Protecting tattoos from the sun means covering them in a high-level SPF sunblock, wearing protective clothing or avoiding the sun altogether. Overexposure to sunlight makes the colors of the tattoo fade.
People who spend a lot of time in the sun need to cover the tattoo with a minimum of 30 SPF sunblock. They should re-apply the sunblock frequently, especially if spending time in the water or exercising. Waterproof or zinc-based sunblock helps in those cases. Clothing made of tightly woven fabrics, especially in dark colors, is another effective protection against the sun. In fact, according to GuidelineTattoos.com, new tattoos should be protected from the sun in this manner for the first six months, preferably avoiding the sun altogether. Clothing with built-in sun protection is preferable. The sun can blister or damage the newly healing epidermal cells, thus bleaching the tattoo pigment. If a sunburn occurs on a new tattoo, scarring can result.
Tattoos naturally fade over time because the pigment breaks up, and the immune system removes them via the lymph nodes. Likewise, lasers remove tattoos by forcing the pigment to break up. The sun is a similar catalyst to lasers in breaking up the tattoo pigment.
Skin should be re-hydrated after sun exposure, especially with emollient lotions that help regenerate the skin. Dry skin looks dull, making the tattoo colors less vibrant.