Why Getting a Tattoo in Summer is a Bad Idea

Dec 19, 2011 by

Getting a Tattoo in Summer is a Bad Idea!

Well actually, it’s not. Got you there, didn’t I? Yes, I’m a bastard.

Plenty of people get their tattoos in summer, and they don’t have any issues, and they look fantastic. There are, however, some things you need to particularly careful of during summer if you’re going to get a new tattoo done.  And let’s face it, you will, because it’s summer, and you want to show off.

The Sun.

The single greatest enemy of any tattoo in summer is the sun.

The reason is that a tattoo is made up of pigment, and some organic pigments are prone to fading when exposed to UV rays. That means if you’ve got something coloured, and you leave it in the sun, it’ll fade pretty fast. It might be a book, or a t-shirt, or… a tattoo!

So going out uncovered in the hot summer sun with a fresh tattoo is never a good idea. With a healed tattoo, you should remember to wear sunscreen on your ink (not to mention your whole body, but that’s another subject entirely) and if possible cover up when you can. But with a fresh tattoo, the stakes are a bit higher; particularly in that first two-week window when the ink is healing and is very vulnerable to rays. Think of a car window, it kinda protects you, but open it up and BAM! Sunburn time! A fresh tattoo is much the same, it has nothing to protect it as you’ve just pulverised all the skin above it with the tattoo machine. Until that dead skin heals over (about two weeks minimum) you’ve got one very open and scared tattoo.

One last word… don’t, oh please don’t, put sunscreen on it if it’s fresh (OH EM GEE), as the fragrance and other crap that’s in sunscreen will really irritate your new tattoo. Just keep it completely covered while you are outside during summer, and you’ll have a nice tattoo for years to come.

The Beach.

Yikes, this is a fun one!

When I worked as an apprentice, I was living and working on the north coast of NSW, Australia, in a little beachside town that saw a lot of tourists getting tattooed over summer. The beach is a killer for new tattoos, and I can tell you why, it’s the sand and the sea!

The sand is horrendous, especially on foot tattoos. Foot tattoos are already prone to fading easily, suffice to say, when you have a new tattoo and you walk through the sand, you might as well be sitting down with a piece of sandpaper and rubbing your tattoo off. Not a great idea. While your tattoo is healing, all the layers of skin are attached to the vital ‘ink’ layer in the dermis. That means if anything abrades or rubs at the outer, healing skin, it’ll probably pull chunks of the lower healing layer with it. Result? Patchy, discoloured tattoo. Nasty.

The sea is no better, but for different reasons. The two things you need to be aware of is the high salt content in ocean water, and the serious amount of bacteria there as well (come on, things LIVE in there, of course it’s not sterile!).

People tend to assume the old folk tale that sea water is a great ‘cure-all’, however this is not so true. The bacteria, especially during warm summer months can easily cause a nasty infection in your fresh tattoo, causing inflammation and the ink to drop out; and the high salt content can literally burn the fresh wound. That stinging sensation you get from sticking a wound into sea water isn’t a good thing!

The lesson here is stay off the beach for at least two weeks after getting a tattoo, unless you want to risk a nasty infection, or like getting your wounds sandpapered.

Other People.

Ah yes, summer, the time for socialising, wearing skimpy clothes and showing off your new tattoo. After all, that’s why most people get tattoos in summer, isn’t it? You feel great, you want something new to show off your body, and life is full of margaritas and parties.

The thing you need to realise here is with all that exposed flesh going on, new tattoos are idiot magnets. Go anywhere social with a new tattoo, and people will immediately try to put their grubby stankpaws all over it. Smack their hand! Bad people! You should never let anyone touch an open wound-theirs or yours-with a manky hand, and a tattoo is no different. If you’re going to go showing off your ink, and I won’t blame you because I bet it looks really perdy, make sure you educate your friends that it’s not a touchy zone.

Joy, Division!


So when you inevitably rock up at your local tattoo shop to indulge in some inky goodtimes this summer, just keep these things in mind and your new tattoo will stay looking rad, sexy and not-gross hopefully for a lot longer than just this season.

Remember, kids: sun protection, staying out of the water, and not rolling around in the sand is very boring but very important! Look after your new ink, and have a super rad summer holiday!


  1. dan

    I loved this article, great writing and very amusing! You certainly had me when the google page said “why not to get a tattoo in summer” I rolled my eyes and said aww crap, but you’ve helped reassure me at least that I can prolly do it.

    • Miss Megs

      Hahah thanks Dan, I’m glad it was helpful! Go right on ahead and get that new ink, summer tattoos will be just as awesome if looked after properly. Megs x

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  3. Andres varini

    Man awesome writing!! I was hoping for something terrible and i now leave with the opposite idea. Offcourse it is a bad idea to get one done before summer but that doesnt means you can’t do it and take good actual care. You got my attention all the way, rad!!

  4. Jessica

    So basically it’s okay to get inked in summer, all you have to do it keep it covered for 2 weeks, no sun no beach no sand and no yucky ppl’s hands?

  5. Lilianna

    So I got a tattoo on my hip and it’s extremely small. So, it’s super new, if I went to the beach. Would I definitely get an infection from the salt water. I have to go to the beach though, it’s a family thing.


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