Are Self-Tanners Waterproof? Can I Swim in a Chlorinated Pool?

What better way to flaunt your new bronze colour than by enjoying the pool during summertime. Unfortunately, swimming is one of the worst things you can do for your self-tanner, as pool water can drastically reduce the colour's longevity.

Don't worry; you don't have to give up your favourite activity just because of your tan. Even keen swimmers can still enjoy faux tanning as well as the pool. You just need to take a few extra precautions to make the most of your tan and keep your skin healthy.

Why does swimming ruin my tan?

If you swim in a chlorinated pool, you may notice that your golden glow disappears quickly. Most self-tanners contain DHA, an active ingredient that reacts with and darkens the top layer of your skin. DHA doesn't penetrate this outer layer of your skin; it simply sits on top.

Self-tanners don't usually last for more than 10 days, because this is the maximum amount of time it takes for your skin to shed. As your skin cells shed, your tan goes with them.

Some things make your skin shed more quickly than its usual cycle. These include heavy sweating, water, and chlorine. Ironically, summer is the worst time to self-tan!

Water and chlorine both dry out your skin, so your skin cells shed more quickly. This means your self-tan won't last as long.

What can I do before going in the pool?

First up, choose a moisturising self-tanner that reduces the drying effects of chlorine on your skin. We recommend Ella Baché Great Tan Without Sun, which provides maximum hydration that's easily absorbed by your skin.

Once you've applied your self-tanner, allow 6 to 10 hours for it to fully absorb and develop. If you wash off your self-tanner too quickly, the colour will be lighter than intended and won't last as long. Don't shower or go into the sea or a pool during this developing period.

If you have the choice between swimming in the ocean and swimming in a chlorinated pool, always go for the ocean. Ocean water is less corrosive to self-tanner and won't fade your colour as quickly.

Is there anything I can do whilst I'm in the pool?

Once you're in the pool, there isn't too much you can do to reduce your tan from fading. However, if you take regular breaks and make sure your swims are only quick dips, this will help. Once you're out of the pool, pat yourself dry each time.

How about after I've been for a swim?

Once you're out of the pool, you may want to consider using a top-up gradual tanner to enhance your previous tan and make the golden glow last longer. Tan-Luxe The Gradual is a great option, as it's packed with hydration and multivitamins to nourish the skin and keep it moisturised.

We also recommend Tan-Luxe The Butter, a hydrating body moisturiser and gradual tan to keep your tan even in between applications.

The most important thing to remember!

Even though your self-tan may contain some SPF, this protection is short-lived. It's particularly important to keep your skin protected around the pool and in the sea. Browse our sunscreen range to find the perfect skin protection for you.

You shouldn't have to give up your love for swimming OR your love for self-tanners. Just do a little extra prep and maintenance, and you can enjoy both!