8 do's and don'ts to prevent sun damage on your tattoos

As we head into the summer months, if you have tattoos, you must know that sunlight is the biggest enemy. Too much exposure to the sun can cause sun damage on tattoos.

Do you have questions about new tattoos in the sun? Maybe you want to know if you can use sunscreen on a new tattoo, after all, nobody wants a sunburned tattoo! Thankfully, we are here to help you protect your tattoos from the sun.

1. Do keep your tattoo covered

It is important to make sure your tattoo is covered up, ensuring it is not exposed to the sun. Whilst you are waiting for your tattoo to fully heal, loose, lightweight clothing is an ideal way to keep it covered. Keeping your tattoo covered prevents a sunburned tattoo.

2. Don’t remove your bandage early

After a new tattoo, you should leave the bandage on until your tattoo artist tells you that you can remove it.

During the healing process, keeping the fresh tattoo behind a bandage prevents damage to your tattoo and is the first step of tattoo aftercare.

3. Do apply sunscreen regularly

Applying sunscreen to your tattoo prepares the tattoo ink for sun exposure. You should opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

When you apply sunscreen, you are protecting your tattoo and your body from UV rays. UV rays will not only cause damage to your tattoo but they can damage cells that over time lead to skin cancer. It is important to take sun care seriously due to the damage it can cause.

sunburnt man

4. Don’t use sunscreen on a new tattoo

When it comes to new tattoos, you should not put sunscreen on them. A tattoo is an open wound. You must wait until your tattoo has scabbed and peeled off completely before thinking about sunscreen.

It roughly takes between 3-4 weeks for your tattoo to completely heal. Whilst you want to protect it from sun damage, sunscreen only damages your new tattoo.

5. Do take your tattoo artist's advice

You should always listen to what your tattoo artist tells you. They are giving you advice so that your tattoo can heal correctly and the ink stays intact.

Your tattoo artist will guide you on what sun protection is suitable for you. Remember, they are the experts!

6. Don’t scratch

No matter what is causing the itchiness of your tattoo, do not scratch. Your body will be busy healing the damaged skin. Even if you end up with a sunburned tattoo, make sure you avoid any scratching.

7. Do keep up with your skincare

Once you get a tattoo, it is important to keep on top of your skincare. You should keep your tattoo moisturised, especially in the first couple of weeks.

Baby lotion can help keep a tattoo moisturised, however, unless it includes an SPF it will not protect you from sun exposure and you could still end up with a sunburned tattoo.

8. Don’t go in the water with a new tattoo

As tempting as it can be, you should stay clear of the water if you have just got a tattoo.

With a healing wound on your body, salt water and chlorine can lead to infections and can cause damage to your new tattoo. You should seek your tattoo artist's approval before swimming, even if you think it is fully healed.

Olivia Malone - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 22 June 2023
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