Skip to Content

Should You Tan before or After Workout? | Helpful Tips

Should You Tan before or After Workout? | Helpful Tips

Are you planning for a tanning session? If so, you might be in the middle of confusion and ask yourself; Should You Tan before or After Workout?

In this article, we’ll make it clear to you whether tanning before or after workout is better.

Should You Tan before or After Workout?

“How long can I sweat after a spray tan?” you might be wondering. Wait at least eight hours after self-tanning BEFORE beginning your workout routine. The tan color takes three to eight hours to develop depending on the type of tanner you use.

If you go for a tanning bed or sun tanning, though, tanning AFTER a workout is better. The heat from the sun or tanning bed will help you relax and unwind. It’s similar to how a sauna relaxes you after a good workout. If you’re planning a trip to the beach, remember that it can get quite hot there. Make sure you stay hydrated and cool down at least a little before laying in the sun.

Why Wait for 8 Hours Before You Exercise After Tanning?

As mentioned previously, tanning should be done at least 8 hours after you apply any tanning products. This is because the ingredients in these products can cause irritation to the skin that you are planning to expose to UV light.

If you don’t wait, this reaction may get worse and result in rashes or redness. However, there are no set rules when it comes to exercising after tanning. There is only one exception: if you plan on working out indoors, you just give time for the tanning product to develop. However, you don’t have to wait before you can use an indoor tanning bed.

The active ingredient in self-tanners is DHA, which causes the skin to darken when it reacts with amino acids to produce melanin. So if you are planning on working out after tanning, make sure you do so at least 8 hours afterward. This allows the DHA to take effect on your skin.

If you are using a spray or lotion, make sure that it has completely dried before getting in the water. However, if you get sweaty during exercise, this could wash away the product before it can develop fully.

What Happens if I Workout Right After Tanning?

If you don’t wait for the 8 hours given time for the tanning product to develop, and instead decide to work out right after your tan, you may get a surprising result.

These are possible things to happen:

1. The bronzer of your tanning lotion can rise to the surface and give an uneven, smeared look on your skin.

2. Your tan may fade faster than usual due to sweating or friction from a workout. Then again, if you don’t mind a faded, streaky looking tan it will save you more bucks!

3. Since your body will be wet from sweat, the tanning product may come off faster, thus resulting in blotchy looking skin.

4. If you don’t remove all the bronzer on your hands, feet and other body parts before working out, it can result in a streaked look after you’re done with your workout.

5. If you tan right after working out, the salt on your body can be released into the air or water. This leads to a lack of moisture in your skin. Moisturizing after tanning is very important because it leaves the pores open for better penetration of ingredients in your lotion.

6. Withstanding extreme weather conditions without any protection on the skin after tanning is not advisable. The sun can cause too much damage that can lead to premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, etc.

7. If you are suffering from an allergic reaction to your tanning lotion, working out can make it worse – if you are suffering from a rash or blisters caused by the lotion, it is best to consult a doctor and avoid working out.

8. If you have open sores or wounds caused by acne, the lotion may sting the irritation and cause even more discomfort.

9. Working out cannot help you remove your tan. In fact, some workout machines can make all those hard-earned efforts go down the drain because of the bad tanning application.

10. Working out can cause harsh physical reactions on your skin such as itchiness, redness and rash. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin or you failed to apply a protective sunscreen lotion before tanning.

It is not advisable to work out right after tanning if you are applying self-tanning products. This can cause an uneven tone to your skin since the lotion is designed to be absorbed by the body at different rates, resulting in streaks after tanning.

If you are looking for tanned skin without all those risks, it is best to apply at least 8 hours before exercising to avoid all those possible risks.

What Happens if I SunTan After a Workout?

As we have mentioned about this previously as well — that it’s best to sun tan after a workout to have a relaxing feeling, you may want to also consider some points.

Sun tanning after a workout has its pros and cons — it depends on how your body reacts afterwards. Let us explore further…

1. After doing some physical activity, the body will try to relax itself by producing more melanin. This is actually an adaptation mechanism so that sun tans can easily be produced when we’re exposed to high levels of sunlight. The more melanin we produce, the darker we get after sun tanning; it’s a natural process so let your body do its thing.

2. It is not advisable to sun tan on an empty stomach because you need some energy for this activity.

3. If your skin is sensitive or susceptible to sun tan, make sure that you don’t do this activity too often — once every 2-3 weeks should be fine.

4. If you are on some medicine, please consult your doctor before doing this activity. It’ll be best to avoid sun tanning while under medications because there are certain drugs that can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

5. One of the good sides is that you can get a more even tan faster — however, it may also be the worst part of sun tanning after workouts since you might increase your risk for skin cancer.

Tips When Working Out After Tanning

If you have a scheduled workout routine and you have already tanned, make sure you do not workout immediately after tanning. 

Here’s what you can do:

1. Apply a lighter self-tan, which may be enhanced later.

You can use the gradual self-tanning lotion or a mousse. That way, you can get your skin tone. Then, spray your entire body with a light mist of water and let it dry off before you hit the gym. If there are patches after, then it would be easy for you to blend it in later.

2. Choose the right clothing.

Make sure you have the right sports clothing. Look for leggings that are made of thin, breathable fabrics and feel like a second skin. You may also wear loose leggings, which allow the airflow to reach your skin.

3. Use body powder to sweaty areas.

Sprinkle some talc or body powder on your skin before slipping into your sports bra. Using the same technique, apply it to the inner arms and backs of knees. Consider where your skin rubs together; the talc will produce slip and avoid friction, which will result in your tan being damaged.

4. Take a cool shower and moisturize.

After exercising, shower in cold water, softly pat the skin dry, and moisturize well all over. Because DHA, the tanning agent used in self-tan products, is a naturally drying substance, you will need to apply a moisturizer on a regular basis.

5. Make sure to bring your tanning survival kit.

The kit includes everything you’ll need to fix any mistakes. There’s a wipe for exfoliating and tan removal to remove sections of break-up; this is ideal for the inside arms and armpit region when your color starts to fall apart.

There’s also the tanning towelette, which has a golden guide color so you can see where you’re tanned while filling in gaps. The third pouch is an oil-free moisturizer that can be used to protect the palms, elbows, and wrists before applying.

How Can an After Tanning Lotion Help

A post-tanning lotion protects the skin from premature skin cell loss, which can lead to a fading tan and fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and some other problems. Vitamins, fatty acids, oils, beta carotene and antioxidants are all examples of components that may be found in cosmetics.

  • The most significant advantage of using a tanning lotion is that it replenishes the moisture you lose throughout the tanning process. If you’re not using an indoor tanning lotion, your skin may reflect UV light, wasting up to 50% of each tanning session.
  • If you tanned with a bronzer while sunbathing, you’ll have to wait at least two to three hours before showering, so the tanning lotion can develop. This time is crucial since it allows the product to take effect properly so that you may get a decent tan.
  • If you get a natural tan from the sun, then after-sun lotions do, in fact, help to soothe and moisturize your skin. The right post-sun lotion may also prevent your skin from flaking. After-sun lotions are beneficial for soothing and moisturizing your skin. 

After using sunscreen, you may use an after-sun lotion to prevent your skin from peeling.


Tanning before or after a workout can be done. However, it will depend on the case if you are going for self-tanning products or natural tanning from the sun, or a tanning bed. In order to be prepared for either natural tan or a self-tan, you should have a tanning survival kit that includes exfoliating wipes and moisturizer.

Should You Tan before or After Workout? | Helpful Tips