Tattoos are an investment that can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. With all of the time and money spent on them – not to mention the pain of getting one – keeping your tattoo as sharp and clean as the day you left the artist’s chair is important.

You probably already know how to keep your new ink clean and hydrated, as tattoo artists will usually provide an aftercare checklist before you leave that details the healing process for your skin. But do you have a plan for protecting your tattoo from fading in the sun?

UVA Rays and Tattoos

UVA rays, often called aging rays, penetrate deep into the layers of your skin. While fresh tattoos shouldn't be exposed to these rays, their long-term effects are most noticeable on healed tattoos.

Tattoo ink is held in the dermis – the second and thickest layer of your skin. While this layer is generally safe from the sun's burning rays, it is easily penetrated by UVA rays. If exposure to UVA rays is continuous, the ink will begin to break down. White blood cells then carry the ink away as if it were an infection or other foreign particle. The leftover ink is usually spread out and splotchy, blurring the lines of the tattoo.

Enough unprotected exposure and your art can become an unsightly blob. Thankfully, it can take years for substantial fading to take place. On the downside, tattoo fading caused by UVA rays happens so slowly that you probably won’t notice it until it is too late.

A tattoo may also change colors as it fades. Depending on the type of ink used, your tattoo may turn green or blue. Color distortion is more common with black and gray tattoos as darker green and blue pigments are often used to darken the ink. As the concentration of ink lowers, these unwanted colors become more prominent.

UVB Rays and Tattoos

UVB rays, or the sunburn culprits, are also a tattoo's ultimate adversary. A sunburn can fade a tattoo similarly to UVA rays but at a faster rate. New tattoos, which are much like open wounds, are highly vulnerable to the elements, and excessive sun exposure is the worst of their enemies.

Understandably, the toll of a blistering sunburn is higher. It could cause the dermis to sustain damage, leading to ink loss or a breakdown and eventual fading and blurring upon healing.

The Game-Changer: Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measure of how strongly a sunscreen blocks the sun’s UV rays from penetrating your skin. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for covering your tattoos and the rest of your body. If your skin is more sensitive to the sun, choose an SPF of 50 or more to make sure you keep burns at bay. When buying sunscreen, look for those labeled “broad spectrum.” This means a sunscreen contains ingredients that protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, the key to preventing burns, fading, wrinkles, and other tattoo damage is sun protection.  By integrating proper sunscreen use into your skincare routine, your body art will continue to shine brightly, mirroring your unique story and personality. When it comes to tattoo preservation, it's crucial to make smart choices that prioritize the longevity and vibrancy of your body art. That's why we believe Sonrei Sea Clearly SPF 50 is the perfect partner for your inked skin. This sunscreen is broad spectrum and caters to all skin types, adds necessary moisture, and stays resistant to water, making it an ideal choice for any outdoor adventure. So, give your tattoos the best care they deserve with Sonrei Sea Clearly SPF 50 because every mark on your skin represents a unique part of your journey and should remain vibrant and crisp for as long as possible! 


November 05, 2023 — Kaya Patel

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