Catching the last rays of the summer at the pool or on the beach is something we all want. But sun exposure is the enemy for both old and new tattoos while poor quality water is inviting disaster for fresh ink. School’s almost back in but it’s still that time of year where you want to have as much skin showing as possible so that you don’t overheat. Here’s a few tips to stop your tattoos from fading bad and keeping your ink fresh.
Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
Even if it’s “just 5 minutes” put sun screen on. Minimal sun exposure is still damaging and over time that 5 minutes starts to add up. If you did 5 minutes every day for a week that’s 35 minutes! It’s a good idea to get SPF 30 or higher if you want to save your ink, and don’t worry about buying any of those “for tattoo” products unless you really want to because they all do the same job. Avoid cheap dollar store sunscreens and opt for a quality brand or even baby sunscreen since it’s stronger. You’ll also be cutting down your risk for skin cancer and premature aging!
It’s amazing how often people think that since they put sunscreen on once they’re good. Many adverts show sunscreen that lasts 8-10 hours. The problem is that while you’ve done a good job your skin is actively working against you. Sweat, water, clothing, and skin shedding all mean that the sunscreen rarely stays as protective after 2-4 hours. It’s important to keep reapplying, especially if you’re in the water or sweating a lot otherwise your sun protection will only go down as the day goes on and your tattoo will still get damaged.
Cover it Up
Especially if your tattoo is fresh, the damaged skin is not yet strong enough to stand up to strong sun rays. It’s like instant sunburn! The healing layers of skin are often thinner between the sun and your tattoo which is why it can bleach and fade so quickly if it’s fresh. If you’re midway through the healing process and your skin is still scabbing and peeling sunscreen simply isn’t an option because it can be gunky and full of oils which may affect the healing process. Even if you’re just chilling under an umbrella rather than in full sun it will help prevent fading.
Avoid the water
If your tattoo is fresh you want to stay out of the water. Recently a case made international news about a man in the Gulf of Mexico who went swimming with a fresh tattoo and contracted a flesh eating bacteria then died. Literally your life depends on not getting that new tattoo in any questionable water. Pool water is just as bad, there’s loads of nasty bacteria around the pool and chlorine is basically bleach so you don’t want to put that near your fresh, open ink. If you just can’t help yourself and your tattoo is in an upper body area you may be able to get away with putting your feet in.