Learn from a dermatologist how to protect your tattoo from the sun and keep it looking vibrant.

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Tattoos are a form of self-expression and art that can last a lifetime. However, exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can damage and fade tattoos over time.

In this article, we’ll discuss how the sun damages your tattoos, which tattoos are most at risk, and how to protect your tattoo from the sun. We’ll also provide recommendations for the best sunscreens for tattoos.

How the Sun Damages Your Tattoos

UV radiation can penetrate the skin and cause damage to the cells that hold the tattoo ink. Over time, this damage can cause the ink to fade and blur, making the tattoo less vibrant and detailed. UV radiation can also cause the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed, which can further damage the tattoo.

Are New Tattoos More Susceptible to Sun Damage?

New tattoos are more vulnerable to sun damage because the skin is still healing and the tattoo ink is not yet fully set in. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause the skin to become inflamed and irritated, which can delay the healing process and cause the tattoo to fade. It’s important to wait until the tattoo is fully healed before exposing it to the sun.

What Other Tattoos Are Most At Risk?

Tattoos located in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the arms, legs, and back, are most at risk of sun damage. Tattoos on areas with thinner skin, such as the fingers, neck, and face, are also more vulnerable to sun damage.

How to Protect Your Tattoo From the Sun

  1. Cover your tattoo with clothing or accessories, such as hats or sleeves, to shield it from the sun.
  2. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your tattoo before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  3. Avoid tanning beds, as they can also cause damage to your tattoo.
  4. Stay in the shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Shop the Best Sunscreens For Tattoos

When choosing a sunscreen for your tattoo, look for one that provides broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should also be water-resistant and have an SPF of 30 or higher. Here are some recommendations:

  1. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
  2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100+
  3. Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50
  4. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive SPF 30+

The Final Takeaway

Preserving your tattoo’s vibrant colors and intricate details requires taking steps to protect it from the sun. Covering your tattoo, applying sunscreen regularly, and avoiding tanning beds are all essential for keeping your tattoo looking its best. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF and broad-spectrum protection to safeguard your tattoo from UV radiation. With proper care, your tattoo can last a lifetime.

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