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How to Prevent Your Tattoos From Fading

The do’s and don'ts of tattoo aftercare.
August 07, 2020

Committing to a tattoo is a big deal for more reasons than one. Aside from picking a design that you hope to love forever, you also have to consider the upkeep. Tattoo aftercare goes beyond your regular skin care routine — it’s a lifelong commitment if you want to keep your new ink looking fresh and vibrant. But how do you prevent your tattoo from fading? Below, we’re sharing tips to incorporate into your daily lifestyle to keep faded tattoos from becoming your reality.

1. Wear SPF 

Wearing SPF is a recurring theme when it comes to taking care of your skin, and it’s key in order to avoid faded tattoos. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), ultraviolet (UV) light can cause some tattoo inks to fade. So before sun exposure, make sure to apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, making sure to cover all exposed skin. 

2. Use Water-Based Lotions 

Not all body lotions are created equal when you have tattoos. We too were surprised to learn that certain moisturizer formulas can actually have a negative effect on your tattoo. The AAD states that petroleum-based products, like petroleum jelly itself, can actually cause your tattoo ink to fade. Look for a water-based moisturizer or cream instead to hydrate your tattooed skin when it’s in need of moisture. 

3. Skip The Tanning Bed

As you can probably guess, just like the sun’s UV rays can cause tattoos to fade, so can tanning beds. These devices can fade the ink in tattoos, but more importantly, they can also increase your risk of skin cancer, per the AAD. Not to mention, the AAD adds that UV light can also react with tattoo ink and result in a painful skin reaction. 

If you want a faux glow, use a self-tanning product like the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Water Mousse. It provides a gorgeous bronze tan to the skin without the harmful effects of the sun. 

Editor’s tip: To make sure your face matches your new body glow, grab the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Water Mist, Vitamin E and spray it onto a cotton pad like you might with a toner. Then apply it to the skin being sure to cover all areas evenly. 

4. Consider Your Tattoo Placement 

Something you should keep in mind is that tattoos in certain locations will be more prone to fading than others. Finger tattoos or tattoos in other areas that are often exposed are likely to fade faster because they naturally get more sun exposure than tattoos that are hidden by clothing. But when it comes to the hands specifically, frequent hand washing plays a part in fading these tattoos. So if you want a tattoo that needs fewer touch ups over time, consider where you put your ink.

5. Be Prepared For Touch-Ups 

While you can take all of the proper measures to help avoid faded tattoos, the truth is that most tattoos fade at least a bit over time. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), tattoos will inevitably fade over time due to the redistribution of the pigments (or ink) deeper into the dermis, which can cause them to have a blurred appearance. When you get a tattoo, you should expect to need a touch up here and there. When you notice that your tattoo could use a boost, turn to your tattoo artist as they can trace over the details to give your ink a refresh.

Next: 10 Creative Forearm Tattoos To Get In 2022

Edited by: Alyssa Kaplan, Photo Credit: Gerardo Araiza, IG/

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