Sunlight is the enemy of tattoos, and will slowly destroy them. All the time, effort, and expense you put into a tattoo, and it fades, blurs, and becomes a shadow. You can protect your precious body art, though, with a tattoo sunscreen. After a thorough review of many of the options available, we’ve found that the best tattoo sunscreen is INK Tattoo’s spray-on sunscreen.
Best Tattoo Sunscreen
Spray-on sunscreen is one of the greatest inventions in tattoo skincare. It is easier to apply than pump lotions are. And for those with new tattoos, you can easily apply this sunscreen without needing to touch your tattoos any more than necessary when they’re healing.
INK’s tattoo SPF50+ Broad Spectrum sunscreen formula (mainly Homosalate, Octocrylene, and Ocisalate) is thin enough to provide optimum coverage. It’s also packed with hydrators and emollients to keep your skin nourished.
The water-resistant formula makes it great for outdoor use, and if you sweat a lot, this tattoo sunscreen is your go-to option!
See our product reviews section for more information on INK’s sunscreen.
Runner Up: Best Sunscreen for Tattoos
Formulated with beeswax, paraffin and sunflower oil, Tattoo Goo’s Aftercare Kit is an excellent choice for all-around tattoo care. It’s great for new tattoos, and given the kit it comes with, it’s definitely worth the money and worth the results.
It’s also a great gift for the new tattoo-owner!
The sunscreen helps to protect your tattoo against 98% of UVB exposure you’re bound to get (but it doesn’t appear to be broad-spectrum). And it also helps to keep your tattoo nice and itch-free. Besides, the emollients are great to prevent horrible peeling and offer extraordinary sun protection!
For further details, see the Product Reviews section below.
Budget Choice: Tattoo Sunblock
Cannasmack’s SPF30+ sunscreen is infused with hempseed oil, and includes some ultra-nourishing and hydrating ingredients.
It’s a sweat-proof formula that uses Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Meradimate, and Octisalate to protect the skin. We do note that this is not a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and may not protect your tattoo (or your skin!) from harmful UVA rays.
The sweat-proof formula is great for those who swim a lot or sweat a lot and the best part is that the stick glides on smoothly, making it great for a quick touch up with minimal mess. The product stands out for its cute packaging and is easy to carry around. If you’re looking for a very hydrating formula to prevent unsightly tattoo peeling, get this sunscreen stick now!
See the product reviews section below for more information on this tattoo sunblock.
Tattoo Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide
Experts and tattoo artists know that the higher the SPF, the better the sunscreen. But the SPF isn’t the only thing to keep in mind when considering tattoos and sun exposure. As this article on the benefits of sun exposure and tanning discusses, you need to be aware of some other factors when it comes to sunscreen for tattoos.
Let’s look at a few important considerations here.
One of the major issues when considering sunscreens is whether or not the particular formula is broad-spectrum or not. Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide protection against both UVA and UVB light. For decades, it has been assumed that only UVB light is particularly harmful when it comes to excess UV exposure. But gradually, scientists have discovered that UVA radiation is dangerous as well.
The FDA has allowed sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB to be labeled as Broad Spectrum. These are going to provide the best protection, and are generally what you want to purchase.
Not all sunscreens are made equally. In fact, many of the sunscreens currently for sale in the US are considered old and tired in Europe, where their sunscreen approval process is much faster than in the US. Consequently, there are several types of sunscreen still for sale in the US that have some concern about them.
Many sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, including such common ones as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and homosalate. Oxybenzone, in particular, has come under scrutiny for being potentially harmful to pregnant women and young children. It is also considered to be harmful to reefs.
Mineral sunscreens like Zinc Oxide don’t get absorbed into the skin. However, they are almost universally only sold as lotions and require a lot of rubbing in to dissipate. This makes them less than ideal for tattoo protection.
Sunscreen that contains natural moisturizers is essential for tattoos. Because tattoos are essentially wounds, when they heal, they will peel, exposing fresh skin, which needs tons of care. A sunscreen that contains hydrating ingredients and has a high SPF factor is your best bet. Like the ones we have listed above, look for tattoo sunscreens that have natural ingredients – these don’t bother the skin!
This is especially important with tattoos on the face, like eyebrow tattoos or microbladed eyebrows.
Your tattoo sunscreen should also be devoid of silicones, fragrance and dyes. Sure, the traditional smell of sunscreen can be quite off putting, but here’s a secret that the beauty industry won’t tell you: the stronger the fragrance, the more suspicious the ingredients. Besides, additives like silicones and parabens are actually harmful to the human endocrine system, and not to mention, tattoos!
Tattoo tanning lotions are also a good idea if you’re considering going out in the sun with a tattoo.
Artificial dyes in sunscreen can hamper your tattoo’s settling process. They can interfere with the ink and may create unsightly blotches of random color you weren’t expecting.
Tattoo artists strictly instruct their clients to forgo products with artificial colors and fragrances – so pick a sunscreen that doesn’t contain either.
Like any sunscreen, you want to keep in mind whether or not your tattoo sunscreen is water-resistant. If you’re going to be out swimming, or even just exercising and sweating a lot, you’ll need a water-resistant sunscreen. Just keep in mind that water resistance is not measured in real-world conditions, and you should almost always reapply your sunscreen after swimming, regardless of whether or not it is labeled water-resistant or not.
This is because the resistance rating doesn’t take into account getting dried with a towel, the motion of the waves, etc.
For a birds eye view of sunscreens, you can see our mega post on the best sunscreen for everything.
Tattoo Sunscreen Reviews
In this section, we’ll look closely at five of our favorite tattoo sunscreens. We’ll start with a comparison table to get oriented, and then go into the individual reviews. We’ll conclude with our favorites.
Key Points at a Glance
- Spray-on formula
- SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum protection
- Great for tattoos in unreachable areas
- Antioxidants prevent ink from fading
- Enhances tattoo’s vibrancy
- Includes avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and homosalate.
INK’s broad-spectrum sunscreen offers an SPF50+ rating, offering superb UVA and UVB protection. This is essential for tattoos – new and old.
The fine mist covers your skin with a toxin-free and fragrance-free product, which doesn’t mess with your tattoo’s healing process and doesn’t make it itchy. Formulated with coconut oil, aloe vera and Vitamin E, INK’s sunscreen contains a healthy blend of natural moisturizers and emollients to keep your skin hydrated and supple. It also contains antioxidants which help protect your ink from free radical damage and prevents fading of ink.
This formula has been certified as a vegan product and is advertised as reef safe. The primary sunscreen ingredients are avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and homosalate. There is no oxybenzone in the product.
The spray-on formula helps you protect tattooed skin that is otherwise hard to reach, such as your back or the back of your legs. Customers love that it provides general protection against sunburn, which is detrimental to tattoos and skin in general. Peeling skin can actually peel off layers of the ink, leaving you with a blotchy tattoo.
And the best part? It adds vibrancy to your tattoo’s appearance! Amazing, right?!
Furthermore, it doesn’t leave an oily or greasy residue and a horrible white cast behind. It’s a bit of an investment, and some customers would prefer cheaper alternatives. However, if you’ve already paid so much for a tattoo, why not invest in its aftercare, too?
The Bottom Line
Yeah, this stuff is a little pricey, especially if you’re looking to cover a very large tattoo! However, INK’s tattoo sunscreen is a worthy investment as it delivers what it promises. Besides, the oil-free and white cast free formula makes it great for daily wear.
This vegan product has loyal customers worldwide. Its broad-spectrum, high-SPF, toxin-free, and reef safe formula, in our opinion, is absolutely worth splurging on. However, if you’re still iffy about the price, there are other great options to check out. But if you want the best, go check out this tattoo sunscreen on Amazon now!
Key Points at a Glance
- Travel-friendly kit
- Great for first-timers
- Enhances color vibrancy
- Provides hydration and a high SPF
Tattoo Goo’s Tattoo Aftercare Kit is an excellent choice for those looking for not just sunblock, but a kit of tattoo-friendly lotions, soap, and care products.
This Amazon’s Choice product comes in a super cute package and contains:
- Tattoo Goo Renew with UV Sunscreen SPF 30
- Tattoo Aftercare Lotion
- Deep Cleansing Soap For Tattoos and Piercings
- Tattoo Goo Original Tin
- Only protects against UVB radiation
The stellar kit is the ultimate solution for those who got their first tattoo or are on the move. If you’re planning on getting your tattoo on vacation, this kit is great to take along.
Promising to provide healing, preservation, rejuvenation and more for your tattoo, this affordable and easy-to-carry around kit stars the amazing Color Guard Sunscreen, which offers a substantial SPF 30 and provides better sun protection than ordinary sunscreens.
As for the sunscreen selection in Tattoo Goo’s kit, this sunscreen is made up primarily of homosalate, with avobenzone, and octinoxate in the mix as well. The sunscreen contains beeswax, paraffin and sunflower oil to provide intense hydration to tattoos that are in their healing stages.
It’s advertised as reef-safe, which is nice. However, it does not appear to be broad spectrum. It, therefore, may not provide complete protection against UVA radiation exposure.
Customers love the easy to use sunscreen and love how it helps to enhance the tattoo ink’s vibrancy and protect against unwanted tanning.
Besides, this product is formulated by the pros of tattoos and piercings, so if you’re looking for a product to take care of your first tattoo, this kit should be your Holy Grail for the first three weeks. Order now from Amazon!
The Bottom Line
For a surprisingly reasonable price, you can get this four-piece tattoo care kit at your doorstep! If you’re travelling or being lazy about taking care of your tattoo, this care kit has all the right things you need to keep your tattoo looking brand new for years to come. Tattoo Goo’s kit comes with antibacterial soap, a balm, lotion and of course, this amazing sunscreen.
However, if you have large tattoos, the lotion and sunscreen might not be enough, especially because you’ll be reapplying it quite often if you’re hitting the great outdoors. But it’s a great start to caring for your tattoos, and the rest of the products are a big help as well!
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Key Points at a Glance
- Includes Hemp Seed Oil
- Great for use on facial tattoos or microbladed skin
- Stick formula is water-resistant and glides smoothly
- Hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic
- Only protects against UVB radiation
Thanks to CannaSmack, this rub-on sunblock combines the best ingredients to provide healing, protection and brightening effects to your tattoos and skin.
Formulated with Omega-3, Omega-6, Hemp Seed Oil and Vitamins A, B, D and E, the sunscreen provides powerful protection against the sun that could tamper with your ink. In terms of sunscreens, this one uses Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Meradimate, and Octisalate. It’s not ideal for pregnant women, nor is a good choice for diving and snorkeling.
However, CannaSmack’s sunscreen provides rich nourishment to your skin, while the non-comedogenic and water-resistant formula stays on for long and feels easy on your skin.
This unique UVB protecting product (not UVA-protecting, though) is hypoallergenic. It’s even safe to use on facial tattoos, micro bladed eyebrows, and micro bladed lips. Its wide array of uses makes it an Amazon’s Choice product with a 4.6/6 stars rating!
The stick applies like silk and makes your skin feel like satin. It contains enough emollients to even heal chapped skin. These ingredients make it a great investment if you’re getting tattooed in the winter or have super dry skin.
Customers love the compact, stylish packaging. It’s easy to carry around and the stick formula makes it resistant to spills. Hence, it is easy to touch up tattoos every now and then pre and post-sun exposure.
However, if you’ve got greasy skin or sweat a lot, you’re probably going to reapply the stick a bit more than usual. But what harm does extra sun protection do anyway, right?
This breathable sunscreen for tattoos is fragrance-free and sweat proof. It helps to protect your skin against friction and allergies. Just remember it is not a UVA-protecting sunscreen.
The Bottom Line
If you’re always in a hurry and hate the mess of ordinary sunscreens, this stick formula is going to be your lifesaver. All you have to do is screw open the cap, glide it over your skin and recap it – without any greasy residue on your hands! And because it’s sweatproof, it’s a great investment for athletes and those who swim.
However, the quantity is small. So if you have a large tattoo you’re looking to protect from the sun, you may want to pick up multiples of these sticks. After all, they’re pretty cheap! Oh, it also doesn’t leave a white cast, so it’s a win-win.
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- PARABEN-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, SULFATE-FREE, COLOR-FREE, FRAGRANCE-FREE:...
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Key Points at a Glance
- Prevents ink discoloration and fading
- Protects from sunburn
- All-natural ingredients
- Provides broad-spectrum protection
Everybody loves Australian Gold’s sun products! They’re high quality and inexpensive. This tattoo sunscreen is no exception. Positioned at a fairly low price, and rated with the Amazon’s Choice title, this uber-cute sunscreen is tinier than your palm but does the job like no other!
The stick formula glides smoothly over even the tiniest tattoos making it great to use on facial tattoos and small finger tattoos.
Formulated with olive oil, Australian tea tree oil, sunflower oil and Vitamin E, the stick sunscreen for tattoos does an amazing job of enhancing your skin and tattoos’ vibrancy and elasticity. The SPF 50 provides over 98% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays, making it a powerful product to keep around. It’s broad spectrum in coverage, and the stick application is quite easy to put on.
The sunscreen stick also contains aloe vera and sunflower seed extracts which help protect your ink and skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals can actually break down your tattoo’s ink leaving you with spotty and inconsistent tattoo colors.
Natural, hydrating and with a great SPF count, this little pop-up stick can be carried around in your pocket for quick touch-ups every now and then.
The Bottom Line
For those who need constant sun protection and have tattoos in exposed areas (face, neck and hands), this sunscreen stick is one of the best investments to make. It’s cheap, high-SPF, broad-spectrum, and lasts longer than expected. It has a great formula which your skin will enjoy.
However, if you have tattoos that are large and on unreachable spans of skin, maybe avoid getting this stick unless you’re really flexible and can rub it onto those areas!
Either way, this all-natural sunscreen it is a great alternative to conventional sunscreens that usually leave a stubborn white cast, which feels sticky and takes hours to wash off.
- Australian Gold.
- Tatoo Stick SPF50.
Key Points at a Glance
- Formulated by pharmacists
- All natural ingredients
- Heals and protects tattoos extensively
- Soothing enough for sensitive skin
- Broad-spectrum protection
What’s cheap, amazing and powerful? This fantastic broad-spectrum sunscreen ointment, of course!
Retailing for a surprisingly low price, this travel-friendly sunscreen for tattoos comes in ointment form. It’s packed with bisabolol, calendula, and vitamin E to nourish and soothe your skin. For protection, this lotion provides broad-spectrum coverage and uses primarily Octinoxate and avobenzone as sunscreen ingredients.
The ointment is recommended by tattoo artists and professionals alike for its color enhancing abilities. The emollients in the sunscreen help to protect the skin’s uppermost layer from any sun, UVA and UVB contact. It’s great to use when going out, and only a small amount is needed a few times a day to keep your tattoo protected and moisturized.
Just remember to be as gentle as possible when applying the lotion sunscreen, especially if your tattoo is on the new side.
The travel-friendly tube is great to carry around, especially if you’re always on the go and need constant sun protection. The formula is great for those with sensitive skin and for those with dry skin. The sunscreen also works great on tattoos that are peeling, relieving you of any itching and deterring any ink from peeling if caught on clothing.
If this is your first tattoo, this is an excellent choice. Just be gentle when applying it!
The Bottom Line
Natural ingredients are always the best when it comes to skin and tattoos. Although a bit greasy, the broad-spectrum ointment is quickly absorbed and leaves your skin smooth and plump. It’s even safe to use on your facial tattoos because of the soothing effects of various ingredients in the tube.
However, if you’re not a fan of greasy sun protectant, consider out our other options. But it’s a great idea to keep this tattoo ointment around for the first few weeks when your tattoo is healing. Seriously, you’re going to need the extra moisture – tattoo healing can be quite annoying!
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Sunblock isn’t something you want to skimp out on!. Thanks to the innumerable UVA and UVB rays all around us, skin cancers and pigmentation problems are very common. Along with that, the sun isn’t your tattoo’s best friend either, and unfortunately, no tattoo ink is able to bear intense sun exposure.
To make your tattoo last long before a touch-up, and keep its original vibrancy, it’s essential you protect it from external factors. That is why you have sunscreens!
With a generous amount of these sun-protecting products, you and your tattoos are well on your way to enjoy the great outdoors. Go for a hike, swim in a pool or take a long walk by the lake – as long as you’ve got a healthy amount of sunscreen or sun lotion on, your skin and tattoos are good to go.
Our top pick is, of course, the INK The Original’s Tattoo Sunscreen Spray (SPF 50+ and Water Resistant), which delivers high quality and very long-lasting protection against the sun.
Following this is our runner up, the Tattoo Goo’s Tattoo Aftercare Kit, which is a brilliant tattoo aftercare kit.
And lastly, our Best Budget Pick is the CannaSmack’s Ink Guard SPF 30 Tattoo Sunscreen And Ink Fade Shield Stick, which has been a favorite since it first came out.
So what are you waiting for? Take your pick!