Is It Safe To Apply Sunscreen On A New Tattoo?

In order to lengthen the life of your brand-new tattoo, it’s crucial to take good care of your tattoo. You do not want to spend several hundred dollars to permanently engrave a unique pattern into the flesh just for it to disappear in a few short years.

The standard tattoo aftercare procedures include cleaning with mild soap, thoroughly drying, and using Aquaphor or odorless moisturizer.

Most people know that all tattoos, regardless of how recent or old they may be, can suffer significant harm from the sun. However, many people are still unclear about how sunscreen could affect a fresh tattoo and what issues they might create while the tattoo heals.

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One of the less well-known regulations is how to care for your tattoo when exposed to the sun. How can a fresh tattoo be protected from the sun if it is obtained the week before a lengthy beach vacation?

So, is it safe to apply sunscreen on a fresh tattoo? No, sunscreen should never be used on a fresh tattoo. Sunscreen’s additives, chemicals, and smells can irritate or even infect your tattoo while also damaging it. Instead, wear a piece of dark, baggy clothes to cover the tattoo.

Read this article and take into account how the sun may harm your tattoo before scheduling that tattoo session during the summer.

Why Should You Not Apply Sunscreen To New Tattoos?

Sunscreen should not be used on freshly inked skin since the area around a tattoo does not tolerate substances while it is recovering.

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Applying sunscreen to a fresh tattoo can result in a number of complications that may lengthen recovery periods and even permanently harm the appearance of your art. The following are the primary arguments against using sunscreen on a fresh tattoo:

Toxic Chemicals

Many commercial sunscreens frequently contain chemicals that can be extremely harsh on the skin’s most delicate areas (such as new tattoos).

When used too frequently on a fresh tattoo, these chemicals can potentially cause some of the ink to fade or lose color. They can also cause irritation, redness, itching, and rashes.

Artificial Scents & Colors

Many over-the-counter sun protection creams include synthetic colors and fragrances to make them appear more appealing on the eye and the nose.

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But many fresh tattoos can be particularly sensitive to these synthetic chemicals, and even synthetic components in lotions and soaps might irritate a fresh tattoo.

Thickness

In order to repair effectively, a fresh tattoo needs as much oxygen as possible while it is recovering. Since sunscreen lotion is typically heavy and non-absorbent, applying it to a new tattoo can be difficult.

This means that it frequently rests on top of the skin, forming a barrier preventing the needed oxygen.

Another problem is that if sunscreen is applied very liberally and forms a very thick coating over the skin, this layer provides a warm, moist environment between itself and the skin, which is ideal for bacteria and germs to grow and reproduce, raising the risk of infection.

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Stickiness

Suncream has a tendency to be somewhat sticky; it can take up and retain dirt and dust for hours after being applied. You run a higher risk of these tiny particles becoming lodged in the wounds, leading to possible cuts, grazes, and even infections because of the increased likelihood of getting dust, sand, and other small objects trapped against the new tattoo.

It would be best never to put sunscreen on a fresh tattoo due to all these factors.

When Can You Start Using Sunscreen On A Tattoo?

You are aware that a fresh tattoo cannot be protected with sunscreen, but how soon can you use it? A tattoo shouldn’t be covered with sunscreen until it has fully recovered.

The amount of time needed for complete recovery varies depending on the tattoo. Color, placement, size, and how your skin absorbs the ink and repairs itself after being damaged will all be factors.

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A small-to-medium-sized tattoo can recover in 2-4 weeks, whereas a bigger tattoo can take four to six weeks. Something that fits on your wrist, ankle, or even just the length of your forearm or thigh would be considered a tiny or medium tattoo.

A back design, chest piece, partial or complete sleeve, or a thigh tattoo that covers the majority of your leg would all be considered more extensive tattoos.

Although you shouldn’t use sunscreen until the tattoo has completely recovered, after it has, you should use sunscreen whenever you are outside in the sun.

Sunscreen is necessary to protect a tattoo from UV rays that can fade the ink once it has completely recovered. If you have a fully recovered tattoo, wear SPF 30 sunscreen whenever you are outside.

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What Can I Do To Keep My New Tattoo Safe From The Sun?

As previously said, fresh tattoos are quite sensitive to the majority of things, the sun being one of them. Since new tattoos are so sensitive to the sun, avoiding strong, direct sunlight altogether is advisable until the region has completely recovered.

You must consider the ink on the body that you have just spent a lot of money for and that you were likely waiting a very long time for, even if this may be a problem, especially if you are going on vacation or have a day at the beach scheduled.

Keep the tattoo out of the sun for at least two to three weeks or until it appears to have visibly recovered.

If you really need to go outside, try to stay in shady places, cover the tattoo with dark clothes (lighter clothing is typically less effective in blocking off dangerous UV rays from the sun), and wear a rashguard when swimming.

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What Impact Does Sunlight Have On A Fresh Tattoo?

Whether you have tattoos or not, the sun’s UV radiation may harm the skin. UVA and UVB rays are the two categories of UV radiation.

Due to their ability to penetrate deeply, UVA rays can harm skin layers underneath the skin’s surface. The skin’s outermost layers are harmed by UVB radiation. Both of these together harm different layers of your skin.

A tattoo is created by puncturing the skin with a needle and injecting ink between the two highest layers of the skin. Tattoo ink will fade, and the skin will get irritated, red, itchy, and burnt when exposed to UV radiation from the sun and following direct sunlight.

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When a tattoo is completely recovered, it often just experiences fading ink and the average amount of sunburn that untattooed skin would endure. However, recently applied tattoos are still open sores. The sun will further harm the sensitive, recovering skin, resulting in inflammation, redness, and discomfort.

What Are The Best Techniques For Concealing A Fresh Tattoo At The Beach Or Pool?

Wearing loose clothing would be the most excellent technique to conceal the tattoo at the beach or pool. It would be best if you didn’t put on restrictive garments while the tattoo is recovering. Fabric rubbing up against a new tattoo might irritate it.

Neither the beach nor the pool is exempt from this regulation. It is advised to avoid wearing the swimsuit if you have a recent tattoo in the area where the suit might hide it. Your tattoo will itch from the tight cloth.

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Additionally, you do not want to wear a tight swim top to cover off a new tattoo if it is on another region of the body, like your arm.

Wearing loose clothing that hides the tattoo is the best option if you want to visit the beach or swimming pool with a new tattoo. Of course, it would be much better if you could avoid going to the beach or pool entirely.

It would be best if you never swam with a new tattoo, regardless of the temperature of the water. Each of these forms of water—beach, pool, lake—can result in an infection.

Each of these bodies of water has its unique concentrations of allergens, germs, and chemicals that can seep into your freshly inked skin and cause infection.

Can A Sunburn Damage A Fresh Tattoo?

Tattooed skin will exhibit the same symptoms as burnt skin, including itching and blistering depending on the degree of the burn.

A fresh tattoo will burn more severely than an ordinary sunburn. Your exposed wound will sustain damage that will result in blisters, delaying the recovery of the tattoo.

Your tattoo will take longer to recover since your body must focus on repairing the blisters first, then the exposed wound beneath the blisters.

Your ink may also be impacted by the blisters. It could result in color patchiness or ink smearing.

Therefore, a sunburn can undo a fresh tattoo. Your new tattoo will seem distorted due to the ink spreading and patchiness, and it will take longer to recover because of the blisters.

Why Does A Tattoo Bubble Up After Being Exposed To The Sun?

If the tattoo is bubbling when you get home from the beach or pool, it’s not from too much moisture; it’s from too much sun exposure. Washing the new tattoos twice a day is necessary, but you must let them air dry fully before putting a thin coating of Aquaphor or unscented lotion.

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The important thing is to ensure the tattoo is completely dry and apply a very little coating of moisturizer. This is so that the ink doesn’t spread and the scabs don’t hinder the tattoo from recovering correctly from too much moisture, which can create bubbling on your tattoo.

With a new tattoo, it’s advised to stay away from beaches, pools, lakes, and other bodies of water due to this bubbling. When you swim with your new tattoo submerged in water, too much moisture might seep into the open wound and create bubbling.

This bubbling frequently signals the beginning of a bacterial infection. If you observe bubbling on the fresh tattoo, speak with the tattoo artist or a specialist to determine whether you need to start taking antibiotics.

How Can I Protect My Brand-New Tattoo From Sun Damage?

Avoiding direct sunlight is the most effective approach to shield your fresh tattoo from sun damage. If you live near an ocean or a lake, it could be preferable to wait until the fall or winter months to get a tattoo. When it’s cold outside, you’ll instinctively wrap up more, and the skin will be shielded from the sun.

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To What Extent Do Tattoos Fade In The Sun?

A tattoo’s ink may substantially fade after being exposed to light for an extended period. Dark inks like black or dark hues fade considerably more slowly than light inks like white or pastel colors.

However, in the sunlight, all ink disappears. White ink will fade to the point that you hardly notice it was ever there. Dark inks will degrade into a softer, lighter version of their original hues.

It’s advisable to use SPF 30 sunscreen on your healed tattoos to help avoid this significant fading. Remember that after a tattoo has recovered, you should always use sunscreen; never apply it to a fresh tattoo. Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every 2 hours.

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How Do I Treat A Sunburn From A New Tattoo?

If you have a sunburn on a fresh tattoo, your first visit should be to a medical facility where you will be given counseling and ointment to guarantee maximum recovery. 

As you don’t want to aggravate the sunburn or spread the infection to the region, you should refrain from applying anything directly to the new tattoo, such as a cold pack or cooling ointment, unless a professional recommends you.

Discuss the matter with your artist after seeking medical advice since you may need a touch-up or redo of the new tattoo, depending on the degree of the burn.

Which Type Of Sunscreen Is Excellent For Tattoos?

Even though all sunscreens have the same objective, certain varieties are superior to others. Sunscreens come in chemical and mineral varieties. However, mineral sunscreens are the most excellent option for protecting both the skin and the tattoo.

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Those who have tattoos should choose sunscreens with natural components and minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide since these do not penetrate the skin and do not enter the bloodstream; instead, they just sit on top of the skin to provide sun protection.

Additionally, prolonged use of chemical sunscreens might harm the skin due to their emitting chemicals. New research found that several compounds in sunscreen, including oxybenzone, can enter the bloodstream at levels higher than those permitted by the FDA. Therefore, purchasing a product free of oxybenzone, parabens, and phthalates would be great.

Conclusion

While powerful, high-quality sunscreen is undoubtedly helpful in keeping a tattoo safe from the sun, it is not suggested to apply any until the tattoo has fully healed. As a result, you should aim to avoid exposing your fresh tattoo to the sun for at least two to three weeks.

However, if your tattoo has already fully healed, you should wear sunscreen and continue to shield it from the sun’s damaging UV rays using clothes and sun protection. If you want your tattoo to appear excellent over the long term, do this every time you are in the sun’s direct, harsh rays.

Max Peters
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