It’s been fairly common over the last decade or so for people to make a few trips to their local tanning salon prior to the start of summer, or before heading somewhere tropical in the middle of winter.  Most will tell you it’s to get a good base coat on before laying out on a beach or by a pool for long periods of time, and many believe it will help reduce the chances of sunburn.  Meanwhile, others will use a tanning bed year round, as they believe it gives them a boost of energy and a healthy glow.

Recently though, the FDA has released a report that contradicts these common beliefs.  Some direct quotes from the official findings are,

  • Any tan is a sign of skin damage
  • Over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer.

Additionally, the NCI (National Cancer Institute), exposure to UV radiation—whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used in tanning beds—increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

Tanning Bed

Aside from cancer, other risks associated with exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays include:

  • Premature aging
  • Immune suppression
  • Eye damage
  • Allergic reaction

And yet, we haven’t even touched on tattoos or laser tattoo removal yet!  Over time, the sun’s harmful rays will deteriorate the integrity of your tattoos, causing them to look dull, faded or even fuzzy or blurry as the lines loose their sharpness.  Being overly tan also prevents us from doing laser tattoo removal on clients, as it will effectively remove the pigment in the tan and not be as efficient to the pigment from the tattoo.

For small tattoos, we strongly encourage the use of Coppertone Tattoo Guard, which we’ve written about in the past and is conveniently available in a lotion, spray and stick.  With 14.5% zink and added moisturizers, it will help keep your skin soft and protect the investment in time and money you have in your tattoos.  For the rest of you, and your family, please read our article, not all sunscreen is equal, an unbiased guide by Consumer Reports which debunks the common SPF numbers and high-priced brands, you might be in for a shock.  There is also information about how to apply both lotion and spray, and how often.

We’re not suggesting you ignore the beauty that is nature and stay locked in a windowless room for the rest of your life though, we too like to enjoy and explore the beauty of nature.  At the same time, we want to insure that you not only stay healthy, but that the tattoos you have will continue to look great for decades to come.  It’s also important to keep your skin healthy if you’re contemplating laser tattoo removal, undergoing laser tattoo removal treatments or taking the summer off between treatments.  For this reason, and to help keep active people protected, please read how to protect your tattoos, it’s easier now than ever before.

Get active, stay protected and love your tattoos for years to come!