Being a tattooed human is wonderful. You get to express yourself, and you look good doing it. Tattoos are generally safe, but there are some things you should be aware of during the summer. Your tattoos are at risk from exposure to sunlight, bugs, and water—not to mention all the other hazards of summertime fun.
Effects of the Sun
Tattoos are meant to last forever, but the sun does a good job of making them fade away. All that time spent soaking up rays can cause your ink to lose its vibrancy and fade over time.
UV rays break down the molecules that make up the tattoo ink. As smaller little pieces, the ink is now able to be absorbed by the body as waste. This is something it wasn’t able to do with the intact ink molecules.
The sun also has other effects on tattoos. Sunburns can cause blisters, which may lead to splotchy areas in your tattoo—not exactly what you’re going for when you’re wearing that sleeveless shirt or swimming suit!
Luckily there are ways around these problems. Use the right sunscreen, apply it regularly and reapply every few hours. Oh, and remember to always wear waterproof sunscreen!
Bug Bites and Tattoos
If you have a tattoo, especially a fresh one, then it’s a good idea to be aware of the potential for bug bites.
Bug bites can cause scarring in tattoos if they’re scratched and a wound is opened. A new tattoo should be kept clean at all times during the healing process so that there’s no chance of infection from a bug bite or anything else.
If you find yourself with a bug bite on your new tattoo, then do not scratch! This will only serve to make things worse and increase your chances of getting an infection.
Instead, use an approved aftercare ointment such as H2Ocean or Aquaphor to soothe any inflammation. Make sure to keep yourself protected from future bug bites as well. Using bug repellent is a good idea, just be sure to keep any sprays or ointments that aren’t approved for tattoos away from the tattoo site.
You should do this until your body heals itself naturally on its own accord. Healing usually takes about two weeks but could take longer. This time depends upon factors such as how big/small your tattoo is and how much of the skin is saturated.
If possible, avoid going outdoors during peak hours when insects tend to swarm. You may also want to stay away from areas where people or food congregate together. If a bite or tattoo looks to be getting worse instead of better, consult with your tattoo artist or a physician.
Fresh Tattoos During Summer
Fresh tattoos are open wounds. Special care must be taken to keep a new tattoo healthy during the harsh elements of summer.
Avoid wearing tight clothing that could rub against your tattoo for several days after getting inked. Tight clothing will prolong healing time and increase the chances of infection. Loose-fitting clothing can help the tattoo stay out of the sun and minimize fading from UV exposure.
Avoid swimming or exposing your tattooed area to dirty environments for a few weeks until the tattoo has healed. This means no bath tubs, hot tubs, swimming pools, lakes, etc…
If your job requires you to work in a hot or dirty environment, then be sure to frequently clean your new tattoo to avoid infection.
Healed Tattoos In The Sunshine
Your skin may be closed up once the tattoo’s healed (unless you accidentally cut yourself while shaving), but there are still dangers. Even so, they are still vulnerable to the elements and require proper care.
- Keep your tattoo moisturized throughout the summer months with a good aftercare cream or lotion. Don’t settle for just any old body lotion, there are plenty of tattoo-specific products out there.
- Sunscreen is also key! Protecting yourself from harmful UV rays will keep that ink bright for years to come.
- Avoid scratching any bug bites as open wounds can cause scarring, even on a healed tattoo.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to your tattoo artist for a touch-up if you’ve had a few summers in the sun with your ink.