photo of a woman applying the best sunscreen for protecting her tattoos

Best Sunscreen for Tattoos 2023

As of 2019, 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo — 92% of which are happy with their decision to get inked, according to a large Ipsos poll. Are you one of these proud ink-wearers?

Whether you have recently gotten a tattoo, plan on getting a tattoo, or have had tattoos for years, it’s important to protect them properly. The sun is one of the greatest threats to the quality of your body’s artwork, as UV rays break down the pigment particles in your tattoo. If you regularly expose your skin to direct sunlight, sunscreen should become your first line of defense.

Can You Put Sunscreen on a New Tattoo?

If you’ve gotten a tattoo, you know that it’s not exactly a walk in the park. It can be a painful process, and that’s because a fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound. You need to take the proper aftercare steps to reduce your risk of infection. The goal is to promote optimal healing so that you remain healthy and your tattoo continues to look great for years to come.

Yes, sunscreen is a must for anyone with tattoos. However, it is not recommended that you put sunscreen on a new tattoo. As recommended by those in the industry, your tattoo should never be exposed to direct sunlight during the healing process. Once your tattoo has healed, your tattoo should never see the sun without sunscreen — but not all sunscreens are created equal.

Chemical sunscreens can irritate your skin and prolong the healing process. If you need to go outside, cover your tattoo with loose clothing. Your skin needs oxygen to heal and regenerate. The healing stage is critical if you want your tattoo to last.

When Can You Put Sunscreen On a Tattoo?

Once your tattoo has fully healed, it is okay to apply sunscreen. This healing process can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks, depending on the location of your tattoo, your skin type, and several other variables.

Sunscreen should be applied every time you go into the sun. Follow the instructions as directed on the product, reapplying after you swim, sweat, etc. If you are active, be sure to seek a sunscreen that is water-resistant, such as a quality sport mineral sunscreen.

Does Sunscreen Protect Tattoos?

Yes! Sunscreen helps protect your skin against harmful UV rays. It also helps prevent the fading of tattoos.

Not only does prolonged sun exposure break down ink pigments, but it can also cause your skin to become more wrinkled. As your skin stretches, your tattoo will become less prominent. In most cases, lines blur and color becomes less vibrant. That is why if you experience a sunburn, you should seek a natural lotion that hydrates and revitalizes your skin — helping the tattoos that call your skin home.

What is the Best Sunscreen for Tattoos?

Choose a “broad spectrum” sunscreen. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. You should also choose sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

  • UVA rays penetrate more deeply than UVB rays. This can lead to long-lasting damage, contributing to premature aging of the skin. These rays also fade many tattoo inks — especially white and pastel inks. However, all inks will fade over time if not protected, even black and gray ink.
  • UVB rays tend to damage the top layers of your skin, contributing to sunburned skin. Again, this can significantly damage your tattoos. New tattoos that are not fully healed are especially vulnerable to damage. Chronic exposure will negatively affect any tattoo, regardless of how old it is.

To protect your tattoos and skin, it’s recommended that you invest in sunscreen that contains non-toxic and effective ingredients. Mineral sunscreens are highly effective at protecting tattoos. They are thought of as being better for your skin and the environment! The FDA recognizes both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as non-toxic ingredients.

For example, zinc oxide-based sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, and is the least likely to irritate your skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive after your tattoo has healed, a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen formulated for kids is a great choice!

The key to tattoo sunscreen is to invest in a quality product that is made with ingredients you can trust — and pronounce. You know, good stuff, like green tea, shea butter, and coconut oil. If it is reef-friendly, that is icing on the cake.

Ingredients to Avoid for Tattoo Sunscreen

In recent years, many coastal regions have banned harmful ingredients commonly found in chemical sunscreens. These ingredients can be highly toxic to the environment, especially coral reefs and surrounding aquatic life.

Health experts and environmentalists urge you to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone (currently banned in Hawaii)
  • Octinoxate (currently banned in Hawaii, Florida, Key West, and Palau)
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (currently banned in Australia and Canada)

When studied in humans, it was found that some harmful sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, can be absorbed into your bloodstream beyond the threshold approved by the FDA.

A Mineral Sunscreen You Can Stand Behind

The best sunscreen for tattoos is one that protects your skin and the environment. All Good is proud to offer a line of mineral sunscreen products that are perfect for the entire family.

In addition to non-greasy sunscreen lotion and spray, All Good offers SPF 50+ mineral sunscreen butter sticks. Toss one in your beach, gym, or diaper bag! It will be there when you need it, allowing you to give your tattoos (and skin) a little TLC, whenever and wherever.

Ready to snag a clean sunscreen for yourself? Shop our full collection of broad-spectrum mineral sunscreens!

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