Tanning with Tattoos: How to do it Safely

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Every tattoo tells a story. Sometimes, it’s personal and meaningful. In other instances, it is a love story. Tattoos are an expression of creativity for some people; for others, it is an expression of admiration for others’ work.

If you do get a permanent tattoo on your skin, there’s no doubt that you’ll display it on your body for others to see.

The summer is, hands down, the best season to show off a tattoo. The weather has warmed up, so you can finally start shedding the layers you wore all winter long. There’s nothing like wearing tank tops and shorts and letting your skin soak up some vitamin D.

How can you proceed if you have tattoos? It is important not to fade them, nor to damage your skin. What are your options? How can you get a healthy glow without damaging your new tattoo or causing permanent skin damage? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

In our article, we answer all of your questions. Before we get to the topic of tattoos and sun damage, let’s take a moment to examine how the sun affects skin.

How are Different Colors Affected?

As you plan out the location and size of your tattoo, not to mention whether it should be colored or just black, there are various things you should think about. Sunlight has different effects on each of the different tattoos, but here are some of the effects.

Fading is more likely to occur on colored tattoos. Keeping it well-covered over the long term will not prevent this, but sun exposure will certainly speed up the process. Different colors will be affected differently by the sun when it comes to colored tattoos. When exposed to the sun, lighter tints tend to fade faster.

The color black will have a longer lifespan in the sun, with no doubt. Colors with dark hues absorb sunlight. Therefore, they are more likely to absorb ultraviolet rays and burn more easily. Even though the colors may appear less faded, the exposed skin is likely to feel more tender.

Effects of the Sun on Tattoos

You all know how wonderful it is to lay in the sun and soak up those warm rays. Almost every muscle in your body feels relaxed as the rays cover your body. However, your skin is absorbing UV rays as you lie in the sun.

Nowadays, most people know that sun’s UV rays cause premature aging of your skin, along with causing wrinkles and wrinkling. Additionally, they can cause your skin to look blotchy, dull, or dry. How does this affect tattoos?

UV rays are absorbed immediately when sunlight reaches your skin, breaking up the skin’s pigment. In general, tattoos are covered by two layers of skin. Thus, the top layer can act as a filter between the pigment and the sun. UV rays may still fade the tattoos, however. It can be disastrous for newly-tattooed skin when the sun’s rays hit it!


Everyone tends to underestimate the power of the sun, especially in our quest for the perfect tan, but we really should be wearing a SPF 30 sunscreen at minimum every day.

Think about it, when you’re gardening, driving with the windows down, or hiking, the skin is fully exposed to the sun. It’s not only at the beach or by the pool that we need to be careful. If you’ve got a tattoo though, then you need to be more aware and more careful.

When using sunscreen, you need to make sure that it is a certified sunscreen, with a minimum of SPF30, and a UV rating of higher than 2*. Make sure to re-apply it at minimum every two hours, and even more if you go in the water.

As long as your tattoo is not brand new, and you are taking the strong precautions that you should take for the rest of your skin too, there’s no reason why you can’t progress on your tan like normal. However, the issue of new tattoos is a bit different. Let’s take a look at how to deal with these in the sun.

Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Maintaining your skin’s good health is crucial after getting a new tattoo. If your skin becomes dry or flaky, it will negatively affect your new tattoo. But remember, hydration doesn’t just happen on the outside. Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated to keep your skin healthy.

It may seem that the best way to stay hydrated would be to immerse yourself completely in water, but that’s not the best course of action.

While salt water is beneficial, you expose your body parts to the sun while bobbing in the sea. Moreover, it is tricky to come onto the shore and dry off with your body so exposed. Instead of swimming at an indoor pool, don’t bother. If you have a new tattoo, chlorine isn’t the best thing.

Until your skin has completely healed, you should avoid scorching hot, long relaxing showers. Instead, try to keep it short and lukewarm. The skin will be better able to stay hydrated in this way.

You can also keep your skin hydrated by moisturizing. It is always necessary to moisturize your skin after getting out of the sun. Moisturize your skin as soon as possible after getting out of the sun. As your skin will feel tender, you must prevent it from drying out too much or peeling. If you have burned your skin, then you must deal with it fast. You need to be disciplined with moisturizing and keeping it protected until your skin has fully healed.

Fake Tans

Firstly, don’t use any tanning substances until your new tattoo is fully healed.
One thing you could do is to get a fake tan. However, we would not recommend using a sunbed if you have tattoos, because they have very harmful UV rays that would be just as damaging as staying in the sunlight.

Instead, you can explore getting a professional spray tan, or applying your own tan with a spray or cream. These could look a little different to a new tattoo, so make sure that you check the color first.

If you decide to get a fake tan, it will be worth considering using barrier cream over the tattoo, to keep it protected. Be warned though, light tattoos can often go darker with the fake tan, but that is because of the bronzer component of the fake tan, so it will be temporary.

Things to Consider With New Tattoos

Are you thinking about getting a tattoo, but wondering how to care for it afterward? What should you do in the sun if you have gotten a tattoo recently? The three things you need to keep in mind are generally good hygiene, sun protection, and keeping hydrated.

Following your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions is the first step. It’s a permanent and unique piece of art that you just had inked onto your skin. You don’t want to ruin it by not taking care of it.

The second thing you need to do is treat your tattoo like an open wound for the first 2-3 weeks. It should also be kept out of direct sunlight for the first month or more. Three months is needed until you start to think of it as just another part of your body. If you haven’t gotten a tattoo yet, winter might be the best time to get one.

Thirdly, keep your skin well hydrated and protected, as we have mentioned previously for older tattoos. If you’d like to completely shield your tattoo from the sun, you might even consider getting a piece of fabric in the right size and shape.


In general, these are the most important things to know when tanning your skin with tattoos. Shade, clothing, and a tattoo sunscreen with a minimum SPF30 will keep your skin protected.

Maintain hydration for your skin. To keep the tattoo looking good for as long as possible, take care of it properly. You can show off your tattoos for decades to come if you follow this guide.