When the days start getting longer and hotter, there are many activities that people look forward to. From beach vacations to hikes and spending days lounging by a pool, summer is a fun season.
With a lot more skin being shown during the hottest season, a new tattoo might have popped into your mind. However, there are a few important points to keep in mind if you want to get inked in summer.
Before the Appointment
Stay Out of the Sun
This is a difficult tip to follow, and one of the reasons why many people wouldn’t recommend getting tatted in summer – after all, enjoying the sun is half the fun of the season.
Your whole body doesn’t have to stay indoors to prep for your tattoo, just make sure the location that’s going to get the tattoo is covered.
The reason for this is that you want your skin to be as undamaged as possible for your inking session. Even just a slight bit of peeling or sensitivity can hamper the procedure.
As Adrenaline Studios explains,
“Tattooing on a heavy tan or slight burn is not a great idea, as when the skin heals, it may chip away at the integrity of the recently applied tattoo, or make it hard to apply the tattoo in the first place.”
So, tan your body, just not the spot where your new artwork is going.
Take Care of Your Skin from the Inside
Summer is not only a fun time, it’s a dehydrating time. Ensuring you get enough H2O is important every day, but especially leading up to your tattoo appointment.
The healthier and more hydrated your skin, the better your tattoo will be.
Further to this, don’t do anything to compromise your hydration levels or health before your appointment – so that means no overindulging in alcohol or fast food.
Alcohol, coffee and caffeine infused energy drinks dehydrate you, so it’s best to avoid these the day before your appointment.
Plus, alcohol can thin your blood. A bit of blood is normal when getting repeatedly poked with a needle, but you don’t want to hamper your experience with excessive blood loss.
Sugary and salty foods can dehydrate you, too, so it’s best to avoid those late-night snacks and a dinner of fast food before your tattoo session. A diet full of vitamin C and essential fatty acids goes a long way in maintaining the health of your skin.
Vitamin C can help support your immune system and prepare your body for the tattoo needle, while foods that are rich in essential fatty acids (think salmon, tuna, brazil nuts and almonds) have a soothing effect on skin irritation and can help soften your skin.
After the Appointment
Sunscreen is Your Best Friend
UV rays are serious, especially when you’ve got a fresh tattoo. The last thing you want is a burn over your new ink, as any peeling from sun damage can leave the colors and lines of your tattoo blotchy and faded.
That being said, you can still have fun participating in your favorite summer outdoor activities, you’ve just got to make sure you’ve lathered your ink with sunscreen. Not just any sunscreen – make sure the SPF is over 30 for ultimate protection.
“The most important thing when choosing a sunscreen is to make sure it is broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA, which penetrate deeper than UVB rays, causing free radical damage, and UVB rays, which damage the cell’s DNA and burn the skin,”Byrdie
However, you shouldn’t go straight from the studio, take off the covering and apply sunscreen – you’ve got to wait until your tatt is properly healed. Until then, cover up.
A Light Layer Does Help
Don’t worry, you don’t have to stay indoors if you’re not keen to keep reapplying sunscreen or your tattoo is still busy healing, you just need to cover your ink up with a bandage or light clothing.
It’s important to note that you don’t only have to cover your tattoo when you’re sun worshipping on the beach or spending the whole day outside in the sunshine – just walking around outdoors on a cloudy day warrants a protective layer. Remember, the sun can still cause damage even when it’s behind clouds.
The Cancer Council explains,
“You can get sun damage on windy, cloudy and cool days. Sun damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature. A cool or overcast day in summer can have similar UV levels to a warm, sunny day.”
Help Yourself Heal Faster
You don’t want to be the only person in a long-sleeved top for a prolonged period of time – if you want to lather on the sunscreen and enjoy the sunny weather, your tattoo has got to heal completely.
Two of the best ways to ensure you’re healing as quickly as possible is to follow your aftercare instructions to the T, and copious amounts of healthy protein.
After your session, your tattoo artist will send you home with a list of instructions on how to take care of your fresh ink. It usually involves keeping it clean and moisturizing regularly.
Use a gentle soap and un-fragranced lotion so that there’s barely any chance of having an allergic reaction. It’s important to keep your tattoo clean, so you should wash and moisturize it at least a couple of times a day.
Click here for Next Luxury’s list of best moisturizers for tattooed skin.
Getting a tattoo is a traumatic experience for your body. You should give your body what it needs to heal, and one of these needs is protein. These biomolecules help us repair our skin and other body tissues, plus assists in fighting infections and balancing body fluids.
As the University of Michigan’s medical faculty points out,
“When you have a wound that’s healing, think of food as medicine. Eat a balanced diet with enough calories and plenty of protein.”
So, after your appointment, take an extra helping of chicken for dinner, or make sure you’ve stocked up on tofu and beans.
Be a Land Lover
If you feel as if your long-lost ancestors were merpeople and you love going for frequent ocean dips, you may want to get your tattoo done in colder weather when you’re not as eager to jump into the water.
Remember, no matter how beautiful your new tattoo is, it’s still an open wound. So, you’ve got to avoid any possible chances of infection. Bacteria can live in the ocean, in pools and in hot tubs – a good rule of thumb is to stay on dry land when you’re sporting fresh ink.
A tattoo is a long-term commitment, and not just for one season. If you are looking for a fun way to express yourself in summer that isn’t permanent, try temporary tattoos (read more about some temporary options here).
When the sun is shining and the days are hot, there are a few more considerations to be aware of before heading to a tattoo studio.
Prepare yourself and be willing to take the necessary aftercare precautions to make sure you have a tattoo that will look amazing long after the summer sun has gone down.