Top Tips for Summer Tattoo Care

Top Tips for Summer Tattoo Care

Jun 14th 2022

Whether you have a full bodysuit or are considering getting your very first tattoo, maintaining tattoos that last and look great for years requires taking proper care of your skin this summer. Follow these tips to keep your existing tattoo looking great or to make sure that your new tattoo stays safe from the sand, surf, and sun!

How do I take care of my healed tattoos?

If you already have healed tattoos, we have great news! With proper care and a few precautions, you can enjoy all your favorite summer activities and keep your tattoos looking their best. Just remember these tips:

Wear Sunscreen: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with at least SPF 30 for anyone going out in the sun, but more so for anyone with tattoos. Your best choice is a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that does not contain parabens and phthalates. The higher the SPF, the better!

Cover Up: For all the benefits of sunscreen without the mess or the need to reapply, cover up with lightweight clothing made for sun protection. Unlike sunscreen, which is measured in SPF (sun protection factor), sun protective clothing is measured in UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). Average summer clothing that is not designed specifically for sun protection has an SPF/UPF of about 5. However, clothing designed specifically to protect you from harmful UV rays usually has a UPF of 50 or higher. Cleveland Clinic Dermatology Residency Program Director,  Alok Vij M.D. recommends layering up with “a mixture of both sunscreen and clothing to get the best possible protection.”

Opt for UV Free Tanning: Spray tanning is a great safe alternative to spending time in the sun without any damage to your tattoo for those who have fully healed tattoos. While spray tanning can temporarily make the colors in your tattoo look a little darker, there are a few options to help you avoid this. Before you spray tan, use a barrier cream on your tattoo. It will keep the spray away from the tattooed area so that it does not darken. After you spray tan, wipe the tanning solution off of your tattoo immediately to make sure it does not darken the tattooed area. Even if you don’t take either of these precautions and your tattoo colors darken slightly, it will return to normal as the tan fades (about a week). However, please note that spray tanning is NOT advised with a fresh tattoo and you will have to wait until your tattoo has healed.

Stay Hydrated: The sound health advice is especially true for those with tattoos. During the hot summer months when you lose additional body fluids due to sweating, it is more important than ever to remember to hydrate. Drinking plenty of clear fluids will help keep your skin, and your tattoos, looking their best.

Use Moisturizer: It is especially important to use a good moisturizer when you are exposing your skin to environments that may be drying or damaging like chlorinated pools, salt water, sun, and sand. Properly moisturize your skin after exposure to avoid the dryness that can cause a faded or cracked look. Using a natural product with both moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties can keep your tattoo vibrant, even after exposure to the elements.  Quantum Natural Tattoo Aftercare is an outstanding moisturizer that keeps your skin radiant and moist and makes even healed tattoos look great.

What if I want to get a new tattoo this summer?

While getting a tattoo is not verboten during the summer, some of your favorite summer activities may be until you heal. Always make sure to follow any aftercare instructions given to you by your tattoo artist to ensure proper healing. These additional tips will help ensure that your new tattoo heals well and looks great this summer and beyond:

Stay Out of the Water: A new tattoo is essentially an open wound. Not only will submerging your tattoo right away make it fade faster, but it can also compromise the healing process and may lead to infection. Both chlorinated pools and hot tubs and open water have their own hazards. On one hand, open water (like the ocean, rivers, or lakes) contains bacteria that can lead to infections and scarring. On the other hand, chlorinated pools, spas, and hot tubs have harsh chemicals that can lead to more pain, swelling, peeling, and bumps and bubbles on your tattoo. Neither is a safe option for new tattoos that are still healing.

Many tattoo artists will tell you that you can go swimming just 2-3 weeks after getting a tattoo. However, dermatologists like  Dr. Sherber, a professor at George Washington University, disagree. She says, “The general recommendation is to wait at least four weeks (or until your tattoo is fully healed) before submerging it in water. If you have a compromised immune system, due to medications or illnesses, you may need to wait longer, since your risk of infection is even greater.”

Use an Aftercare Product & Stay Hydrated: We mentioned using Quantum Natural Tattoo Aftercare anytime to keep your tattoo looking great. This product is specially formulated to be safe to use on freshly tattooed skin. It will help ensure that your skin stays moisturized throughout the healing process and beyond.

When getting a new tattoo, it is also essential to make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and promote healing.

Avoid Sun Exposure: New tattoos are extra sensitive to sunburn and harmful UV rays. However, applying sunscreen is not an option until your tattoo has healed making your only option to avoid sun exposure. Protect your new tattoo from the sun by staying in the shade or bringing an umbrella. Even better, cover up using clothing with built-in UPF, to add an additional layer of protection. Plus, keeping your tattoo covered with protective clothing this summer can also help keep out sand and other particles that may irritate your tattoo and lead to infection.

Do Your Research: When you are on vacation, it can be tempting to commemorate the occasion with a new tattoo. However, it is vital to do your research before you go, especially if you will be traveling to a destination that is unfamiliar to you. Make sure you research the studio, the artist, and the availability of medical attention in case something goes wrong. Wherever you go, make sure that the tattoo artist that you choose is using  high-quality ink for tattoos, machinery, needles, and other supplies. If your destination is in Europe, make sure that the artist is using  EU REACH Approved tattoo ink. 

Key Takeaways

You don’t have to forego your favorite summer activities just because you have a tattoo. However, you have to avoid activities that take place in water and take extra precautions this summer if you have a brand new tattoo that is still healing. If you plan to get a new tattoo this summer, it is crucial to think ahead and keep in mind the activities that you have planned like drinking, hiking, swimming, surfing, diving, boating, etc., to make sure that they are not contraindicated with a brand new tattoo.

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