Getting Tattoos in the Summer

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 5, 2020
    Last Updated: December 26, 2020

Tattoos are a year-round activity. People get them on their birthday, on Valentine’s Day, when it’s snowing outside, and especially when it’s hot outside when everyone is showing lots of skin.

If you’ve decided to get a tattoo in the summer, there are some tips you should follow to make sure both the appointment and the aftercare process go as smoothly as possible, especially as the sun and its harmful UV rays can do lots of damage to your fresh new ink, if you’re not careful.

Preparing For a Summer Tattoo

Preparing for a tattoo is as important as the aftercare process.

If you’re getting a tattoo in the summer, chances are you’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the sun. Leading up to your appointment, keep the spot you plan on getting tattooed covered up to let it return to its natural pigment as much as possible. 

If you show up with a slight burn or heavy, unnatural tan, your artist will most likely turn you away and postpone the appointment, forfeiting your deposit. If you have any peeling due to a sunburn, then the final result could be damaged as your skin heals and flakes away. Not to mention, tattooing on top of sunburn would be considerably painful.

Regardless of the time of year, eat before your appointment and stay hydrated.

Tattoo Aftercare in the Summer

A fresh tattoo is the same as an open wound. You may have had people warn you against getting a tattoo in the summer, saying it’s dangerous. 

The truth is that it’s not dangerous as long as you go into your appointment prepared and with an adequate aftercare plan that involves staying hydrated, avoiding the sun, and staying out of the pool.

Stay Hydrated

It’s no secret that your body functions better when it’s hydrated. Hotter weather means that you get dehydrated faster, therefore, you need to keep up your water intake. Dry, irritated, and inflamed skin is a warning sign of dehydration, and unhealthy skin will only delay the tattoo healing process.

A good way of keeping your tattoo as hydrated and nourished as possible is by applying a thin layer of healing lotion to the area after each time you clean it, (remember to ensure the area is completely dry first).

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

Avoid the Sun

Much like before getting a tattoo in the summer, you should also avoid the sun after you’ve got your tattoo

Even if you’re only going outside for a few minutes, if your tattoo will be in direct sunlight, you should use a layer of tattoo-safe sunscreen on the area. There are limitations and ingredients that you need to be aware of before applying anything to your tattoo. 

A broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against the sun’s rays is the best way to go; anything from 30 to 50 SPF is acceptable. You can use a higher SPF, though anything beyond 50 SPF levels in protection. 

Apply a thin layer of sunscreen before going outside to ensure you’re not subjecting your new tattoo to heat, germs, and your own sweat. Wash your hands before applying the sunscreen to reduce the number of bacteria that can get into your tattoo. Ensure that you don’t apply too much sunscreen or you risk overhydrating your tattoo and causing damage to the design.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours or so if you’re spending constant time in the sun. If you’re going to be out and about for more than a few hours, your best bet is to cover the tattoo entirely with loose clothing. Of course, tattoos need time to breathe as they heal, therefore, if you can avoid spending lots of time in the sun and stay inside, you should do so until further into the healing process.

If your tattoo does end up getting sunburnt, apply pure aloe vera and take it easy. One minor instance may not end up affecting the appearance of your tattoo, yet multiple sunburns can.

The sun can do a lot of damage to your tattoo over the years

Stay Away From the Pool

The amount of bacteria in public pools and hot tubs is not a new problem. It may be tempting to jump into the pool and go swimming immediately after getting your tattoo, however, this is one of the worst things you can do.

As we stated previously, a tattoo is just like an open wound.

This isn’t restricted to pools and hot tubs either. You’re also at risk of an infection if you go swimming in the ocean or a lake as well. If you are luckily enough to bypass an infection, there is an additional risk of getting bumped into or slamming into a rock or a pool wall, damaging the surface of your tattoo.

Even after a month of the healing process, you should still be wary of swimming. The best thing you can do is to get the approval from your tattoo artist that it’s okay to start hitting the waves again, as long as your tattoo has finished flaking and scabbing.

Keep Traveling to a Minimum

In the United States, 80% of families that travel do so during the summertime. 

Imagine sitting in an airplane seat or car seat for hours on end; if the tattoo you’ve decided to get will be placed in an uncomfortable area such as the back of your thigh or your lower back, then you’ll experience a high level of discomfort. Not to mention, the bacteria in public transportation methods like planes, trains, and taxis, rivals the bacteria we mentioned in public pools.

If you have wiggle room in your schedule, then try to arrange your tattoo appointment two weeks before your trip at the minimum. Also, be sure to consider the weather conditions where you’ll be traveling; hot and dry can mean you’ll need to moisturize your tattoo more frequently, while humid weather will mean battling with sweat and clogged pores.

If you must travel with a fresh tattoo, take frequent pit stops to inspect and reapply moisturizer or clean your tattoo. A tattoo can also get suffocated by being covered for too long or be affected by the material of your clothing rubbing against it.


Getting a new tattoo during the summertime can be completely safe and easy as long as you follow proper aftercare procedures.

Before your appointment, follow the recommendations set forth regardless of the time of year, including getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, and eating a solid meal. Afterward, continue drinking lots of water, avoid long periods in direct sunlight, stay away from swimming, and if you must travel, try to keep it to a minimum or take frequent pit stops.

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