How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Go in the Sun?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 31st, 2022

If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo, one of the things to consider is aftercare and protection from the sun. But how long do you wait before you can hit the beach or pool with your new ink?

We’ve got all the details here so you can make sure your tattoo stays looking great for years to come!

man doing tattoo on person's arm

Understand the Risks of Sun Exposure

Before you consider exposing your new tattoo to the sun, it is important to understand the risks associated with sun exposure. Sunburns can cause a great deal of damage to the skin, and this is especially true for tattoos.

When tattoos are exposed to the sun, they cannot only result in fading but also cause blistering and inflammation. In some cases, this can even lead to permanent damage and discoloration of the tattoo.

Therefore, ensuring that your tattoo is completely healed before exposing it to the sun is essential. An open wound is much more susceptible to sunburn than healthy skin. Additionally, the ink used in tattoos is especially susceptible to the sun’s UV rays, so it is best to wait until your tattoo is completely healed before exposing it to the sun.

The Healing Process for a New Tattoo

The healing process for a new tattoo can take anywhere from three to four weeks. During this period, keeping the tattoo out of direct sunlight is important, as UV rays can damage the tattoo and significantly slow down the healing process.

It is best to keep the tattoo covered with clothing or sunscreen during this time and to avoid swimming or other activities that could expose the tattoo to bacteria and irritants. After the tattoo has been scabbed and peeled, it is safe to expose it to sunlight, but it is still important to use sunscreen to protect the tattoo from damage.

Using Sunscreen to Protect Your Tattoo

Sunscreen is a must when protecting your new tattoo from the sun. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of 30 or higher is important. Sunscreen should be applied in generous amounts to ensure adequate coverage and reapplied every two hours.

It is also important to remember that sunscreens should not be used until the tattoo has completely healed, usually about three to four weeks. If you have sensitive skin, opt for a mineral-based sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Sunscreen should also be applied to any exposed areas of skin surrounding the tattoo.

Tips for Minimizing Sun Exposure

When it comes to minimizing sun exposure, one of the best tips is to cover your tattoo with clothing. As your tattoo is still healing, keeping it completely covered whenever you go outside is important.

Wear long sleeves, pants, and hats to protect your skin and your tattoo from the sun’s damaging rays. If you’re worried about your clothing sticking to your tattoo, you can always wear lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.

Another way to protect your skin and your tattoo is to use an SPF of 30 or higher when you go outside. Sunscreen should be applied frequently, and you should also reapply it after swimming or sweating. Make sure to look for a sunscreen designed for tattoo protection, as these formulas will be gentler on your skin.

It is also important to limit your time in the sun. If you know you will be out in the sun for an extended period, make sure to take breaks to avoid overexposure. Plan your outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as strong. Finally, stay out of direct sunlight, which will minimize UV exposure.

Signs of Sun Damage to Your Tattoo

Sun damage to a tattoo can be difficult to spot, but there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. The most obvious sign of sun damage is fading of the ink. This is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays breaking down the ink’s pigment molecules.

In addition to fading, the sun can cause the tattoo to become discolored or take on a greenish tinge. Blistering and peeling the skin around the tattoo can also show sun damage. The best way to prevent these issues is to keep your tattoo shielded from the sun until it is fully healed.

What to Do If Your Tattoo Gets Sunburned

If you think your tattoo may have sunburned, the first step is to take immediate action. First, apply a cold compress or washcloth soaked in cold water to the affected area. This can help reduce the pain and swelling associated with sunburn. You may also want to use a moisturizing lotion or aloe vera gel to help soothe the area.

The next step is to protect your tattoo from further sun exposure. Wear clothing to cover the tattoo, and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect it from further damage. Additionally, it’s important to keep the area clean and dry to avoid further irritation. Finally, check in with a doctor if the sunburn is severe or if you experience any other symptoms, such as fever, chills, or blisters.

Treating Sunburn on Your Tattoo

If you have a sunburned tattoo, treating it quickly and effectively is important to avoid long-term damage. Sunburns on tattoos can cause the ink to fade and lead to skin infections and scarring.

First, cool the area with a cold compress to treat a sunburned tattoo. Then, apply a soothing lotion or ointment to the area, such as aloe vera or a 1% hydrocortisone cream.

Also, you should avoid further sun exposure and wear protective clothing when possible. It is also important to keep the area hydrated with a gentle moisturizer and to avoid picking at any peeling skin that may occur.

Finally, if your sunburned tattoo does not seem healing or you are experiencing any pain or irritation, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Tips for Long-Term Aftercare of Your Tattoo

When you get a tattoo, it’s important to ensure that it is properly taken care of to keep it looking its best for years to come. One of the most important forms of aftercare for a tattoo is protecting it from the sun.

Even after your tattoo has healed, it is still susceptible to sun damage. To keep your tattoo looking its best, it is important to incorporate sun protection into your long-term aftercare routine.

One of the most effective ways to protect your tattoo from the sun is to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be applied generously to the tattoo and reapplied every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. In addition to sunscreen, wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses can help to protect your tattoo from the sun’s damaging rays.

It is also important to remember to avoid sun exposure during peak hours of the day. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so limit your time outdoors during these hours if possible. It is also important to stay hydrated and moisturize your tattoo regularly to keep it looking its best.

By following these tips for long-term aftercare of your tattoo, you can ensure that your tattoo stays looking vibrant and colorful for years to come.


Editorial Staff

Our writers, editors, content managers, and SEO specialist. We all take part in crafting amazing articles. We spend hours ensuring that each article is based on facts, researched, and thorough. You'll never want to click the back button to look for more answers other than here!