Can you tan after laser tattoo removal? Oh, sure, you can – but should you? The answer is – absolutely not. After spending months faithfully attending your tattoo removal sessions and finally eradicating your unwanted tattoo, you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the healing process

Let’s start by discussing the effects of the sun on the skin in general – whether or not you have a tattoo. Yes, having a tan can make you feel healthy and look as if you are glowing, but UV (ultraviolet) rays actually damage skin cells. 

We all need vitamin D to keep our bones healthy, and direct sunlight (ultraviolet B radiation) converts the cholesterol in your skin cells into calciferol, an active vitamin D. However, too much sun exposure is not a good thing. 

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), “excessive exposure to UV carries profound health risks,” including:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Atrophy
  • Wrinkling
  • Pigmentary changes

Also, remember that it is possible to get vitamin D from other sources:

  • Fortified milk and cereals
  • Fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel, or sardines)
  • Vitamin supplements

What makes too much sun exposure especially unwise for those who have had laser tattoo removal treatments? 

There is a risk of scarring or hyperpigmentation if you try to tan too soon after your sessions. Remember when you were at the beginning of your tattoo removal journey? We advised you to stay out of the sun for at least two months before your first session. 

This was because the sun’s rays cause melanin production, and more melanin means more pigment on your tattoo – which could lead to the necessity for more sessions. 

We also warned you not to expose yourself to sun rays in between sessions because sunburns could weaken your skin or increase your risk of scarring. 

Now that you are approaching the end of your laser treatments, our advice hasn’t changed: stay out of the sun as much as possible. 

However, if you need to be in the sun for a short time, wear loose-fitting clothing that protects you, and use sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 50. 

We can anticipate your next question: How long should I avoid direct sunlight on my beautifully tattoo-less skin

For at least two months. 

Yes, this seems like a long time, but trust us, it’s worth it.

What about fake spray tans?

Fake tanning products can keep the harmful UV radiation away from your skin, but they introduce a few other issues. Spray tans use DHA (dihydroxyacetone) to interact with and darken your epidermis’s dead surface skin cells. Playing around with skin pigmentation isn’t a good idea when your body and immune system need to be at their healthiest. Wait at least two weeks before using any kind of self-tanner. 

Remember that you and your skin are beautiful just as they are. Even when you have patiently (or impatiently!) waited for two months past your last tattoo removal session and are looking forward to stretching out next to the pool or hiking to the top of Mt. Sniktau, please wear sunscreen – for the sake of your future skin.

The best way to know is to ask!

When you’re ready to look into laser tattoo removal, you must find a professional and expert technician you trust. Before committing to anything, you can come for a free consultation here at Ink-B-Gone, the leading laser tattoo removers. We will gladly answer your questions so that you feel confident about the next steps. You may also be interested in reading our blog: Can I Go In the Sun After Laser Tattoo Removal?

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