You might’ve recently taken the plunge and got your first tat, or you might be inked all over. Whatever the sitch, you gotta know how to care for your art – and, yes, I’m talkin’ the level of care galleries give Da Vinci. After all, you’ve invested time, thought and probably a hella cash in your tattoos, so they’re worth the best kinda protection. Obviously, showing off your amazing body art is part of the fun of having tattoos, but if you’re planning to take your tats out on holiday, you need to know that the sun is your biggest enemy and how to shield your ink…

Girl with tattoos sitting in the sun

Holiday or holi-don’t?

Rule number one: don’t go on a beach holiday before your tats are fully healed, which takes about six months. If your skin is freshly inked, you should avoid the sun like the plague. UV rays damage the ink molecules, which causes fading and discolouration – a problem that’s made worse by the fact that a fresh tat is an open wound and prone to infection. You’ll need to avoid getting sand, salt water or chlorine anywhere near a fresh tattoo, which means no swimming for the first few weeks after you’ve had your tats done and staying in the shade. If your holiday is booked and you can’t get out of it, make sure your ink is wrapped with clingfilm and covered with breathable clothing. Our advice? Avoid going on holiday until your tattoos are all fully healed, and until then, keep everything clean with Tattoo Goo Tattoo Aftercare Lotion.

Tattoo Goo Tattoo Goo ® Lotion and Healix Gold and Panthenol 2oz £5.99 Buy Now

They’re healed, but can they take the heat?

The short answer is no, but we know you came here for the facts… time for some science! The ink in a tattoo is below the epidermis (the top layer of skin) in the second layer of skin (called the dermis), but when UV rays hit the skin, cells just above the tat start to produce melanin, aka tan, as a shield. This darker pigment will distort the colours in a tattoo and make them look duller (especially brighter pigments). UV rays can also damage the ink molecules, which means bye-bye vibrancy, hello fade. No one wants that, and the answer is simple. Apply a high-factor, broad-spectrum sun cream half an hour before sun exposure to your tattoos. This allows the SPF time to sink into your skin. And remember to reapply every two hours while you’re in the shade.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Ambre Solaire Sensitive Sun Cream SPF50+ 200ml £13.99 Buy Now