Sunbeds are a popular option for achieving a perfect tan without prolonged exposure to potentially harmful natural sunlight. While sunbeds can provide a quick tan in a safe and controlled manner, questions often arise about post-tanning care, including whether it is safe and advisable to shower after a sunbed session.

"Should you shower after a sunbed session" is one of the most frequently asked questions. So, what are the risks and recommendations associated with showering after using a sunbed? Let's find out.

Can you shower after a sunbed session?

The simple answer is yes, you can - and as a matter of fact, you should. There is no harm in rinsing off the excess tanning lotion or sweat from your skin after the tanning process. In fact, a refreshing shower can be soothing and can help remove any residual tanning products used before the session, as well as hydrating the skin, which in turn helps prolong the tan. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind to ensure the best outcomes for your skin.

How long after a sunbed can you shower?

Should you wait to shower after tanning in a bed? If you're using tanning accelerators or other tanning products, it is generally recommended to wait at least two hours after your sunbed session before taking a shower.

During a tanning session, your skin undergoes a process known as melanogenesis, where the production of melanin is stimulated, causing your skin to darken. Waiting for a couple of hours allows this process to stabilise and ensures you don't accidentally wash away the tanning product while it's still acting, giving you better and longer-lasting results. In these cases, showering immediately after a sunbed session may interfere with melanin production and potentially diminish the tan's effectiveness.

This does not apply in case of sunbed sessions undertaken without the aid of tanning products: in this case, you may shower as early as 30 minutes or less after the sunbed session. 

The waiting time before showering after a sunbed session varies from person to person, depending on factors such as skin type, tanning duration, and the strength of the tanning bed. Individuals with fairer skin might want to wait a bit longer. Conversely, those with darker skin may find that they can shower sooner without any adverse effects on their tan. If in doubt, to ask the personnel at your tanning salon for expert advice: your skin's health is important!

Additionally, not all showers are the same. While a shower can hydrate skin and help the tan last longer, using hot water or harsh soaps can have the opposite effect, causing your skin to dry out - which may lead to premature peeling and fading of the tan.

To minimise any potential negative effects on your tan, it is best to use lukewarm water and gentle, moisturising shower products. Avoid exfoliating or scrubbing your skin too vigorously, as this can strip away the top layer of tanned skin, resulting in an uneven and shorter-lasting tan. Exfoliation should be carried out before a sunbed session, not after!

To maintain a healthy and vibrant tan after a sunbed session, consider the following post-tanning skin care tips:

  • Moisturise: keeping your skin hydrated is essential for preserving your tan. Use a moisturiser daily to lock in moisture and prevent your skin from drying out.
  • Avoid overexposure: while sunbeds offer a controlled tanning environment, and are therefore safer than direct exposure to sunlight, it's crucial not to overdo it. Excessive exposure to UV rays can damage your skin. 
  • Use sunscreen: spending time outdoors after your sunbed session may feel tempting as a way to deepen the tan further, but you should always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. Yes, sunbed-tanned skin will be more resistant to UV rays than fair skin, but the importance of an extra layer of safety provided by a good sunscreen cannot be overstated. Amazing as a good bronze tan looks and feels, it’s only possible when you take good care of your skin and keep it healthy.

Always prioritise your skin's health and well-being, and if you have any concerns or specific skin conditions, consult a dermatologist for personalised advice.

Post sunbed routineShower