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Does Spray Tan Come Off When Swimming In A Pool?

Does Spray Tan Come Off When Swimming In A Pool?

Achieving a sun-kissed glow through spray tanning has become a popular alternative to traditional sunbathing or tanning beds. Many individuals opt for this method to avoid harmful UV rays while still enjoying a bronzed complexion. However, a common concern among spray tan enthusiasts is whether their fake tan will withstand activities like swimming in pools or hot tubs. We’ve put together some useful tips around this topic – does spray tan come off when swimming in a pool – to help you understand the factors that affect your spray tan and how you can make it last that bit longer when swimming in a pool or getting in a bubbly hot tub.

Does Spray Tan Come Off When Swimming In A Pool?

We’ll be covering information such as exposure to various water types, skincare routines, and expert tips to ensure your tan lasts for the desired 7-10 days.

Understanding Spray Tanning

Before diving into the impact of water on your spray tan, it's essential to understand the basics of sunless tanning. Spray tanning involves the application of a tan solution containing DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a colourless sugar that reacts with dead skin cells to produce a temporary golden glow. The process provides a quick and efficient way to achieve a natural-looking tan without exposing the skin to harmful UV rays. Many people use this method to gain a sun-kissed look. You can buy many at self tanners to use at home, including mousses, tanning moisturisers and creams. You can also go to a beauty salon where they will spray you all over and your tan will develop over the next few hours. There’s even the option to have a pop up booth come to you, so you can enjoy a spray tan in your own home.

The Composition of Spray Tan

Most modern spray tanning solutions are designed to create a water-resistant barrier on the skin. This barrier helps the tan withstand exposure to water, including swimming in pools, hot tubs, or the ocean. The key is to allow enough time for the tan to set before engaging in activities that might compromise its longevity.

Effects of Different Water Types

Chlorinated Pool Water

Chlorine, commonly found in swimming pools, can potentially affect the life of your spray tan. The chemical reaction between chlorine and the tan solution may lead to faster fading.

Salt Water

While salt water is generally gentler than chlorine, prolonged exposure may still impact the tan's duration. A few quick dips in the ocean or saltwater pools may have a milder effect compared to extended submersion.

Fresh Water

Freshwater, such as in lakes or rivers, is the least likely to accelerate tan fading. However, the tan may still be affected, especially if paired with excessive sweating or harsh soaps.

Hot Tubs and Jacuzzis

Hot tubs, with their warm water and chemicals, can impact the longevity of your spray tan. The heat can open pores, so is likely to cause your tan to fad faster. causing the tan to fade faster. 

The chemicals used in hot tubs can interact with the tan solution, leading to quicker deterioration. To preserve your sun-kissed glow, it's advisable to wait at least 24 hours after getting a spray tan before indulging in a hot tub session. 

Even then, keeping hot tub time brief and avoiding excessive rubbing or soaking is key. If you take note of these factors you can enjoy the soothing waters of a hot tub without compromising your beautifully bronzed appearance.

Your Spray Tan

Pre-Tan Preparation

Exfoliate your skin to remove old skin cells, ensuring an even application of the tan solution. Shower with a clear gel or mild soap, avoiding harsh products that strip the skin of essential oils.

Application Techniques

Apply the tan solution evenly, using a thin layer to cover the entire body. Consider using a professional spray tan service at a salon or hire a professional to come to your home. This will help ensure that you get an even, all over tan which won’t streak or have patchy areas.

Does Spray Tan Come Off When Swimming In A Pool?

Post-Tan Care

Avoid hot showers and prolonged exposure to water on the first day after your tan appointment. Moisturize regularly to keep the skin hydrated and enhance the life of your tan. Use waterproof sun cream when exposed to UV rays to prevent premature fading.

The Role of Skin Care in Tan Longevity

Choosing the Right Products

Use mild body washes and avoid bar soaps, as they can strip the skin and contribute to tan fading. Opt for products with natural ingredients to maintain the health and appearance of your tan.


Incorporate an exfoliating mitt or an exfoliant scrub into your routine to remove old skin cells and prevent an uneven tan. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can lead to faster tan fading.


Apply moisturiser daily to keep the skin hydrated and maintain the tan's vibrancy. Avoid products with mineral oil, as they may contribute to tan breakdown. If you can find a moisturiser that suits your skin, that has a tanning element to it, then you can use this to prolong your tan. Be aware that the moisturisers with a gradual tanning element to them may not be suitable to use on your face, so if you are looking to tan your whole body, including your face, you are best to invest in two different moisturisers - one for your body and one for you face.

​Drying and Towelling

When it comes to drying and towelling yourself off after having a spray tan, there are a few golden rules you should follow. The first is if you have been swimming in the sea, you mustn't dry yourself on a sand-covered towel. This will remove your fake tan and will leave you with patchy areas. If you are swimming in a pool or body of freshwater, then you should pat yourself dry, rather than rubbing as this will help improve the longevity of your tan. The same rules apply when you are showing or taking a bath at home. The gentler you treat your skin, the longer your spray tan will last. A microfibre towel might be useful as these tend to wick water away more quickly without the need for harsh, abrasive rubbing against your skin.

Expert Tips for a Long-Lasting Spray Tan

Timing is Everything

Schedule your spray tan appointment well in advance of any water-related activities. Allow sufficient time for the tan to set before exposing your skin to water.

Quick Showers Over Baths

Opt for quick showers instead of long baths to minimise water exposure. Use cool water, as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and contribute to tan fade.

Protecting Your Tan

Apply waterproof sun cream to safeguard your tan from the sun's harmful UV rays. You could consider using gradual tanning lotions to extend the life of your tan between appointments or applications.

Common Myths About Spray Tan Fading

Tan Lines

Contrary to popular belief, tan lines are not the only thing that can affect your spray tan's appearance. Uneven fading can occur due to various factors, including water exposure and skincare routines.

Excessive Sweating

While excessive sweating can contribute to tan fade, it's not the sole factor. Proper post-tan care and maintenance can help mitigate the impact of sweating on your tan.

Spray Tan and Sunbathing

Spray tanning does not protect against UV rays. You must always use sunscreen, even with a spray tan, to prevent skin damage.

In conclusion, achieving a long-lasting spray tan involves a combination of proper pre-tan preparation, application techniques, and post-tan care. Understanding the impact of different water types, skincare routines, and expert tips can help you extend the life of your sun-kissed glow.

While it's true that water exposure can affect your tan, following these simple tips will empower you to enjoy your golden tan for the desired 7-10 days, whether you're lounging by the pool, taking a dip in the ocean, or soaking in a hot tub during a tropical vacation. Embrace these insights and make the most of your spray tan, confident that it will withstand the elements and keep you radiant all summer long.