CN Digital StudioKate Sullivan, Allure magazine
Rock of Ages opened last weekend and by now you're more than aware that it stars a very ripped Tom Cruise as an aging metal god with eye-popping tattoos covering his torso. What's wrong with this picture? The tattoos, for one. They're way too bright for a guy who's supposed to have been there and done that twice over and lived to tell the tale. Look at real rockers from that era-Bret Michaels, Tommy Lee, Axl Rose-and you'll see their ink today is closer to a gauzy scene by Monet. These colors don't run, but man, do they fade. And especially when exposed to sunlight. Whether you're thinking about getting a tattoo this summer, or already have one, here's what to do to keep it as bright and vivid:
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Choose your colors carefully. The brighter the color, the faster it will fade. The FDA's National Center for Toxicology Research says sunlight can cause yellow pigments in particular to break down or disperse over time. Darker colors tend to stay sharper longer, but even black will fade to gray.
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Keep it covered. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher any time your tat will be exposed to sunlight. I use Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 on mine, every day without fail.
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Moisturize regularly. Tattoos can take up to a month to heal, and during that time it's normal for the area to feel itchy and sensitive. The folks at New York Adorned, a fantastic parlor in New York City, recommend a mild, fragrance-free hydrating lotion like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. (It's an Allure Reader's Choice winner, to boot!) You can also use a cream made especially for tattoos like Fresh Ink by A Beautiful Life. It contains an anti-oxidant formula originally developed to speed wound healing, which, in all seriousness, is exactly what new tattoo is.