Should You Shower Before or After Tanning in a Tanning Bed for Best Results?


Greetings, beauty enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a hot topic in the tanning world: Should you shower before or after using a tanning bed to achieve the best results? This question is crucial for anyone looking to achieve that perfect, even tan while ensuring their skin remains healthy and glowing. Whether you’re a first-timer in a tanning salon or a regular user of tanning beds, understanding the right way to prepare your skin can make all the difference. So, let’s explore the ins and outs of tanning bed practices and how showering fits into the equation.

Understanding Tanning Beds

Tanning beds have been a popular alternative to natural sun tanning for decades. They work by using a series of lamps that emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, simulating the effect of the sun’s rays. This UV exposure causes the skin to produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its tan color.

While tanning beds offer a quick and controlled way to tan, it’s essential to use them wisely. Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to skin damage, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Thus, knowing how to use these devices safely and effectively is paramount.

Should You Shower Before or After Tanning in a Tanning Bed for Best Results?

The Role of Skin Preparation in Tanning

Skin preparation plays a pivotal role in the tanning process. The state of your skin can significantly impact how evenly you tan and how long the tan lasts. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Skin Type: Understanding your skin type is crucial. If you have sensitive or very fair skin, you may need to take extra precautions.
  • Hydration: Hydrated skin tans more evenly and holds the tan longer. Drinking plenty of water and using moisturizers can help.
  • Pre-Tanning Skin Care: Exfoliating before a tanning session removes dead skin cells, providing a smoother surface for tanning. However, be cautious with the products you use; certain exfoliants or moisturizers might react negatively with the UV light.

Showering Before Tanning in a Tanning Bed

Showering before stepping into a tanning bed is a common practice, but is it the best approach? Let’s break down the pros and cons:


  • Clean Slate: Showering removes dirt, oil, and makeup, which can act as barriers to UV light, leading to a more even tan.
  • Moisture Balance: A warm, not hot, shower can help hydrate your skin. Hydrated skin tends to tan more evenly and sustain the tan for longer.


  • Natural Oils: Showering, especially with hot water or harsh soaps, can strip away natural oils that protect your skin. This can lead to uneven tanning or increased sensitivity to UV rays.
  • Immediate Lotion Application: Many people apply lotions or oils after showering. Certain products can form a barrier on the skin or react under UV light, affecting the tanning process.
Should You Shower Before or After Tanning in a Tanning Bed for Best Results?

Showering After Tanning in a Tanning Bed

When it comes to showering after using a tanning bed, timing is key. Here’s why waiting a bit before hopping into the shower can be beneficial:

Benefits of Waiting to Shower

  • Enhancing Tan Development: The tanning process doesn’t stop the moment you step out of the bed. The melanin in your skin continues to develop and deepen your tan for a few hours post-exposure. Showering immediately can interrupt this process.
  • Skin Care Post-Tanning: After a tanning session, your skin needs time to cool down and absorb any applied post-tanning products effectively. These products often contain ingredients that enhance and prolong the tan.

Drawbacks of Immediate Showering

  • Washing Away the Bronzer: If you’ve used a bronzing agent, showering too soon can wash it off before it has fully set.
  • Impact on Skin’s Natural Oils: Just like showering before tanning, showering immediately afterward can strip away natural oils that are essential for maintaining your tan.

Best Practices for Showering When Using a Tanning Bed

To maximize your tanning results and maintain healthy skin, here are some best practices for showering:

  • Timing: Ideally, wait at least 3-4 hours after your tanning session before taking a shower. This gives your skin ample time to process the UV exposure and develop a deeper tan.
  • Water Temperature and Duration: Opt for lukewarm water and keep your shower brief. Hot, prolonged showers can dehydrate your skin and cause your tan to fade faster.
  • Skin Care Products: Use gentle, moisturizing soaps that are free from harsh chemicals. After showering, apply a hydrating moisturizer to extend the life of your tan.

Additional Tanning Bed Tips

To ensure the best tanning experience and maintain your skin’s health, consider these additional tips:

  • Safety Measures: Always use protective eyewear in a tanning bed to safeguard your eyes from harmful UV rays. Follow the recommended time limits to prevent overexposure.
  • Maintaining Your Tan: Moisturize daily with products formulated for tanned skin. Consider using tan extenders or gradual tanning lotions to keep your tan looking fresh.
  • Consulting a Professional: If you have concerns about your skin type or how to use tanning beds safely, consult with a dermatologist or a tanning professional.


To wrap up our exploration of the age-old question, “should you shower before or after tanning in a tanning bed?” it’s clear that both timing and skin care play significant roles in achieving the best tanning results. While individual preferences and skin types vary, the consensus leans towards avoiding immediate showers both before and after using a tanning bed. Incorporating this practice into your tanning routine can enhance the longevity and quality of your tan.

In essence, understanding whether you should shower before or after tanning in a tanning bed is key to not only achieving that perfect glow but also in maintaining healthy skin. It’s all about finding the right balance that works for your skin type and tanning goals. Remember, responsible tanning and proper skin care should always be your top priority, ensuring a satisfying and safe tanning experience.

Kelly Rodriguez
Kelly Rodriguez
Where Sophistication and Style Meet.

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