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Sun and tattoos – The Tattooed Way

Sun and tattoos

One of the biggest missteps that you can do with a tattoo, whether it is fresh or not, is exposing it to the sun too much.

As long as your tattoo is still healing, also underneath the topskin, you will have to stay out of the sun for 100%. After that it is your own full responsibility what you do with your tattoo.

Let me start at the beginning, a skin without tattoos. A radiation that is caused by the sun is called a UV radiation. Depending on the intensity of these radiations, there will be more or less amounts of harmful radiation in the amount of sunlight. UV light is even in small amounts bad for anyone. If you do not put on enough protection, you will burn and eventually possibly develop skin cancer. With a high intensity of sun rays, even a t-shirt will not be enough to protect you from the sun rays. So protecting yourself is certainly recommended during the summer months.

And then we haven’t started talking about it in case you have tattoos.

UV rays from the sun are actually a delayed, but by no means inferior version of the laser treatment for tattoos. Ultimately, it means that with every exposure to the sun, particles from your tattoo are broken down into smaller units. The smaller these pieces become, the faster and easier they can be drained through the body’s immune system, thus reducing the ink under the skin. In human language, your tattoo fades, becomes lighter and the lines will no longer be trapped under that specific part of the skin, but will gradually widen up. No nice clean lines and bright colors anymore.

In contrast to 25 years ago, the ink has improved a lot. Nowadays it is possible to keep a tattoo tidy for many years, keeping in mind that you take care of it.

If the sun is already so bad for a cured tattoo, then you can imagine what happens with a freshly set tattoo. If the tattoo is not healed yet, the skin will still be open like a wound. Logically, it becomes even easier for the UV rays to reach the ink particles and to ensure that they break down. So by the end of your healing you will most likely have an ugly, bleached, swollen tattoo with the possible development of scar tissue. If you go back to your tattoo artist for a rework, your tattoo artist will usually reject this. A decent tattoo artist knows how his tattoo heal and will also immediately see that something has not happened entirely according to the instructions.

In addition to sun, tanning beds and medical scans also have the same side effects, if it is not even stronger.

As a tattoo artist I see, especially during the summer months, many things that I could almost cry for. Every day I put my heart in every tattoo and if my tattoo returns healed like crap, it could make me cry. Especially because my regular customers treat their tattoos as babies and no line ever changes after the healing process.

For example, I had a girl who sent me a message the evening after getting her tattoo that she forgot that she had a bone scan the day after. Although I said that this was really the worst idea to do, of course she did anyway. A month and a half later she came back into the tattoo shop and when I say that 20% of her initial tattoo was left, it will be an optimistic gamble. To say the least, not all responsibility lies with the tattoo artist, if you do not want to take of it yourself, unfortunately the tattoo artist can not fix it either.

For a freshly done tattoo, therefore, as long as it is not fully healed, you must avoid all forms of sun and other radiations. Putting sunscreen on your new tattoo is not an option, so be sure to have your tattoo done outside of the summer months or take responsibility to wrap it completely, more than a shirt alone. After the healing you will have to decide for yourself if you prefer tanning or seeing your tattoo stay pretty in the next couple of years. Putting on sunscreen factor 50 would be the best way to do.

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