A tattoo can fade and become damaged from UV exposure, or UV Tanning. This makes spray tanning a terrific option for the tanned look, without concerns of tattoo damage.

A sunless spraytan is a temporary sheer color tint layer applied to the top (dead) skin surface cells. This is applied to the uppermost layers of the Epidermis.  Tattoo ink is applied deeper into the skin, in the Dermis layer.

The sunless tan does not “touch” or penetrate into the tattoo, so it cannot permanently alter the tattoo colors or inks. This is of course assuming the tattoo is fully healed with no openings or scabs.  Sunless tan products should not be applied to any tattoo until after 4 weeks of healing. Skin surface must be healed before application of any spray tan solution. No exceptions.



A sunless tan is a sheer tint of brown layer, on the skin surface. The tattoo can be viewed through the translucent tan.  Dark tattooed areas (black inks) will not be changed in appearance. However colors , especially light, pastel, whites, or low saturation or watercolor designs can experience some temporary color muddying from the sunless tanner. White, yellow, soft pink, very light, bright, or pale color areas, may look a bit darker, tanner, muted, and less bright, while the sunless tan is on the skin surface.

Once the tan has exfoliated away, this will disappear. The tattoo will then return to its normal brightness.

If you want to prevent this you, may prefer to cover the tattoo while spraying, using a gauze pad cover, or barrier cream product applied heavily. After spraying surrounding skin, paint the solution up to the edges of the tattoo.

Or, for small colored areas, you can spray as normal. But remove fresh solution product from the skin surface (immediately after spraying, before tan development) using an alcohol dipped Q’Tip swap, cotton ball or facial wipe product.

This will remove the tanning solution from the surface of the skin in the pale tattoo areas.

Client should moisture the tattoo after they shower, to lessen any skin dryness.

As noted above, but I want to again stress – under no circumstances should a fresh on partially healed tattoo be sprayed.

The tattoo should be fully healed, and have an even and “smooth to the touch” surface.  It should not have any open wound areas, scabbing or peeling when being sprayed. A good rule of thumb is to only spray tattoos that are at least a month old.

Spraying a tattoo, still in the healing stage can permanently damage and mar the tattoo or contribute to inflammation or infection.

Clients, who want to show off a new tattoo, may not always be completely truthful on the age of their fresh tattoo. Please confirm both verbally and by appearance and/or surface feel, if you suspect the client may not be completely truthful.

Fresh tattoos may be covered with a light gauze cover, and you may spray all surrounding skin, painting solution up to tattoo edges. But I would avoid “touching” or coming to close to the actual tattoo to prevent any solution migrating into that area.  Do not cover a fresh tattoo with barrier cream.

Hands, and tools,  should always be freshly cleansed before touching a fresh, or partially healed tattoo