Who doesn’t like to take some time out from their busy schedule and experience the season’s first sunny day by the pool to get a tan? And, after spending so much time in a sunbed or under the sun, you would like to retain that gorgeous bronze shade on your skin as long as possible.
However, it’s hard to not get an irresistible urge to take a brief shower after a tanning session, especially when you see the mess that all the chemicals including bronzers, sunscreen, moisturizer, and tanning lotions combined with your sweat have created.
So, how long after tanning can you shower has become an almost universal question even among the avid tanners.
You perhaps heard all kinds of expert opinions from ‘it’s absolutely fine to take a shower immediately’ to ‘wait at least a day to maximize that beautiful tan’ already.
What if we tell you that none are right and most of those notions are utter bullshit and can actually damage your hard-earned tan?
This topic deserves an elaborate explanation that will bust those myths you have been told by your neighbor or friendly tanning salon manager. Keep reading until the end to know what science has to say about how long after tanning can you shower according to the world’s renowned dermatologists.
Long story short, not every tan is the same, and the waiting period between a tanning session and shower significantly depends on what type of tan you are wearing. Is it a spray tan? Did you sunbathe? Have you used a tanning bed? Perhaps you like to use some self-tanning lotion, or you are a fan of those bronzers – regardless of your favorite way of getting tanned, there is no single answer to how long after tanning can you shower.
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Let’s focus on each of the tanning methods individually to find out the ideal wait duration before you stand under the shower.
1. Shower After Sunbathing or Tanning Bed
Let me answer whether you need to wait before taking a shower after sunbathing or using a tanning bed.
In the majority of the cases, the actual tanning process doesn’t complete immediately after the session, and it can take roughly around 24 to 48 hours, based on your specific method.
You don’t notice any real skin tone difference until a few hours have passed.
But the question that arises here is does a shower influence the process or not?
If you sunbathe outdoor or lying on a tanning bed, the UV rays tan your exposed skin through a biochemical process. They activate the melanocytes found in the outermost epidermis layer and start producing melanin that make your skin darker.
Therefore you can see a shower on your outer body can’t alter the process that UV rays from the sun have already started under your skin. No amount of water or soap can wash the melanin beneath the skin layer.
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However, since the shower cools your body rapidly, that can slightly affect the biochemical reactions induced by UV rays. So, if you want to achieve the maximum result, wait till your skin comes to room temperature naturally before heading towards the shower.
In short, if there is no accelerator, bronzer, or other similar things involved, you are safe to take a shower once you feel cooled down, which can be 20 to 30 minutes on average.
2. Shower After using bronzer or tanning
Let me tell you what is different when you add tanning lotions, accelerators, bronzers, and other external chemical agents when you are sunbathing or during a tanning bed session.
Even if you have applied a tanning lotion without any bronzer, the waiting period will increase. And with a bronzer, the amount of time will extend further.
This is simply because these solutions take some time to settle in and start showing their impact on your skin. Depending on what type of accelerating agents you have applied, this period can change a bit.
We recommend you check the label of your lotion, almost every such product comes with some instructions on how long after tanning can you shower; hence, following that would be ideal.
Sun Self Tanning Lotion
Sun Self Tanning Lotion in Medium 8 fl oz / 236 ml – Self Tanner – Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion, Body and Face for Bronzing and Golden Tan – Very Dark Sunless Bronzer Flawless Fake Tanning Lotion
This self-tanning lotion from Sun Laboratories works like a charm. The tan overnight self tanning lotion smells amazing. The quality product is easy to apply and works fast.
Typically, these lotions continue working for 2 to 3 hours after the tanning session has been completed.
Therefore, if there is any such external tanning solution included in the process, no matter whether you have sunbathed or used a sunbed, you must not shower before 2 to 3 hours once you are finished.
3. Waiting Time after sunless tanning or using self-tanner
Yes, you should, and in general, this is the case when the waiting period is the longest among all tanning methods.
Self-tanners, that are designed to work without the help of the Sun’s UV rays, work differently. They sit on your skin for a few hours before DHA, the main tanning agent in these products, begins to oxidize and leads to a golden tan shine.
This whole process can take a minimum of 4 hours, and sometimes even more. Since this is a sunless method, UV rays don’t play a role here.
So showing too soon can cause these solutions to get washed away and subsequently results in a streaky, less than satisfactory appearance.
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You are suggested to check for any specific guidance on your self-tanner pack though because often these products greatly vary in recommending waiting time, which can increase up to 8 hours.
Wrapping it up
If you have come this far, you now know how long after tanning can you shower based on your favorite tanning method.
Here’s a quick tip for you.
Instead of worrying about when should you take a shower after tanning, beginning your day with a good shower would be a perfect thing to do. Thus your body will be enough hydrated and skin pores will be cleaned, opened, and well prepared for the upcoming tanning session.
Application of a quality moisturizing cream and sunscreen lotion after the shower is also highly recommended for even greater results.