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Summer Tattoo Care

Summer of 2021 is here, things are opening up (finally!) across the continent, and you’re getting ready to enjoy all that the season has to offer. But if you’ve received a tattoo in the last 6-12 months, you want to take a little extra care before doing all that you would normally do at this time of the year. Here’s what you need to know.

5 Tips to Protecting Your Tattoo During the Summer Season

SPF 50+

Before you reach for that bottle Hawaiian Tropic at your local retailer, take note that you should choose one with an SPF 50+. This may be contrary to your usual tanning goals, but it’s all about protecting your ink. You can still use SPF 30 for the rest of your body, but apply SPF 50+ to your entire tattoo. Look for sport options, that hold up to sweat and swimming (more on the latter below), and keep the bottle/stick/spray with you when heading out for the day as must reapply as the day goes on.

If you received your tattoo over a year (or longer) ago you can get away with using an SPF 30 without longterm negative impact on the integrity of your design, but 50+ is always preferred. If you have received a tattoo in the last 3-6 months (it takes that long to fully heal) keep the ink out of the sun. We know that’s a tough ask, but you don’t have to rock a turtleneck through the summer. Instead, wear an exercise or injury repair wrap (can be purchased from London Drugs, etc.) over the area when on the beach or out on the boat. Once out of the sun for the day, moisturize with an aftersun product that includes aloe vera, unless you’ve received the tattoo less than 72-hours ago.

Jump in the Lake?

For small tattoos, you can go for a swim in a fresh water lake in about 2-weeks after getting your tattoo. For large tattoos, you should wait about 4-weeks. In either scenario, get clearance from your tattooist. Beyond those timelines you’re pretty much good to go. Just remember to wear your sunblock, as per above..

What About the Ocean?

The ocean is much different than a fresh water lake when it comes to your tattoo. Its waves pack a punch, and the saltwater is tougher on the skin and therefore your ink. Simply put, more care must be afforded to your tattoo when going into the ocean this summer. View our answer about how soon you can go into the ocean after getting a tattoo.

Sipping Summer Libations

For many, summer days equate a perpetual happy hour. The expression “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” becomes a mantra for the season. But before you put your paw on another White Claw, consider your tattoo.

If you’ve received your tattoo 48-72 hours ago, it can be affected by blood thinning caused by alcohol consumption. This limits your skin’s ability to scab, which then delays in the healing process and increases the risk of infection. Alcohol consumption can also impact your ability to sleep, which is absolutely necessary to the recovery process. Beer, wine, and cocktails also have a dehydrating effect, which is also bad for the body when it comes to healing. Beyond the 72-hours however, you’re essentially in the clear to drink responsibly. However, do remain mindful of dehydration, as it does have a longterm impact on the health of your skin. Since your tattoo is now a part of your epidermis, you want to balance summer drinking with equal amounts of water.


Unless you’ve received the tattoo 72-hours ago, summer travel has no direct impact on your tattoo. However, if you are hopping in a plane within that window, please reference this guide to flying after getting inked. And while summer road trips and flights are fine, there are some unique scenarios to consider. Please read our guide to post-tattoo travel.

Concerned about how getting a tattoo this summer may impact your enjoyment of the season? Don’t sweat it – your Adrenaline tattooist will provide you with the aftercare instructions you need to ensure that your tattoo is protected while allowing you to get out there to enjoy some much needed fun. Contact an Adrenaline Studios near you to schedule your consultation.