Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?

Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?
by Truly Beauty

Can you put sunscreen on a new tattoo? When you first get inked, your tattoo will look fresh and vibrant—and of course, you’ll want it to stay that way. Direct sunlight can actually cause your tattoo to fade. In fact, fresh tattoos are especially susceptible to sun damage in the first few months. For that reason, sun protection is vital. But how soon can you put sunscreen on a new tattoo?

Ahead, we answer all your questions about sunscreen for tattoos and the best ways to protect your tattoo from UV exposure.



Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?

According to the experts, you should not put sunscreen on a new tattoo. Since your skin is going through a healing process, the chemicals in some sunscreens can enter the skin and cause reactions while interfering with that process of healing. What’s more, freshly tattooed skin needs air to heal. With a chemical sunscreen barrier in the way, that’s not going to happen.

After getting a tattoo, your skin will go through several stages of healing. Initially, there may be redness, swelling, and oozing of fluids, followed by the formation of scabs and peeling. It’s crucial to let the skin heal naturally during this time, leave it free of heavy creams, lotions, and sunscreen, and avoid picking at scabs, which can damage the tattoo and lead to scarring.

New tattoos should not be exposed to sunlight until they are completely healed. The sun rays can affect the healing and even damage your new tattoo.



When to Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?

It’s best to wait at least 4-6 weeks before applying SPF on your new tattoo. Essentially, you want a fully healed tattoo before using sunscreen. Give your freshly inked skin time to heal. Once it is fully healed, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day before going out in the sun—ideally with SPF 30 or SPF 50.

Besides protecting skin against sunburn and premature signs of aging, it’ll help to stop your tattoo from fading. You should always use sunscreen in your daily skincare routine to protect your skin against skin cancer.





How Long to Keep Tattoo Out of Sun

New tattoos are more vulnerable to damage and fading. That’s because a fresh tattoo is an open wound with no protection until the scabbing process is complete. Exposed to the sun, it can burn much faster, causing your tattoo to fade, blister, or peel. Keep your new tattoo out of the sun until your skin is fully healed. According to tattoo artists and dermatologists, you’ll want to wait at least 4 weeks before exposing your new tattoo to UVA and UVB rays.

While all new tattoos should be kept out of the sun, it’s even more important for those with colorful designs. That’s because lighter colors fade quicker than black and other dark shades. So sun protection is even more essential if you have a lighter tattoo.



Does the Sun Fade Tattoos?

UV rays from the sun will fade tattoos if they’re regularly exposed to direct sunlight. According to dermatologists, UV rays essentially break up the pigment in your tattoo ink. In other words, the more sun exposure, the more the colors will fade in your tattoo.

Black ink tends to hold up better than light colors. Tattoos in areas that get a lot of sun, like the arms or shoulders, are more likely to fade with sun exposure. To prevent tattoo fading, it’s important to protect tattoos from the sun by wearing sunscreen, covering them with clothing, or staying in the shade when outdoors. These steps can help keep tattoos looking bright and colorful for longer.



How to Protect New Tattoo From Sun Exposure

Here are some of the best ways to protect your newly tattooed area from sun exposure.


Always Use Sunscreen

Sunblock is the best way to protect your new tattoo from sun exposure and fading. Can you put sunscreen on a new tattoo? Always wait until your tattoo is fully healed before applying sunscreen. Once it’s healed, you should always apply a broad-spectrum, fragrance-free sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher directly on your tattoo to stop it from fading.

Always choose a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA rays and UVB rays, which damage the cell’s DNA. It’s safe to put SPF on a healed tattoo, but fresh ink will need to heal first. While it’s healing, make sure you cover it with a bandage or loose clothing, and also give it chance to breathe by exposing it to oxygen and air.


Cover Up in Loose Clothing

With new tattoos, it’s always best to avoid direct sun exposure—especially for the first few weeks whilst it’s going through the healing process. Since sunscreen can irritate fresh tattoos, cover up your new ink with loose clothing to shield it from sunlight. Besides fading your ink, exposing your new tattoo to sunlight can also burn your skin and cause scarring.


Keep Skin Hydrated

Moisturizing is fundamental for protecting your skin from external damage and maintaining the skin’s natural moisture barrier. While it’s best to avoid applying creams and lotions onto new tattoos, once your tattoo has healed, you should be applying a lightweight lotion to the area to keep skin healthy.



Keep Your Tattoo Bright With These Body Moisturizers

Moisturizing is a tattoo aftercare essential. That being said, both new and old tattoos can benefit from hydration. Here are some of our favorite body moisturizers for nourishing your skin and keeping your tattoo vibrant.


Truly’s Unicorn Fruit Whipped Body Butter

Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo? | unicorn fruit butter


Whipped, swirly, and cotton candy-scented, this iconic body butter drenches skin in hydration for a plump, dewy glow all over. Made with soothing matcha and rosewater, it alleviates redness and irritation while softening and smoothing with its base of shea butter and coconut oil.


Truly’s Glazed Donut After Shave Glow Cream

Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo? | glazed donut glow cream


Nourish your skin with this hyaluronic acid and niacinamide-infused cream. It’s luxe, lightweight, and delicately scented with sweet vanilla glaze for all over smoothness with a scrumptious scent that lasts for hours.


Truly’s Coco Cloud After Shave Moisturizer

can you put sunscreen on a new tattoo | coco cloud moisturizer


Perfect for sensitive skin, this coconut-y moisturizer eases redness, restores the skin barrier, and intensely hydrates with a nourishing blend of coconut milk, mango butter, and vitamin E. Skin feels instantly soothed from the very first use.



What’s the Best Sunscreen for Tattoos?

Once the tattoo healing process is over, opt for a mineral sunscreen as they’re generally gentler than chemical formulas and won’t irritate your skin. Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, typically contain active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients work by forming a physical barrier on the skin that reflects and scatters UV rays away from the skin’s surface.

In contrast, chemical sunscreens contain synthetic compounds that absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat, which is then released from the skin. While both types of sunscreens can effectively protect your skin from the sun, mineral sunscreens are often preferred for tattoo care because they tend to be gentler and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, especially on sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and are less likely to penetrate deeply, making them less irritating for newly healed tattoos.

For precise application, try a sunscreen stick and be sure to touch-up throughout the day to keep your tattoo protected. When using any type of sunscreen, always re-apply every two hours to keep your skin protected. 


Can you put sunscreen on a new tattoo? Not a tattoo that's still in the healing process, but you should always apply sunscreen to your tattoo once it's healed to protect it from fading.



Feature photo by Karolina Grabowska, Pexels



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