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Should I Tan Before or After Working Out? – The Real Answer

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
Should I Tan Before Or After Working Out

First of all, why is a tan considered attractive? Does it really give you that healthy glow?

Does a tan also give you the chance to lose weight and burn fat?

If getting a tan makes you ask yourself these questions, then you’re in the right place

Here’s our take on how and when you should decide to squeeze in some exercise!

Tanning and Working Out: Which Should You Do First?

Which Should You Do First-

Trick question! We often get this question a lot but STOP. You’re asking it wrongly!

Why so? Because there are THREE DIFFERENT WAYS OF TANNING.

This is important because the answer will vary depending on the METHOD of choice.

  • For Sun Tanning: it doesn’t matter.
  • For Sunbed Tanning: it also doesn’t matter.
  • For Spray Tanning: strictly avoid the gym.

Sun, Bed, and Spray: The Different Ways You Can Achieve Your Tan!

1. Sun Tanning

1. Sun

This is quite straightforward. It is the MOST NATURAL, MOST WORRY-FREE, and LEAST EXPENSIVE method to get your tanned skin tones.

However, it’s also the method that gives you the least guarantee because your tanned skin is less targeted. Unfortunately, you also might get sunburn.

Nonetheless, it’s still an EFFECTIVE and GREAT OPTION to get your desired tan. You can actually tan faster when in the sun.

When to Work Out?

You can work out BEFORE AND AFTER sun tanning!

  • Working out BEFORE results in increased blood circulation and open pores for better UV rays absorption.
  • Working out AFTER results in no real difference with sun tanning itself!

What these tell you is that a workout before can give you a DEEPER TAN and BETTER RESULTS.

Just make sure that you HYDRATE YOURSELF no matter when you decide to work out. 

The sun’s heat will make your muscles relax, but it can also TIRE YOU as much as an intensive exercise.

If possible, consider working out INDOORS too. Increased sun exposure can result in too much tanning and possible skin cancer.

So again, keep hydrated! And don’t forget to lather on some sunscreen!

2. Sun Bed Tanning

2. Sun Bed

Tanning beds are the sunbed equivalent of sun tanning. The only difference is they’re MORE TARGETED.

These beds emit UV rays through quality tanning bulbs in a CLOSED and PERSONAL space.

Sunbed use guarantees you the same hormone produced when the body responds to a sun tan because of the UV rays it gives out. 

Such effects include:

  • Body sweats
  • Enlarged pores
  • Smooth and deep tan

A few indoor tanning sections with these tanning beds also darken your skin naturally WITHOUT THE WORRY of rinsing off any product.

Although you should probably avoid extra sun exposure right after.

That said…

When to Work Out?

You can also work out BEFORE AND AFTER sunbed tanning!

You are more than FREE to work out whenever after your UV tanning bed session.

Just remember that UV tanning beds also result in the same dehydration as the previous method… so HYDRATE yourself!

3. Spray Tanning

3. Spray

The spray tan method you should worry the MOST about.

Let’s start by presenting the RISKS THAT COME WITH SPRAY TANNING:

  • Uneven tanning
  • Sensitive to skin quality
  • Time-consuming
  • Costly

The spray tan method remains to be widely popular because of its QUICK RESULTS and EASY APPLICATION. You just need to schedule frequent tanning sessions.

But a spray tan is still VERY MUCH WORTH IT, especially for highlighting contours! 

Another spray tan tip we can give is that you shouldn’t shower immediately after getting one!

When to Work Out?

For full transparency, you really SHOULD NOT WORK OUT at least a day before and after a spray tanning session.

Unlike the previous methods, enlarged pores are HUGE NO-NOs in caring for a spray tan. These will only result in uneven tanning!

This rules out workouts before your spray tan sessions.

More on Sweating…

To add to the discussion, SWEAT BEFORE a tanning session also acts as a barrier to better absorption of your spray.

Likewise, excessive sweating AFTER a few tanning sessions would simply wash it off and result in a splotchy tan.

The harder you work out, the more you sweat, and the QUICKER your tan leaves your body.

That said… we say NO to working out BEFORE AND AFTER a spraying tan session.

Spray Tanning is a Lot of Work… Any Tips for When I Decide to Work Out?

Don’t worry…

We definitely want you to still squeeze in some exercise AFTER you get that fresh tan from spraying.

Here are some useful tips!

Tips for Working Out After a Spray Tan

Tips for After

Tip 1: Rinse

We want to remove any EXCESS tan and dead skin before you hit the gym once again.

We’re certain you don’t want any weird skin blotches to show your pale skin.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow:

  • Light shower
  • Lukewarm water
  • Not more than a minute of bath

We don’t want to risk washing off the tan too much, but exfoliating helps prepare your skin better for a new tan.

Moreover, you can shower after a tanning bed session, especially if you aren’t using any tanning accelerator.

Tip 2: Moisturize

There are a lot of great post tanning session indoor tanning lotions you can check out for this.

A tanning lotion is to prevent the quick fading of your desired bronzed glow. You can also use a tanning oil, if that’s what you prefer.

Just remember NOT to moisturize 8 hours after your tanning session… your tan will run off easily if you do so!

Tip 3: Baby Powder

Baby powder is a secret weapon: this controls excessive sweating during workouts.

Apply an ample amount of baby powder in places where you would need extra help in absorbing sweat.

Tip 4: Change Clothes

There’s no better way than NOT getting soaked in sweat by actually changing your sweaty clothes.

Letting your sweaty clothes stick to your skin is NOT a good idea because it will fade your tan faster. This is worse if you’re wearing tight clothing.

It’s also a great idea to partake in light exercises to prevent this issue.

Tip 5: Time

This is just a tip to remind you that the 8 HOURS AFTER YOUR TANNING SESSION is absolutely essential.

Don’t do anything that will compromise your fresh glow and even tan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is It Okay to Exercise After Tanning?

Again, the answer depends on the tanning technique used: sun, tanning bed, or spray tan.

Working out is permissible, but strictly DO NOT EXERCISE IMMEDIATELY after getting a spray tan.

The risk of losing your spray tan to sweat is great because a fresh tan takes at least 8 hours to be absorbed by your skin.

That said, do NOT partake in any strenuous workout immediately after your tanning session.

Don’t worry about your Planet Fitness gym membership, okay?

2. How Do You Properly Hydrate Before or After a Workout?

Being exposed to the sun and more light lamps take SO MUCH moisture from your body.

You may get slightly dehydrated, so it’s generally recommended to do the following:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Apply quality indoor tanning lotions and good tanning bed lotions
  • Shower before each session
  • Have time for deep exfoliation (use a brush, loofah, or bath puff)
  • And again… drink plenty of water

3. How Many Sessions Does It Take for the Tanning to Take Effect?

  • For Sun Tanning: a few hours under the Mediterranean summer sun will do the trick
  • For Tanning Bed: 3-5 sessions
  • For Spray Tan: every 9-12 days

You can tan faster by simply following all of the prescribed methods diligently.

Give your tan time to fully develop!

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Working out only ever affects a self-tanner if the golden glow is from a SPRAY TAN

More so, excess sweating only affects this method and not others: sun and sunbed.

Got any questions? We hope that this article has helped you out on your workout queries for after you do your self-tan session.

Make your skin stand out and get that tan you’ve wanted for so long!