Tanning With Tattoos: How to Tan Safely?

tanning with tattoos

The warm weather and sunny days make it hard to stay indoors. It’s wonderful to feel the warm rays on your skin, but sun protection is also crucial, especially if you have a tattoo. It is great to bask in the sun after a stressful day, but always protect when you tanning with tattoos and your skin.

The importance of SPF

Every single day, regardless of whether you have tattoos or not, you should wear SPF. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will fade your tattoos faster, but it is also important to remember that sun exposure can cause skin cancer (including deadly melanomas).

Inked or not, protect any skin that isn’t covered by clothing with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply throughout the day.

Tanning with Tattoos

Here’s how to protect your tattoo in a tanning bed or while sitting poolside in the sun. Cover your tattoo with a high-SPF sunscreen if you’re outside. For better control and precision, apply sunscreen with a Q-tip around the edges of your tattoo to prevent getting a white ring.

Colored ink fades faster than black ink, so be sure to cover colored portions thoroughly. While in a sunbed, you can use a specially designed tattoo stick with SPF that will protect the color in the design while it heals.

Everyday Exposure

Even if you’re not laying out or using a tanning bed, you’re still exposed to more sun than you think. Driving with your windows down or running errands outside exposes you to the sun’s rays, even if it’s not as intense as tanning.

It’s important to use SPF every day to keep your skin looking young, but it also keeps your tattoo looking fresh. It’s not ideal to skip SPF, but even wearing clothes or staying in the shade can help protect your tattoo.

Tattoos and spray tans

Spray tanning doesn’t emit UV rays, so there’s no risk to your tattoo. You may notice that some areas of your tattoo appear darker after a spray tan, but this is not permanent and will fade within a couple of days thanks to the natural lifespan of your spray tan.

After getting a spray tan, you can clean the skin where your tattoo is immediately to prevent the temporary darkening. Pay attention to the edges to avoid creating a lighter ring.


Don’t gamble with your tattoo by not taking proper care of it. With a little effort and time, you can either cover up or protect your tattoo. Taking proper care of a tattoo can keep it looking vibrant for years to come, so you won’t have to constantly touch it up.

After getting a new tattoo, you should avoid tanning with tattoos in the sun and using a UV bed for three months. To stay bronzed during this time, you should get a few UV bed sessions in before your tattoo appointment, and then switch to spray tanning until your tattoo is healed.


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