Skin/tattoo question

Does the skin under a tattoo tan or burn? Does the ink act as sunscreen?

um, I think if you got sunburned that deep you’d have serious problems; the tattoo ink resides in the dermis.

I remember once on the Guiness (sp?) World Recods show they had this woman who had a skin condition where if she went out in the sun she would burn terribly or suffer some other similar fate.
Her solution was to have her entire body covered with tattoos of various sizes and colours - including her face. So I’m guessing that sunlight doesn’t penetrate that layer of ink in the skin. :slight_smile:

All I know is that sunlight is not good for tattoos. I dont mind getting tanned once in awhile, but If I goto the beach I drench my tattoos with sunscreen.

I know when you go far an MRI, they ask (or at least used to ask) if you have tattoos as any iron in the pigment can somehow react with the magentism and cause you problems. I gathered that these problems would be something like having a spoon in a microwave oven, except inside your skin.

I am not a dermatologist, but I think that getting a lot of sun on your tattoos can cause them to “blot”; that is, lost their sharpness and definition. Some older sailors I’ve worked with have tattoos on their forearms that are all but indistinguishable; they look like felt-pen drawings done on paper towels.

I would like verification of the Guiness story. Seems to me that tattooing would do far more damage to a person with such an alleged skin condition than normal sun exposure ever could.

Definitely, if you have tattoos, wear sunscreen. The higher, the better. I usually put an SPF 45 on mine, although I’ve heard arguments that after SPF 30 there is really no difference. The argument being, after that, it just keeps you from feeling the effects longer. My feeling is, as long as you follow the instructions on the bottle (re-apply every 80 mins, or after being in water, etc) then you should be fine.

Any others heard that?

I saw the same Guiness program. As I recall it she didn’t have the tattoos done as protection against the sun. Rather her skin was badly scarred after years of sun damage and the tattoos were her way of reclaiming her appearance. “I refuse to accept this scarred exterior as my true self – I’ll turn myself into a work of art instead.”

Ah, fair enough then. My memory seems to have fuzzed a bit. Thanks for the clarification though :slight_smile:

One of my tats has some blue shading, and when I get too much sun, that part is the only part that burns/peels. Maybe it soaks up extra UV? I dunno.