Caring for Tattoos in the Summer Sun
There’s absolutely no question – the sun is the number one enemy to your skin. This is true for everyone.
Too much sun can cause painful sunburn, do permanent damage to your skin, and cause it to wrinkle and age prematurely. It can also give you skin cancer in the form of deadly melanoma.
But for anyone who has a tattoo – especially new ones – the summer sun becomes an additional and potentially dangerous threat to your body.
First and foremost a total no-no in the care of your tattoos.
If you have recently had a new tattoo inked on your body – DO NOT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EXPOSE IT TO THE HOT SUMMER SUN – not even for a few minutes.
Your newly inked tattoo should be covered (by clothing, not plastic!) for the first 10 to 14 days after it has been completed. Even after this initial period of cover-up, it should be still be kept away from direct sunlight until the tattoo has completely stopped flaking – no scabbing, and no roughness.
Don’t take your new tattoo anywhere near the summer sun until you can see for yourself that it is completely healed, and looks fresh, shining and perfect in every way.
And even then:
Apply a generous dose of good sun block with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 – or higher if possible.
You wouldn’t willingly expose yourself to radiation or to something that is radioactive, would you?
Yet the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are a deadly form of radiation that can cause your skin to burn and become irreparably damaged.
If you pop out running errands several times during the course of a hot summer’s day, or you expose your arm or elbow to the sun when driving, be aware that it only takes as little as 15 minutes in the summer sun to suffer from skin damage.
If you are staying or living in a hot climate or in a place that has very hot summers, you should be aware that the deadly sun’s UV rays can permeate places on your skin that are covered. So even tats that are permanently covered in discrete parts of your body are still vulnerable to the sun’s rays.
Worried? You should be, but by using your common sense, and following ALL DAY Tattoo’s 9 simple suggestions, you can avoid any tattoo disasters and successfully keep your skin and tattoos in a healthy condition.
- Plan the timing of new tattoos and your summer activities to ensure your tats are given minimal exposure to the sun. If you’re planning to go into the sun, don’t worry, we sell specific “Tattoo UV Protection” sticks that will help keep your tattoo looking fresh.
- As already stated, never expose your new tattoos to the sun until they are fully healed.
- Apply, apply again, and reapply sunblock with an SPF or 30 or higher. We know it can be a hassle, but to keep your body safe, you should re-apply sunblock every two hours. If you are not prepared to do this then DON’T GO IN THE SUN!
- An even better way to protect your tattoos is to ‘outline’ and cover your tattoo with a chap stick containing sunblock, (such as Tattoo Goo’s sun stick), or outline the tattoo with the stick and use sun block over the tattoo. The ‘two-hour rule’ still applies.
- Whenever possible, keep your tattoos – old and new – lightly covered and keep them out of direct sunlight. Stay in the shade unless you are totally dedicated to having a bronzed body – but even in the shade you must take proper precautions and use sunblock.
- If you have had a new tat on your feet or ankles, be careful about exposing your skin to the sun by wearing open flip-flops or no footwear at all. The sun can reach your ankles and feet just as easily as other parts of your body so watch out for this.
- If you are in a beachside location, beware of the sand and the sea – most especially if you are wearing new tattoos. Sand acts like sandpaper for a new tattoo and the sea is full of nasty things, like salt, which can burn a tattoo and a serious amount of bacteria, especially during the hot weather.
Bacteria can lead to an infection resulting in an inflammation, which will cause the ink to drop out. Even in a swimming pool or sauna, your new tattoo will have nasty chlorine to tend with.
- Avoid the temptation to wear skimpy clothing to show off your new tattoo. Not only does this mean more exposure to the sun, but in a party or crowd situation, your friends will be tempted to admire – which you want – and also to touch – which you definitely don’t want!
- Carry some emergency sunblock – maybe a sun stick – with you at all times.
What happens if I don’t take proper care and end up with a ‘sick’ tattoo?
First and foremost, don’t panic, but do take immediate action before your tattoo gets any worse.
To start with, call your tattoo artist and seek advice. If you their advice is to seek medical attention, then immediately seek out your doctor or some other medical professional.
If you are a dedicated sun worshipper and nothing will stop you having those days in the sun, please bear in mind that your tattoos can fade over time, and long exposure to the sun will accelerate that process.
So, sun worshippers, choose you colors carefully. The brighter the color the quicker it will fade. The FDA’s National Center for Toxicology Research says sunlight can cause yellow pigments, in particular, to break down or disperse over time. Darker colors tend to stay sharper longer, but even black will fade to gray.
So if you are coming to Bangkok, or are already here, why not discuss your designs and color schemes with our expert artists at ALL DAY Tattoo Studio in Bangkok?
They will advise you on color schemes that will hold up best in the sun and give you expert advice on how to go ‘out and about’ with your new tatts – as well as your old ones – in tropical Thailand and other hot summer places.
Press the button below for an obligation-free consultation. We will be delighted to advise you – whether or not you give us your business.