Tan Before or After Workout: What’s The Best Way To Go?

To Tan Before or After Workout? Like most people, I was always confused about whether I should tan before or after a workout.

What’s the best way to go, and should I be worried about sun damage if I work out outside? Will it make me sweat more if I tan beforehand? Ugh, so many questions!

Luckily, I researched and found the answer to this age-old question. Here’s what I learned:

Should I Tan Before or After Working Out?

a tanning therapist

If you’re a fitness enthusiast who loves getting the occasional tan to show off your gains, you might be wondering if there’s a right or wrong time to do it.

So, should you tan before or after working out? It depends on the method you’re using and your personal preference.

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of both:

Tanning Before Workout

I understand the appeal of tanning before a workout session.

You want to look your best when you’re sweating it out at the gym, and a bronze glow can help with that.

Plus, you’re guaranteed to look good if you have an event or date after your session.

The good news is that you can tan before a workout. In fact, there are benefits to doing so.

Tanning before a workout gives you an instant energy boost. The UV rays help to increase your endorphins (1), giving you the perfect pick-me-up before heading to the gym.

However, there are also some drawbacks to tanning before a workout that you should be aware of.

Let’s look at the different tanning methods and their pros and cons to help you decide.

PROSWarns your muscles
Gives you an energy boost

No risk of sweating your tan off
You get to enjoy tanned skin while working out
Warms your muscles

Gives you an energy boost

No risk of sweating your tan off
CONSCan dehydrate your skin

Causes sunburns if you stay in the sun too long
High chances of sweating it off

You’ll likely have streaks and patches after
Can dehydrate your skin
PROSBetter tanning results since your pores are open

Provides muscle relaxation post-workout
There is no risk of sweating or washing it off  

Longer-lasting results
Better tanning results since your pores are open

Provides muscle relaxation post-workout
CONSRisk of sunburn if you were working out outdoorsYou have to wait at least 24 hours after your workout.Dehydrates the skin further

Can You Do Suntanning Before a Workout?

Suntanning before a workout has its pros and cons.

On the plus side, suntanning warms your body muscles and gives you an energy boost, as we’ve mentioned.

Therefore, you’ll not only have a great tan, but you’ll also feel more alert and energized for your workout.

On the downside, suntanning can dehydrate your skin or cause sunburns if you stay in the sun for too long.

So, if you’re planning on working out hard, you might want to exercise indoors and ensure you stay hydrated.

And if you’re wondering, “What UV is best for tanning?” A moderate or high UV index of between 3 and 7 should be enough to give you a stunning tan no matter your skin type.

According to Tropic Labs (2),

“*This is a general recommendation and varies depending on your location, altitude, and skin tone. Moderate includes UV index ranges from an index of 3 to 5, vs. high which is 6-7, very high which is 8-10 and extreme which is 11+.”

Can You Spray Tan Before a Workout?

lady getting a spray tan

You have the best spray tan machine at home, and you’re ready to rock your perfect bikini body, but can you spray tan before a workout?

Getting a spray tan before a workout is a bad idea. For one, the sweaty clothes will wipe it off. Furthermore, if you have an intense workout, you may end up with streaks or patches.

So it’s best to wait until after your workout to get your spray tan.

And if you must get a spray tan before your workout, it’s best to give it time before hitting the gym.

But how long after a spray tan can you work out? The Be Bronze Studio recommends (3) avoiding all workouts for at least 4 to 5 hours.

Can You Use a Tanning Bed Before a Workout?

What about tanning beds? Unlike a spray tan, you can’t just shower or sweat a tanning bed off.

For this reason, you shouldn’t worry about ruining your tan by hitting the gym after a tanning session.

Tanning After Workout

Tanning after a workout has its benefits. For one, you won’t have to worry about sweating off your tan.

Also, showering after a workout will help remove any oils or sweat that could prevent the tan from evenly applying to your skin.

Not to mention, you’ll probably feel more relaxed after a workout, making it the perfect time to get a little color.

But how do the different tanning methods fair after a workout? Can you get a tan after working out? Let’s find out.

Can You Do Suntanning After a Workout?

tanning in the sun

There’s no problem with sun tanning after a workout. If anything, it’s probably the best time to do it.

Working out increases blood circulation and opens up your pores, encouraging deeper penetration of the UV rays. This means that you’ll get a darker tan in less time than if you were to do it at any other time of day.

But make sure you shower first!

If you don’t shower before suntanning, the sweat and oils on your skin will create a barrier between your skin and the UV rays.

And if you’re wondering, “does sunburn turn into tan?”There’s no guarantee. So, err on the side of caution and don’t try to get a sunburn on purpose.

Can You Workout After a Spray Tan?

tanned woman working out

It’s not advisable to get a spray tan right after a workout. Exercising opens up your pores, which is a big no before a tan. You want your pores to be as tiny as possible for the best results.

Furthermore, the sweat may prevent the tanning solution from setting evenly on your skin.

So, if you can, try to wait at least 24 hours after your workout to get your spray tan.

Can You Workout After Being in a Tanning Bed

UV tanning after a workout gives you a greater chance of an even tan.

Working out leads to excessive sweating, which opens your pore, allowing for a deeper tan. However, the heat from the lamp may dehydrate you further. To prevent this:

  • Use a high-quality indoor tanning lotion
  • Drink a lot of water before getting on the tanning bed
  • Shower and exfoliate before your appointment
  • Give your skin some time to cool down and recover before using a tanning bed. Try to wait at least 30 minutes after your workout before using a tanning bed.

Is It Better to Tan Before or After Working Out?

It’s best to tan after your workout. Here’s why:

  • There’s no risk of dehydration.
  • You won’t have to shower twice.
  • Your pores will be open, allowing the tanning solution to penetrate your skin better.

However, apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher before working out outdoors, even if you plan on tanning afterward. It’s essential to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV.

Tan Before or After Workout: What is Recommended?

tanned girl posing

As I’ve mentioned, it’s best to get a tan after a workout. 

However, I bet you have a million questions on how to get the best results based on your schedule. I know I did.

From questions like, “Can you tan in the morning?” to “How long should you wait to shower after a spray tan?” I had to do my research to find what works best for me and my schedule.

Here are some recommendations I’ve found work perfectly whether you choose to tan before or after a workout:

  • If you’re going to be outside working out, it’s important to put sunscreen on.
  • Avoid sweating or showering for at least 4 to 5 hours after getting a spray tan.
  • Apply talc or powder to sweaty areas to create slip and prevent friction that may break down your tan if you had a pre-workout tanning session.
  • Moisturize thoroughly before and after your tan to prevent dehydration from the tanning process.
  • Keep a tanning kit in handy after pre-workout tanning sessions so that you can correct any mistakes if your tan breaks down after your workout.
  • Wait up to 24 hours after your workout to get a spray tan.
  • Exfoliate and shave 24 hours before your tanning appointment.

If you follow these tips, you should have no problem getting the perfect pre or post-workout tan!


Does the Sweat Affect the Tanning Process?

Sweat isn’t great for your tan. Sweating after a spray tan will make your tan fade faster.

On the other hand, showing up to your appointment after a sweaty gym session makes it harder for the tanning solution to set evenly.

Does Exercise Make You More Tan?

Exercise doesn’t directly make you more tan, but tanning after exercise gives you a better chance of achieving a deeper tan.

The tanning solution can penetrate your skin more effectively when your pores are open from sweating, giving you a deeper, darker tan.

Wrapping Up?

So, is it best to tan before or after a workout? Getting a tan after a workout is the best way to ensure an even, long-lasting application.

But, if you have no choice but to get your bronzed glow before, ensure you follow the proper steps to give yourself the best chance at a flawless tan.

Do you tan before or after working out? What are your thoughts on the matter? Let me know in the comments below!

woman working out in a gym

Which one do you prefer? Do you like to get a tan before or after a workout? Let us know in the comment section below!


  • 1. Bennett B. Spray Tan Aftercare Tips to Protect Your Skin | Be Bronze Studio [Internet]. West Hollywood & Beverly Hills Tanning | Be Bronze – LA Tanning. 2019 [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://www.bebronzestudio.com/blog/spray-tan-aftercare-tips-to-protect-your-skin#:~:text=To%20help%20your%20tan%20develop
  • 2. What UV index is best for tanning? [Internet]. tropic-labs.com. [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://tropic-labs.com/blog/what-uv-index-is-best-for-tanning
  • 3. Burton A. Radiation: Tanning Trippers Get UV High. Environmental Health Perspectives [Internet]. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; 2006 [cited 2022 May 18];114:A403. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513309/#:~:text=Sun%2Dsations
About LusineTG

Lusine is a fresh young writing enthusiast who loves to share tips about beauty, skincare, and so many other things. When she's not writing, you can find her snuggled up with her dog Benji binging on Netflix. She's also into cooking and yoga. Follow her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Learn more about her HERE.

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