PMU under the sun


People getting permanent makeup done are consistently reporting to enjoy the increased quality of life. While there is technically nothing wrong with making hay while the sun shines, you should avoid taking this saying literally as sun exposure is extremely harmful for your permanent makeup since it drastically speeds up the fading process and can be dangerous for your health.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why UV radiation can be harmful to our body. Many years of regular sun exposure is the primary reason for skin cancer. Apart from that, when being exposed to sun without proper protection, the skin loses its elasticity which is seen as one of the elements of aging, not to mention the uncomfortable and sometimes even painful outcomes of sunburn.

The mechanism behind sunburn is simple. Sun radiation is made up of two types of rays: UVA and UVB. While UVA radiation can penetrate deeper skin layers, UVB radiation is more powerful and produces more instant damage. When the person is exposed to the sun, UVB rays in particular, melanocytes in the epidermis start to redistribute so that they could protect the skin from excessive radiation. However, where there are no melanocytes, the UVB rays can penetrate the cells and harm their DNA. To protect the skin, more melanocytes start to produce deeper in the dermis, but their deployment to the upper skin layers takes several days, this is the reason why suntan sets well after the sun exposure. Still, to fuel up the process of extra melanocytes production, blood flow in the exposed area increases, thus the skin appears red.

How does this relate to permanent makeup? Due to the increased blood flow in the exposed area of the skin, more pigment particles will be taken away by the lymphatic system, and since the natural healing process hasn’t been over, dramatic fading is inevitable. Yet, even at the point when the treated area is finally healed, the boosted blood flow will trigger serious fading.


This is the main reason permanent makeup artists utterly forbid any forms of sun exposure, tanning beds included, to their patients for about 3 weeks after the procedure has been done. No sunscreen can protect the pigment in the skin at this stage, so the treated area should be covered with clothing or, if possible, the person should stay in the shade. UV-exposure can make the new permanent makeup heal darker, fade extremely quickly or not retain at all. Apart from that, the patient applying for a micropigmentation treatment should not get tanned and especially sunburned for 30 days before the procedure as the tanned skin bleeds and might not heal well at all.

After the area has healed, it is vital to use a sunscreen on it religiously with the SPF no less than 30. Note that sunburn happens not only at the beach – people get overly exposed to sun often in their daily life without noticing. Some artists recommend special tattoo sunblocks as they not only keep the skin protected from the harmful UV rays, but also moisturize the skin and do not contain aggressive chemicals that could contribute to excessive pigment fading.

The most practical advice the patients should follow in order to extend the life of their permanent makeup is staying out of the sun as much as possible. Yet, if you think that lack of tan is beyond the pale, applying a spray tan doesn’t hurt as it stays in the epidermis and does not interfere with the pigment set in the upper dermal layers.

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