scrubs

Avoid using harsh soaps and abrasive scrubs after your sunbed session because they’ll wash away your new tan and irritate your skin even more. It’s already sensitive because of the UV rays.

Use gentle cleansers that won’t unbalance your skin. Exfoliating is very good, but you should avoid it right after tanning.

Help your glow last longer and protect it from skin cancer risks with nourishing ingredients formulated especially for your skin type

Pat Dry With a Soft Towel

After gently cleansing your skin, it’s time to dry off. But don’t pat dry very vigorously! In its place, pat dry by using a soft towel to save your tan and keep your skin hydrated. That’s why this step is essential :

  1. Stops exfoliation of the newly tanned skin
  2. Avoids the risk of streaking or uneven fading
  3. Moisturizes skin for better tan life

Enhances Tan Appearance

After drying off your skin gently, you’ll notice that your tanning appearance is much better than when leaving the sunbed. Your glow may even be better if you shower immediately after using a sunbed. It goes deep into your skin, and eventually, your skin keeps hydrated, making it look smooth and healthy.

Applying tanning extenders or lotions is tremendously helpful and can enhance this effect. An excellent tanning extender has added features, such as being nourishing as well, minimizing potential damage while still keeping the face and body looking sun-kissed

Showering After Spray Tanning

Showering After Spray Tanning
After spray tanning, you should wait 4-8 hours before showering to allow the tan to fully develop. When you do shower, use lukewarm water and gentle cleansers, avoiding exfoliating or scrubbing to preserve your newly applied tan

Wait 4-8 Hours Before Showering

After your session with a sunbed, you’ll want to switch gears for the spray tan. Unlike UV tanning, you’ll have to wait between 4 and 8 hours before a shower.

This optimum timing allows the spray tan solution to penetrate and do its magic. Holding oneself up assures even better hydration of the skin and an improvement in the tan’s longevity.

Remember that after your spray tan session, showers are to be taken with greatly adored patience

Allows the Tan to Fully Develop

One should give a waiting period of 4 to 8 hours before taking a shower after tanning spraying. This will give the tan an opportunity to develop and provide the best results.

Proper application of tanning lotions and UVA/UVB lamps, and after-tan care through moisturizing lotion, improves the outcome.

Broad Ripple Tans also has tips on how long the duration should be and the skin’s sensitivity with certain types of sunbeds to get the best results

Avoid Exfoliating or Scrubbing

Avoid exfoliating or scrubbing after spray tanning to keep the tan intact. Exfoliation can remove the outer layer of your skin and strip away the tan. Also, using harsh scrubs or tools can damage your freshly tanned skin. Instead, focus on gentle care to maintain that beautiful glow. Keep your shower routine simple and skin-friendly

Use Lukewarm Water and Gentle Cleansers

Use lukewarm water when showering after spray tanning. Hot water can strip your skin’s hydration and irritate skin sensitivity. Opt for gentle cleansers to preserve your tan. Avoid harsh soaps that could remove the tanning lotion ingredients. Showering this way maintains your glow and is ideal for regular tanning frequency, ensuring a lasting, even tan

Showering After Self-Tanning Lotions

Showering After Self-Tanning Lotions
After the application of a sunless tanning lotion, one is supposed to make sure the cream is entirely absorbed by the body before initiating bathing. Usually, this is expected to take somewhere between 6-8 hours to give an optimum lift. The drying time does allow an application for the lotion’s ingredients to work their way throughout the skin, getting you prepped for an even, natural tan.

Take the following precautions for showering:

  • Don’t use hot water: One must use lukewarm water to maintain the tan.
  • Skip exfoliating: Avoid scrubs that could strip the tan.

    • Gentle cleansers: Choose milder body washes that don’t irritate the skin.

  • Pat dry: Gently pat your skin with a towel to avoid rubbing off the tan.
  • Moisturise: Apply a hydrating lotion after showering to extend the life of the tan.

Make all of these steps to ensure a longer-lasting, radiant tan.

Showering After Tanning Beds

Showering After Tanning Beds
After using tanning beds, some things might help keep your tan and avoid skin irritation. While you don’t need to avoid showering, consider these tips for best results:

  • Skip Harsh Soaps: Use instead mild cleansers that wouldn’t strip the skin of oils.
  • Pat Dry: While retaining moisture, pat dry your skin instead of roughly rubbing with a towel.
  • Moisturize: Use a moisturizer immediately after you shower to lock in moisture and prolong the life of your tan.
  • Monitor Skin: Watch for any irritation or reactions

Showering After Airbrush Tanning

Showering After Airbrush Tanning
Several of our members in North Carolina have recently used tanning beds and have been asking the question of the proper timing for showering. Well, when it comes to airbrush tanning, timing is critical. Wait 4-8 hours before showering for the bronzing ingredients to set fully and your tan to fully develop. Warm water and mild soaps will wash you gently to keep the integrity and brilliance of your tan while continuing to rehydrate the skin by setting the life of the tan.

Avoid the exfoliation or scrubbing of your skin, and your tan will last longer. For best results:

  • Wait four to eight hours before showering
  • Opt for mild cleansers and lukewarm water.
  • **Do not exfoliate or scrub.

Remember, patience is a virtue—these steps will give you a radiant, long-lasting glow from your airbrush tanning session.

Showering After Gradual Tanning Lotions

Showering After Gradual Tanning Lotions
You can shower as usual after using gradual tanning lotions, but be cautious as exfoliating might lighten your tan. To maintain your tan’s longevity, opt for gentle cleansers and moisturizers

Can Shower as Normal

You can shower immediately after applying a gradual tanning lotion with no need to wait for hours. Just check the label for the lotion you chose to use. Avoid exfoliating, as it removes color. Just use mild soaps and body washes to keep that beautiful glow longer. Follow these simple tips for maximum results.

Exfoliating May Remove the Gradual Tan

Exfoliation alone can take days off your tan’s life, so staying easy on exfoliation frequency will help maintain the light.

Go for gentle exfoliation options such as soft sponges—the first alternatives to rough scrubbing, perfect for keeping your skin smooth while maintaining touch-ups on your tan.

It’s essential to maintain a gradual tan to keep your skin soft and your tan looking its best

Use Gentle Cleansers and Moisturizers

To preserve that gorgeous glow after using gradual tanning lotions, go easy on your skin during showers. Opt for gentle cleansers and moisturizing body washes to avoid stripping away your tan. In-shower lotions can also help keep your skin hydrated. Pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing to retain your color longer

Showering After Tanning Oils

Showering After Tanning Oils
When applying tanning oils, timing of your shower can affect the results. Here’s what you need to remember:

  1. Wait at least 2-3 hours before showering: This allows oils to absorb, enhancing your tan fully.
  2. Use lukewarm water: Hot water can strip the oils from your skin, reducing the effectiveness of your tan. Lukewarm water is gentler and helps to maintain hydration.
  3. Avoid harsh soaps or scrubs: These will strip away the tanning oils and may affect the tanning process. Use a milder cleanser to keep the skin smooth and tanned.

Showering After Tanning Mousses

Showering After Tanning Mousses
So, after you apply a tanning mousse, you may be clear about when you should do your next shower. Just a few hours: hopefully only 4 to 6 hours. The reason being, this allows your tanning mousse ingredients to fully mature and build up that deep, long-lasting bronze. When it’s finally time to rinse off:

  1. Use Lukewarm Water: Hot water can strip your tan.
  2. Stay Away from Strong Soaps: Mild soaps would be ideal to keep your tan from stripping off.
  3. Pat Dry: Intensive rubbing may leave streaks.

Just make sure to follow these steps, for this way your tan will look glowing and perfectly even; moreover—popular tanning mousse brands provide specific guidance, so always check the label. Worry no longer about your tan! Just make sure to follow some easy tips for the best outcomes.

Showering After Tanning Gels

Showering After Tanning Gels
It’s essential to know how to shower correctly after one has applied tanning gels to maintain that glow because the tan is achieved due to certain active ingredients in the gels that penetrate through the skin.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Wait Time: Allow the gel to dry for at least 4-6 hours. Waiting can make this gel highly absorbed to the maximum.
  2. Shower Technique: Use warm water and mild soaps. Stay away from extremely hot water, which will make your tan fade.
  3. Post-Shower Care: Use a soft towel to pat your skin dry, rather than rubbing it, to maintain the effect of the gel.

Taking these steps into consideration ensures a lasting tan as well as healthy, well-hydrated skin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after tanning can I shower?

If you’ve used tanning lotion with bronzing ingredients, wait a few hours to shower. If not, you can shower immediately after tanning. Remember to use gentle cleansers and moisturizers to maintain your tan

What should you not do after tanning?

After tanning, don’t exfoliate, wax, or use harsh soaps. Skip wearing tight clothing to avoid irritation, and moisturize frequently to maintain your tan’s longevity. Remember, proper care helps avoid damaging your skin and maximizes results

Will my tan get darker after I shower?

Your tan won’t get darker after showering. The color you see beforehand is your result. However, use a mild cleanser and pat dry to preserve your glow and avoid stripping away moisture

Can I wait 12 hours to shower after spray tan?

Yes, you can wait 12 hours to shower after a spray tan. Waiting helps the tan develop and set properly, ensuring an even and long-lasting result. Just avoid sweating and tight clothing during this time

Can you shower 2 hours after tanning bed?

After tanning, showering two hours later is fine if you didn’t use bronzing lotion. Rinse gently, avoiding harsh soaps or scrubs to keep your tan vibrant and your skin moisturized

How soon after cataract surgery can one take a shower?

You can shower 24 hours after cataract surgery, but avoid getting water in your eyes. Use a gentle stream and keep your head away from direct water flow to reduce the risk of infection and complications

How long does it take to tan before a shower?

After tanning, wait 2-4 hours to shower if you used tanning lotion with bronzing ingredients. If not, you can shower immediately. Use gentle cleansers, avoid exfoliating, and moisturize to maintain your tan

When should I shower after self tanner?

Shower 6-8 hours after applying self-tanner. This allows the product to fully develop, giving you the desired tan without washing away the active ingredients. Stick to gentle cleansers to maintain your tan’s intensity

What should I do if my skin feels irritated?

If you feel your skin becoming irritated, it’s essential to act on it and do so quickly. Rinse your skin with cool water and gently cleanse your skin. Don’t expose your skin to the sun anymore, and moisturize it with an excellent, hypoallergenic moisturizer. Consult a dermatologist if you can feel irritation still

Can I apply sunscreen immediately after tanning?

You can apply sunscreen immediately after tanning, but focus on using a moisturizing tan extender. This helps maintain your tan while providing skin protection. Always choose a broad-spectrum SPF to guard against UV damage

How often should I moisturize post-tanning?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Moisturize twice a day, morning and night, after tanning. This keeps your skin hydrated, extends your tan’s life, and maintains a healthy glow

Do I need different lotion for face and body?

Yes, use lotions that are different for your face and body. The facial skin is more delicate and needs specialized, non-comedogenic products, while body lotions are specially formulated to deal with thicker skin. This will help deliver proper hydration and care.

What kind of clothing should I wear post-tanning?

Post-tanning, wearing loose, breathable clothing is essential. Tight clothes can irritate your skin and ruin your tan. Opt for soft fabrics like cotton to ensure your skin remains calm, comfortable, and protected


Mastering post-tan care hugely affects your skin’s health and how long your tanning can last. The length of time a person should wait to shower depends on the tanning method they use: sunbeds, spray tans, lotions, oils, or gels. Specific guidelines exist for each type, such as waiting 4-8 hours after a spray tan or using gentle cleansers. With these professional tips, you’re not only ensuring vibrant, long-lasting results but also protecting your skin

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.