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Protecting your skin is essential—whether you have a tattoo or not. The sun’s UV rays damage skin and lead to premature ageing; not to mention the possibility of it causing skin cancer. If you have a tattoo, the importance of applying sunscreen triples.
Not only has the process of getting a tattoo compromised your skin, but the ink is also considered as a foreign object by your body and it alters how your skin behaves; making it more sensitive. Furthermore, without proper and regular protection, there’s a high likelihood that your tattoo will lose its vibrancy and end up looking dull and washed out.
Ultimately, the most effective way to protect your skin is to stay inside and out of the sun entirely. That wouldn’t be much fun! And since covering up your tattoos with clothing isn’t always an option, applying a high-quality sunscreen for tattoos is the next best thing.
In this article, we share with you the best tattoo sunscreens on the market you can use to make your tattoos look brand-new for a lifetime. This is particularly beneficial if you spend long hours outdoors swimming or doing other activities that require prolonged sun exposure.
Best Tattoo Sunscreen: What to Look For
Before we jump into reviewing sunblock for tattoos, let’s look at some things to consider when choosing SPF for tattoos.
Spray, Lotion, or Stick
Sunscreen comes in three options: spray, lotion, or stick. The consensus under professional tattoo artists is that sunscreen lotion or sticks are the best bet. The fact that you have to massage it into the skin means you can be sure that it will form a secure barrier that will protect your tattoo from any harm.
It is important to know what you put onto your skin. Some sun-protection products contain a lot of harmful chemicals that may prevent harm from UV rays but will impact your skin negatively in other ways.
Buy a sunscreen that doesn’t contain phthalates, parabens or any artificial fragrances or colourants. In fact, the more organic the sunscreen for a tattoo, the better. Look for ingredients like aloe vera, vitamins, antioxidants, and other elements that nourish and heal the skin.
The best tattoo sunscreens always have some water resistance—preferably for between 30 and 90 minutes. This takes away the hassle of reapplying frequently. The last thing you want is to have to interrupt fun activities in the swimming pool or the ocean to constantly re-apply your sunscreen.
Broad Spectrum and SPF Rating
This is critical. You want sunscreen to protect your tattoo from both UVA and UVB rays, so selecting a broad spectrum lotion is important. Similarly, the SPF should be at least 30 to ensure optimum protection. SPF-50 is even better but don’t waste your money on anything above as it doesn’t offer any extra protection and will only give you a false sense of security.
Okay, let’s get down to the business of protecting your tattoos from the sun.
5 Best Tattoo Sunscreens Overview
5 Best Tattoo Sunscreens Reviewed
1. CannaSmack Ink Guard: Best Organic Option
- PROTECTS TATTOOS FROM FADING IN THE SUN: Protect your tattoos from fading in the sun with our unique photostable UVB hypoallergenic and 100% non-comedogenic & water-resistant formula. Great for microbladed eyebrows and small precise application.
- INFUSED WITH PREMIUM HEMP SEED OIL - Hemp seed oil is rich in Omega-3, Omega-6, Vitamin A, B, D, & E providing much needed hydration and nourishment to your skin that will help brighten and protect your tattoos.
- PARABEN-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, SULFATE-FREE, COLOR-FREE, FRAGRANCE-FREE: At CannaSmack we believe that doing the right thing never goes out of style. That is why all of our products are free from harmful additives.
- CLEAR EASY TO USE STICK APPLICATION - Brighten and protect your tattoos with our easy to use mess-free applicator.
- LEAPING BUNNY CRUELTY FREE CERTIFIED - All CannaSmack products are Leaping Bunny certified, we've gone to great lengths to ensure none of our products or raw ingredients are ever tested on animals.
One thing you can be sure of is your tattoos will be safe should you wear CannaSmack Ink Guard. It has an SPF of 30 and contains many ingredients known to protect and heal the skin. The main ingredient is hemp seed oil which reduces inflammation and reduces the risk of infection. Your skin will soak up the Omega 3 and 6, Vitamin A, B, E, and D, which will leave it feeling nourished and moisturized.
This tattoo sunscreen is hypoallergenic and if you have sensitive skin, you know those words are music to your ears. It also won’t clog your pores; is fragrance-free and water-resistant.
Lastly, CannaSmack Ink Guard has Leaping Bunny’s cruelty-free stamp of approval.
Why choose this SPF for tattoos?
- Contains natural and healing ingredients.
- Affordable price-point.
2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion: Professional Choice
- 3-fluid ounce bottle of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Non-Greasy Sunscreen with SPF 100 that helps defend against the signs of sun and decrease the risk of skin cancer caused by the sun when used as directed
- This product is non-sealed
- Both PABA-free and non-comedogenic, this lightweight sunscreen provides powerful face and body sun protection without the heavy finish, making it great to use for daily sun protection.
- Packaging may vary
- Waterproof, Helioplex
This sunscreen is the chosen SPF for tattoos by tattoo artists the world over. The fact that it is readily recommended by dermatologists as one of the best sunscreens on the market adds to its popularity.
It is lightweight which means it will absorb into your skin with ease. It has a sheer, matte finish thanks to Neutrogena’s dry-touch technology. What’s more, it contains Helioplex—a formulation that offers both UVA and UVB skin protection. In other words, your tattoo will be totally protected from the sun’s harmful rays.
When it comes to harmful ingredients, it does contain oxybenzone, an ingredient known to have various negative side effects when used in too high quantities. Luckily, the levels in this sunscreen are safe. Other than that, it is PABA free and doesn’t contain any comedogenic ingredients. (A fancy way of saying it won’t clog your pores)
You can choose between spray or stick form.
We do have to mention that it isn’t as long-lasting as we’d like sunscreen for tattoos to be, so you’ll have to re-apply more frequently.
Why choose this as the best sunblock for tattoos?
- It’s lightweight and fast-absorbing.
- Won’t clog your pores.
- Recommended by professionals.
3. Australian Gold SPF 50: Best for Small Tattoos
Made with tattoos in mind, this sunscreen has an SPF of 50. It is formulated to not only protect your tattoo from the sun but to also keep it moisturized. The manufacturer knows that the key to lifelong vibrancy is keeping your skin nourished.
It comes in a stick form of a suitable size for small tattoos on fingers or permanent make-up on eyebrows and so on.
This SPF for tattoos is long-lasting and will work up to 8 hours if you don’t plan on getting the area wet. It’s recommended that you apply this sunscreen to your tattoo at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
It’s also a cruelty-free product so you can rest assured that no animals were harmed to get the best formula for sunscreen for tattoos.
Why buy Australian Gold SPF for your tattoo?
- It’s long-lasting.
- Small applicator perfect for tiny tattoos.
- Helps keep tattoos bright.
4. Goddess Garden Organics Everyday SPF 30: Best Natural Choice
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Sunscreen Lotion
- Goddess Garden
It is possible to protect your tattoo with all-natural ingredients—this sunscreen for tattoos is proof! Ingredients like aloe vera and sunflower oil not only shield your skin but also leave it feeling moisturized. However, we do recommend that you put on moisturizer before applying this sunscreen just to make it easier to smooth on as it has a thickish consistency.
Since it doesn’t contain any harsh or harmful ingredients, it is safe for anyone with sensitive skin who is prone to allergies or skin irritation.
If you plan on going into the water or doing heavy exercise that will cause you to sweat, you will have to re-apply this sunscreen at least every hour.
Why choose this sunscreen for tattoos?
- It is organic and vegan-friendly.
- Doesn’t contain any parabens, artificial flavors, or alcohol.
- It moisturizes the skin.
- Great for anyone with sensitive skin.
5. Sun Bum Original SPF 30: Best Added Benefits
- ORIGINAL SPF 30 SUNSCREEN LOTION . This is the stuff we use every day. It’s the formula that started it all. People say it smells like summer. We like that. Whether we’re spending a lazy day at the beach or just hangin’ out, our Original formula is definitely our fav.
- MOISTURIZING SUN PROTECTION. Dermatologist and Sonny approved, this non-comedogenic sunscreen delivers UVA/UVB protection and is packed with Vitamin E. Our oil-free, water-resistant and reef friendly SPF 30 Lotion is great for all skin types.
- HOW TO USE. 15 minutes before sun exposure, apply liberally to all areas of the skin and avoid the eye area. For best results, reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. Sonny’s Tip: Apply every 2 hours for maximum sun protection.
- PROTECT YOUR SKIN. The key to practicing safe sun is to protect and moisturize your skin. Our Original Sunscreen line is Hypoallergenic and Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Gluten, Cruelty and Paraben Free to ensure a fun day in the sun.PABA Free
- TRUST THE BUM. What does that mean? It means trust us, the ones who live on the beach and need products that work on the most intense days in the sun. The simple truth is, when you make products to protect the ones you love, you make ‘em better.
As a sunscreen for tattoos, Sun Bum provides great results. It protects against UVB and UVA rays and contains vitamin E which stops your skin from shedding due to drying out from sun exposure. If you have sensitive skin, you don’t have to worry about experiencing any issues as this sunscreen is made from natural ingredients—it contains no chemicals or harmful substances.
What we like most about this SPF for tattoos is that it contains antioxidants. This means you can expect healthier looking and feeling skin and thus, a beautiful, brilliantly bright tattoo.
This sunscreen totes itself as a sunscreen formulated for all skin types, so you can expect a formula that is naturally good for your skin.
Why choose Sun Bum as the SPF for tattoos?
- Contains antioxidants.
- Contains vitamin E that helps heal and moisturize the skin.
- It’s made for all skin types.
- Contains no harmful ingredients.
Getting a tattoo is a process that usually takes a while to complete. It starts with you choosing your design, finding a tattoo artist that is a good fit, saving up the money, and then finally getting inked. Since it is such an involved experience, taking proper care of your tattoo should be a no-brainer. Tattoo aftercare is an ongoing process if you want to keep it looking as close to the day you got it.
Skipping sunscreen will make your tattoo discolour and fade. This happens for two reasons. First, the UV rays destroy the chemical structure of the pigments in the ink. Second, sun exposure speeds up the rate at which our skin sheds. It’s clear that if you love your tattoo, you’ll apply sunblock for tattoos daily as part of your skincare routine.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to sunblock for tattoos:
- Don’t use sunscreen on new tattoos. The chemicals in the sunblock can cause an adverse reaction. Instead, cover your new tattoo and keep it out of the sun until completely healed.
- Apply sunscreen to your tattoo 15 minutes before going out not the sun. Then reapply every two hours. If your sunscreen isn’t water-resistant, you will have to re-apply more often.
- Buy a sunscreen that is FDA approved. If you don’t, it may contain oxybenzone—an ingredient with a long list of negative effects. Octinoxate and para-aminobenzoic should also not be listed on the ingredient list of any sunscreen for tattoos.
You now know what the best SPF for tattoos are and can make an informed choice to keep your skin art true to your original vision.