Lotion After a Spray Tan – Should You Do It?

applying lotion

When it comes to spray tan, most of the time, what you do before and after is more important than the actual spray tan session. But, people tend to overlook skin maintenance and care, which sometimes hinders the tan.

Using a lotion after a spray tan can go a long way in nourishing your skin and ensuring you get a glowing and smooth tan. It can also make your tan last for much longer. Though keep in mind you must wait for 4-6 hours after the tan to allow it to interact with your skin before applying the moisturizer/lotion. Also it is essential to choose the right lotion.

Are you wondering why you should apply a lotion after a spray tan? Keep reading to learn more about whether it is safe to use moisturizer after getting a spray tan and which lotion to use. 

Why Is It Important to Moisturize After Spray Tan?

When you get tan on dry skin, your skin cannot absorb the tan completely. Here, moisturizing after spray tan is essential because hydrated skin can easily absorb more spray tan solution and give you even glowing skin. Therefore, it is vital to use a moisturizer after a tan.

Spray tan contains an ingredient called DHA. It is a chemical that reacts with the dead skin cells on the outer layer and turns them into a dark shade.

Your skin keeps replacing cells continuously, and the dead skin cells have to slough off to pave the way for new skin cells to come. But when the dead skin cells slough off, the tan will also go away with them.

The only way to keep the outer layer of skin intact is to keep the skin nourished and moisturized. Applying a hydrating lotion or coconut oil after spray tan can help ensure your tan stays on for longer.     

Which Lotions Must You Avoid After a Tan?

While lotions are a must after a spray tan, not every product can help you achieve the desired results. There are plenty of lotions that might not be conducive to keep your tan long-lasting and glowing. The ingredients, as well as properties of some lotions, might not be ideal for use after a spray tan.

If you’re wondering what lotion to use after spray tan, you must avoid lotions that have the following properties:

Mineral Oils:

There are plenty of body lotions available today that contain mineral oils as an active ingredient. Although mineral oils are good for your skin, they might not be ideal for a spray tan.

The minerals can strip the tan off your skin. Besides that, it acts as a barrier between the layer of skin and the spray tan solution, often resulting in patches, streaks, and red spots from the tan. 


Exfoliating creams or lotions often contain small beads that can remove the top layer of the skin and also the tan along with it.  It is wise to avoid such a lotion because you shouldn’t exfoliate your skin before the time.

Using exfoliating lotion can result in patchy skin tan and hamper your overall appearance. 


Fragrances are a major part of body lotions and creams, but they might be good for your spray tan. Artificial fragrances present in lotions can contain alcohol. It can strip your skin of the spray tan and lead to unevenly tanned skin.   

What Are The Best Ingredients for Your Lotion

If you are selecting the best lotion to use after spray tan session, you can choose one with the right contents. The ingredients and properties of an ideal body lotion for spray tan are:

Shea Butter

Coconut Oil

Aloe Vera

Free of Oil

No Artificial Fragrance

What Other Spray Tan Care Tips to Follow?

One of the most important care tips that you must follow is to moisturize after a spray tan. It can increase the effectiveness and the life of your tan. Besides that, there are a few other tips that you can remember both before and after the tanning to extend the time period.

Before Tanning Tips:


Before you head to the tanning salon for your session, take a shower at least 4 hours before your appointment. It will give your pores enough time to close and avoid any chances of discoloration. 


It is vital to exfoliate your skin one day before the tanning to ensure you don’t have to do that after the tan. The process of gently scrubbing the skin ensures your skin is prepped up for the spray tan and can absorb all the solution. It will give you a smooth and even tanned look. 

Wear the Right Clothes:

For the tanning appointment, you must choose your clothes carefully. Pick a loose outfit in a dark color and opt for open sandals or flip-flops for the spray tan. It will ensure your clothes don’t get stained with the tanning solution and your clothes don’t leave tan lines. For more on choosing the right clothes check our article – what to wear to a spray tan.

Avoid Makeup:

While you might never step out without a makeup base or mascara, it is better to avoid using makeup before the tanning appointment. Makeup can work as a barrier and restrict the solution from interacting with your skin.

If you don’t want uneven skin after tan, you should skip makeup before your tanning appointment. As we covered in our article – can you tan with makeup on, the same applies even with a spray tan as the makeup helps protect the skin in both cases. 

Don’t Use Any Product:

Do you put lotion on before a spray tan? It is better to avoid using a cream, moisturizer, or oil with an artificial fragrance right before the tanning appointment. It can affect how the tan reacts with your skin, giving you patches and streaks on the skin. 

After Tanning Tips:

Wait Before Showering:

You must give the spray tan enough time to interact with your skin to ensure you get a smooth and glowing tan. Instead of washing off spray tan too early, wait for 4-6 hours before you take a shower. You can use warm water to wash off the tan. 

Avoid Exfoliating and Shaving:

Exfoliating or shaving after a tan can strip your skin of the solution, defeating the whole purpose of the procedure. Therefore it’s a good idea to avoid exfoliating or shaving for a few days after a spray tan.    

Related Questions:

What Lotion Is Best After Spray Tan?

An organic, non-scented, and oil-free lotion will be ideal for use after a spray tan. It will hydrate your skin without affecting the spray tan solution or hampering the results. You can make your own home made tanning oil mixture using oils such as coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil to name a few.

Should I Moisturize Before Spray Tan?

Yes, you should keep your skin moisturized for 2-3 days before the spray tan. However, avoid using any cream or lotion on the day of the tan or right before the tanning appointment. You must go to your appointment bare skin. 

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