Washing Off Spray Tan Too Early – My Advice

woman showering

After a spray tan session, the most common instruction given by the tanning experts is to keep it on for at least a few hours before washing. You’re advised not to take a shower because it is during this time that the tan color develops on the skin. But some people make the mistake of washing off spray tan too early.

Have you washed the spray tan early, and are you wondering how long you should leave it on before taking a shower? Getting a touch up or renewing the tan are a few amongst many methods to ensure best results if you don’t leave the spray tan on for too long.

Keep reading to find everything about how long to leave the spray tan on and what you can do to make sure the glow lasts as long as possible.

How Does a Spray Tan Work?

Before we talk about what happens if you wash off a spray tan too early it’s important to understand how a spray tan works – it’s not what you may think!

If you’re going in for a spray tan, it is wise to go prepared and know what to expect during the session. A spray tan is a fine mist containing bronzer, DHA, and sometimes even aloe vera that the expert applies on your skin in a small booth. The entire tanning process takes 15 minutes, or sometimes even less.

The bronzer is responsible for the instant tanning effect you feel on your skin, but spray tan bronzer washes off when you take a shower. On the other hand, DHA helps keep the tan on your skin for a longer period. The first few hours after a spray tan is for color to develop, and interfering may lead to light, flat, or even streaky tan.

What Happens if I Wash the Fake Tan Off Early?

The most common question that people have while getting a tan is what happens if you shower after a spray tan. After you get a spray tan, the technician will give you an ideal time period to wait for before you can take a shower. They recommend you wait because the chemicals present in the spray tan need time to react to the outer layer of your skin.

According to Medicine Net, DHA present in the spray tan reacts with amino acid in the dead skin cells to give darker skin color. The chemical reaction usually takes around 2 hours to begin. But, if you decide to wash off the tan before this time, you might not see any color development.

After 2 hours it’s best not to wash it off because the tan will likely still be developing. Even if you’re in a hurry, you must not shower for at least 4 hours; otherwise, the results will not be as per your expectations. Ideally it’s best to wait for 6-8 hours to allow the development to completely finish.

It’s important to know if you do mistakably wash off the tan too early you can reapply but this leads to the question – how often can I spray tan? If you have already made this mistake it’s a good idea to wait until the following day until you reapply. This way you can see completely how the tan developed and if you need to reapply or make any adjustments before if needed.

Most people think bronzer is responsible for the tan. Although the bronzer present in the spray tan will instantly tan your skin, giving it a smooth and dark look. However, it is only temporary and will wash off with the first shower only.

When you wash the spray tan quickly, without even waiting for a period of 4 hours, the tan will be lighter. It might also adversely impact the longevity of the tan. Since the product didn’t get enough time to react with the outer layer of your skin, it might not last as long.

Washing the spray tan early, which is any time before at least 4 hours, can destroy your chance of developing a darker color. Using harsh and harmful products while washing the tan off can also strip the tan from your body, leaving you with streaks and patches on the skin instead of an even color.   

Can I Shower 12 Hours After a Spray Tan?

When it comes to spray tan, there is no ideal time that suits all because of the varying products used and skin type of the person. However, the tanning experts give a timeline to keep it on, which can be anywhere from 2-6 hours. If you’re wondering how long to leave spray tan on before washing off, ideally, you must wait for 4-6 hours.

According to Healthline, you can wait for 12 hours to take a shower after your spray tan. If you leave it longer than that, you might witness streaking after washing it off.

Does a Spray Tan Continue to Develop After You Shower?

If you’re getting a spray tan, you might notice that the color can get darker even after you get the spray tan washed off in the shower. It is because of the fact that tan can continue to develop even after you shower. This happens because the DHA will keep developing on your skin and give you a beautiful tan.

The color of the tan can develop over a period of 15-20 hours after washing off. Right after the shower, you may even feel that the tan looks significantly dark, but it is only because you wash off the excess, giving a much smoother look.

What Can You Do if You Washed the Spray Tan Early?

Can you wash off a tan if you don’t give it enough time? Yes, you can. But even if you have washed off your spray tan earlier than recommended, there are still ways to fix it. Here are a few things you can do in case you want to improve the tan:

Use Self-Tanning Products:

If you’re short on time, simply use self-tanning products to darken your skin. You can opt either for a tinted moisturizer or a self-tanning lotion and use it on your skin for a smooth tan look. These products usually contain DHA and will need time to react with the skin, so don’t wash it too early.

We Recommend: St Tropez Self Tanner Classic

Get a Touch Up:

In case you don’t notice any patches or streaks after washing early, it is best to get a touch up done by the experts. The tanning experts will help fix your existing tan and uplift it.

Renew the Tan:

If you washed too early and didn’t see any results, you might have to renew the tan. Before you renew the tan, it is vital to remove the old tan to ensure it doesn’t get blotchy. Shower multiple times and use an exfoliator to help remove the product from your skin.

Removing the tan and then renewing it will ensure you get even, smoothspray tan. 

Related Questions:

Does Shaving Remove Fake Tan?

Yes, shaving removes fake tan. This is because shaving causes exfoliation which can in turn strip away the pigment of the fake tan. On the other hand, most shaving creams are composed of alcohol and soapy element which also contributes in removing fake tan.

If you have hair on your skin, it is better to shave before getting a fake tan. This is because shaving within a day or two of getting a fake tan can strip away the color.

After that, you can shave by using a gentle moisturizer and a new razor. Make sure you use light pressure only and pat the skin dry once you finish.

What Happens if You Leave Fake Tan on Too Long?

Since the DHA present in fake tan only binds to the skin cells that are either dead or dying, it won’t affect your skin adversely if you leave it on for too long.

Are you wondering do spray tans rub off when left for too long? Yes they can when left for longer periods than required, the fake tan might rub off on your clothes and bedsheets too.

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