If you are going on holiday and want a beautiful bronze color without visiting tanning beds, a spray tan is a great option.
One concern that comes with spray tans is if you plan to jump into a pool or go swimming with it. This leads to the question does a spray tan come off in a pool or water in general? Well, the answer is no, going in the water may wash off the toner layer of a spray tan that of which is sometimes included in spray tans, but it will not easily wash off the DHA part of the tan which takes time to develop on the skin.
Now let’s have a more detailed look on using a pool with a spray tan and the effects of swimming on spray tans, as well as some top tips for a longer-lasting spray tan if you are planning to go in the water.
Can You Swim with a Spray Tan?
Spray tans that salons offer, and many home products, are designed to be water-resistant, so it is fine to swim with a spray tan.
When you have a spray tan, there are two main colors that you will see in your skin. The first is like make up, an artificial layer of color that will wash away with your first shower, because it is water-soluble.
The long-lasting color in airbrush tan is DHA color, which takes between two and eight hours to develop. So, the color you are when you leave the salon is not the color you will be the next day. This color is not water-soluble, so will not wash away. Therefore, it’s recommended to not shower or use a pool until after this period. For more advice on this check our article – washing off a spray tan too early.
Once you have showered the original cosmetic layer of spray off, it is safe to get in a pool, or in the sea.
Does Spray Tan Come Off in a Pool?
Public swimming pools have chemicals to keep the water clean and safe for people to swim in, the most prevalent being chlorine, but this should not stop you using the pool if you have a spray tan.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying that spray tan and chlorine just do not mix. Many believe it is the chlorine reacting with the chemicals in the spray tan that cause the tan to fade. This isn’t the case.
Chlorine levels in public pools can dry out the skin and cause the color to weaken, but it is not the main cause of fade.
It is in fact staying too long in water that will cause your spray tan to diminish more quickly. Spending a long time in water causes skin to swell with water, leaving a prune-like texture on the skin. This lifting of dead skin cells (where your tan is holding) lightens the skin.
For this reason, long soaks in the bath are recommended to lighten a tan if you think it is too dark.
If you want to make your spray tan last longer, limit swims to fifteen minutes, whether it’s in a pool, the sea, or fresh water.
There are some other things you can do to make your spray tan last longer, so have a look at my top tips below.
Tips for a Longer Lasting Spray Tan
There are some other things you can do to stop spray tan coming off in the pool.
Skin preparation is key to a long-lasting spray tan. Make sure to exfoliate your skin well the day before to remove dead skin cells. This will not only give you a more even tan but also ensure that younger fresher skin is left to hold the tan for longer.
Use non-moisturizing, clear shower gel before your spray tan. Moisturizing or creamy shower gels and soaps can leave a layer of film on the skin, which, if used prior to a spray tan, will prevent it absorbing into your skin.
After swimming, allow skin to air dry or gently pat it with a towel if you’re in a hurry. This will avoid any exfoliation effect from the towel which causes skin cells to fall off. Rubbing a towel on spray-tanned skin can cause spray-tans to look uneven and fade faster.
Sport sunscreens that are designed to be waterproof can also help to prolong a spray-tan. It will provide a protective layer for your spray tan and avoid too much lightening.
Use a top-up coat if your spray-tan has faded. There are several lotions, sprays and powders on the market that only contain the cosmetic layer of color in spray tan.
They are a great option if you are going out after a day at the pool and just want the areas of skin that are showing to look a little darker. They are easy to apply with a mitt and can be washed off in the shower if you make any mistakes. Check out our own special tanning mitt – blackout tanning mitt.
What Fake Tan is Waterproof?
If you visit a salon for an airbrush spray tan, it will almost always contain the two elements of color that I mentioned earlier – cosmetic, which will come off in the shower, and DHA, which is more waterproof.
If you are looking for waterproof spray tans to use at home, just make sure that it contains the long-lasting DHA color element that salons use.
The St Tropez self-tan classic bronzing mousse is a great option, that promises to last up to 10 days, and it’s vegan!
MineTan Workout Ready Self Tanner is a foam that is designed to withstand people getting hot and sweaty during a workout, so is also a great option for people who want to spend time in the water.
How Long After a Spray Tan Can You Get in a Pool?
As I mentioned earlier, once you have showered off the original cosmetic layer of color, it is safe to get in a pool.
The longer you leave it, however, the more the color will be absorbed into your skin, so I recommend getting your spray tan a couple of days before you plan to get in a pool or at least 4-6 hours to allow the DHA to develop.
Does Chlorine Ruin Fake Tan?
No! The chemicals in spray tan do not react with chlorine and melt it away. It is in fact staying too long in a pool and allowing your skin to prune up that will affect the spray tan, so keep swims short if you want it to stay even and last longer.
Also be sure to check our our article on tanning underwater here – can you tan under water?