How Long After a Tattoo Can I Go Sun Tanning?

tattooGetting a tattoo requires not only planning for the design and its placement on your body but also how you care for your new ink. One of the common questions is, “How long do I have to wait before getting a sun tan?”.

Sun tanning involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds. Ultraviolet or UV light stimulates the production of melanin, a substance in the body which gives color to the skin.

However, although sun exposure is necessary for the health of the body, too much exposure can have unfavourable effects. When UV reaches the skin, it can potentially damage the cells in the epidermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of the two main cell layers in the skin. When cells in this area experience damage, they send signals through the body. The brain translates this as burning sensation while the white blood cells proceed to remove the damaged skin cells. This causes the skin to itch and peel.

This is why it is not recommended getting a sun tan after a fresh tattoo. Immediately after the procedure, the skin is in its most vulnerable state. During this time, the skin begins to form a new protective layer. This is accompanied by peeling, flaking, and scabbing to get rid of the damaged cells. Imagine what this would do to your fresh tat.

It is strongly advised not to get a sun tan during this period when skin is healing. Keep out of the sun or other artificial sources of UV light. Make sure that post tattoo instructions are followed and using a tattoo aftercare lotion will ensure skin remains moisturised, which in turn minimises scabbing. Most tattoos will heal in a couple of weeks and this is when most of the exfoliation has stopped. It is recommended to wait at least a month and a half before attempting to go sun tanning. Others would recommend waiting for two to three months to make certain that all the time, money, and effort you spent on your new tattoo won’t go to waste.