This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Does Exposure To The Sun Fade Tattoos

Tattoo Sun Exposure

The entire tattoo process can become costly and is commonly considered a body investment. Ensuring an unfaded tattoo is mandatory, with all the money, time, and pain required to get them. 

When people first tattoo, people automatically assume that the sun fades tattoos. Although we’d love to say they’re wrong, it’s true. 

So, does the sun fade tattoos? Absolutely. 

Any tattoo healed or not healed that’s exposed to the sun is at risk of fading. This is because the tattoo process leaves the skin sensitive to UV rays. 

However, you can reduce its damage. The most well-known way of doing this is by using sunscreen. 

Why is sunscreen important for your tattoo? 


At TattooNumbx, we’re experts in the tattoo numbing cream sector and know a thing or two about the industry. 

Sunscreen will always be a go-to option for many tattooed individuals to limit the chances of fading. However, this is only advised for fully-healed tattoos. Applying sunscreen to an unhealed tattoo can increase the cases of infection and tattoo scars. 

The sun damages the tattooed area because it emits two types of UV radiation: UVB and UVA. When your skin is exposed to either, it may damage it. 

UVB rays 

UVB rays are the primary culprit for causing damage to the top layers of skin. Therefore, it’s the main reason people get sunburned. 

Whether your tattoo is healed or unhealed, UVB rays can cause significant damage to the inked area. The results of this can differ but usually consist of itching and blistering. 

UVA rays 

Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate further into the skin and present longer-lasting damage. Instead of causing sunburns, these increase the speed of skin aging, wrinkles, and sagging over tattooed areas. 

Although it isn’t proven, many tattoo experts suggest that white and pastel inks fade the fastest from UVA rays. Black and grey last the longest but will fade over time if they’re not adequately protected. 

What should you look for in sunscreen? 

Tattoo Cream

After reading the above, you’re probably searching for sunscreen to protect a tattoo. Please note that you don’t want to apply sunscreen to an unhealed tattoo. Instead, wear loose clothing that covers it from direct exposure. 

To find the most optimal sunscreen to protect your tattoo from fading, consider the below tips; 

Sunscreen type 

The sunscreen industry has three primary options; cream, oil, and spray. Although either is advertised as “great”, it isn’t the case. 

The cream-type sunscreen is undoubtedly the best option for many reasons. 

With cream sunscreen, you can physically see the area you’re applying it to. Additionally, it offers a thick layer of protection, which is something oil and spray fail to provide. 

If you’re considering swimming on a sun-blistering day, remember to use water-resistant sunscreen to ensure optimal protection. 


SPF (sun protection factor) is another feature you need to consider, as it measures how strongly the sunscreen blocks the sun’s UV rays from penetrating your skin. 

You can opt-in for many SPF ratings, but we recommend 30 or 50 SPF. Whichever you choose will highly depend on how sensitive your skin is to the sun. 

Safe ingredients 

Ideally, you want something with the “better” or “safest” ingredients because they’ll offer the most protection. 

With sunscreen, options are abundant. However, you’ll want something that includes the following: 

  • Zinc oxide
  • Titanium dioxide (in cream) 

Mineral sunscreen is remarkably effective when protecting your skin and tattoos. These are recommended because they have significantly lower amounts of chemicals, which is better for your skin and the environment. 

How regularly should you apply sunscreen to a tattoo? 

Although the above can sound daunting, don’t cover yourself with sunscreen just yet. 

It isn’t necessary to coat the entire tattooed area with sunscreen. Instead, applying enough to rub it gently into the skin is sufficient. 

If you plan to expose the tattooed area to direct sunlight, apply sunscreen for 15 minutes before heading outside. 

After two hours or after a long swim, re-apply the sunscreen for optimal protection. 

Extra tips to protect your tattoo from fading

The sun does fade tattoos. Therefore, ensuring you apply sunscreen to the tattooed area when exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight is essential.

But there are more tips you’ll want to consider to reduce the speed of fading, such as: 

  • Use a reputable tattooist – A recommended and higher quality tattooist plays a considerable role in the speed of tattoo fading. To find premium artists local to your area, use Tattoos Wizard. The platform helps find quality tattooists straightforward. You can even get 10% off by using discount code WIZARD10 at checkout. 
  • Avoid tanning beds or sunlamps – Both sunlamps and tanning beds aren’t ideal for a tattoo or your skin, as they can cause skin cancer or tattoo fading. Each piece of tanning equipment emits a highly concentrated light that could cause a reaction on the tattooed area. 
  • Limit your time in the sun when possible – Sometimes it’s impossible to reduce your time exposed to sunlight. However, you should try. The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so taking extra precautions to protect your skin during this time is necessary. 
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing over tattoos – Whether it’s a new or old tattoo, covering the area with loose, lightweight clothing can offer extra protection. 

Because the sun does fade tattoos, you need to be careful when exposed to direct sunlight. Implementing these tips and using sunscreen is the most effective way of decreasing the speed of tattoo fading. 


After reading the above, you should understand that the sun does fade tattoos. Now you know this, become aware of sunlight exposure and take the appropriate measure to protect the tattoo. 

Without question, your future self will thank you. By taking these actions, you can prolong the life of non-faded tattoos, making them look better and not needing any touch-ups. 

At TattooNumbx, we’re tattoo numbing cream experts that have helped hundreds go through pain-free procedures. For more information about how our product can help, consider checking out this page.