Sun Tanning

How Soon Should You consider Showering After Sun Tanning?

Last Updated: August 24, 2023

In This article....

  • Sun tanning requires proper preparation and post-care for best results.
  • Showering at the appropriate time with cool or lukewarm water, gentle cleansers, and patting skin dry is essential to obtain a long-lasting sun tan.
  • Moisturizing after sun tanning helps keep skin hydrated and promote overall health.

Sun tanning is a popular way to achieve a radiant, bronze glow, but many people wonder about showering after sun tanning. This comprehensive guide will answer that question and provide valuable tips on how to maintain a healthy, long-lasting tan. So let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to a perfect sun-kissed look, focusing on the importance of showering after sun tanning!

Sun Tanning: The Basics

A woman applying tanning lotion to her skin

Sun tanning is a process that darkens the skin by exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light, either through natural sunlight or a tanning bed. The key to a successful UV tanning experience is understanding the tanning process and the importance of using sunscreen to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

By following the right aftercare instructions, especially after a tanning bed session, you can enjoy a beautiful, golden glow that lasts. Keep in mind that natural sun tanning requires prolonged exposure to the sun or UV rays, which can lead to skin damage, such as wrinkles, dark spots, or even skin cancer.

How Sun Tanning Works

Sun tanning works by exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which trigger melanin production, causing the skin to darken. This process occurs during natural sun tanning, tanning bed sessions, and when using fake tan products. Before tanning, it’s essential to prepare the skin by exfoliating with a body scrub or exfoliating mitt to remove dead skin cells and ensure an even tan. Shaving and exfoliating should be done one day before sun tanning or applying tanning oil.

For natural sunbathing, a quick shower immediately after tanning is acceptable, as the tanning process is complete, and the skin has cooled. However, when using tanning beds or self-tanners, it’s essential to wait for a few hours before showering to allow the tan to fully develop and prevent irritation. During the tanning process, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and replenish depleted minerals, which will alleviate any dehydration and discomfort.

After sun tanning, it’s important to hydrate the skin and use sunburn relief products to soothe and restore the skin.

The Importance of Sunscreen

A person showering after sun tanning to emphasize the importance of using sunscreen

Using sunscreen is vital when sun tanning, as it protects the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. It’s recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Applying sunscreen before and after tanning is essential to minimize the risk of UV damage and maintain the longevity of your tan.

Moreover, if you’re using tanning accelerators or bronzers, the waiting time before showering should be adjusted accordingly to ensure the desired effect fully develops.

Showering After Sun Tanning: Timing Matters

The timing of showering after sun tanning plays a crucial role in the success and longevity of your tan. Different tanning techniques require varying waiting periods before showering to maximize their effectiveness and minimize the risk of skin irritation.

By adhering to the recommended timing guidelines, you can ensure a beautiful, even tan that lasts longer.

Natural Sunbathing

When it comes to natural sunbathing, you can shower immediately after tanning without affecting your tan. This is because the tanning process is already complete, and your skin has returned to a cooled state.

To protect and care for your skin after natural sunbathing, it’s recommended to use cool or lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser during your shower. After showering, pat your skin dry with a soft towel to avoid irritation.

Using Tanning Lotion or Bronzer

If you’re using tanning lotion or bronzer to achieve a sunless tan, it’s important to wait 2-3 hours before showering to allow the tan to fully develop. Showering too soon after applying tanning lotion or bronzer may cause the tan to wash off too quickly, leaving streaks or an uneven finish.

By waiting the recommended time, you’ll give the accelerators in the tanning lotion enough time to work and ensure a well-set, beautiful tan.

Tips for Showering Post-Sun Tanning

A person showering after a tanning session

Following the appropriate showering tips after sun tanning can help protect and maintain your tan, ensuring a long-lasting, radiant glow. Whether you’ve tanned naturally, used a tanning bed, or applied tanning lotion or bronzer, it’s essential to take proper care of your skin during and after showering.

To keep your tan looking its best, avoid using hot water when showering. Hot water is hot water.

Cool or Lukewarm Water

Using cool or lukewarm water when showering after sun tanning is essential, as it helps prevent skin irritation and preserves the integrity of your tan. Hot water can shock the skin, leading to discomfort and potentially affecting the quality of your tan.

Instead, opt for a refreshing, cooler temperature to soothe and relax your skin after tanning.

Gentle Cleansers

Selecting gentle cleansers for your post-tan shower is crucial to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils and tan, especially for those with sensitive skin. Harsh soaps or body washes can cause dryness and irritation, negatively impacting your tan.

Instead, choose mild cleansers or body washes specifically formulated for those who have recently undergone a tanning session.

Patting Dry

After showering, it’s important to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel. Rubbing the skin can cause irritation and exfoliate the tan, leading to an uneven, short-lived tan.

By gently patting your skin dry, you’ll protect your tan and maintain its beautiful, even appearance.

Caring for Your Skin After Sun Tanning

A person applying moisturizer to their skin after a tanning session

Proper skin care after sun tanning is essential for maintaining a healthy, long-lasting tan. By following the right aftercare practices, such as showering with cool or lukewarm water, using gentle cleansers, and patting your skin dry, you can ensure your tan remains radiant and even for an extended period.

Taking the time to properly care for your skin after sun tanning will help you enjoy your day.


Keeping your skin hydrated is crucial after sun tanning, as it helps lock in moisture and prolong the life of your tan. Apply a moisturizer after showering to trap moisture and provide a protective barrier on the skin’s surface.

This will not only maintain your tan, but also promote overall skin health, keeping it soft, supple, and radiant.

Sunburn Relief

If you’ve experienced sunburn from tanning, it’s important to treat your skin with soothing remedies to alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Some effective treatments include:

  • Aloe vera: Apply aloe vera gel directly to the sunburned skin to soothe and moisturize.

  • Hydrocortisone cream: This can reduce inflammation and itching.

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications: These can help decrease swelling and discomfort.

Proper sunburn relief is crucial for restoring your skin and preventing further damage.

Tanning Alternatives: Comparing Sunless Tanning Methods

Sunless tanning methods, such as self tanner, spray tan, and spray tanning mousses, provide a convenient alternative to traditional sun tanning or tanning beds. These tanning products, including the use of tanning lotions, tanning oils, and tanning solution, allow you to achieve a beautiful, golden glow without the risks associated with sun exposure or UV radiation.

When using sunless tanning methods, it’s crucial to follow the recommended waiting times before showering to ensure a long-lasting, even tan. For self-tanners, wait at least 4 hours for the DHA to fully develop, while for spray tans, you should wait at least three or four hours before showering. Proper exfoliation and skin preparation are also essential to achieve a smooth, streak-free finish.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Showering After Sun Tanning

When showering after sun tanning, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can negatively impact your tan and skin health. Using hot water, harsh soaps, or rubbing the skin can strip away natural oils, causing dryness, irritation, and a shorter-lived tan.

Instead, follow the tips outlined in this guide, such as using cool or lukewarm water, gentle cleansers, and patting your skin dry. Additionally, be mindful of the recommended waiting times before showering based on the tanning method you’ve used.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a beautiful, even tan that lasts longer and keeps your skin healthy and radiant.


In conclusion, showering after sun tanning is an essential step in maintaining a beautiful, long-lasting tan. By understanding the tanning process, timing your showers appropriately, and following proper aftercare practices, you can achieve a radiant, sun-kissed glow while keeping your skin healthy and hydrated. So go ahead and enjoy your golden tan, knowing that you’re well-equipped with the knowledge and tips to make it last!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will showering after tanning ruin tan?

If you want to ensure your tan does not get ruined by showering, it is best to wait at least 2-3 hours after tanning with lotion, or 6-8 hours for mousse and gradual tanners.

This will help your tannin to set properly and provide the maximum effect.

What to do after tanning in the sun?

After soaking up the sun, be sure to take a shower using lukewarm water. Be careful not to scrub the skin dry; instead gently pat it down with a towel.

Then move to the shade or find a cool area to rest in order to continue protecting your skin from further UV exposure.

How do you shower the day after tanning?

To ensure your spray tan lasts, it’s important to shower carefully the day after getting the treatment. Use lukewarm water and avoid using soap or other harsh products, as this could strip away the color.

Gently pat yourself dry with a towel afterwards.

How soon should I shower after sun tanning?

In order to maintain your tan, it is best to wait at least 2-3 hours before showering after sun tanning, regardless of the method used. This will help ensure that the tan is set and will last longer.

What water temperature should I use when showering after sun tanning?

Cool or lukewarm water is the best choice when showering after sun tanning to protect your skin and ensure your tan lasts.

Hello! I'm Mandi Colburn, the lead writer of Inspired by a California upbringing and a passion for health and fitness, I turned my fascination with sun exposure into a blog that offers credible, research-driven advice on tanning and skin protection. Welcome to, where my goal is to guide you toward a healthier, sun-kissed glow.