Tanning and Tattoos

When the summer season begins, we are all foaming at the mouth to get out the shorts and lie out and start working on our tan. Sunbathing is a favorite pastime with many individuals, especially after being cooped up for the winter.

Sun Exposure

It’s not a new medical concept that the sun is harmful to our skin. We’ve been aware of that fact for many years. Tanning is not a good practice whether you are visiting the tanning booth or soaking up the sun next to the pool.

The same holds true in regards to your tattoos. Sunlight can drain the color from your body art. Ultraviolet rays will fade your ink and dull the color of your tattoo. If you still plan on being out in the sun and exposing your tattoos as well, at least use suns block. This is good advice if your tattoo is exposed or not. You should look for a high SPF product and be sure to reapply depending on how much time you’ll be spending in the sun.

Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are just as damaging to your skin as natural sunlight. If you regularly visit a tanning both, at least try to cover up the tattoo or apply sunblock to the art work. Even if you don’t worship the sun and take any action to intentionally exposing your skin to harmful rays, you are probably still getting your share of the sun’s rays just going about your regular business. We spend more time exposed to the sun than we realize. Even the rays streaming in through a car window can be strong. Any activity that takes you outside is exposing your to the sun’s ray and can do harm to your artwork.

Try to cover up the tattoo or apply the sunscreen to the area. I remember a Miami tattoo convention I attended many years ago where I met a woman with a beautiful portrait covering her upper leg. She had driven down from Canada to compete for the artist and she won. We got to talking and she told me the pains she took to keep the tattoo vibrant and fresh looking. She had pale skin and admitted she took great effort to protect her skin and especially her tattoos. She said she drives with a towel covering her legs when she wears shorts. She was taking precautions that all of us should implement in our lives.

Any time that your tattoo is going to be exposed to the sun, cover it! You can cover it with clothing or sunscreen, or stay in the shade. Good sun block is available in the form of easy to apply sticks and roll-ons which make it easy to keep with you at all times. The small applicators work well for covering detailed work.

New Tattoo

Don’t put sunblock on a new or fresh tattoo – follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions and keep your tattoo covered or shaded with clothing for the first few weeks. Just lay a cloth over the area or apply a dry bandage for a smaller area. You can use sunblock once your tattoo has finished peeling and has grown its first protective layer of skin. But sunblock alone is not going to be sufficient for a new tattoo if it is exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time.

After your tattoo has healed, remember to apply sun block liberally to the area whenever you anticipate you’ll be outside for an extended period of time. Exposure to the sun will blur and fade your tattoo. Proper care can keep a tattoo looking vibrant for years to come and, in addition, is better for your skin.

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