Post-Tanning Care: Showering and More After a Tanning Bed Session

Post-Tanning Care: Showering and More After a Tanning Bed Session

Ever wondered if you can hop into the shower right after your tanning bed session? It’s a common question, and you’re not alone in asking it. After all, you want to make sure you’re doing everything right to achieve that perfect, sun-kissed glow.

Key Takeaways

  • Tanning beds simulate the effect of the sun’s UV rays to trigger a response from melanocyte cells in the skin, leading to the production of melanin pigment and, as a result, a tan.
  • The intensity of UV radiation in tanning beds can be much stronger than natural sunlight, emphasizing the importance of safety measures and skin hydration.
  • Showering immediately after tanning doesn’t wash away the tan, as the melanin exists below the skin’s surface; however, hot water and chemicals in the water can disrupt the tanning process by stripping away skin’s moisture and essential oils.
  • It’s generally advised to wait 2-4 hours after tanning before showering, use lukewarm water, opt for a gentle or tan-extending cleanser, and moisturize to preserve the tan.
  • Maintaining a tan involves proper hydration, avoiding immediate exfoliation, sticking to warm showers, applying sunscreen, refraining from swimming in chlorinated water, and regular moisturizing.

Proper care after a tanning bed session is crucial for maintaining a lasting tan. Broad Ripple Tan emphasizes the importance of moisturizing immediately after showering to extend the life of your tan. Vanchier advises keeping showers brief to prevent softening and wearing away the tan, including tips for post-shower care to enhance tan longevity.

Understanding Tanning Bed Process

Understanding Tanning Bed Process

So you might be wondering, how does a tanning bed work? Well, here’s what goes down.

Tanning beds are designed to simulate the effect of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. They emit UVA and UVB rays, the two types of UV light that cause your skin to tan. UVB rays stimulate the production of melanin, the dark pigment in your skin, while UVA rays oxidize this melanin, leading to a change in skin color. This process is commonly known as photo-oxidation. It’s the same response your skin has to natural sunlight, but in this case, it’s happening at a more concentrated rate.

Here is a simple breakdown of the process:

  • You get into a tanning bed and close the lid.
  • The UV lamps in the bed emits UVA and UVB rays.
  • These rays penetrate your skin and stimulate a response from the melanocyte cells.
  • The melanocyte cells begin to produce melanin pigment.
  • This pigment absorbs UV light and browns or tans as a result.

It’s important to note that the intensity of the UV radiation in tanning beds can be up to 15 times stronger than the midday sun. Hence, it’s vitally important to follow safety measures such as using eye protection and limiting your sessions.

Another crucial part of the process is hydration. Just like the sun, tanning beds tend to dehydrate your skin. And when your skin’s dry, it’s more likely to peel – which isn’t what you want if you’re trying to maintain that tan. So remember to always moisturize, hydrate, and pamper your skin before hitting the tanning bed.

In knowing this, you can better plan your after-session routine, such as knowing whether can you shower after tanning bed or not – but that’s a topic for the next section.

Effects of Showering Immediately After Tanning

Here’s a common query: “Can you shower after tanning bed sessions?” Let’s unfold the facts behind this. In short, it’s a substantial concern! Showering immediately after tanning may disrupt the tanning process that’s underway in your skin.

Think of your skin as an incredible, living laboratory. The tanning you experience is caused by a process known as melanogenesis. Exposing your skin to UVA and UVB rays from the tanning bed stimulates cells called melanocytes to produce a pigment called melanin. This pigment darkens your skin, creating that coveted golden glow. But here’s the kicker: Melanogenesis doesn’t stop when your tanning session ends. It continues for several hours afterwards.

It’s during this time that the newly produced melanin is distributed and begins to exert its tanning effect on your skin. This is where the concern for post-tanning showers enters into the picture.

On the surface, you might think that showering will wash away the tan. However, melanin exists below the skin’s surface, not on it. So, washing doesn’t actually strip away any of your tan. But – and it’s a big but – showering with hot water can cause your skin’s pores to open up. This can lead to loss of moisture and hydration, which are vital for melanin to fully exert its tanning effect.

Heat and chlorine in the water can also strip away essential oils and disrupt the skin’s pH balance. Both these factors are crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of your skin, especially during the tanning process which is already stressful for your skin.

So, it’s clear that it’s not washing itself that poses a risk to your tan but rather the impacts of hot water and potentially harsh chemicals in the water. By ensuring your skin remains hydrated and balanced, you can help support the tanning process and extend the life of your tan.

Recommended Post-Tanning Shower Routine

Understanding the best practices for a post-tanning shower is essential. It’s all about balance – maintaining the health of your skin while preserving the effectiveness and longevity of your tan.

Wait Before You Shower

First off, give your skin some time to breathe and let the tanning process fully establish. The general rule of thumb is to wait for about 2-4 hours before taking a shower. This allows the melanin production, responsible for your tan, to continue its work and produce the best possible results.

Avoid Hot Showers

When you do decide to hit the shower, remember to stick with lukewarm or cool water. Hot showers may feel relaxing but they open up your pores, leading to a higher risk of skin dehydration. This can, in the long run, negatively affect your skin health and the quality of your tan.

Use a Gentle Cleanser

Opt for a gentle or tan-extending cleanser. These products are often less harsh on your skin and specifically designed to preserve the life of your tan. Nevertheless, avoid scrubbing your skin as it may potentially remove the surface layer of your skin where much of the tan is located.

Maintain Skin Hydration

Don’t underestimate the power of moisturizing when maintaining your tan. Keeping your skin hydrated post-shower can help seal in your tan and keep your skin looking fresh and glowing for a longer period. Opt for a moisturizer rich in antioxidants and essential oils, as they add nourishment to the skin, promoting a healthy-looking tan.

Tips for Maintaining Your Tan

Tips for Maintaining Your Tan

Just stepping out of a tanning bed doesn’t mean the end of your tanning journey. Knowing what happens to your skin post-tanning is crucial in guiding your aftercare regimen. Proper care can make your tan last longer and keep your skin glowing.

Hydrate from the inside out: Yes, moisturizers are important but keeping your skin hydrated from inside is equally significant. Drinking plenty of water helps your skin stay rejuvenated and helps maintain your tan for a longer period. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Avoid exfoliating immediately: Post-tanning, your skin cells are filled with melanin. Exfoliating too soon can remove these cells prematurely, leading to a shorter lifespan for your tan. Wait a few days for the increased melanin production to slow down before you exfoliate.

Stick to warm showers: As previously mentioned, hot showers can dehydrate your skin and fade your tan rapidly. Stick to lukewarm showers and remember to pat – not rub – yourself dry.

Apply sunscreen religiously: You might think that a base tan will protect you from sunburns. Sadly, that’s a myth! Melanin does provide some natural protection against UV rays but it’s not foolproof. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) before going outdoors will protect your skin from further damage.

Refrain from swimming: Chlorine found in swimming pools and hot tubs can bleach your skin and accelerate the fading of your tan. While you’re preserving your tan, it’s best to avoid these activities.

Moisturize your skin: Using a good quality moisturizer can help replenish the oils lost during tanning and protect your tan. Choose one that is designed to prolong tans and apply it regularly throughout the day.


So, can you shower after a tanning bed? Yes, but it’s crucial to follow the right post-tanning care practices. Remember, it’s all about hydrating, avoiding immediate exfoliation, and sticking to warm showers. Always keep your skin protected with sunscreen and stay away from pools to dodge chlorine. Regular moisturizing with tan-prolonging products is your best bet. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only extend your tan’s lifespan but also keep your skin glowing. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge, it’s time to enjoy your radiant tan with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is post-tanning care important?

Post-tanning care is crucial to maintain skin health and extend the longevity of your tan. It ensures your skin remains hydrated and protected from factors that can prematurely fade your tan.

How can hydration influence my post-tan care?

Drinking sufficient water can help maintain your skin’s moisture from within and prevent dryness, a common issue post-tanning, enhancing your tan’s lifespan.

Can I exfoliate immediately after tanning?

No. It is advisable to avoid immediate exfoliation post-tanning to protect the freshly melanin-filled skin cells, ensuring a longer-lasting tan.

Are hot showers recommended after tanning?

No. Long, hot showers can cause your skin to dry out, potentially leading to faster tan fading. Stick to short, warm showers instead.

Should I avoid swimming after tanning?

Yes, particularly in chlorinated water. Chlorine can speed up tan fading. So, it’s better to avoid swimming to preserve your tan longer.

What type of moisturizer should I use after tanning?

Opt for a moisturizer specially formulated to prolong tans. These types of products not only hydrate your skin but also often contain ingredients like bronzer to enhance and extend your tan.

Is sunscreen necessary even after tanning?

Yes. Sunscreen application is crucial post-tanning, as it shields your skin from further sun damage, allowing your tan to last longer on undamaged skin.