Sauna Before/After Using Tanning Bed or Spray Tans Booth?

Tanning always carries some risks. The skin can be damaged before and after tanning sessions.

You should go to the sauna before using the tanning bed or the spray tanning booth. During tanning sessions, you are required to apply cream or lotion to your hydrate and protect your skin. Such products can block sweating inside a sauna and this could lead to skin burns, rashes, and other skin irritation.

If you prefer to use the sauna after tanning sessions, then be sure to take a proper shower and remove all traces of products from your skin.

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Learn more about how sweating affects your skin irritation and whether you should mix infrared sauna with tanning.

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Sauna Before or After Using the Tanning Bed?

Whether you’re planning a tanning bed session or want to enjoy some sauna therapy after a fresh spray tan, it’s a good idea to know which activity is best to do first. Scheduling your sauna and tanning sessions in the proper order can save you a lot of headaches, optimize skincare safety, and ensure that your new tan lasts longer. 

There are several reasons why it might be smarter to use the sauna before the tanning bed.

For example, a tanning bed or lamp exposes the skin to ultraviolet or UVA rays to produce a beautiful summer glow. This means that you’ll want to hydrate your skin with a cream or lotion prior to a tanning session.

If you head into a sauna after using a tanning bed, you’ll need to have bare skin that doesn’t have anything on it. Some of the ingredients in creams, sprays, or lotions used before lying in a tanning bed can react to the heat in a sauna or steam room and cause a painful burn, rash, or other skin irritation.

The heat can also open up the pores on your skin, which can turn your tan to a lighter color faster. Another risk associated with heading from a tanning bed straight into a sauna is an elevated core temperature and heart rate. A tanning session can heat up your insides, so turning up the heat in a sauna can lead to overheating, a racing heart, or dehydration.

Does Sweating Affect Tanning?

woman showing off her back tan
Sweat is acidic and causes tanned skin to shed faster (Image source)

Jumping into a steamy sauna after a fresh spray tan is a good way to make your fake bake fade faster.

A sauna session can make you sweat and since sweat is acidic, it causes tanned skin to shed faster. Most fake tans last for about a week on average, while a tan from a tanning bed can last a lot longer. When you’ve just had a tan, your skin is more susceptible to moisture, so sweating in a sauna might not be the best plan.

It’s a good idea to avoid getting into a sauna if you’ve just put on a self-tanner that hasn’t had time to set yet. Wait at least 8 hours after using a tanning bed or applying a spray tan before going to a sauna.

Skipping the sauna reduces the chance of skin irritation. It also gives the tan a chance to set which helps prevent the heat from ruining an even, golden glow.

If you do use the sauna, rinse off any sweat right away using lukewarm water or gentle, unscented soap. Avoid rubbing dry with a towel since the friction from the cloth can exfoliate your skin and make it shed off in patches faster.

You can also pat baby powder on your skin before using a sauna to soak up any sweat and avoid getting a patchy tan that is of different shades or colors.

Does Sauna Ruin Spray Tan?

While enjoying a spa session in the sauna after your spray tan might sound relaxing and fun, it’s best to postpone anything that will bring your spray-tanned skin into contact with moisture too soon. 

Most medical professionals and cosmetic experts agree that you should wait at least 8 hours after getting a spray tan. This includes showers, hot water, sweating, workout sessions, swimming, steam rooms, or saunas. Be gentle with your skin by avoiding getting it overheated, or wet, or rubbing it dry with a towel.

Make sure to use an oil-free moisturizer if you do hydrate your skin before spending time in the sauna. 

Spending time in a sauna too soon can prevent your spray tan from setting completely. Excessive heat or moisture can also result in streaky or patchy skin that fades in random areas and creates the opposite of the smooth and even tanned look that you’re trying to achieve.

On the other hand, if your tan has started to fade or if you’ve received an unflattering orange shade of fake bake, consider turning your exfoliation day into a sauna day to help you shed an unwanted spray tan in no time at all.

Sauna Before or After a Spray Tan?

woman spraying on her body
Use sauna before not after spray tanning (Image source)

If you’re planning to get a spray tan but also want to detox and relax, it’s best to hit the sauna before your spray tan appointment. The heated environment and extra perspiration can make your tan slough off more quickly than usual. A traditional sauna also dries out your skin which can make your tan start to come off. 

Just make sure to exfoliate before (not after) getting a spray tan. Doing this ahead of time will ensure that your skin is smoother and fresher and less likely to rub off once you’re all clear to spend time in the sauna.

Keep your tan fresh for summer holidays, vacations, or a big wedding day by doing your sauna therapy prior to getting a spray tan.

Should You Use an Infrared Sauna After Tanning?

Unlike a steam room or traditional sauna, an infrared sauna doesn’t heat up the room around you. Instead, it increases your body’s temperature in a much slower way. Many people may not sweat as much or at all when using an infrared sauna.

Because it takes longer for people to feel hot in an infrared sauna, this may be a better alternative to traditional saunas that can leave you drenched in sweat after a couple of minutes.  

An infrared sauna may be a good option if you want to use a sauna after tanning without ruining your glow. Aim to keep your time under 8-10 minutes as a sauna hack to avoid excessive sweating that can irritate freshly baked skin or make your spray tan look streaky.


Keep your new tan in optimal shape by giving yourself a rest day in between a sauna and a tanning session. If you really want to use the sauna within a shorter period, an infrared sauna can be a better option if the time is kept short. 

Giving your skin a break will ensure that your skin is cooler and that the pores are smaller before you hit the tanning bed or get a full-body spray tan. By using a sauna at least half a day before getting a tan, you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing time without worrying about skin discomfort or risking a streaky tan.

(Featured image by Tora Chu from Unsplash)

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