How To Protect Tattoos While Tanning: Your Guide to Safely Tanning

There’s nothing better than feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin; so comforting and pleasant. However, without protection, sunlight can actually be our skin’s biggest enemy, especially if you have tattoos. It’s well known that sunlight and tattoos don’t really go together, which is why you’ll hear tattoo artists stressing the importance of protecting tattoos over the coming days of spring and summer. summer.

It is not without reason; UV light can significantly damage tattoos, causing them to fade quickly and generally making them look older and wrinkled. But what about tanning? It is also known that many people start visiting tanning salons before summer and the holiday season. This makes it easier for some people to transition from winter to summer in terms of their skin tone and the skin’s ability to withstand sunlight and sunbathing.

But, can you really have so much fun tanning with tattoos, and how can you really protect your tattoos while tanning? These are the questions we decided to address so that you can welcome the days of spring and summer truly ready. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Your guide to safe tanning with tattoos

Tanning with a new tattoo – When?

So, you have a new tattoo and you wonder when can you show off this beauty and sunbathe by the beach? Let’s start by saying that new tattoos should be protected from sunlight.

Newly healed tattoos are very sensitive, so they should be exposed to little sunlight. New healing tattoos especially need protection; Fresh tattoos are like open wounds, and the healing process must be done properly, otherwise, the overall healing of the tattoo could be undermined and prolonged.

This can lead to potential inflammation of the tattooed area and many other health issues. Worst case scenario; the tattoo, due to a prolonged healing process, becomes infected, so the design is completely messed up and the tattoo does not heal as it should.

So when is the best time to expose the tattoo to the sun?

Well, in our humble opinion; sun exposure and sunbathing are prohibited with tattoos, as a whole. Sunbathing and tanning are not recommended if you have tattoos, in general, let alone with newly healed or healing tattoos. But, if you’re really desperate, or if you live in an area where it’s not really possible to walk around with jackets all the time, then you should wait at least a month for the tattoo to be exposed to light. of the sun.

Even then, your tattoo should be fully protected with sunscreen and should not be exposed to sunlight throughout the day when the sunlight is at its brightest or UV rays are at their strongest. . We realize that many people can’t wait for summer vacation to freely display their tattoos to the world, but unless you want your tattoo to fade completely in two years instead of 20 years, you absolutely must follow our recommendations.

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Sunscreen and a new tattoo

So, now that we’ve established that walking around without putting sunscreen on your tattoo is a no-no, a new question arises; When can I start putting sunscreen on my new tattoo?

Well, normally if your tattoo is still healing, there is absolutely no occasion that you should put anything on your healing tattoo, let alone sunscreen. Considering you shouldn’t even be exposing a healing tattoo, you know sunscreen is unnecessary and far from an option. Unless you want to cause a bad tattoo infection, leave your tattoo as it is and let it go through the healing process as it should; uninterrupted and in accordance with your tracking instructions.

Only when your tattoo is completely healed (i.e. the skin is closed, there are no scabs, the color is matte, etc.) can you consider removing it. put sunscreen on it. Even then, you need to be extremely careful about the type of sunscreen you can use. The ingredients used to make regular sunscreens may be too harsh for newly healed tattoo/skin, which is still a very sensitive area. Therefore, you should definitely opt for sunscreens specially designed for the protection of tattoos. Our favorite tattoo sunscreens are;

  • CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 – this is probably the best tattoo sunscreen on the market. It is designed to protect the skin’s natural barriers and is suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive. The sunscreen is fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free, broad-spectrum, and has an SPF of 50. If your tattoos are placed on commonly exposed skin areas, you should apply sunscreen daily. Otherwise, you can apply it only when the tattoos are exposed (tanning, sunbathing).
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection SPF 50 – another great sunscreen that protects tattoos is Colorescience. This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, paraben, sulfate, oil, dye and fragrance free. It offers fully mineral protection against UVA and UVB rays, pollution and infrared radiation. It comes in a no-mess stick form that glides on the skin well and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. The sunscreen is sweat and water resistant, making it ideal for sunny days at the beach.
  • EltaMD UV Active Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 – and finally, our top recommendation for the exceptional EltaMD sunscreen. Now this is a high quality product, designed to protect your tattooed skin. It is formulated for daily use and an active lifestyle. The sunscreen is water-resistant, chemical-free, non-comedogenic, and broad-spectrum. Due to its rich ingredients and formula, the sunscreen is extremely moisturizing and nourishing.

Here are some of our favorite sunscreens. Now, if you are looking to buy a different sunscreen, we surely invite you to pay attention to the following features, you know that your tattoo has good quality protection;

  • SPF (sun protection factor) – for good tattoo protection, be sure to opt for sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30, up to 60. If your skin is ultra-sensitive or prone to sunburn, we recommend even boost it up to FPS 100.
  • Broad Spectrum Protection – to properly protect your tattoo, you must protect it from both UVA and UVB rays. Both are very harmful to the skin, so make sure you have a broad-spectrum sunscreen designed to reflect both types of rays.
  • Water resistance – if you buy sunscreen, make sure you always choose a water-resistant one. Not only is it more practical, since you surely sweat more during the summer, but also you will be super safe even when swimming in the sea; sunlight will not damage your tattoo as the sunscreen stays put despite the water.
  • Hydration – because sun exposure tends to dry out the skin, getting moisturizing and hydrating sunscreen is a must. A nourishing, mineral-rich sunscreen with a deep hydration effect is a perfect option for tattooed skin, to keep it not only protected but also hydrated and nourished.

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Sun exposure and discoloration of tattoos

At this point, it is essential to mention that prolonged exposure to the sun, even when your skin has been properly protected with a high quality sunscreen, will cause the tattoo to gradually fade. It is something inevitable and a problem that people usually face after 10 or 20 years of getting tattoos. The discoloration is surely more prominent and visible in people who have not used sunscreen, and of course in older people who have had their tattoos for a few decades.

This can usually be corrected with tattoo touch-ups, to revive the tattoo a bit and bring it back to life. Touch-ups work best in black and gray tattoos because they best resist fading of the tattoo from sun exposure. Colored tattoos are more prone to fading from sun exposure and are certainly more difficult to touch up and repair.

Final Thoughts

With the arrival of spring and summer approaching, the season for exposed tattoos has arrived. However, with the sun up, we have to start thinking about good tattoo protection. Sometimes those long-sleeved shirts just aren’t enough to protect tattoos, so we hope our sun protection overview was helpful.

We surely urge you to do your own research when it comes to what type of sunscreen you think would work for your skin type and lifestyle, but be sure to follow our recommendations to find the best product. Keep in mind that the better the tattoo protection, the brighter and brighter your tattoo will stay, even years after you have it done.

Read more: Tattoo Aftercare: 6 important things you need to know (updated 2022)

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