Best Sunblock & Sunscreen For Old & New Tattoos

best sunscreen for tattoos

After spending time and money on a great tattoo, the last thing you want to do is have it fade over time.

Tattoos are becoming ever more popular, and the trend doesn't show any sign of disappearing. In the UK, 1 in 5 people now have tattoos! With so many of us getting inked, there are plenty of products on the market especially designed with tattoos in mind. 

Plenty of research has been done to prove that being in the sun can accelerate the fading of your tattoos. What should you do then, avoid the sun completely?

Absolutely not! You can effectively protect your tattoos as well as your skin, while you enjoy the summer outdoors.

Take the time and money to protect that costly investment. In this article, I’ll discuss the purpose behind sunscreen and how to choose the best brand for your needs as well as help you pick the best sunscreen for tattoos.

Whether you have an old or new tattoo, I have solutions for you! Let’s dive in.

Tattoo Suncreen Comparison Table








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Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit Includes Soap, New formula, Tattoo Goo, Lotion, Goo Renew

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit


Assorted kit



Tattoo Goo Color Guard Stick

Tattoo Goo Color Guard Stick





Australian Gold Tattoo Stick

Australian Gold Tattoo Stick





H2Ocean Sea Life Sunscreen

H2Ocean Sea Life Sunscreen





Coppertone Tattoo Guard Stick

Coppertone Tattoo Guard Stick





Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit Includes Soap, New formula, Tattoo Goo, Lotion, Goo Renew

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit


Assorted kit



Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray

Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray





Kiss My Face Tattoo Shade Sunscreen Sunblock Lotion

Kiss My Face Tattoo Shade Sunscreen Sunblock Lotion





Tatjacket Spot-On Tattoo Sunscreen Lotion

Tatjacket Spot-On Tattoo Sunscreen Lotion





The Importance of Sun Care With Tattoos

You must take sun safety seriously. Exposure to the sun can create serious damage to your skin including premature aging and of course, cancer.

If you have a tattoo, wearing a sunblock for tattoos is even more important.

The UV rays can easily cause your tattoo to fade over time at a much quicker rate than those not spending time outdoors.

If your tattoos are light in color, it will fade quicker than those of darker colors, but all colors can and will eventually fade with time.

You could use any sunscreen that contains an SPF of at least 30 if you want the maximum protection for your tats.

Be sure you also choose a brand that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Can You Put Sunscreen On a New Tattoo?

If you have a new tattoo, it’s generally recommended that you keep it completely covered when in the sun for the first three months.

If you like to enjoy the summer outdoors, consider getting your tattoo done during the cooler months.

After that, you can leave it exposed with a quality sunscreen to protect it.

If you want to enjoy a robust tan without the fear of cancer or tattoo fading, you may want to consider a different route of bronzing the skin other than laying in the sun.

You could always choose to do a sunless tan or spray tan instead.

Is it safe to put sunscreen on a new tattoo?

If you get the right kind of sunscreen, yes! It’s actually really important to put sunscreen on your tattoo in order to keep it looking good, as well as to keep your skin safe in general.

Our skin needs protection from the sun anyway, so imagine how much more looking after a brand new tattoo needs.

Provided you use a safe sunscreen, this is a really important part of preserving your ink and keeping it looking good.

Go for a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or above and apply liberally and often. Even if your tattoo is covered by clothes, it’s safest to get some sunscreen on it anyway.

UV rays have sneaky ways of burning us when we think we’re safe, and tattooed skin is especially vulnerable!

Staying out of the direct sun is recommended for the first two weeks of having a tattoo, so start using sunscreen after this period if you’re going to be spending lots of time outdoors.

It can be tempting to sit out in the sun or go for a swim, especially if you get your tattoo while travelling, but don’t!

Stay strong – it’s much better long-term to give yourself two weeks of no sun exposure, so cut down on the risk by taking a break in the shade.

Remember that you chose to get a tattoo for the rest of your life – two weeks of no sunbathing isn’t really that much to sacrifice for your new, lifelong ink.

As with tattoo lotions, avoid anything with alcohol or petroleum in it, as these ingredients will cause ink to bleed!

Does sunscreen prevent tattoos from fading?

Your tattoo will naturally fade over time. This is inevitable, but can be slowed down by proper aftercare.

Exposing your tattoo to direct sunlight isn’t really recommended at any point, but especially not in the early days when it’s still very new.

Using sunscreen will help protect the skin around and under your tattoo from burning, which is obviously very important.

This will also slow down the fading process and keep your tattoo looking fresh and sharp for as long as possible.

It’s recommended that you use sunscreen on your tattoo all the time and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Sunscreen is great but using your common sense works as well!

Avoid direct sunlight for the first two weeks of getting your tattoo, and then apply lots of high SPF sunscreen from then on if you do choose to venture out.

In the long-run, sunscreen is recommended to preserve the quality of your tattoo, so keep using it even once your ink is fully-healed.

Remember that you’re making a lifelong commitment by getting a tattoo, so honor that and keep it safe!

Important tips for taking care of your tattoo in the sun

I’ll say it again because it’s such an important thing to remember – avoid direct sunlight for the first two weeks of getting your tattoo! I can’t stress this enough.

During the early days of healing, your tattoo is essentially a wound and needs to be protected. Clean and moisturize it often, sure, but keep it out of the sunlight.

Exposure to direct sunlight at this early stage will start to fade the colors of your tattoo.

Fading will occur naturally over time, but that should be an aspect of ageing, not of neglect. Give yourself two weeks of shade while your tattoo heals.

Ideally, you’ll wait a month before you go in direct sunlight, but if you choose to do so after the two week waiting-period, slather on the sunscreen!

Use anything from SPF 30 and above and apply liberally and often.

Looking after your tattoo is a lifelong job – you might not be applying aftercare lotion every day any more, but it still needs a bit of extra attention.

If you’re somewhere super sunny, chances are you’re going to want a refreshing swim.

Again, avoid this for the first two weeks while your skin is vulnerable. Swimming pools are either full of bacteria or chemicals, neither of which are good for your skin at this point!

Again, try and give yourself a full month’s break but, if you really can’t wait, at least hold off for the initial two weeks before diving in.

Basically – listen to what your tattoo artist says as they’ll know your tattoo best, stay safe in the sun (tattoo or no tattoo!) and remember how important your ink is to you.

Keep it clean, be sensible and enjoy taking lots of photos of it…

9 Best Sunscreens For Old & New Tattoos

When you’re ready to hit the sun and sand, you’ll want the maximum performance sunscreen available so you can readily protect that color on your skin.

Protect your investment and take a look at this great list of sunblock for tattoos.

1. Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit

This is my top choice because it doesn’t just contain the best sunscreen for tattoos but provides a complete care kit.

This has everything you need to keep that tattoo looking like new.

It contains the Tattoo Goo Color Guard fade protection stick SPF-30 that's necessary for outdoor activities and tanning protection.

It also comes with Tattoo Goo Salve in a tin, Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing soap, and Tattoo Goo quick-penetrating lotion.

When it comes to the color guard fade protection stick, it doesn’t get much easier to use.

Simply rub gently over the tattoo, being careful not to go too far over the outline, and you’ll keep the tattoo bright and vibrant for a long time to come.

The tube lasts on average for about 24 months.

2. Tattoo Goo Color Guard Stick - SPF 30

Tattoo Goo Color Guard Stick

If you aren’t in need of everything found in the kit and just want a quality sunscreen, then grab the stick of Tattoo Goo Color Guard by itself.

This company uses no animal testing for their products, so you can feel good about using it.

With an SPF 30, you’ll be well protected, but will want to reapply after spending time in the water or if you’re outside for long periods of time.

Remember, when using this, simply rub gently over the tattoo, being careful not to go too far over the outline, or you’ll end up with a white halo around the tattoo.

The tube lasts on average for about 24 months.

3. Australian Gold SPF 50 Tattoo Stick

Australian Gold Tattoo Stick

If you want the ultimate in protection and one of the best sunblocks for tattoos, then make sure you grab this stick with an SPF 50+.

It’s the highest SPF of the choices I’m reviewing and is sure to protect from fading or ink discoloration.

On top of that, the smell is amazing and the perfect addition to all your summer fun.

Keep in mind that this is just a tiny stick, but it sure does last a long time.

You’re only going to need it on the tattoo itself, be sure you use regular sun protection on the rest of your body.

Many people find this stick has lasted them for years, so don’t let the size fool you.

4. H2Ocean SPF 45 Sea Life Sunscreen

H2Ocean Sea Life Sunscreen

This water and sweat resistant formula provides an SPF 45 and complete UVA/UVB protection, perfect for an active lifestyle in the sun.

It’s an oil-free formula made with clear zinc oxide for maximum coverage.

The best part about this formula is that even though it appears white and thick, it blends into the skin very well, leaving behind no white residue or greasy feeling.

It also contains a light and pleasant smell, not a typical sunscreen odor.

This tub is 1oz and will last for a long time while providing maximum tattoo protection.

5. Coppertone SPF 50 Tattoo Guard Stick

Coppertone Tattoo Guard Stick

Here’s another choice for the best sunblock for tattoos that has SPF 50.

The stick provides and accurate and precise application, so you aren’t getting sunscreen in areas you don’t need it.

The moisturizing formula is also ideal to maintain that smooth appearance of your skin and for use on a daily basis.

It comes complete with an antioxidant-packed formula containing both Vitamins C and E to keep the skin healthy.

Coppertone offers a photostable, broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection in this stick and it's also hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.

You’ll want to reapply the sunscreen after 80 minutes in water or prolonged time in the sun to avoid the fading or blurring of your tattoos.

6. Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit Includes Soap, New formula, Tattoo Goo, Lotion, Goo Renew

While this isn’t the best sunscreen for new tattoos and doesn’t actually include any sunscreen product, it’s worth mentioning because it contains products that you'll want to have when protecting your tattoo.

This kit includes the Tattoo Goo Salve, Lotion, Soap and Renew Lotion, perfect for using after you’ve been in the sun and want to keep those tattoos lasting longer.

7. Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray SPF 50

Coppertone Tattoo Guard Continuous Spray

If you prefer a spray formula, you can get the Coppertone sunscreen in the larger area coverage spray that can be used at any angle.

It provides that UVA and UVB protection with an SPF 50 for maximum power to avoid fading or blurring.

It’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.

8. Kiss My Face Tattoo Shade Sunscreen SPF 30 Sunblock Lotion

Kiss My Face Tattoo Shade Sunscreen Sunblock Lotion

If you want to protect your tattoos with a natural formulation, this is a great option.

It’s cruelty-free blended with Vitamin E, green tea, and carrot extracts.

You’ll enjoy a water resistance of 40 minutes and it contains no fragrance.

It’s also free of Oxybenzone, Parabens, Phthalates, Glutens and artificial fragrances.

9. Tatjacket Spot-On Tattoo Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 30

Tatjacket Spot-On Tattoo Sunscreen Lotion

This comes in a larger bottle than most of the other options and provides easy protection of the skin.

It prevents color fade of your tattoo while keeping you from that dreaded halo effect.

Buyers Guide: Sunscreen For Tattoos

If you’re planning to protect your tattoos from the sun, there are some things you will want to consider before making that purchase.

Use this quick guide to help you navigate my top choices listed above.

Broad Spectrum Protection

You’ll always want to read the labels and choose a product that offers broad specrum protection.

Your skin is exposed to both UVA and UVB rays, but not all products protect against both. This is because the light radiation permeates the skin layers differently.

Your outermost layer of skin is referred to as the epidermis. UVB rays can damage this layer causing it to either tan or burn.

Below that is the dermis. While the dermis isn’t affected by the UVB rays the UVA rays will penetrate down to this layer and can be associated with premature aging.

To battle the damage of both of these rays, you’ll want complete protection.

SPF Ratings

Sunscreen products come in a wide variety of protection levels measured by Sun Protection Factors or SPF for short.

You’ll find products as low as 4 to as high as 100. When dealing with tattoos, you ideally want to pick a formulation with between 30-50 SPF.

The SPF is an indication of how many UVB rays will penetrate your skin instead of being reflected or absorbed by the sunscreen.

For example, SPF 15 will protect you from about 93 percent of UVB rays while an SPF 30 protects against 97 percent.

There isn’t, however, a big increase between the SPF 30 or the SPF 50, as the latter only increases to 98 percent protection against UVB rays.

Contrary to what many people believe, a larger number does not mean that you can spend longer in the sun without reapplying.

You should also put more sunscreen on after being in the water or outside for any length of time. When it doubt, it’s safer to reapply.

Natural vs Chemical

Many people don’t want to expose themselves to what they deem to be harmful chemicals.

While most of the options on the market aren't made of entirely natural ingredients, there are some better options available if this is important to you.

Before purchasing, consider what ingredients you’re willing to use and read all labels carefully to ensure that your desires are being fulfilled. If you want a product that's cruelty-free, that's also something you should be able to find on the label.


What's your preferred method of application? Many people use spray formulas which have become more popular over the past few years.

They're great if you need to cover a larger area but there hasn’t been a lot of research done on the problems they can cause if inhaled. In addition, they often provide a false sense of protection as it can be easy to miss areas when spraying.

For a more reliable coverage, you might want to use the lotions which rub on easily or sticks which are perfect for smaller areas.

The smaller sticks are also great for keeping in a purse, briefcase or beach bag for easy access whenever you find yourself in the sun.

Frequency Of Use

Do you work in the sun or will you only need protection during vacation?

If you need a daily formula, be sure you pay special attention to moisturizers provided in the formula.

A gentle moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated and allow your tattoo color to remain vibrant and fresh.

A soothing and gentle moisturizer shouldn’t irritate your skin, even during daily use.

A quality moisturizer will keep the colors vibrant and bright for many years in the future.

You may want to consider using after sun moisturizing when returning indoors for maximum effects.

sunblock for tattoos


When deciding on the best sunscreen for tattoos, you can now see that there are many aspects to consider.

While the market has a nice selection of products available, there may only be a few that are desirable to you.

Keep in mind that you made a hefty investment by getting a tattoo and it’s worth spending your time and money to protect against future fading.

A little work now will go a long way to providing the optimal color and style down the road.

If you want to hear from an expert about protecting your tattoos from the sun, be sure to check out this YouTube video.