Does the Sun Fade New Tattoos?
There is no doubt tattoos are more popular than ever. They are increasingly socially acceptable in all levels of society, especially among younger generations. Unfortunately, despite their popularity, too many people still do not know enough about tattoo aftercare. This can lead to faded tattoos, distortion of the design and even infection. One of the aspects of tattoo care people often ignore is sun protection. Some may even go out sunbathing as soon as they get inked. Protecting any tattoo is important, but a fresh one is especially so.
At oneHOWTO, we reveal more about tattoo sun protection by asking does the sun fade a new tattoo?
What if you expose a new tattoo to the sun?
It should not be overlooked that a tattoo is essentially a superficial wound to which ink has been inserted. For this reason, the care taken with a tattoo should be similar to what you do when you have a cut or wound. In this sense, exposing an open wound to the strong sun for a long time is not a good idea. The heat and the effect of strong solar UV rays can affect the healing process. It can even help facilitate the appearance of a tattoo infection.
Take a look at our article on how to tell if a tattoo is infected if you suspect this may have happened to you.
Similarly, the sun's rays can also affect the design. Sunlight fades color and tattoo ink is no exception. For this reason, when we ask if the sun can fade a new tattoo, the answer is yes. Not only will the sun fade a new tattoo, it will fade an older one too. While it is practically impossible to keep certain tattoos out of the sun all the time, we should keep a fresh tattoo out of the sun if we want it to heal properly and stay brighter longer.
When can I expose my new tattoo to the sun?
The average amount of time generally recommended by tattoo artists and dermatologists ranges from 15 days or up to a month. Although you may see a considerable improvement in the skin and in your new tattoo after a week of care, the deeper layers of the skin may not yet be ready to receive sun exposure. Your body will need more time to allow the ink to permeate properly.
While you can walk outside with the tattoo uncovered for short times, you should not sunbathe during this time. This means no sunbathing, playing outdoor sports or other activities without the new tattoo being covered. If you are in any doubt, speak to your tattoo artist.
For some more general guidelines on looking after a new tattoo, take a look at our article on how to care for a fresh tattoo.
How to protect a tattoo on the beach or sunbathing
As we have stated above, don't go sunbathing until 15-30 days have elapsed since getting your tattoo. If you do, it is likely it will fade. Once this time has passed, you should be able to sunbathe as you did before. However, you will need to take extra precautions with your new tattoo. This doesn't mean only when it is fresh, but for however long you have tattoos (hopefully forever).
To protect your new tattoo, you should use sunscreen. Even if you have skin which fares well in the sun, you should use a strong SPF when in direct sun. This is especially so for a new tattoo. Putting a stronger factor sunblock on tattoos will help prevent them from fading, so ideally use an SPF 50, even if you use a lesser SPF for the rest of your skin.
In the event that you want to go sunbathing, but you have not waited enough time, you should cover it completely. You may want to wear a top or other clothing (depending on the tattoo placement). However, if this is not possible, cover it with a plaster or bandage. The size of the tattoo will help determine what you need to put on.
The sun won't only fade tattoos, it can affect them in other ways. Take a look at our article on my tattoo is wrinkly to know more.
Tips for sunbathing with a new tattoo
It has already become clear that tattoos and the sun are not very good friends, especially in the beginning. You must protect a tattoo from the sun at all costs if you do not want to spoil it. However, we share some general thoughts to help solve any doubts you may have about sun and new tattoos:
Can you sunbathe before getting a tattoo?
Ideally, if you are getting a new tattoo, do it in the autumn or winter. Times when the sun is not out as much are better. Not only are you more likely to protect the tattoo, but you will be less tempted to go out sunbathing. If we do decide to get a tattoo in summer, be careful in the days leading up to it. If the sun has damaged the skin, it will not respond as well to the ink and can fade more easily.
Fortunately a good tattoo artists should know not to ink damaged skin and wait for you to heal. This doesn't matter what style or design you choose.
Can sunburned skin be tattooed?
It is not at all advisable to tattoo a skin that has some type of damage or irritation, since it is most likely that it will end up being infected. At the very least, it can affect the quality of the tattoo since you may be inking dead skin. This is the case with sunburn. Sunburn is damage to the skin which often results in peeling. This can lead to your new tattoo peeling and ripping off very easily.
Our guide here will help you protect your skin from the sun, whether you have a tattoo or not.
Can you sunbathe with a healed tattoo?
As we said before, once the tattoo has healed we can sunbathe as we have always done. However, we must understand that it will be necessary to use a good sunscreen to protect a tattoo from the sun. It will also help older tattoos from fading faster and generally provide protection for our skin.
The sun is not the only concern for new tattoos. This article on how to sleep with a new tattoo will help us to protect our tattoo from damage we might cause in bed.
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