Last week, in part 1 of the series on the sun, we talked about the sun and what it does to your skin. This week, in part 2, we will talk about the best ways to protect your skin, especially areas that are being treated with laser tattoo removal. We will discuss what you should look for in a sunscreen. Finally, we will cover (pun intended) the need for year-round sun protection – something that often gets overlooked in the throes of Milwaukee winters!
How should I protect my skin?
It is best to avoid the sun as much as you can especially when a newly treated tattoo is healing. Exposing the tattoo to the sun, even for as little as 20 minutes, can be damaging. This isn’t possible all the time so there are a few different ways that you can take precaution to protect your skin from the sun.
The first is protecting it by covering it with something that acts as a physical barrier from the sun. Some ideas would be clothing (some clothes even contain UV protectors), opaque tape, or bandages. Do not, however, put tape on a freshly treated tattoo! This option works best if your tattoo is located somewhere that can be covered easily.
If you can’t physically cover up your tattoo while you are enjoying the Milwaukee sun, the next best option is sunscreen. There are many different brands and types of sunscreens out there and it can feel overwhelming to choose one.
How do I choose a sunscreen?
There are two kinds of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s UV rays and converting them into heat energy. Physical sunscreens, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, work by creating a physical barrier between the sun and your skin. Both can be effective for protecting your tattoos and skin from the sun.
There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that the sun gives out: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). You want your sunscreen to protect against both of them so the first thing you need to look for is the word broad spectrum.
The next thing to look for is the sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF measures the amount of UVB protection you will receive. An SPF of 15 would give your tattoo protection from 93% of the UVB rays while an SPF of 50 would give you protection from 98% of the UVB rays. It is recommended to use an SPF of 50 or higher to protect your tattoo.
Finally, you should research the active ingredients in the sunscreen and make sure they are something you are comfortable putting on your skin. There are many natural and mineral based sunscreens available. If you are going to be swimming or working out and getting sweaty, you will want to find a sunscreen that is water or sweat resistant.
When should I apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before you go out in the sun and reapplied every two hours or more if you are sweating or swimming. Make it a habit to carry sunscreen in your purse or car so you are always ready to protect your tattoo from the sun!
Don’t just apply sunscreen on days that you can see the sun. Sunscreen should be applied every day – even on days that are overcast. The UV rays go through the clouds. Being out on a cloudy day without protection can cause as much sun damage to your tattoo as being out on a sunny day!
Sunscreen isn’t just a summer thing, especially when you are going through laser tattoo removal. Applying sunscreen should become a yearlong habit. Whether the weather is cold or hot, the sun is still giving off UV rays.
We want to make sure you get the best results from your laser tattoo removal session at Remove a Tattoo – a laser tattoo removal clinic. Remove A Tattoo is located in Glendale. We provide laser tattoo removal to the greater Milwaukee area, Mequon to Port Washington, Brookfield to Waukesha, Milwaukee to Oak Creek. Give us a call today to set up your free consult visit and to begin the process of removing your tattoo!