The fact is that many people, young and not so young, already have one or more tattoos on their skin, and this summer, they are wearing them on beaches and pools across the country. Does this present any special danger?

It can involve them, both for health and for the aesthetic quality of tattoos, since this engraving is still an injury to the skin, which will forever remain more sensitive. If we also consider that different chemical substances that we have introduced under the dermis participate in the tattoo, the greater sensitivity to allergies will also be understood.

The sun eats recent tattoos.

Basically, professional tattoo artists do not recommend exposing tattoos to the sun. If you want to preserve the artwork’s quality, some components of the inks are likely to oxidize with ultraviolet rays partially. This means that the higher the exposure, the worse the original colors will be preserved, which will lose color saturation and contrast.

For older tattoos, this may be less important, but new ones can quickly fade. On the other hand, in the case of recent tattoos, as the tattoo lesions are recent, the effect of the rays on the skin may be more noticeable than in other areas because, in addition to burns, red spots and rashes may appear that can be infected.

Additionally, contact with sea water can favor the healing of injuries caused by the tattoo, but it can also be a source of infections. And finally, the chlorine in the pool can be very aggressive.

Allergic reaction

Beyond the age of the tattoo, the sun can always have a negative impact on them, especially due to the allergic reactions that the components of the inks used can cause. These can change their configuration when receiving UVA rays and become substances that cause inflammatory reactions, thus leaving the skin more sensitive to burns.

In this regard, the European Academy of Dermatology warned in 2018 about the uncertain origin of some inks used in Europe. This ink does not go through community bodies’ controls to certify that it cannot cause adverse side effects, either with the sun, with certain medications, by themselves, etc.

The Academy of Dermatology and Venereology has also warned about temporary tattoos based on black henna that is practiced on some beaches. Henna is a traditional colorant in the Maghreb used to dye hair and make superficial ritual tattoos. However, in its natural state, it is slow to settle on the skin and can take up to four hours.

This is why street tattoo artists add a compound known as paraphenylenediamine (PPD) to shorten the drying process, even though its use for this activity is illegal. Paraphenylenediamine helps to set the tattoo quickly, but it can have permanent abrasive effects on the skin or cause severe allergic reactions.

The best way to take care of tattoos in the beach or pool

The first advice would be to avoid the sun and therefore hide them, but since tattoos are made to show them if it is done, certain precautions must be taken:

  • You should use the highest protection factor sunscreen on them, and reapply the cream after you bathe.
  • In the first few weeks following the tattoo, we will cover it with plaster or with clothing that is opaque to the sun.
  • We will also avoid getting the tattoo wet if it is recent. If we do it with seawater, we will dry it with a clean cloth to prevent the salt crystals from drying out the skin more.
  • If we wet it in a pool with a lot of chlorine, we will give it fresh water from the shower to take care of the skin; we will dry it later and then apply moisturizing or protective cream if we continue sunbathing.
  • We will avoid the sun hitting the tattoos in the middle of the day or that it does so for too long periods.
  • We will immediately stop sunbathing if you feel burning, pain or itching in the tattoo area. If we only see redness, we will apply some anti-inflammatory cream or aftersun cream. If we do not improve or observe blisters or infections, we will go to the health service.

Following all the above water can be helpful if you have doubts about how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.