THE SUN AND YOUR TATTOO | BY DREW ARNO, COSMETIC AND BODY TATTOO ARTIST
The sun, our most beloved star: giver of life, light, and warmth for every living thing on our planet. Also, the sworn enemy of every tattoo on earth.
Hello, my name is Drew Arno. I perform Body and Cosmetic Tattooing at Natural Body Works. I am here today to teach you all a few simple tips to keep your tattoos looking great throughout the sunny season.
If any of you have ever put one of those little green pine tree air fresheners on the rear view mirror of your car, then you have seen firsthand the same damage the sun can do to your tattoo. After a short time whichever side of the tree that has the unfortunate luck of full sunlight begins to have its luscious green color slowly bleached away to a pale yellow by the sun. The same will happen to your tattoo. Through repeated tanning and sun exposure the sun will literally bleach those colors right out of you.
Whenever you look at a person’s tattoo you are in fact looking straight through the first 4 transparent layers of skin at the ink that has been carefully deposited between the epidermis and the dermis. Over time tattoos fade in part because the pigment is broken up into smaller pieces and the immune system takes these pigments away through the lymph nodes. Sun exposure, UV rays, soaps, lotions, scrubs, and your body’s natural ability to flush out anything foreign will help to fade your tattoo.
Remember you have spent a lot of money and physical pain to have these tattoos. If they fade, you will have to have them re-done, which means you have to go through all the spending of money and pain all over again. These simple tips will help to keep your wallet and body happy.
Abstinence. Much like sexually transmitted diseases, abstinence will be the only 100% effective method of keeping you safe. Covering your tattoos with clothing will certainly prolong the beauty and life of your tattoo. Cutting the feet off different colored long socks and pulling the sleeves over forearm tattoos is a clever and stylish way to protect tattoos on the arms or legs. Find colors that match your swimsuits. It can be very fashionable a great creative contribution to any summer ensemble. Since they will never see sunlight, your colors will remain vibrant, your black will remain velvety, and against your pearly alabaster skin, your tattoos will be a sight to behold.
Sun block. I’m sure many of you have heard that sun screen will help tattoos. This is not necessarily true. SPF 15 to 30 will do next to nothing in the protection of your tattoo. If you choose to use sunscreen, you really have to spring for the good stuff. You need that thermonuclear sun block. The kind of suntan lotion that would allow you to take a refreshing dip in an active volcano. SPF 75 to 100. This kind of sun block will actually aid in the life of your tattoo. Which brings me to Zinc. The White or Neon Pink Zinc sun block is the best. A very cool thing happens when you use zinc. Since it is opaque it completely shields from the sun. So if you can carefully cover your tattoo only and not the skin around it. The rest of your body will become that alluring bronze, but the skin concerning your tattoo remains stark white and your tattoos literally gleam against your tanned skin. The effect this provides is really amazing to see.
Tips and Myths
Tanning beds and tanning salons. Indoor tanners are just as damaging as the sun, if not more so. The Ultraviolet rays are so much more concentrated and people tend to over expose themselves in tanning beds, not realizing their own limits. Burning the skin damages a tattoo even more than slowly tanning. The more you tan, the more your tattoo will fade. If you absolutely have to do it, protect your ink. Keep in mind that sun exposure doesn’t just happen at the beach or summer festival. Many of us over expose our skin and our tattoos more than we realize. Ever get home and find your left arm burned from resting it on your car window while driving? Or find yourself getting tan lines just from running errands or working outside? Keeping a bottle of good sunscreen handy or in your car is a good idea to avoid this sun-related oversight.
So in conclusion, you might not be able to stay out of the sun completely, but if you do choose to enter in its basking glow, protect yourself and your tattoo. Use to proper sun block, monitor your tanning bed usage, and take advantage of shade when you can. Your skin and your tattoos will thank you.
Drew does Artistic and Cosmetic Tattooing here at Natural Body Works so give us a call at 360-694-9726 with any questions!