Can You Workout With Self Tanner On?


By Emma McNab
January 28, 2023

If you enjoy both sunless tanning and working out, you might wonder how it’s possible to incorporate both of them into your self-care routine.

You might be also wondering if working out will cause your self tanner to go streaky or wash off, or if sweating will impact your tan’s color and durability.

I’m going to answer all of these questions below and give you some tips on maintaining your self tan while getting your sweat on – even if you’re the most dedicated gym bunny. So, can you workout with self tanner on? Let’s take a look. 

Can You Workout With Self Tanner On?

Yes and no. If your self tanner has already fully developed and you’ve already washed off the guide color (assuming you’re using a traditional self-tanner, Naru Organics goes on clear!), there’s no reason why you can’t hit the gym. While you should take precautions to protect your self tan during a sweat-sesh (more on that further on), you can still exercise while wearing self tanner. Ideally, you should wait at least 8-9 hours after any tanning application before working out.

Put simply, after around 8-9 hours the DHA in your self-tanner should be fully developed. This means that any sweat or contact with water isn’t going to drastically impact the evenness of your tan. Excess sweating and friction can still impact the durability of your tan at this stage, but I’ll give you some tips on avoiding that further on in this article.

However, if it’s been less than 8 hours, you should definitely avoid exercise. You should also wait until you’ve had your first post-tan shower before hitting the gym.

This is because the most important part of any self tanning routine – whether you’re using tanning lotion, mousse or any other self tanning product – is the development period. The several hours following your tanning application will determine the evenness of your tan and the final color, so it’s important to do your best to avoid water and skin friction during this time. 

If you work out, you’ll most likely end up sweating and rubbing your clothes against your skin. The combination of sweat and friction will interrupt the self-tan’s development and potentially lead to splotchiness and uneven tan patches, especially in sweat-prone areas such as the armpits and the back of your knees. Avoid exercise until you’ve rinsed off the guide color and your tan is fully developed. 

Does Self Tanner Come Off When You Sweat?

Sweating alone isn’t going to make your self tanner come off unless your tan is still in the process of developing. However, it should be noted that exercise can still reduce the durability of your self tan, even once it’s fully developed.

This is because typical workout clothes – such as sports bras and sweat-proof leggings – tend to be form-fitting and stick to the skin during exercise. This type of workout gear might be great for flexibility, but it isn’t particularly great when it comes to maintaining your self tan. Form-fitting clothes cause friction, which, when combined with sweat, creates an abrasive effect that can cause your tan to rub off.



What Happens If I Work Out With Self Tanner On?

Before your first post-tan shower: If you work out while your self tanner is still developing, you run the risk of finishing with an uneven, splotchy and streaky tan. I’d 100% recommend planning your tanning session for a day when you aren’t hitting the gym.

After your first shower, at least 9 hours after self tan application: If you’ve already rinsed off the self tanner’s guide color, exercise isn’t going to disrupt the development or evenness of your tan. However, you might notice that your tan fades slightly in certain areas or rubs off a little sooner than expected due to sweat and friction. You can take a few steps in order to protect your tan and increase its longevity while working out.

Protect Your Self-Tan During Exercise: Top Tips 

If you’re a dedicated gym bunny but want to maintain an evenly bronzed glow during your gym session, here are some of my top tips:

Apply baby powder

Applying baby powder is a great way to avoid your tan going splotchy when you work out, as it’ll trap excess sweat and prevent it from creating streaks in your tan. Throw some talc in your gym bag and apply to your armpits and any other sweat-prone areas before beginning your session.

Change out of your workout clothes ASAP

Once you’ve completed your workout, it’s essential that you change into a regular, (preferably loose-fitting) outfit as soon as possible. If you work out at the gym, bring a change of clothes in your gym bag to change into, rather than commuting home wearing your workout gear.

Use the right self tanner

Not all self tanners are created equal. Low-quality self tanners that use cheap dyes are going to rub off much more easily, especially if they’re formulated with harsh chemicals that dry out the skin and are prone to streaking. Our non-toxic, chemical-free self tanner combines natural skincare ingredients with sugar beet-derived DHA, so it works to support and nourish the skin during both the self tanning process and maintenance period. We’d highly recommend this self tanner if you want something more durable and less maintenance.


Even with a low-maintenance tan, you still need to maintain it if you want to prolong your glow for as long as possible. The best way to protect your self tan is to maintain it with regular exfoliating and moisturizing. Moisturizing your skin following your first self tan application is a great way to lock in the color and help prevent against any dry skin that might occur from sweating.

Touch up your tan regularly

While it’s certainly not necessary to self tan every day, it’s a good idea to touch up your tan whenever it starts to fade or become blotchy. You can read our article on how to remove self tan properly if you want to remove the color entirely before re-application.


The Bottom Line

So, when it comes to self tanning and exercise, you don’t need to choose between the two! Simply wait around 8-9 hours following your first tanning application before working out, and make sure to protect your tan once fully developed. Moisturizing, exfoliation and regular touch-ups will also keep your sunless glow fresher for longer, so make sure to perform regular tan maintenance – even if you’re not hitting the gym.

And if you’re a health-focused person, why not make the healthy choice? Try Naru Organics self-tanner and get an even, streak-free glow without dumping tons of sketchy chemicals onto your skin.

Note: Want to give yourself an even, natural-looking sunless tan without exposing your skin to toxic chemicals, dyes or synthetic fragrances? Get Naru Organics self tanner and try the very first flawless self tan with no nasty ingredients. Learn more now!
naru organics self tanner

Emma McNab

Emma is a writer with a keen interest in all things skincare, wellness, and beauty.