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Article: Sunscreen For Tattoos: How To Keep Your Tattoo Looking Its Best

Powder sunscreen for tattoos

Sunscreen For Tattoos: How To Keep Your Tattoo Looking Its Best

A tattoo is art that goes on your body and like any piece of art, it must be protected from certain elements. Unfortunately, one of the biggest culprits of ruining tattoo ink is the sun. The sun emits UV rays which can damage your tattoo.

A new tattoo is an open wound, and exposing it to UV rays can lead to swelling, blisters, redness, itchiness, and peeling of the skin. On the other hand, tattoos can also fade when exposed to the sunlight. This is why you need to protect them with the help of sunscreen. 

However, instead of going for a cheaper option from your nearby drugstore, invest in a good sunscreen product to protect yourself from skin cancer and multiple skin problems.

So, what are the best sunscreens for tattoos? This article will discuss the best types of sunscreen you should use for your tattoos and how you can protect them from the sun.

How Do I Protect My Tattoo From The Sun?

How you protect your tattoo from the sun depends on its healing stage. If it’s very fresh, you should cover it with bandages and wear loose clothing to protect it from direct sunlight until it has fully healed. 

However, it would be best never to expose a fresh tattoo to direct sunlight because sunburn slows the healing process. Moreover, second-degree and third-degree sunburn can cause severe blisters leading to permanent scarring on the tattooed skin.

If you have a fully healed tattoo, it is okay to expose it to sunlight. However, it is always a good idea to protect your tattoos with sunscreen to prevent ink loss.

Why Is It Important To Protect Your Tattoo From The Sun?

Exposing your tattoo to the harmful rays of the sun can have several adverse effects on your tattoo. The sun emits UVA and UVB rays. 

UVA rays infiltrate the skin and can cause a long-lasting effect on the tattoo. Constant sun exposure to these rays causes the skin to age faster, leading to saggy skin, wrinkles, and fading tattoos.

On the other hand, UVB rays do not penetrate as deep as the UVA rays because the ozone layer absorbs them. However, as the ozone layer is depleting fast, you are more vulnerable to UVB rays. Both UVA and UVB rays directly damage the skin barrier and destroy cell DNA, leading to different types of skin cancer.

Since after getting a tattoo, your skin barrier is temporarily damaged, your skin is at high risk of getting affected by UV rays.

What Happens If You Get A Sunburn On Your Tattoo?

Depending on the type of ink used for your tattoo, prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage your tattoo permanently. In addition, sunburnt tattoos can cause several complications if they are not taken care of.

All types of tattoo ink fade from sun exposure. However, some inks fade more quickly than others. For example, light-colored inks tend to fade faster than dark-colored inks. White pastel ink is regarded to fade the fastest, but black and gray ink can also fade over time if not adequately protected. Furthermore, sunburn on old tattoos causes them to change, scarring your skin permanently. This is why tattoo aftercare is essential.

Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?

The answer is a resounding NO! New tattoos should not be exposed to sunlight until they are fully healed, and tattoo experts say that putting some sunscreens on new tattoos can do more harm than good. Since the top layer of your skin is wounded by tattooing, chemicals in some sunscreens can enter the lower layers of the skin and cause reactions.

Moreover, freshly tattooed skin needs oxygen and air to heal, which can be prevented due by a chemical sunscreen barrier. So the intelligent decision is to keep sunscreen and sun rays away from your new tattoo.

When Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo

Experts advise waiting 4 to 6 weeks before applying any sunscreen on your tattoo. This time is given for the tattoo to heal fully, so that the epidermis recovers to protect the much more sensitive dermis layer of the skin. Once the tattoo is fully healed, you should apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun.

What Is The Ideal SPF Rating For Tattoos?

Now that we know the effects of the sun on your tattoo, the million-dollar question is, “what type of sunscreen do you need?” There are seemingly endless choices, but the most major one is the SPF.

Depending on your skin’s type, you should opt for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or SPF 50. However, if you have sensitive skin, the best option is to use a sunscreen that doesn’t irritate your skin. SPF 30 and SPF 50 are nearly identical in sun protection: SPF 30 will protect your skin from 96.7% of UVB rays and SPF 50 sunscreen provides 98% protection from the sun. As long as you are wearing SPF 30 you’ll be safe in the sun. 

Ensure that you get sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF to keep both UVA and UVB rays away from your tattoo. Brush On Block offers several mineral sunscreen products to protect your skin and tattoo.

What is the Best SPF Sunscreen For Tattoos?

You should always apply sunscreen on your tattoos after they are past the healing stage to protect them from sunburn and fading. 

So, after your tattoo is past healing time, you must put sunscreen on it. The best option is to buy SPF 30 to 50 for your tattooed skin. Because no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays, buying an SPF product higher than 50 is usually not a good value.

What Kind of Sunscreen Is Best For Tattoos?

Although all sunscreens serve the same purpose, certain types of sunscreens are better than others. You can choose from mineral and chemical sunscreens. However, the best sunscreen to protect your skin and your tattoo is mineral sunscreens. These do not penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream as they only sit on top of your skin to offer sun protection so people with tattoos should opt for sunscreens with natural ingredients and minerals such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. 

In addition, toxins released from chemical sunscreens can damage your skin if used for extended periods. According to a recent study, certain sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, can be absorbed into the bloodstream beyond the FDA-approved threshold.

So it would be best if you bought a paraben, PABA, phthalates, and oxybenzone-free product. We have taken all this into account when developing our sunscreen formulas. If you are interested you can venture over to our mineral sunscreens.

So, What’s The Verdict On Tattoo Sun Protection?

Sunscreen is good! Yes, there are certain instances where you shouldn’t use sunscreen on your tattoo, but overall, if you want to protect your tattoo and keep it from getting damaged by sun exposure, you need to use sunscreen.

If you are looking for sunscreen to protect your tattoo and skin, check out Brush On Block mineral sunscreen products. We have a range of sunscreen powders and lotions for you to choose from. 

Our products are made of minerals that do not penetrate the skin and are safe and healthy for you and the environment. They are also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, and contain antioxidants. Additionally, the sun protection factor allows you to stay safe from UVA and UVB rays, keeping your tattoo looking brand new after a long day in the sun.

Visit our website to check out our entire collection of natural sunscreens, sunscreen sticks, sunscreen sprays, moisturizers, sunscreen lip oils, and other skincare products to choose the one which suits your skin the best. In addition, our products are cruelty-free, reef safe, and vegan, providing you with great tattoo care that is also safe for animals.

FAQs About Tattoo Sun Protection


  • Will sunscreen ruin a tattoo?

        • Sunscreen only damages freshly tattooed skin because the act of tattooing penetrates the epidermis and exposes the skin’s sensitive dermis layer.. However, it is okay to use sunscreen after 4 to 6 weeks of getting a tattoo. It is crucial to use sunscreen after this period to protect and moisturize your skin.


  • Does sunscreen protect a brand new tattoo?

        • You should never expose a newly tattooed skin to sun rays. After getting a tattoo, the skin barrier is broken, leaving the cells vulnerable to UV exposure. Moreover, you should not apply sunscreen on a brand new tattoo as it can damage and infect the tattooed area.


  • Is mineral sunscreen bad for tattoos?

        • Mineral sunscreen is better than chemical sunscreen. This is because it doesn’t penetrate the skin, and the active ingredients in mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are the ONLY sunscreen active ingredients that the FDA has declared to be Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective (GRASE).


  • What happens if you put sunscreen on a new tattoo?

        • A new tattoo is like an open wound, and applying sunscreen to it can cause the chemicals to enter the skin and cause irritation, itchiness, and infection. Please wait for the healing process to complete before applying sunscreen on a fresh tattoo.


  • How often should I apply sunscreen to my tattoo?

        • You should apply sunscreen every two hours. Reapply sunscreen more frequently if you are swimming or heavily sweating. The reasonable time limit is 80 minutes after swimming or sweating profusely.


  • How long should I wait before putting sunscreen on my tattoo?

        • The skin’s epidermis should be fully healed 4 to 6 weeks after receiving a tattoo.


  • Does sunscreen damage tattoos?

      • No. In fact, sunscreen protects it from sun damage. Just be sure not to apply sunscreen on a new tattoo.
    Powder sunscreen for tattoos