What To Know About Showering After A Spray Tan To Retain Your New Glow

If beauty has an age, that age must be bronze. Many Western women — especially those who were born with naturally pale skin — are obsessed with getting a tan. There's a timeless charm about that lived-in, sun-kissed glow on the skin that makes it perpetually voguish. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, nearly 10% of the study participants intentionally tanned outside. 

From sunbathing to laying in a tanning bed to getting a tan spray, there are many ways for you to get a tan. But for those who want an instant burst of that "Baywatch" radiance sans risks of skin cancer, a spray tan is a great shout. Not only can spray tan products deliver a flawless, sunless tan in no time, but many also contain custom-crafted, skin-enhancing solutions that help you achieve the most desirable tan. 

However, getting a tan is not where the work ends. Your skin will slowly fade back to its natural color in a week's time if you don't take extra measures to maintain it. One easy and highly recommended way to lengthen the life of your faux bronzed glow is to shower after a spray tan. Showering after a spray tan may sound counterproductive, but it does work. Here's how. 

Why you should take a cool shower after a tan

According to Be Bronze Studio, you should not wait more than the 24-hour mark after a spray tan to have a shower. You can take a shower after waiting at least four to eight hours after getting a tan. Letting your tan get wet too early makes it difficult for the tanning solution to settle in properly, making your overall coverage look uneven and blotchy. That also means no sweaty workouts, swimming, or moisturizing during your wait. Baths, body soaps, shampoos, and body wash containing harsh chemicals are off the table within the first 24 hours as they can hinder the development of your tan. 

Also, keep your body wash brief and stick to a cool or lukewarm shower. "Hot baths can dehydrate your skin, leading to faster peeling. Stick to cool showers and use a moisturising shower product to really lock down your colour," says head of training for Clarins UK Marie McKeever (via Get The Gloss). While you're under the spray, avoid scrubbing or rubbing but use your hand to gently pat at your skin. You should also avoid peeing in the shower, as the ammonia in your urine can mess with the spray tan and cause streaking, per Good Looking Tan. If you see some product washing off your skin, there's no need to panic. You'll still come out looking like a swimsuit model after the shower.

Other spray tan shower tips

After your shower, use a soft towel to gently pat your skin dry. As far as hydration goes, avoid using an oil-based lotion or moisturizer, because oil breaks down tanner and strips your tan, according to L'Oréal Paris. To keep your skin moisturized without ruining your tan, stick to light, oil-free products as well as formulations that exclude harsh ingredients. Feeding your skin with hydrating moisturizer daily helps your tan last longer. 

You might have heard about how physical exfoliation helps prolong the life of your tan. You can and you should exfoliate thoroughly before your tanning to create the most optimum surface for your tan to adhere to and shine through — but not immediately after it. You can gently exfoliate the rough areas of your skin — such as your knees, heels, and elbows — three or four days after your tanning solution to remove dead skin cells and keep your tan looking fresh, per Lucy Bee

Besides following these tips in the shower, you can protect your tan from UV radiation and make it last longer by slathering up with a waterproof sunscreen everyday before going out. Swimming with a spray tan is not advised, as chlorine can strip away your tan.