Simple Tips To Keep Your Tattoo Looking Fresh Through Summer

Tattoos have continued to grow more and more common, with Statista reporting that 26% of Americans have at least one. Flowers, hearts, and landscapes are among the most popular requests, and, although many of us avoid creepy crawly creatures in real life, insect designs are truly having a moment. It turns out, a lot of people are also searching for permanent ink that pays tribute to their alma maters. "Most of them would get their frat or sorority logos and symbols. We also get a lot of school-pride tattoos," North Carolina-based artist Kelly Kapowski told Insider.

Although small finger tattoos are all over social media, some artists will advise against them. "Finger tattoos are challenging because the skin on our hands is constantly in motion. We use our hands so much . . . that the ink fades fast," tattoo artist Rosa Bluestone Perr explained to Coveteur. Opening doors, washing dishes, and writing to-do lists make the ink not only fade quicker but also increase the difficulty of the healing process. 

The bottom line? Common tattoo mistakes like incorrect placement and improper aftercare can be expensive to cover up. Things like sun exposure and dehydration can dull your beautiful body art, especially during the summer. Here's how to keep that ink looking fresh in tank-top weather. Step one: add SPF to your shopping cart.

Sunscreen is always a must

Summertime often means wedding season, soft serve ice cream trips, and, by the time August rolls around, cranking up the AC and counting down the days until fall. Along the way, a few sunburns are more are less inevitable. With this in mind, it's far better to book a new tattoo in the winter. During colder seasons, you can guarantee at least a few weeks of long sleeves and comfy pants to cover up your new ink. Although UV rays are particularly damaging for new ink, they can also fade healed body art over time.

"Sun protection is a vital component in keeping tattoos looking their best," dermatologist Naissan O. Wesley tells Allure, adding, "Sun damage leads to poorer skin quality — less dense collagen, wrinkling, mottled pigmentation — and also results in tattoo color fading more quickly." To keep your tattoo looking fresh throughout the summer, make sure to apply (and reapply) plenty of sunscreen. This will help preserve your skin's elasticity. Don't forget to freshen up your SPF every two hours, as Johns Hopkins Medicine suggested, especially if it's one of those super sweaty summer days.

Keep your skin moisturized inside and out

As any artist will tell you, unscented creams are an important part of the tattoo healing process. However, although your skin should be fully recovered after three months, this doesn't mean you can take a step back from hydration. "The important thing is to buy a moisturizer that is right for your age and skin type," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Roopal Bhatt advises U.S. Dermatology Partners, noting that dry skin can dull the appearance of your tattoo. "Whatever type of moisturizer you would normally use on your skin should work well; just remember to apply it every day." Tattoos aren't cheap, and getting your ink retouched is no drop in the bucket either. Investing in a $10 bottle of lotion is more than worth it, it may actually save you in the long run.

What's more, keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. That means drinking plenty of water each day — most doctors recommend between six and eight full glasses, to be exact. Water will not only help with elasticity, but it can also do wonders for blood flow and your skin's overall tone.

After the first few months of healing have passed, treat your tattoo to a more in-depth skincare routine. Dermatologist Dr. Edgar Fincher recommends alpha hydroxy acids (think glycolic and lactic acid serums) and retinol to Allure.