With the impending arrival of the summer season, everyone is getting ready to show some skin and get in the water. People are also getting inspired to get their next tattoo or piercing to accent their beachy summer look. Before you decide to rush off to the closest tattoo shop or piercing parlor, keep in mind just a few things.
Piercings should heal for at least one month before entering the water!
- Lake and ocean water are dirty enough to cause pretty intense infections in deep puncture wounds and pool water contains tons of harsh chemicals that will severely irritate any piercing it comes into contact with. Saltwater pools are off limits for this time frame, as well.
Fresh piercings should have very limited sun exposure!
- UVA and UVB rays can cause an excess of damage around a piercing that is already working hard to heal. Sunburns can cause great amounts of irritation and flaking off of skin around a fresh piercing, compromising the piercing itself and increasing risk of rejection.
Sunscreen should NEVER come into contact with a healing piercing
- The chemicals in sunscreen are extremely abrasive on broken skin, and the sticky texture causes debris and germs to easily stick to and infiltrate a fresh piercing.
Tattoos must heal for at least three weeks before entering water
- Submerging a tattoo in water before it is properly healed can cause infection in the early healing stages. In the later stages, it can cause the fresh skin that grows over a new tattoo to swell up and slide off the body. It’s very painful, very itchy, and can reopen the tattoo to the possibility of infection.
Tattoos should not come into contact with direct sunlight
- Getting tattooed causes the same type and amount of damage as a severe sunburn. Adding more of that same type of damage on top of a concentrated area can have painful effects that cause your tattoo to heal very poorly and much more slowly.
Sunscreen should NEVER go onto a fresh tattoo
- For the same reasons as it should not go on a fresh piercing. sunscreen should not touch a new tattoo for at least three weeks after getting it.
Sunscreen SHOULD be applied to healed tattoos before sun exposure
- To preserve the colors and not subject the tattoo to sun bleaching, sunscreen should always be applied over healed tattoos when covering them with clothing is not possible. For color tattoos, this will keep lighter tones (yellow, orange, pink) from fading into obscurity. For black and grey pieces, this keeps the black values as dark and rich as possible while preserving small, light details.
Look into the portfolio of every tattoo artist and piercer you will be working with
- This is more of a general rule that should always be followed, but is easily forgotten during vacations. The temptation to get a tattoo or piercing to commemorate a trip can be overwhelming, but use discretion in what you get and from whom you get it. A lot of shops in tourist-flooded areas don’t perform as immaculate work on out-of-towners because they know the likelihood that those people will return to complain or ask for a touch-up/repierce is very low.
Be careful out there this summer and most importantly…make good decisions! Stay safe and have fun, everyone.