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Protecting a Tattoo When Tanning

Category Tanning
Sunscreen and moisturizer are important to apply to any tattooed area that may be exposed while you are tanning. This is a guide about protecting a tattoo when tanning.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 23, 2011

I recently got my first tattoo about two weeks ago. I really want to get back in the tanning bed; is it too soon? If not what do I put on the tattoo?

By Jamie from Winchester, KY

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would just use a high SPF sunscreen and coat it very well. It will definitely fade if you don't take care of it. Recoloring hurts as much and costs as much as the original. I have a large tattoo on my shoulder and I always slather the sunscreen on it all summer long. It is usually pale around it but I want to keep it beautiful and vibrant for as long as possible.

Good luck

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March 21, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I work at a tanning salon and we sell tattoo sticks--most tanning salons probably have something similar. They almost look like a tiny deodorant stick and are spf 50 made by Australian Gold. I also will use a chapstick with at least SPF 30 on mine, or cover it with a towel. My tattoo is small so the chapstick is perfect for me. Many of the JWOWW lotions also have what's called "ink drink" in them, so they're meant for people with tattoos and smell pretty good too--perfect if you have multiple tattoos or large tattoos.

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April 12, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use zinc oxide on my tattoos. It's thick and white, like you would use on your nose. My tattoos are over 10 years old and still look pretty bright, but some of the colors have faded more than others. I don't tan more than regular exposure to the sun. Tanning beds probably fade them faster.

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Stay away from tanning salons and tanning beds. That should take care of the problem. They are seriously dangerous!

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with Dusty, stay away from them all together. If you want a tan go buy a good tan from a bottle. You will regret the tanning later in life. It will give you wrinkles beyond belief not to mention skin cancer. I know that if you are young, you think you are invincible but it will catch up with you.

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

Tanning is not good for you, and will damage your skin. (Farrah Faucet had terrible, wrinkled, leathery looking skin from sun-damage by the time she was 50...) But that choice is yours and if you want to tan, your tattoo should be covered with a sunscreen product that is SPF 30. That is what was recommended to me when going to beach a week after getting a small tattoo on my back. Though I always wear sunscreen anyway.

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February 28, 20110 found this helpful

I might be a paranoid Aussie (we have world's highest skin cancer rate) but please tell me you know that tanning beds are even worse than the sun for the content of UV rays the pump over you? I know that tans look better, but please please realize that the reason it mutates and fades tattoos is that it is mutating and damaging your skin cells. please get any moles or skin changes checked and look into the horrifying research about tanning beds. I have several friends who have had skin cancer in their mid twenties!

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March 11, 20111 found this helpful

Well, to actually answer your question with something helpful, because I don't think you asked for a lecture about UV exposure, I have a lot of ink, and I tan a lot and find the stick is the easiest, and for some I place the towel over it. They just came out with a tanning bed lotion that actually protects your tattoos called Hellbent by Australian Gold. I haven't tried it yet, but it has 10 bronzers and protects tats.


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May 8, 20160 found this helpful

I have psoriasis and it helps my flares tremendously. I never tanned before, but now I do to treat it. To me the risks are just like risks from taking other medications.

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May 24, 20160 found this helpful

I go to the tanning bed once a week and I use Jwoww one and done white bronzer with ink drink. It has been doing really great. I also on a daily basic I lotion my tats up too. When outside I use a high spf 70 and if I am just sitting out in a tank top I will put a towel over them.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

I am looking for a tanning lotion to put on my tattoo to keep it from fading when tanning outside and in the tanning bed.





If you feel you need to protect your tattoo from the sun and tanning bed the Chapstick with sunscreen sounds like the best idea. But as one who had her one and only tattoo done on 02/20/1980 (which has never been subjected to the sun or a tanning bed) your tattoo is going to fade in a fairly short period of time no matter what. Trying the Chapstick might lessen the time between ink touch-ups.

By Deeli

Good Sunscreen

A good sunscreen. No exceptions! Cheap isn't the way to go when you are protecting a tat. Tats aren't cheap, so why wouldn't you be willing to spend say, $10 on a bottle of good sunscreen to protect them?

By Shelly

Zinc Oxide

A former lifeguard with 8 tattoos suggests zinc oxide, or SPF 50+. Desitin will work, but it will get sandy if at the beach, and it stinks. Sunblock sticks (rather than lotions or sprays) tend to work great. I personally like NO-AD, it is $10 for a huge bottle.

By garbage3mail

Miami Ink Lotions

Miami Ink makes lotions that work very well! (02/04/2009)

By Emily

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January 27, 20090 found this helpful

I have just started tanning (indoor) and have a tattoo that is bright and I don't want it to fade. Does anyone know of any way to protect it? Also, I am looking for a cheap alternative to tanning lotion.

Nailfanatic from Poteau, OK



I would think something like Desitin would work. It's that thick white creamy diaper rash ointment and I'm pretty sure it's the "white stuff" lifeguards use on their noses. It's mostly, if not all, zinc oxide. It would be easy to control where you put it and you could just wipe it off when you're done tanning.

By farap

Ocean Potion

I don't know about the tattoo but, I just purchased some lotion at Walmart for $5.00 and it's working great, and cheaper than the tanning salons. It's called Ocean Potion for extreme tanning and has instant bronzer in it and it's for indoor tanning or outdoor. Hope this helps! (03/30/2006)

By smathis123


I ran into the same problem, and I was told to use chap stick with sunscreen in it. I always put it on my lips before tanning anyways, so you just put it over your tattoo when you do the lotion. I tan regularly and my tattoo is 4 years old, still looks brand new!

Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide

Purchase sunscreen with zinc oxide, and cover the tattoo area thoroughly. Don't skimp on the sunscreen you use to cover your tattoo. Make sure it is strong and of good quality. Protect your investment!

By Ree 127

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