Why You Shouldn't Shower Right After Getting A Tan

For fear of interfering with a fresh tan, many people are unsure about whether or not showering after the fact is a good idea. After spending time or money on products or a procedure, the last thing anyone would want is to do something that may lessen the effects. As it turns out, when it comes to showering, there are different suggested wait times depending on the method of tanning used.

One popular form of tanning is through the use of a UV light tanning bed. If this is your preferred tanning method, no fear. There are no time constraints on when you can take a shower as this kind of tanning boosts the natural pigmentation of your skin and no amount of scrubbing will send melanin spiraling down the drain (via Tanning Girl) — although according to the American Academy of Dermatology, tanning beds are risky in and of themselves, so you might want to consider other options for a summery glow, such as sunless tanning lotions or bronzers. 

If you do opt for bronzers and other lotions, you're going to want to hold off on the shower as these products require time to work to their fullest extent (via Luxe Luminous). This is due to the fact that the chemicals found in self-tanners require prolonged exposure to oxygen in order for changes in pigmentation to emerge. Showering may therefore interfere with that process. For this reason, it's advised to wait four hours from the time the product is applied before partaking in a bath. However, some bronzers require longer wait times, so be sure to review the directions on the product for further instruction.

Spray tans and self-tanners have longer wait times than tanning beds

Unlike tanning beds which work by stimulating our body's natural melanin production, spray tans operate through absorption. Similar to self-tanner lotions, spray tans contain dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, a color additive that interacts with the outermost layer of our skin (via Mayo Clinic). When combined with oxygen, this results in a temporary tan. You'll want to avoid washing off the spray prematurely, therefore, allow three to four hours to pass before washing.

Lastly, if you combine methods such as spray tanning accompanied with the additional use of bronzers, your shower wait time will be longer. You'll want to hold off for a total of about eight hours as you're essentially adding up the wait time of self-tanners plus the wait time of a spray tan. Should you have additional questions, be sure to consult with your salon technician and remember to read directions thoroughly when it comes to product application.