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Tattoos and tanning - maintenance and care tips

by Jade Newton |

Tattoo tanning tips

With the tanning season in full swing, have you checked whether you are caring for your tattoos best whilst enjoying the sun? UV light can cause tattoos to fade over time, meaning that those looking to gain a golden glow either in the sun or with a sunbed could be risking their works of art without proper care. With this in mind, check out some of our top tips for how best to care for your tattoos whilst tanning! 


New tattoos 

Don’t tan with a new tattoo

Did you know that a new tattoo can be classed as an open wound? With this in mind, the skin is at its most vulnerable post-tattoo, and should be treated gently. In fact, you shouldn’t tan after your tattoo until it has fully healed past the scabbing phase. The recommendation of how long this time period is differs, depending on the tattoo studio’s advice, with the most common recommendations being anywhere from 8 weeks to 3 months. 

When UV interacts with your tattoo, it can break down ink molecules, which can cause fading. As freshly tattooed skin hasn’t fully healed, this means skin won’t be able to react to UV as it would usually. This can increase the risk of overexposure, burning, and tattoo damage, and can also prolong the time tattoos need to fully heal. This applies to both sunbeds and time spent in the sun. Whilst your tattoo is healing, the best way to care for this is to keep it out of the sun altogether.

Although some may believe that applying sun cream onto the affected area will allow them to carry on as usual, this is not advised whilst tattoos heal. The tattooed skin will be extremely sensitive. Applying sun protection to this can cause irritation, and prolong the healing time. After your tattoo has finished scabbing, it is then recommended to apply a mineral sun cream, using zinc oxide, as this form of sun protection sits on top of the skin as a barrier, reflecting UV. 


Tattoo maintenance 

Once tattoos have fully healed, there are further things that you can do to ensure they maintain their vibrance whilst tanning. 

Tattoo technology

Did you know that we stock many products designed specifically for tattooed tanners? These lotions contain exclusive tattoo technologies, focussed on maintaining tattoo vibrancy and combating UV’s fading effect using deeply hydrating skincare ingredients. By applying a tanning lotion containing tattoo colour guards, this means you are able to deeply hydrate the area, for long-lasting hydration and vibrancy whilst also building a glowing tan. 

We recommend applying this within 10 minutes of your tanning session. 


SPF whilst tanning

Did you know that applying sun protection to your tattoo is a great way of protecting it from fading? Not only does this provide your tattoo with deep hydration and nourishing skincare, it also reflects or absorbs UV rays, preventing them from being able to impact your works of art. We even stock tattoo-specific sun protection, combining both SPF 50 strength protection, with tattoo technology for the best of both worlds. This should be applied when spending a lot of time outdoors (even if the area is covered by thin material which may not be UV resistant), or before tanning in-salon. 

Click HERE to view our full range of sun cream!


Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

Many tattoo artists recommend moisturising every day to protect it from drying out. This is especially relevant after spending time in the sun or tanning, which can be very drying. Dry skin can make your tattoo look blurred, or faded. 


For the best protection, we also stock Tan Extenders with tattoo technology, such as Hemp Nation Wild Berries and Lavender. This works for the deepest hydration and longest-lasting tan and tattoo vibrancy. 


Up the water to hydrate 

Your tattoo will only look as good at the rest of your skin. Staying hydrated helps to ensure a glowing complexion, and avoids skin from becoming as dry. Maintaining good water levels by drinking 2 litres plus per day is ideal for both tan and tattoo maintenance. 

Sunburn can damage your skin in deeper layers, affecting your tattoo’s appearance

Although this is relevant for all tanners, it is always important to reiterate the importance of avoiding overexposure. Sunburn can damage your skin through the layers, which can permanently damage your tattoo’s appearance. Avoid this entirely by tanning and spending time in the sun responsibly. For our best tips, check out THIS BLOG.