The urge to go sleeveless and wear shorts is overwhelming when summer arrives. The weather is calling for sunbathing sessions and dips in the pool. However, it’s important to remember that summer leaves your skin vulnerable to damage. It’s time to pay special attention to your tattoos. Considering tattoos are there for a lifetime you should be keen to protect them.

Wear Sunscreen or Sunblock?

Contrary to popular opinion, sunscreen and sunblock are not the same. Sunscreen, also known as chemical sunscreen, filters out UV rays. The lotion manages to keep out most rays while letting some in. Sunblock on the other hand reflects rays and blocks them from penetrating the skin. It offers a physical sunscreen. Nonetheless, both sunscreen and sunblock offer good sun protection, something you need on your tattooed skin. Dermatologists recommend using either product to prevent skin damage. They are great for preserving tattoos and maintaining their original aesthetics.

When to Use Sunscreen?

Most people believe minimal exposure to the sun has little effect on the skin. It’s not entirely false but the damage is damage, whether big or small. Minimal exposure still breaks down skin and damages tattoos. Therefore it’s important to slather some sunscreen on every time you are going out into the sun.

What Sunscreen to Use?

When it comes to tattoos any sunblock is better than no sunblock. Nonetheless, it’s important to know what you are applying to your skin. Sunblocks have zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the active ingredient. The consistency achieved upon application is thick and opaque. This can make it hard to spread all over the body. Moreover, sunblocks are apparent and aesthetically unappealing to some people. However, less visible options are available. Sunscreens have several active compounds like oxybenzone and avobenzone. These chemicals absorb harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to some of the ingredients used in sunscreens and opt to use sunblock instead. Blended combinations of sunscreens and sunblocks are also common. Whatever you choose for your tattoo simply ensure it offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

How Often to Apply Sunscreen On Your Tattoos

You should apply sunscreen on your tattoos every time you are out in the sun. However, this is not enough. The SPF, sunscreen protection factor, is only fully effective for two hours after application. This means you should reapply sunscreen on your skin every two hours if you are out in the sun. Once is good but not enough.

What to Do About a New Tattoo

Sunscreens and sunblocks are good for healed tattoos but a new tattoo should not be out in the sun in the first place. It’s important to keep new tattoos covered from the sun. Wait until your tattoo has peeled and scabbed before concluding it’s fully healed. This usually takes 3-4 weeks. As for the application of sunscreen and sunblocks on new tattoos, you shouldn’t do it. In the same way, you can’t put sunscreen on a fresh cut neither should you apply it in an unhealed tattoo.

Swimming With a New Tattoo.

Summer and swimming go together. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about swimming and new tattoos. Saltwater and chlorine are not good for a healing tattoo. It’s important to get clearing from your tattoo artist before diving in. Don’t take the risk no matter how tempting the pool looks. Wait until your tattoo heals before exposing it.

Tattoo or not, strong UV rays from the sun cause damage to the skin. Exposure to sunlight causes premature aging of the skin, photoaging. Furthermore, wrinkles and irregular pigmentation develop on the skin and this is especially apparent in fair-skinned people. UV rays from the sun can also cause actinic keratoses and skin cancers. Protect your skin and protect your tattoo.