Spray Tanning Questions

Is Spray Tan Waterproof? (Preventing It From Washing Off)

Written by: Anastasija

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Whether you’re preparing for your next beach vacation and want to fake an exotic bronze, or you’re just interested in trying out spray tanning, there are lots of questions you may have around the topic. If you’re wondering whether a spray tan is waterproof, read on to find out!

Is spray tan waterproof?


So, you’re lying on the beach, soaking up the sun rays (wearing your SPF 50, of course!), flaunting your fresh spray tan. You’re about to jump into the sea to cool off, but one thought flashes in your mind: is my spray tan waterproof? Of course, this is something you’re probably very interested in discovering.

The truth is that, generally, yes, your spray tan is waterproof. However, there are a few conditions you have to keep in mind. Firstly, during the first six to eight hours after your application, water is your biggest enemy. During this time, your tan isn’t waterproof, and any contact with water will remove the developing colour, which will result in either a patchy or streaky tan or, if you immerse your entire body, no tan at all.

But, if you wait long enough after the tanning application before coming into contact with water, there should be no problem, and you can take your first shower to rinse off any excess product that isn’t absorbed by the skin. Then, you’ll reveal a gorgeous glow!

Also read: How Long Before & After Spray Tan Can You Shower? (Guide)

Why did my spray tan wash off?

You may have run into the frustrating issue of your spray tan washing off already, and that’s exactly why you’re here. It can be a very disappointing problem, but it’s always good to know why this happened so you can spot where you went wrong, and how to prevent it in the future.

Most of the time, a spray has been washed off because it came into contact with water too soon. As we mentioned, you should wait at least six to eight hours before allowing your freshly tanned skin to come into contact with water.

Spray Tan SolutionSome spray tan solutions are designed to be water-resistant
Application TechniqueProperly applied spray tan can have better water resistance
Drying TimeAllowing sufficient drying time after the spray tan application
Pre-Tan PreparationProperly exfoliating and moisturizing the skin before the spray tan
Post-Tan CareFollowing recommended aftercare instructions to maintain the tan
Water ExposureAvoiding excessive water exposure, such as swimming or hot showers
Table 1: Factors Affecting Spray Tan’s Water Resistance

The reason behind this is that the ingredients in a spray tanning solution are made to react with your skin, and this is what leaves behind a tan that sticks around for longer than just a day. However, if these ingredients haven’t been given enough time to fully absorb into your skin and penetrate the layers of cells like they should, you’ll just wash everything away.

Your spray tan may also wash off if you’re using a body wash that’s too stripping for your skin or exfoliating it. Both of these can cause the tan to wash off the skin and that’s something you should definitely avoid. One category of ingredients that are notorious for stripping your tan are sulfates, and they come with many other issues for your skin’s health, too.

How can I prevent my spray tan from washing off?

So, it’s clear that there are certain factors that can play into the role of your spray tan washing off and, while they don’t happen all the time, it’s definitely useful to know how to avoid rinsing your tan off. Especially after all the effort and money that goes into creating your gorgeous, bronzed glow, you wouldn’t want to forfeit it.

The first thing you should do is wait for the full length of time before showering after your spray tan. It’s easy to grow impatient or just want to take a shower soon after the application, but this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

When you think about it, six hours isn’t too long, and you can spend that time doing something else to take your mind off it, instead.

Avoid swimming or immersing in water for prolonged periods
Pat dry the skin after showering instead of rubbing vigorously
Avoid using harsh soaps or exfoliants on the tanned skin
Apply a water-resistant barrier cream or lotion before water activities
Moisturize the skin regularly to maintain its hydration and prolong the tan
Table 2: Tips to Extend the Water Resistance of Spray Tan

Another thing you should avoid completely during the period of time that you have your tan is exfoliation. While it’s a great thing for prepping your skin pre-spraying, it’s not your friend once the colour is on.

Using an exfoliating product of any kind, including a loofah with your soap, will only remove your tan and leave you exactly where you started. On the other hand, it is a great option when your tan starts to fade or become patchy after around a week, so hold out until then.

We also mentioned the presence of sulphates in many cleansing products, and they’re often there to add a lather to the formula or make your skin feel ‘cleaner’ afterwards. However, there are plenty of sulphate-free body washes and face washes out there, so look for one on behalf of your tan and your skin’s health.

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Also read: Best Body Wash for After Spray Tan (My Recommendations)

Does spray tan wash off in the pool?

spray tan water resistance Anastasija Thirsty for tan

Showers, as we all know, are a very normal thing and they are used in our everyday life, but swimming pools, not so much. However, if you’re going on a sunny vacation, it’s likely that you may be staying somewhere with a pool, or maybe you like to use a swimming pool in your garden.

Regardless of where it is, it’s good to know where swimming pools stand in terms of your fresh spray tan.

Generally speaking, a soak in the pool won’t ruin your tan or cause it to wash off, as long as you’ve already taken your initial shower after six hours, and it should be completely safe. However, one thing worth noting is that, if you spend many extended periods of time in the pool water, you may notice a faster fade.

This is because of the chlorine, which is known to bleach your skin after long exposure, and so it can strip the colour from your body. If you’re only jumping in to cool off for a short while, there’s nothing to worry about here. But, if you find yourself dipping in the pool quite a lot, and for long periods of time, this is something you should keep in mind.

The tan won’t completely wash off all at once, but it will fade faster.

Final thoughts

If you were wondering about any water-related situations that may interfere with your tan, you should now know exactly where you stand, and what to expect. In a nutshell, spray tans are generally waterproof, as long as they’re maintained appropriately. Plus, it’s easy to prevent your tan from washing off due to common issues, so you can say goodbye to short-lived tans and hello to long-lasting, sun-kissed skin!

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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