Washing Off A Spray Tan Too Early

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Let’s start right from the beginning.

What exactly is a spray tan? How does it work?

How long does it last as opposed to tans that you would get lying on a sunbed or from the natural rays of the sun?

In simple terms, a spray tan is a fine mist that is sprayed all over the body while the tanner stands in a small booth.

The different types of spray tans typically consist of three ingredients being, bronzer, DHA, and aloe vera.

Although the bronzer is used to create an instant tanning effect, it can come out in the shower if you attempt to shower too soon after your spray tanning session.

The reason for this is that DHA only darkens a few hours after the actual application of the spray tan, so it is advisable to wait a few hours until the DHA has darkened properly and given your skin the golden glow that you are looking for.

How Early is Too Early?

Washing Off Spray Tan Too Early

Essentially, showering too early will stop the development of the DHA and affect your spray tan quite significantly.

This can lead to a lighter tan or, even worse, a streaky tan!

It is good practice to try not to shower at least 6 hours after you have received a spray tan.

If you decide to take a shower or swim in a swimming pool sooner than this, then it can cause the DHA to come off your body before it has become completely tanned.

Why Should I Not Shower Too Early After My Spray Tan?

The DHA in the spray tan needs time for the color to fully develop on your skin, and the longer you go without a shower, the more time the DHA will have to ensure that you get a darker tanned skin color.

If you want the best results, you should only shower 24 hours after your spray tan procedure.

Generally, all tanning products are different, so you should always check with your salon consultant how long you should wait for your tan to develop before you hit the shower.

Tan results often vary from person to person due to skin type, medications, weather conditions, and hormones.

A spray tan starts off a chemical reaction between the tanning ingredients and your skin, so every person will differ in the final result.

Consequences of washing your spray tan off too early

Say you are a pro at spray tanning and its rules, then you will be well aware of the consequences that showering too early can have on your tan.

There are many ways to make sure that your tan lasts for as long as possible.

For those who are new at this, you may not be fully aware of the devastating consequences that showering too early can do to your tan and your self-esteem.

What Should You and Should You Not Do After A Spray-Tan?


Wait for at least 24 hours if you want to develop a beautiful tan and let the DHA develop to perfection on your skin.

If you shower too soon, you are more than likely going to be disappointed by the results.


Do not take a shower soon after your tanning procedure.

If you do shower too soon, you are reducing the quality and longevity of the tan, and it will not last as long as it is supposed to.

When you are showering, stay away from products that will be too harsh on the skin.

These chemicals tend to disable the skin from fully developing the spray tan.

Taking a shower too early can sometimes lead to a streaky tan, especially if you use products that are too soapy.

Do not use products that are too soapy unless you want to look like a zebra.

What Can I Do If I Wash off My Spray Tan?

Although all of this may seem quite overwhelming, you must know that if you do happen to wash off your spray tan too early, then there are always ways in which you can fix this mishap.

Here are a few steps you can take to fix your tanning mistake:

Call Your Salon for Advice

Ok, you have messed up.

The first thing to do is to call your spray tan technician and tell them what has happened.

They have no doubt dealt with this before, and they will be able to advise you on what you should do to rectify the matter.

Sometimes that may ask you to wait a further 24 hours to see if your color develops anymore.

If it does not, then you will need to schedule a touch-up.

Cover Up with Your Own Self Tan

It will feel like the end of the world if you have done your spray tan in preparation for a big event, and now it has gone all streaky!

If you do not have enough time to revisit your salon or wait for your color to develop more, it may be best to use a self-tanning product such as a self-tanning lotion or tinted moisturizer so that you can cover up for the time being.

Time to Touch Up

Remain calm! The best way to fix any spray-tanning problems is to go for a touch-up at your salon.

Your spray tan technician has been doing this for many years and will know exactly how to rectify the matter.

You are, no doubt, not the only one that they have had to help rectify the same issue.

The process typically involves a new spray over your existing spray tan.

If you have adhered to all the rules and have followed the instructions that the salon has given you, then you may get this free of charge.

If, however, you have not listened to the dos and don’ts of what needs to be done after the procedure, then you may be liable to pay.

Tips on Maintaining the Longevity of Your Spray Tan

How Long After Getting A Spray Tan Can You Shower

Once you have received a spray tan, your salon consultant will advise you on what needs to be done, when you should shower, and what products are safe to use during and after showering.

Put on the correct underwear

Your tanning salon will probably give you a pair of paper panties to wear for the rest of the day after your tanning session.

These are used mainly to prevent tan lines and stains.

For the first 24 hours, stick to loose-fitting clothes

Get out those loose-fitting clothes so that you can wear them for at least 24 hours after you have attended your spray tanning session.

Any friction from tight-fitting clothes can leave streaks on the skin.

Wait at least 6 hours to shower or swim!

This is going to be reiterated over and over again.

The only way to maintain your spray tan’s longevity is if you wait for at least 6 hours after the session to shower or jump into the pool.

You have to give your skin enough time to absorb the spray tan to produce an even tan.

Use baby powder

While it is not a good idea to use deodorant once you have undergone a spray tan, you still need to use something that makes you smell good and prevents you from sweating.

Unfortunately, sweating can cause streaks and spots on your spray tan.

Baby powder helps avoid any of these streaks and can be used under your armpits, at the back of your knees, and anywhere else you tend to perspire.

Always take the proper precautions when you shower

When you eventually go for your shower, remember to use only lukewarm water.

Try not to bathe or take too long in the shower, and do not use any scrubs.

If you need to wash your hair, then try to ensure that the shampoo and conditioner do not touch your skin, or opt to wash your hair under the basin.

Here are four pro tips to make your tan last longer:

Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.