Tattoo Preservation

Protecting Your Investment

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 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?

The Golden Rule of Tattoos

Whether you have one piece or one hundred, keeping your tattoos crisp and fresh is about keeping your skin healthy. The sun is an enemy to all tattoos regardless if you got it done a day ago, a month ago, or several years ago. And it’s important to keep in mind that tattoos always lose when going up against the sun.

For this reason, your tattoo should stay out of the sun completely for the first 4 weeks, after which point sunscreen should regularly be applied over your ink to keep your skin at its healthiest.

Before you get ready to go outside, whether it's a day in the sand or a long hike at altitude, below are the main things to know.

UVA Rays

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

UVB rays are the rays responsible for sunburn. Sunburn is bad enough on untattooed skin, but it can distort and prevent new tattoos from healing properly. A sunburn can fade a tattoo in much the same way as UVA rays do, but it can happen at a faster rate.

New tattoos are essentially open wounds. As such, they are highly susceptible to outside elements like bacteria, friction, and sun exposure. With the exception of getting an infection, too much sunlight is the worst thing that can happen to a new tattoo. At best, a sunburn on a new tattoo will extend the amount of time needed for the tattoo to fully heal. In extreme conditions, it can distort the lines and coloring of the tattoo.

Ink loss and distortion is most likely to occur as a result of a blistering sunburn. In these cases, the dermis may be harmed, causing ink to leak out or break down. When the tattoo finally heals, the colors may be duller, the edges blurry and the lines undefined.

Sun Protection Factor

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.

The bottom line: the best way to prevent burns, fading, wrinkles, and other damage to your tattoo is to protect yourself from the sun in the first place. Using sunscreen will help keep your body ink looking its best, while also preventing sun damage and skin infections that can fade or damage your tattoo. Tattoo care sunscreen should be used on new and old tattoos during time at the beach, outdoors sports, or any time your tattoo is exposed to the sun.

The sun has been proven to have the strongest impact on the fading of a tattoo, ink color change, and aging skin, and needs to be taken into consideration as soon as you get a new tattoo.


We are a sun care first skin care brand that’s majority owned by minority women.  For years we have dealt with the frustrations of the lack of skin care products that fit our needs so we decided to do it ourselves. We are committed to creating inclusive products for all skin tones, types, and pigments.  We are crafted for every kind.


Our approach is to combine well-researched ingredients with the latest skincare science to provide deep nourishment to your face and body. With over 20+ years in the dermatology pharmaceutical space, we've learned a thing or two about proven ingredients, whether it's a powerhouse ingredient like Vitamin C or a lesser known clinically studied ingredient like Kinetin. Rest assured we've done the research - so you don't have to.

Sonrei products are designed with the routine in mind. Our quick absorbing, high performance products are created to nurture your skin at home or on-the-go.


Here at Sonrei we recognize the responsibility we have to care for mother earth and her resources. We actively make decisions in line with our beliefs. Sonrei is a proud partner of 1% For The Planet.  Businesses that join 1% For The Planet commit to giving 1% of gross sales each year to carefully-vetted environmental nonprofit partners.

What's more, where possible, our products come in refillable packaging. We have even partnered with EcoCart so you can do your part too.

We believe that when you look better, you feel better. We're in the business of creating smiles. That’s why we named our brand Sonrei from the Spanish verb for smile, "sonreir,"