Surface piercings are any piercings that do not go all the way through body tissue. Instead, these piercings go through a section or flap of skin and are generally held in place by a bar that is placed under the skin. Surface piercings are notoriously sensitive and can take up to several weeks to heal completely. Tanning with a new surface piercing can be easily done as long as precautions are taken to not irritate or infect the piercing or the area around it.

Clean the area thoroughly before tanning. It is important with a new surface piercing to minimize exposure to anything that can irritate the area, causing infection or your skin to reject the new piercing and push it out like it would a splinter. Cleanse the piercing and the area around it gently with clean water or antiseptic liquids such as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.

Do not allow the area to burn. A sunburn is another wound that the body would have to heal around the piercing and could result in scarring or other damage to your skin. Apply sunblock carefully on the area surrounding the piercing. Do not allow sunblock or other tanning creams or lotions to enter the piercing.

Cover with a bandage. For most surface piercings you can use a regular bandage purchased at your local convenience store to cover the piercing itself. Make sure that none of the adhesive on the bandage touches the piercing. Gently pat the bandage into place over the piercing to lessen the chances of sunburn and protect the surface piercing from irritation.

As an added step to protect from sunburn or to cover larger surface piercings, use a clean hand towel, washcloth, or medical gauze to cover the pierced area. This gives another, thicker layer of protection from the sun for the affected area. Make sure that anything used to cover the piercing is clean.


Wash your hands before touching or covering the pierced area. This keeps contaminants out of your new surface piercing that can cause infection or rejection.


Do not tan without covering a new surface piercing. It is easy to sunburn an already affected area of your skin. Burning a new surface piercing can cause scars, rejection and inflammation of the area.