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How to Keep Your Tattoos Looking Brand New

Tattoos are such a fun way to express yourself. They can represent a loved one, be your favorite quote, or just be something you want to look at everyday because – let’s be honest – tattoos are BEAUTIFUL! Tattoos tell a unique story on your skin so it is important to keep them looking like they did the day you got them.

Let’s start off by getting into what kind of damage the sun can do to your skin. It is important to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. To make it easy to remember the difference just think of it as: UVA=Aging and UVB=Burning. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin causing wrinkles, uneven pigmentation. Keep in mind that UVA rays penetrate through glass and are equally as strong throughout the year. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and all the not-so-fun stuff that comes along with it like blistering and itchiness. UVB rays are much stronger during the summer months, hence why you typically only get sunburns during that time of year.  Both UVA and UVB rays can increase the risk of skin cancer.

So how does this affect your tattoos? Well, tattoo ink is held in the dermis, which is the second layer of skin, just under the epidermis. Like we said, UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause damage right where your tattoo ink is. This causes the ink to break down and since UV damage is cumulative, after time the lines will become splotchy and blurred. Additionally, UVA rays can cause your tattooed skin to sag and wrinkle (I know, not cute).

UVB rays, on the other hand, can be particularly troublesome, especially for new tattoos. Fresh tattoos that are still in the healing process are just like an open wound and can get severely damaged if they are exposed to direct sunlight. According to Healthline, new tattoos that get sunburned may take longer to heal. They might even itch and blister. As you probably already know, you’re not supposed to scratch, touch, or peel your new tattoo to begin with, but compound that with a nasty sunburn and you’re asking for your fresh ink to be pulled out before it has a chance to heal beautifully. With that being said, you are not out of the woods if your tattoo is fully healed. UVB rays can cause lasting damage to older tattoos and may even change their appearance over time. The risk is that your lines can become undefined or start to blur, and the ink (yes, even with black and grey tattoos) may become discolored.


Now that we have all agreed that this is not ideal, how do you prevent it from happening? Well, first, you’re going to want to limit your time in the sun for at least a week after getting your fresh ink. But after (and ONLY after) your tattoo is fully healed, the answer is obvious: SUNSCREEN! I’ll say it again… SUNSCREEN!!

When choosing a sunscreen to protect your tattoos (and the rest of your skin) make sure that it is broad spectrum and has an SPF of 30 or higher. We recommend CōTZ Sensitive SPF 40, as it has a moisturizing formula that blends beautifully on any skin tone and on skin with tattoos. The dewy finish will leave your tattoo looking bright, bold, and glowing. Plus, it was formulated for sensitive skin so no need to worry about irritation. Mineral sunscreens are ideal because they have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are effective ingredients that are gentle on the skin (click here to find out more information on mineral vs chemical sunscreens). It is also important to remember to re-apply your sunscreen every two hours! Reapplying your sunscreen frequently significantly decreases your risk of incurring damage and will keep your tattoo looking like you just got it.

We just want to say this again: DO NOT apply sunscreen to a fresh tattoo that is still healing. Instead wear clothing that protects your skin against UVA/UVB rays and consult your tattoo artist on when it is okay to start applying sunscreen on your tattoo.


When people say tattoos are an investment, they’re not wrong. It is so important to take the steps to properly care for your tattoos, so you can enjoy them for a lifetime. Is all this tattoo talk making anyone else want to schedule their next appointment? Don’t forget to tag us when you use CōTZ Mineral SPF on all of your beautiful pieces!!

Comments (1)

  • Thomas Clarence on November 15, 2022

    It never would have occurred to me that you should avoid placing sunscreen on a tattoo that is still healing. A friend of mine is wanting to get a tattoo soon, and as far as I know, he is going to go going on vacation shortly after that. I will have to tell my friend that he will need to avoid sunscreen on his trip so that his tattoo can heal properly.

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