San Diego Tattoo Parlors Make a Lasting Mark—Here’s How to Make It Last Even Longer

BY: Editors | Jul 10, 2015
San Diego Tattoo Parlors Make a Lasting Mark—Here’s How to Make It Last Even Longer

San Diego is renowned for its sunny skies, its stunning beaches, and a temperature that hovers above 70 degrees for most of the year. It also happens to one of the fittest cities in America, and as the state’s third-largest urban area, it attracts trendsetters from across California and beyond. So it’s no surprise that San Diego tattoo artists stay busy, adorning canvases rarely covered by jackets and scarves.

But San Diego’s famous sunshine also threatens the very ink it inspires. While it’s designed to be permanent, tattoo ink requires care and forethought if you want it to still look fresh years down the line. Luckily, the colorful concoction has benefitted from centuries of research and development. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your ink.

Wear Sunscreen

The basic process of getting inked works the same at nearly all tattoo shops in San Diego. The artist inserts the ink into the second layer of skin, roughly a millimeter below the surface. Here, it remains safe from the upper layer’s constant flaking—but not from the harsh rays of the sun. Sunscreen will help prevent the fading, blurring, and bleeding of color over time.

Pick Your Placement Carefully

An area that sees a lot of movement, such as the feet, will require occasional touchups to address fading.

Consider Allergens

Inks’ carrier solution is generally water or alcohol. Pigments include colored metal salts, vibrant plastics, or even vegetable dyes. Despite inks’ careful formulation, some people may exhibit allergic reactions to certain pigments. If you commonly have reactions to cosmetic products, look into using hypoallergenic inks before going under the gun.

Know Before You Glow

UV ink glows white, purple, or green beneath a black light, while—in theory—remaining nearly invisible in sunlight. But it’s not without controversy. Some UV inks cause rashes or become darker in sunlight. Scarring from the needle can be more visible than the ink itself, and due to its magnetic ingredients, UV ink can cause problems in MRI machines. But new strides are constantly being made, so with the right research and preparation, a UV tattoo can be a great choice for someone who wants a luminescent secret.

Appreciate How Far We’ve Come

Tattooing has a very, very long history—at least 5,300 years, if not longer. One commonly used pigment throughout history? Soot, such as the ash of burnt lama nuts used by traditional Samoan artists. In the 1700s, some American sailors even used gunpowder. Ancient Egyptians went under the needle some 4,000 years ago, and they, too, did it without the highly sterile, standardized pigments—or autoclaved needles—available today.

Still seeking second opinions? Check out our guide to figure out the right age to get a tattoo for yourself.