Can you shower after a sunbed?

Can you shower after a sunbed?

So, can you shower after a sunbed? The unequivocal answer is YES — you absolutely can. The act of showering after basking in the warm glow of a sunbed is not only permissible but also holds certain benefits that contribute to maintaining a vibrant and long-lasting tan.

However, like many aspects of life, the devil lies in the details, and mishandling post-tanning routines, whether it’s your choice of soap, water temperature, or timing, could lead to less-than-ideal consequences.

What exactly is a sunbed?

What is a sunbed?

A sunbed, also known as a tanning bed or solarium, is a device designed to mimic the effects of sunlight exposure on the skin, primarily to induce tanning. Found in tanning salons, and fitness centers, or available for home use, a typical sunbed consists of a bed-like structure equipped with specially designed lamps that emit Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. These devices typically use a combination of UVA(Ultraviolet A) and UVB(Ultraviolet B) rays to stimulate melanin production in the skin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration. Users lie on the bed, exposing their skin to controlled doses of UV radiation for a predetermined duration to achieve a tan without direct sun exposure.

Types of Lamps:

UVA Lamps (Ultraviolet A): Primarily responsible for inducing skin darkening. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply, activating melanocytes and triggering the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration.
UVB Lamps (Ultraviolet B): Essential for stimulating melanin synthesis. UVB primarily affects the outer layer of the skin, encouraging the production of melanin to protect against further UV damage.

Common Misconceptions About Sunbeds

Misconception #1: Immediate showering washes off the tan.

  • Debunked: Tanning lotions contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a colorless sugar that interacts with amino acids in the skin to produce a tan. Showering doesn’t wash off DHA, as it undergoes a reaction with the skin that isn’t easily reversible.

Misconception #2: Showering causes skin staining.

  • Debunked: Post-tanning showering doesn’t cause staining; it can prevent it. Showering before tanning removes residues and oils, reducing the likelihood of uneven coloration.

Misconception #3: Immediate showering harms the skin.

  • Debunked: Scientifically, immediate post-tanning showering has no proven negative effects. The skin’s absorption of UV rays and tanning lotions is a process that continues after the session.

Misconception #4: Showering harms the skin when pores are open.

  • Debunked: Open pores post-tanning indicate skin absorption, not vulnerability. Showering immediately after tanning poses no harm; it’s more about the products you use during the shower.

Misconception #5: Showering washes away vitamin D.

  • Debunked: Vitamin D synthesis occurs in the deeper skin layers during UV exposure. Immediate post-tanning showering doesn’t swiftly remove this synthesized vitamin.

Misconception #6: Showering causes tan lines to fade.

  • Debunked: Tan lines result from uneven UV exposure. Showering doesn’t immediately fade tan lines; consistent moisturizing and proper skin care are more impactful.

Misconception #7: Showering diminishes tanning lotion effectiveness.

  • Debunked: Tanning lotions are formulated to be absorbed into the skin. Showering doesn’t instantly negate their effects; their effectiveness is a result of complex biochemical processes.

Misconception #8: Showering exacerbates post-tanning dryness.

  • Debunked: Specific soaps can contribute to dryness, but a mild, moisturizing cleanser post-tanning can alleviate dryness without compromising the tan.

Tips for Showering After Sunbed Use

Navigating the post-sunbed shower routine requires a nuanced approach. Understanding the best practices ensures that your efforts contribute to a lasting and healthy tan. Here is our summary of the best ways to take a shower after sunbathing:

Timing Matters:

  • Post-Tan Shower Window: Consider showering within a reasonable timeframe post-tanning to benefit from the hydration without compromising the developing tan. Aim for a shower within a few hours.

Soap Selection:

  • Mild, Moisturizing Cleansers: Opt for soaps without harsh chemicals, preferably with moisturizing properties. This choice preserves skin health and minimizes the risk of dryness.

Water Temperature:

  • Warm, Not Hot: Hot showers provide a range of benefits. However, a hot shower can strip the skin of essential oils, contributing to dryness. Choose warm water to cleanse the skin effectively without compromising its natural moisture.

Pat, Don’t Rub:

  • Gentle Drying: After showering, pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of vigorous rubbing. This minimizes the risk of irritation and helps to maintain the integrity of your tan.

Avoid Exfoliating:

  • Post-Tanning Exfoliation: Steer clear of exfoliating scrubs or loofahs immediately after tanning. Exfoliation can accelerate the shedding of dead skin cells, potentially shortening the lifespan of your tan.

Moisturize Adequately:

  • Hydrate Your Skin: Apply a moisturizer after drying off to lock in moisture. Well-hydrated skin retains a tan better and looks healthier.

Be Mindful of Fragrances:

  • Fragrance-Free Options: If using lotions or moisturizers, opt for fragrance-free products. Fragrances can sometimes irritate the skin, and it’s advisable to keep your post-tanning routine as gentle as possible.

Hydrate from Within:

  • Water Intake: Stay hydrated by drinking sufficient water. Hydrated skin not only retains a tan better but also supports overall skin health.


Remember the essentials: shower within a few hours, use mild soaps, opt for warm water, gently pat your skin dry, and avoid exfoliating immediately after tanning. Moisturize to keep your skin hydrated, choose fragrance-free products, and stay internally hydrated by drinking enough water.

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