How to Swim with a Fake Tan

Written by erin beck
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How to Swim with a Fake Tan
Your fake tan will react to chlorinated water. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you spend a great amount of time in a swimsuit, it may be tempting to use self-tanner to look more attractive. But swimmers often have trouble maintaining fake tans because of chlorine in the water. Self-tanners contain an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with chlorine to reduce the life of your tan. You should avoid swimming pools as much as possible if you use self-tanner.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Wait at least six hours after applying tanner to go swimming.

  2. 2

    Swim in the ocean if you have a choice between the ocean or a pool. Ocean water is less likely to result in fading.

  3. 3

    Swim for short periods of time to limit the exposure of the self-tanner to the water.

  4. 4

    Shower after swimming, then apply self-tan lotion. If some of your fake tan has washed away, this will bring back your colour.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear sunscreen when swimming outside. Self-tanner does not protect you from the sun.
  • You may need to apply self-tanner more frequently if you are a regular swimmer.
  • Use a moisturising self-tanner, because chlorine dries out the skin.
  • Stay away from highly chlorinated hot tubs, which will make your tan fade even faster.

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