Tan Before Or After a Workout, Which is Best?

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The look of a glowing tan and a healthy, fit body is hard to beat!

However, to achieve that you have to be consistent with your workout routine and diet. You also need to tan your body somehow. Possibly under the sun, on a tanning bed or booth, or by chemical tanning with a spray tan machine or a self-tanner

With gyms, like Planet Fitness, offering tanning beds, you can achieve a fit, sunkissed beach body all in one place!

But do you tan before or after a workout? Well, you could do either! Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  

Additionally, selecting which goes first will also depend on the method of tanning you choose to do. Depending on how you want to achieve your tan, you will want to work out either before or after your tan.

Let’s break it down.


Should You Tan Before Or After a Workout?

Knowing whether to tan before or after a workout is important because it can significantly impact the tan that you develop.

Who wants a patchy or uneven tan? That can be avoided by simply knowing the right order for your needs. 

So should I tan before or after workout? How are you going to tan? Fake tan, spray tan, suntan, go in a sunbed? The method matters!

Whether you are tanning by exposing your body to UV radiation or with the help of a self-tanner like Beauty By Earth or Bondi Sands Foam, working out before or after the procedure can have an effect on the tan you develop.

That’s because working out affects your blood circulation and the pores on your skin. 

When you work out, you will feel hot because of all the movements you do. That will cause your pores to open up.

You’ll become sweaty, too, because your body is trying to cool off. 

In order to decide whether it is best to tan before or after the workout, you must consider what type of tanning method you want to go through. 

For those who are getting their color from UV light, either from the sun or from a tanning bed, you can pretty much go either way. 

However, for those who are using self-tanners , or spray tan solutions, working out immediately before or after tanning is not advisable. 

Tanning Before a Workout

UV Tanning (Sunbathing or Tanning Bed Use)

Some people prefer to have their tanning session on a tanning bed or under the sun before their workout. It could warm up their muscles to help them get ready and do better at their workout routine.

However, there is a downside to it. Although some feel it can warm up the muscles, some have an opposite reaction. Due to the warmth tanning beds could provide, you could feel less energetic. 

That’s because warmth can also help the muscles relax.

Additionally, you could also start sweating due to the heat.

It can be more challenging to work out when you feel hot. You may also be a bit dehydrated after tanning so don’t forget to hydrate yourself before working out.

Furthermore, if you tend to use tanning bed lotion , it is possible that they could get into your eyes when you sweat during your workout. In that case, it is best to wash it off your face before your workout for safety reasons. 

See Shower After Tanning? Your Skin Needs to Know! for more.

Spray Tan Solution or Self-Tanner

Spray tan solution and self-tanners need to be carefully managed while they’re working on your skin. This almost always means no excessive moisture until the solution has done its work.

There are all sorts of rules involving:

Basically, if you’re not careful about moisture on your skin during a chemical tan session, you’ll end up with ugly streaks. You’ll be searching for removing a fake tan.

Remember that you should keep away from moisture if you use a self-tanner. With your dripping sweat, you can expect to have streaks on your tan.

Even if your tan doesn’t drip, sweat can still make your tan uneven. 

If you really want to tan with a self-tanner or spray tan before working out, you need to space it out properly. Make sure that your tan has already completely developed and you’ve rinsed off already before diving into your workout. 

Tanning After a Workout

UV Tanning from Sunlight or Tanning Bed Bulbs

Some people also prefer to suntan or tan in a tanning bed after working out. That’s because the workout will help their pores dilate and the blood circulates more efficiently. 

Some believe that tanning with pores open is better because it helps the UV light penetrate the skin better. 

Additionally, due to the body’s natural reaction to the UV rays, the melanocytes will be pushed to produced more melanin to help protect that body. 

Melanin is the pigment in the skin cells that causes you to look tan. With improved circulation, melanin will also be more efficiently distributed on the skin cells.

And the tanning process is relaxing. Typically you’re laying down, and it’s a great post-workout restorative.

However, there are also some drawbacks to tanning after a workout.

One of them is feeling the heat! Tanning beds can make your body feel warmer. Add to that the impact of the exercises that you just did, it could be too much for some that it is already uncomfortable. 

Aside from the warmth, the sensation of feeling sweaty, lying under a sunbed or tanning outside can also feel uncomfortable. That is why you should take a shower first before tanning in a sunbed. This will help avoid tanning bed rash.

Spray Tans and Sunless Tanners

For those who opt for spray tans or self-tanners, make sure you don’t tan right after a workout. Your pores are open. And although some claim that it is good for UV penetration, it is the opposite for self-tanners. 

When you apply self-tanner over your skin when your pores are dilated, you may end up with a spotty tan.

If you want to work out first, then it would be best not to use your spray tan or self-tanner immediately after working out. 

Allow your pores to go back to their normal size first before you apply the solution. The smaller the pores, the more even your tan will develop. 

Additionally, sweat after your workout session could also prevent the solution from working correctly. It can act as a barrier that could negatively affect the absorption of your tanning solution. 

Scheduling Your Tanning Session

If you’re planning to get your tan on at the gym, you’ll probably need to schedule your slot for the Tanning Bed. Gyms that offer tanning like Planet Fitness Tanning often required you to sign up on the list for your slot.

If you’re planning on working out for an hour, but you can see that the bed is open before the workout but is going to be full after, then you’ll need to take the availability into account.

Final Thoughts

Tanning before or after working out can be done. Some people like UV tanning before working out because it helps warm up their muscles. Others prefer UV tanning after working out because it helps their muscles relax, and the results are better due to improved circulation and more dilated pores. 

However, chemical self-tanners and spray tans are a different story. it’s a bad idea to DHA tan immediately before or after working out.

The sweat and dilated pores will make the tan look spotty, streaky, and uneven. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).