Can I Shower After Tanning & How Long Should I Wait?

This is one of the questions that I often get from tanning beginners. “Can I shower after tanning?”

I mean, after all the hours you just spent turning and tossing to get your tan, you definitely don’t want to throw it all away.

Below, I’ll explain why some experts advise against taking a shower immediately after a tanning session, when to shower and how to do it right.

Ready to learn? Let’s get started.

Don’t forget to also check our review on the best tanning machine!

Can I Shower After Tanning?

Well, after a tanning session, taking a shower feels like the right thing to do. I mean, I would love that too.

None of my self-care routines feel complete if they don’t end with a long bath or shower.

But, after tanning, it’s better to hold on to that shower unless you want to have that golden look to last a day.

Here are the pros and cons of showering after tanning.


Here is why taking a shower after tanning is actually a good thing.

  • You feel refreshed. Although tanning is relaxing, it’s normal to want to wash off any chemicals used during tanning. You feel dirty if you just continue with your daily activities after a tanning session.
  • It washes away chemicals available in tanning lotions that have the potential of hurting your skin.
  • It dehydrates your skin. Tanning sucks away moisture from your skin, and showering can help dehydrate the skin.


Here are reasons why many experts strongly advise against showering after tanning.

  • Tanning is still in progress. Tanning doesn’t end at the tanning bed. It continues long after you leave the salon. Showering after leaving the salon stops the process, making it less effective.
  • You miss the magic of the bronzer. Tanning accelerators are used to give you an extra glow and fasten the tanning process. When you shower immediately after your tan, you wash the bronzer away, making it ineffective.

But how about spray tanning? Can I shower after spray tan?

How Long After Tanning Can You Shower?

Ideally, the recommended time for effective tanning is 24-48 hours. But this may not be feasible. You probably need to go to work or grocery shopping, and honestly, you might feel kind of gross staying for 48 hours without a shower.

So, if you tanned outside without a tanning accelerator or tanning bronzer, you can shower after an hour.

This gives the melanin on your skin enough time to absorb the UV radiation to get a great tan.

But if you used a tanning bronzer or tanning accelerator, give it at least 3 to 4 hours before washing it. Don’t forget to check our guide about bronzer vs contour.

If you wash it earlier than that, you’ll just waste your money because you won’t benefit from the bronzer.

TRY READING: Can I Shave After a Spray Tan?

How to Shower After Tanning

After the 3 hours are over, you can finally take a shower and get on with your daily activities.

But there are some tips you need to follow for the best results. They include.

Use lukewarm water.

Your skin has been through a lot, so it’s best to avoid straining it with hot water and cool it down to allow the skin pores to breathe.

Don’t take a bath.

I know how much you want to soak your body in your bathtub and enjoy some wine. But after tanning, you’re better off having a shower. A bath or long shower will facilitate the browning agent to come off.

Use mild soaps.

Using harsh soaps will rip off moisture from your skin and oils in the tanning lotion. It’s also best to avoid scented soaps because you don’t know how their chemicals may react with the bronzer.

Don’t exfoliate.

The best time to exfoliate is before your tanning session. Exfoliating immediately after your tanning process can remove some tanning solutions, giving you uneven tanning.

Pat yourself to dry.

Avoid rubbing your body with a towel as it can remove the moisture in your skin or tanning solution.

Moisturize your skin.

It’s very important to moisturize your skin after a tanning process to replenish the moisture lost during the tanning process.

READ MORE: Rash and Bumps From Tanning Bed

What About Showers Before Tanning?

It’s advisable to shower before tanning because it opens the pores and prepares the skin for the process.

That said, it’s best to shower at least 5-6 hours before the tanning process. When you take a bath or shower, the skin pores expand, and the pH is disrupted.

Spraying the tan immediately can fill the pores with the tanning lotion hindering the skin from absorbing the DHA as perfectly as it does when it has a normal pH.

Since you won’t enjoy a long shower (especially a hot one) for at least 24 hours, ensure you enjoy showering before tanning.

RELATED ARTICLE: Should You Tan Before or After Working Out

Should You Shower After Sunburns?

sun burnt lady after tanning

Yes, taking a cool shower can help in easing the burning sensation. Cool water helps decrease excess blood flow to the skin, so a shower can help reduce redness and inflammation.

If it’s possible to control your shower pressure, regulate it to keep it low. High pressure will irritate your skin further and probably burst open the blisters, which may put you at risk of getting an infection.

If possible, stick to cool baths until your skin heals.


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Showering After Tanning (Conclusion)

The bottom line is, you can take a shower after tanning. What matters is the timing and how you do it.

Showering immediately can wash away your bronzer, giving you undesired results.

Allow your skin to rest for at least 3-4 hours before a quick cool shower if you used a tanning accelerator. And at least one hour if you didn’t use any bronzer.

Back to you. How long do you wait to take a shower after tanning? Share below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.