How to Keep Your Tattoos Protected from the Sun: The Ultimate Guide

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Are you a tattoo enthusiast who wants to learn how to protect tattoos from the sun? If so, this comprehensive guide is just what you need! In this article, we will share tips and advice on how to keep your tattoos looking great and protected from the damaging effects of the sun. We’ll provide information on the importance of using sunscreen and other protective measures, as well as how to take care of your tattoo after sun exposure. With these helpful tips, you can keep your tattoos looking vibrant and beautiful for years to come.


What Are the Potential Risks of Letting the Sun Hit Your Tattoo?

What Are The Potential Risks Of Letting The Sun Hit Your Tattoo?

The sun can cause a number of problems for tattoos, from fading to a complete loss of color. Sun exposure can cause the ink to break down, resulting in a blurry or smudged tattoo. UV light from the sun can also cause the skin to become irritated, leading to redness, itching, and burning. Additionally, the sun can lead to an increased risk of infection and even an allergic reaction to the ink. Finally, excessive sun exposure can cause the tattoo to age faster, leading to wrinkles and sagging of the skin. To protect your tattoo from the sun, it is important to cover it up when outdoors and use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.

How to Protect Your Tattoo from the Sun

Cover Your Tattoo

When you’re out in the sun, make sure to cover up your tattoo with clothing or a bandage. This is especially important if your tattoo is still healing. What happens if the sun hits your tattoo while it’s healing? It can cause the area to become inflamed and irritated.

Use Sunscreen

Make sure to apply sunscreen to your tattoo before you leave the house. It’s especially important to use sunscreen with a high SPF to reduce the risk of sunburn.

Avoid Tanning Salons

Tanning salons can be especially damaging to your tattoos. The intense UV rays can cause your tattoo to fade or become discolored.

Wear Protective Clothing

When you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, make sure to wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. This will help protect your tattoo from the sun’s harmful rays.

Manage Your Time Outdoors

If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, make sure to take breaks in the shade. This will help reduce your exposure to the sun’s UV rays and protect your tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to protect tattoos from the sun?

  • Use Sunscreen: Sunscreen is the most effective way to protect your tattoos from the sun’s UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, provides broad spectrum coverage, and is water-resistant. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours if you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time.
  • Cover Up: Wearing clothing that covers your tattoos is a great way to protect them from the sun. Loose and lightweight clothing is best as it will keep your skin cool and provide a good layer of protection from the sun’s rays.
  • Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated is important for keeping your skin healthy, which will help to protect your tattoos from the sun. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and try to avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  • Limit Sun Exposure: The best way to protect your tattoos from the sun is to limit your exposure to it. Try to stay out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time, and seek shade during the hottest parts of the day.

How can I tell if my tattoo is sun damaged?

If your tattoo is sun damaged, you may notice changes in color, texture, or shape. Skin around the affected area may become dry, itchy, and inflamed, and you may experience swelling, redness, and blisters. Scabs may form on the tattoo and the ink may start to fade or spread. You may also see signs of infection, such as pus and soreness.

Is it necessary to apply sunscreen to my tattoo every time I’m in the sun?

  • Yes: Sunscreen is essential for protecting your tattoo from UV damage. Even if you already have a tattoo, it is important to apply sunscreen regularly when you are outdoors to ensure your tattoo does not fade or become discolored.
  • When: Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 at least 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating.
  • How: Gently rub a generous amount of sunscreen into your tattoo, making sure to cover all areas. Avoid rubbing too hard to prevent the ink from fading.
  • What: Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection. Look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label.

Are there any long-term effects of sun exposure on tattoos?

Tattoo pigments can fade or change color when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Long-term exposure to UV rays can also lead to:

  • Skin damage – Sun exposure can cause skin damage to the area of the tattoo, including burning, blistering, and cracking.
  • Allergic reactions – Sun exposure can cause an allergic reaction in people with certain tattoo inks.
  • Infections – Sun exposure can lead to infections, such as staph and other skin infections.
  • Scarring – Sun exposure can lead to scarring of the tattooed area.

It is important to protect your tattoos from sun exposure to prevent these long-term effects.

What type of sunscreen should I use on my tattoo?

Broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best choice for protecting your tattoo from the sun. Look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Other important factors to consider include:

  • Water resistance: The sunscreen should be water-resistant for at least 40 minutes.
  • Ingredients: Look for sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Color: Choose a sunscreen that won’t leave a white film or residue on your tattoo.

It is also important to apply sunscreen before going outside, and to reapply it every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating.


Tattoos are a great way to express yourself, but it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your tattoos from the sun’s harmful UV rays. These precautions include wearing sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sun exposure when possible. Following these steps will ensure that your tattoos remain vibrant and beautiful for years to come.


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