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Committing to a tattoo is a big deal. Aside from the fact that you have to pick a design (and there are so many cute tattoo ideas to choose from), you also have to consider the upkeep. Yup, tattoo aftercare doesn’t stop with 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 avoid a faded tattoo? Below, we’re sharing eight tips to incorporate into your daily lifestyle to keep faded tattoos from becoming your reality.
Wearing SPF is a reoccurring theme when it comes to taking care of your skin, and avoiding faded tattoos is no exception. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), ultraviolet (UV) light can cause some tattoo inks to fade. No thanks! So, before you lay out in the sun, make sure to apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen not just to your tattoos but all over. The AAD recommends using an SPF of 30 or more, waiting 15 minutes after applying to go outside, and reapplying at least every two hours.
Speaking of the sun, if you can, consider wearing clothing that will protect your tattoo from those harmful UV rays. Minimizing your sun exposure will help your tattoo look vibrant and new, even if it’s been a few years.
Think you can use just any body lotion on your tattoo? Think again. 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. Instead of using a formula with petroleum jelly, look for a water-based lotion or cream to hydrate your tattooed skin when it’s in need of moisture.
As you can probably guess, just as the sun’s UV rays are a cause of faded tattoos, so are tanning beds and sunlamps. These devices can not only fade the ink in tattoos, but 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. Need we say more?
At the end of the day, tattooed skin is, well, skin. It’s important to take good care of your skin, tattooed or not, and doing so will help prevent faded tattoos. Keeping your skin clean and moisturized can go a long way when it comes to keeping your tattoo vibrant and like-new.
Something you should keep in mind is that tattoos in certain locations will be more prone to fading than others. If your tattoo is in a spot that’s exposed most of the time and sees a lot of action, it’s likely to fade faster. This means a tattoo on your fingers may fade differently (and more) than one on your upper arm.
While you can take all of the proper measures to help avoid faded tattoos, we do have some not-so-great news for you: All tattoos fade over time. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 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. That said, touch-ups are normal and something you should expect when getting a tattoo. We aren’t saying you’ll need annual touch-ups, but when you notice your tattoo could use a boost, turn to your tattoo artist. They can trace over the details and shape of your tattoo to give you ink that looks as good as new!
Tattoo recoloring is a tattoo touch-up method that is exactly what it sounds like—when your tattoo artist shades over the colors of your tattoo in order to make them vibrant and as fresh as they once were.
Next up: Not sure you’re ready to commit to a permanent tattoo? No worries! Test the tattoo waters by learning How to Apply and Remove Temporary Tattoos.
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