Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!

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Getting a spray tan is not easy if you are doing it at home without the help from salon experts, and it is normal if you want to start showing off your bronze skin at the pool or the beach! But can you swim with a spray tan? Will it ruin the layer of lotion you spend hours to apply? Find the answers to these frequently asked questions in our article!

Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!

Can You Swim with a Spray Tan?

You surely can swim with a spray tan. The question here is: do you want to?

The longer you stay immersed in water, the more likely for your tan to wear off before it should. Swimming or any activity that gets you soaked won’t cause any damage to your health, but they will leave uneven streaks or splotchy areas on your skin.

Let’s move on and see how spray tan works, why uneven tan happens, and what to do if you are ever in such dilemma.

How Does Spray Tan Work?

Spray tans contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a compound you will always find in tanning products. The first layer of your dermis will absorb DHA when you spray, while the layers beneath it remain free from DHA.

On the surface of your skin, there are old and dead skin cells. DHA will interact and react to amino acids in these cells, releasing melanin. It gives you a brown skin tone akin to the natural tan you have from tanning outdoor.

It means DHA doesn’t go any deeper than the surface. Even though it reacts to your body chemically, it is less risky than exposing yourself to UV radiation from the sun or other tanning devices. Therefore, scientists and dermatologists strongly recommend getting a spray tan and avoiding serious health risks.

The downside of spray tan is also this surface function. Your skin will regenerate and replace the top layer of dermis, stripping off the tan. If you exfoliate too soon or scrub yourself too harshly during shower, you might unknowingly remove your tan as well.

Unfortunately, when prematurely exfoliated, a spray tan will fade off unevenly, giving you pale patches to deal with. Read on to figure out how to maintain your spray tan and fix this splotchy issue!

Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!

How to Take Care of Your Spray Tan?

Shower After Spray Tan

We have to shower every day to remain clean, but doing it wrong might lead to unwanted consequences. Here is a list of tips you would love to keep in mind:

  • Keep a room temperature and avoid hot water at all costs, for it will speed up your exfoliation process.
  • Do not exfoliate until you are sure your tan’s lifespan is almost over.
  • If you use soap, be gentle while rubbing it on your skin and rinse yourself clean with cool water. You will remove the dirt without ruining the spray tan.
  • Wait a day after getting your tan if you need to shave. However, you should finish these skin treatments in advance of getting a spray tan.

For more details, see our article about shower after tanning!

How Durable is Spray Tan?

With Chlorinated Pools

Do you remember how thirsty and dry you feel after getting out of a pool? It is because the chlorine in pool water strip natural oils off your skin and peel the tanned layer off.

Obviously, pools are the weak spot of your spray tan. Even if swimming in a pool is part of your exercise routine, you should avoid it as long as you want to keep your new bronze skin.

With The Sea

If you are wondering if there is anything more harmful than chlorine, it has to be saltwater. Don’t get me wrong, saltwater has many benefits for you, but it is an exceptionally strong exfoliator. The salt scrubs we often use for exfoliating also originate from saltwater!

You can expect your spray tan to wear off after only one swimming session in the ocean.

With Hot Tubs

Hot tubs are even more dangerous to your tan! It has a high concentration of chlorine as well, plus the hot temperature that can dissolve the spray tan solution in a span of minutes.

We won’t recommend saunas or steam rooms either, due to the high temperature they inflict on your body.

Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!

How to Keep Your Spray Tan Lasting Longer?

Yes, you can swim with a spray tan, and these tips will help you maintain your skin tone for a little bit longer:

  • Protect your skin with water-resistant sunscreen to prevent the spray tan from wearing off. Remember, water-resistant and waterproof are not the same.
  • Give yourself a break every 15 minutes of swimming instead of staying underwater for hours even if you don’t have a spray tan. Getting long soaks will dry your skin out eventually.
  • Once you leave the pool or the sea, rinse your whole body with cool water so you get rid of saltwater and chlorine before the damage from them is too severe.
  • Pat your skin dry and avoid rubbing vigorously.
  • Keep yourself moisturized and hydrated by applying moisturizers and drinking enough water.
  • If possible, invest in an aerosol or lotion for night use. You will wake up with a renewed skin tone.

Can You Still Have a Vacation?

Pools, seas, saunas all don’t work out well for spray tan, so how are you going to have fun? Worry not, your vacation plan can still go on, if you take notes of these tips:

  • Don’t put sunless tanners over your old spray tan. Let it go and start anew, and you won’t need to worry about having uneven patches.
  • Get your spray tan session a couple of days before the trip, and the skin tone will be at its best state. If too early, you might be a bit darker than necessary and if late, the tan might have started fading off a bit.
  • Spend your first day getting a tanning session under the sun and have the lower layers of your skin darkened. Then you can swim all you want without losing the sexy tan, because the water can only wash off the spray tan on the surface of your epidermis.
Can You Swim with a Spray Tan? 5 Must-Know Tips!


Is spray tan better than self-tanners?

We won’t say it is better, but it can be easier.

For self-tanners, you might find them a bit difficult to apply without an assistant, especially with tricky spots. Getting a spray tan at the salon guarantees the lotion will be coated evenly, leaving no blotches or patches.

At salons, they can give you a thorough, flawless spray tan in half a minute! Added with the preparation and checkout time, you only need to spend 3 – 5 minutes there, saving a whole lot more time. Meanwhile, self-tanners take approximately 30 minutes, and mishaps can still happen.

How long does a spray tan last?

After a week, your spray tan will disappear. The lotion is only on the surface of your skin and the cells here are already dead, which means they will peel off naturally as part of the regeneration in your body. It is only a matter of time, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Hence, maintenance and nourishment become extra important, unless you want to bid your tan goodbye even sooner.

Do fake tans protect my skin?

Sadly, whoever said you wouldn’t get sunburn if you have had fake tans was wrong. All types of fake tans only stop at adding colors to the first layer of your skin. They don’t nourish the layers beneath or create a protection against external threats.

Is spray tan a base tan?

Absolutely not! Spray tans belong to the category of fake tans, which means your skin is not really tanned, hence it doesn’t have a base tan either. If you go out without protection, your skin will still react like it is the first time it has sun exposure after so long.

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Now you have known whether you can swim with a spray tan or not, the choice is up to you. If you decide to forsake the fear and have fun showing off your tan, keep our little notes with you and everything will go smoothly!

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