Will a Hot Bath Fade My Spray Tan?

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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When you get a spray tan, you want to make sure that your bronze glow lasts as long as possible. For the most part, you can go about your life as you normally would when you have a spray tan. But if you want to relax in a hot bath with a fresh spray tan, you might want to hold off and opt for a shower instead.

Keep reading to learn more about whether a hot bath will fade your spray tan—plus some must-know aftercare tips which are important to know if you want to prolong your glow for as long as possible.

Will a hot bath fade my spray tan?

If you want to make sure your spray tan lasts whether it's for a vacation, a big event, or just another day, you might want to skip the hot bath, for a couple of reasons:

  • Spray tan solution soaks into and temporarily adds color to the outermost layer of the skin.
  • When you take a hot bath, the combination of the heat of the water and the amount of time soaking in the water can break down the color more quickly.

This happens because the hot water can cause the outside layers of skin to naturally exfoliate or peel off—taking your spray tan with it.

How soon can I shower after a spray tan?

You can usually take a shower 4-8 hours after your spray tan appointment depending on the type of spray tan you have. The salon should give you aftercare instructions that outline how soon you can shower.

While you can wait longer than the standard 8 hours before showering, it's important to make sure you shower off the solution within 24 hours. This ensures that the developing cream that is applied with the tan is washed away and your golden tan is all that is left.

Is it bad to get a spray tan wet?

The most important time not to get your spray tan wet is within the first few hours after your tan is applied. During this time, getting your skin wet can cause streaking or make your tan look uneven.

Once your spray tan is fully developed (within 4-8 hours), you can get your skin wet as you normally would.

It's recommended not to soak in the water for long periods of time, but normal showers in warm water or brief dips in the pool are just fine. Hot baths or hot tubs should be avoided because the heat and the water can cause your spray tan to peel off with your skin.

Can I go swimming with a spray tan?

While swimming in a cool pool is definitely more spray tan-friendly than a hot bath, you should still make sure you limit extended amounts of time in the water. Any time your skin is soaking in the water, your tan will break down a little bit.

It's fine to take a brief dip in the pool, but just make sure to thoroughly pat your skin dry in between and moisturize your skin afterward.

How long will my spray tan last?

The longevity of spray tans will vary depending on which brand of spray tan was applied and how quickly your skin naturally exfoliates. Most people experience an even, bronzy glow for 3-7 days before they start to notice their tan fading.

For this reason, it's recommended to get a spray tan 1-2 days before an event so that your color is fully developed and fresh.

What if my spray tan starts to fade unevenly?

If you start to notice your spray tan fading unevenly after taking a hot bath, don't worry! This is common in areas that you wash the most like your hands and face as well as around joints like ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows.

There are a few things you can do if you notice your spray tan is fading unevenly:

Lightly exfoliate the area

Using a loofah or a slightly abrasive cloth, gently exfoliate the area around the uneven patch in soft, circular motions. This can help make the fading look less noticeable.

Use the lemon trick

Cut a fresh lemon in half and gently rub the lemon in circular motions on the area where the tanner is uneven. The acid in the lemon will break down the tanner in the area around it and fade it to match the rest of the skin.

Touch up with bronzer

In a pinch, bronzer can even out your tan temporarily. Remember that it will only last until you shower or get wet. Choose a bronzer that matches your tan and blend it into the uneven area. Cream or lotion bronzer formulas work best for this use.

Reapply in trouble spots

If you need a better, longer-lasting solution, consider applying a self-tanner in the areas that are uneven or fading. Use a light hand and be careful not to over-apply, but this can help you blend out your tan.

Moisturize your skin

To prevent your tan from continuing to fade unevenly, make sure to moisturize your skin daily or after every time you get wet. This will help your skin retain moisture and shed less frequently, which will prolong your tan.

Final thoughts

To extend the life of your tan, it's important to minimize exposure to water other than normal, everyday showers. Hot baths, hot tubs, and even long afternoons in the pool will cause your skin to exfoliate the top layer and shed your tan along with it.

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