Contact Our Bay Ink Crew

Let’s talk tattoos and piercings! Shoot us a question, inspiration, comment, or anything else you’d like to chat about with our team. We’ll be in touch shortly!

Protect Your Ink: How Sun Damage Affects Tattoos

Bay Ink Tattoo

May 2, 2024

Protect Your Ink: How Sun Damage Affects Tattoos

Stories etched into our skin. Reminders of beautiful moments. Symbols of identity. Personal expressions of art.

While the meaning behind your tattoo will always stay pristine, the same isn’t necessarily true about the tattoo itself. Your work of art is not immune to the elements, especially the sun. If you’re worried about tattoo sun damage, here are a few ways to protect your ink.

How the Sun Damages Tattoos

While sunlight is essential for life, it’s detrimental to tattoos. Several ultraviolet rays are present in sunlight, including UVA and UVB. Both of these can penetrate the skin and impact the pigment in your tattoo, leading to:


A sun-faded tattoo is dull, with all the vibrant colors seemingly drained from it.


Even the most crisp of lines can blur with prolonged sun exposure.

Color Changes

Without proper protection, the hue in your ink can shift, giving it a gray or green tint.

Premature Aging

The tattooing process compromises the skin, making the area more susceptible to collagen breakdown due to the sun’s UV rays.

But all is not lost! There are many ways you can keep your ink in tip-top shape.

How to Protect Your Tattoo From the Sun

Proper Aftercare

One of the best ways to protect fresh ink from the sun’s harmful effects is to practice proper tattoo aftercare. Follow the instructions given by your tattoo artist closely and avoid exposing fresh ink to direct sunlight, as this could cause colors to fade prematurely.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is your ink’s new best friend. Once fully healed, apply sunscreen on new tattoos and any you’ve had for years. This will protect them from damaging UV rays and provide you with extra protection from sunburns.

Apply sunscreen early and often, especially if you’re sweating or swimming.

Seek Shade

The sun is at its strongest during peak hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have plans to be outside during that time, look for sources of shade or bring your own. Relax under a tree or carry an umbrella with you to the beach. Shade doesn’t only protect your tattoos—it can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Cover Up

Sunscreen, shade, and covering up = the sun protection trifecta!

Wearing clothing that covers your inked areas provides a physical barrier against dangerous UV rays. To ward off potential overheating, choose lightweight, breathable fabrics.

Get or Protect a Work of Art With Help From Bay Ink Tattoo

With three locations to assist you, Bay Ink Tattoo can help you bring a work of art to life or keep it looking its best. Book a tattoo appointment, or drop by if you have questions about protecting your tattoo from the sun.

Subscribe to Our Bay Ink Blog

Don’t fall behind the times, especially when it comes to safety and informative piercing and tattoo resources – subscribe to our blog today!

Your Vision, Our Passion

For body art at a higher standard, turn to Bay Ink Tattoo.