otisc

Product Review: Ink Armor by Tat2x - Workplace/Sports Coverups!

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Hey guys. Just wanted to do a product review because I've looked online and aside from one video on YouTube, I haven't really found any product reviews for this item. I have nothing at all to do with the company and profit in no way from you liking this review or not. I think that would be pretty obvious, but I wanted to put the disclaimer up front.

Okay, a little back story -- two weeks ago today I had the linework done on my arm for a 7/10-length Japanese dragon sleeve. You can read more about that in the Initiation forum. I am an avid golfer, so let me tell you - the idea of completely staying out of the sun for more than a month was a real killer. I have definitely kept the new tattoo out of the sun completely until all the peel has gone away (between day 9-10)... but at two weeks, I wasn't sure I really wanted to lather it up in sunscreen yet since the skin is so new and the Texas sun can be brutal - but I needed to play golf!

My wife often wears a set of removable sleeves when she golfs, and she suggested I try these out. First I went to Dick's sporting goods, and they actually have a lot of these in stock from a variety of brands. They are really popular now because a lot of NBA players wear them on the court, and a lot of women on the LPGA wear them. I checked them all out. The baketball ones, while not super tight, were snug on my arm (and are really designed to be that way). And while they probably provide some protection as fabric, they are not specifically SPF rated. UnderArmour is a brand that has really jumped into this market, and they have a number of styles and patterns. NOT all of theirs have SPF ratings, so you have to be cautious if this is important to you, but some do. If you're a UA fan you really need to try these on in person, as different versions they make have different seam patterns, and not all of them felt comfortable to me. But mostly, I just didn't like the way they clung to my arm. They were kinda pinchy over the top of the bicep - not enough to hurt but just enough to be annoying. I ended up passing on all of these.

So I kept looking online and I found two companies that make coverup sleeves in varous sizes, primarily for the workplace. One is called TatJacket, and the other is called Ink Armor. They seem like very similar products, but on the InkArmor website, they made a big deal about how they sewed the product with flat seems so it wouldn't irritate you when wearing them. They are rated 50+ SPF and they claim to be made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex. The UnderArmour brand was 80% polyester and 20% some proprietary names fabric that sounds similar to spandex, so I figured the Ink Armour was a good bet. And the UnderArmour were only rated 30 SPF.

I have a 3/4 length sleeve, and they actually sell a 3/4 length sleeve size, so I went with that instead of the full sleeve style like the major brands. One big criticism is that they don't have great photos of the colors they offer online. The photos they have are sort of photoshopped onto the models and/or just color squares to choose from. They have two white-guy flesh tones, and I went with "Suntan." Here it is out of the packaging:

i-cQPjLM8-XL.jpg

One more selling point that they mention on the website is probably my favorite thing about this product. The top of the sleeve, which fits above the bicep, doesn't pinch or grip your arm to stay up. The Ink Armor people have ingeniously sewn a ring of a tacky elastic (but not sticky) that just doesn't want to run down your arm. It is awesome. I measured my arm at the point it is supposed to fit and my arm was 14.5 inches around. The sizing on their website says that I should buy the size "XL2X" which has a top range of 13.5-15.75 inches. I'm right in the middle so I wasn't sure how this would work out. Here is a photo of the inseam I'm talking about.

 

i-vGTJf5C-XL.jpg

This is so cool! My 14.5-inch arm fit right in, and the top of the product just sits nicely around my arm (not snugly) and the grippy nature of that inseam keeps it from slipping down. It's only a matter of time before the major brands figure this out and steal the idea.

Okay, a couple of photos. First, before:

i-RW27FTb-XL.jpg

And with the 3/4 sleeve on - perfect fit!!

i-QXvwgk9-XL.jpg

Okay, so today was the day to put it to the test. I just played a 4.5-hour round of golf on a bright sunny day in Austin, Texas. Early in the morning I sprayed a very very fine layer of aerosol sunscreen onto my tattoo. It is only two weeks old and just wasn't sure it is ready yet to be lathered up. I barely put any of this on at all and I let it air dry before getting dressed. The rest of my body I liberally sprayed with this suntan spray, and repeated this three times throughout the round. Even with this spraying, I still caught a tiny touch of sunburn on my wrist.... but the tattoo that was under the Ink Armor was not burned at all! (I have vitiligo so the tan/white you see under the tattoo linework is "normal.")

i-PXhF3NH-XL.jpg

Cameo from Fritz the Schnauzer!!

i-z8GshCS-XL.jpg

I totally give this product five stars, or a thumbs up, or whatever is the superlative in your universe. The main focus of the brand is to make coverups so you can effectively hide your tattoos in the workplace (they make the for legs, forearms only, ankles, and leg/arm sleeves of various sizes)... but really the sun protection factor is majorly overlooked and is probably something they should promote more. Especially to protect newer tattoos that are past the initial heal when they need air but still need protection from the sun. Here is one more shot of me wearing it - a great way to coverup when you need to:

i-b3CRkdj-XL.jpg

Edited by otisc

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39 minutes ago, bongsau said:

 

there is this thing called "Long Sleeve Shirts" something you'll get incredibly familiar with once the elbow line is breached!

 

This made water and cranberry juice squirt out of my nose. Too funny.

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2 hours ago, bongsau said:

interesting. kinda cheesy but probably works better than a sock with the toe cut off (been there done that).

there is this thing called "Long Sleeve Shirts" something you'll get incredibly familiar with once the elbow line is breached!

 

Well actually because these sleeves wick away the sweat, they keep you cool. Much cooler than playing golf in long sleeves on a sunny day.

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Thanks for posting this review. As I look ahead to getting my sleeves (probably half-ish), I've been considering something like this for certain situations. Glad to see an actual detailed report here. 

I have read some reports that the tops stretch out quickly and then they won't stay up. Perhaps that is another brand. It would be great if you could update us on the long-term durability as you continue to use it.

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That watch though!! I'm still bumming it up over here rocking a few Tags that I've bought or been given as a gift (from my dad).

Anyways, thanks for this review. I have 2 full sleeves and I've managed to pull of the collared shirt with jeans to attend those "casual dress" meetings, but I admit that I've been dreading that day when I have to actually go out on a golf course or to a BBQ or whatever and the company is not tattoo-accepting. My original thinking was that I'd get a spandex/compression under shirt (long sleeve), and then throw a golf shirt on over top. I'll definitely keep these in mind.

Cheers.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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UPF technical clothing for hiking, etc. tends to be made of moisture-wicking synthetic material so you won't be dying in a long-sleeved shirt--I think places like REI sell these.  If you're out on the golf course a lot, it may be worth getting one of these for the UV protection anyway.  Fashion is another thing entirely, but I just took a look on REI's website and there are a few there that aren't so bad.  I have a couple of these shirts for hiking and they are way less gross and slimy than sweating off sunscreen in a cotton t-shirt all day.

 

Edited by polliwog

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So... I have a bit of a skewed thought on this: Occasionally I see someone wearing one of these sleeve cover things on one arm, and the first thing I think is, "Oh, he's covering a tattoo."  Why else would someone wear one long sleeve?   

So it begs the thought: If someone wears something to cover a tattoo, and if everyone knows he/she is covering a tattoo, then why wear the cover?

Maybe it is just because I am very "tattoo aware" that I think this. Perhaps the flaw in my logic is that I assume that everybody knows that the sleeve is covering a tattoo. Maybe instead they just think, "Gee, I wonder why that person is wearing that thing on one arm?"

Yes, I know:  people wear compression sleeves for medical conditions etc. Well, just something to provoke discussion...

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On 5/7/2016 at 11:53 AM, Intomyskin said:

I have read some reports that the tops stretch out quickly and then they won't stay up. Perhaps that is another brand. It would be great if you could update us on the long-term durability as you continue to use it.

Will do. So far, I don't anticipate this being a problem, as the top of this sleeve (for my arm) is not tight, so the tension is not what keeps this up, but instead the tacky inseam at the top that clings to your skin.

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2 hours ago, Intomyskin said:

So it begs the thought: If someone wears something to cover a tattoo, and if everyone knows he/she is covering a tattoo, then why wear the cover?

Usually, it's a work requirement. But beyond that, I really don't think that people without tattoos assume it's a tattoo. I wore the sleeve again this weekend to an outdoor restaurant at Mother's Day, and the two people who did ask about it didn't even think tattoo.

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14 hours ago, Intomyskin said:

So... I have a bit of a skewed thought on this: Occasionally I see someone wearing one of these sleeve cover things on one arm, and the first thing I think is, "Oh, he's covering a tattoo."  Why else would someone wear one long sleeve?   

So it begs the thought: If someone wears something to cover a tattoo, and if everyone knows he/she is covering a tattoo, then why wear the cover?

Maybe it is just because I am very "tattoo aware" that I think this. Perhaps the flaw in my logic is that I assume that everybody knows that the sleeve is covering a tattoo. Maybe instead they just think, "Gee, I wonder why that person is wearing that thing on one arm?"

Yes, I know:  people wear compression sleeves for medical conditions etc. Well, just something to provoke discussion...

I have some tattoos that I would not want children to see.  I made sure to get them in hidden places but if something were remotely questionable on my arm and I was going to a kid-heavy environment, I would cover it.  Even though someone can figure out that it's a tattoo, the person still wouldn't be exposed to the actual image.  It's similar to covers blocking the adult magazines in stores; you know what it is but aren't exposed to the image.

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I can see how wearing this to protect a new tattoo could be preferable to a long sleeve shirt when it's so hot that you'd actually want to wear as little as possible. At least one arm stays free ;-) 

Not quite sure why I'd want to choose this over a something long sleeved if I wanted to hide my tattoos though. It's just too obvious that it's covering something up, isn't it? Maybe it does make sense if you wanted to be able to just slip it on/off before/after the occasion. But the skin tone makes it kinda even more obvious in a way I think. I'd probably choose a bolder colour to rather make it look like I was wearing long sleeves under a T-Shirt or so. 

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The product is definitely use-specific. Their webpage shows nurses in short-sleeved scrubs, a cop in short-sleeved uniform, and a UPS driver wearing them on his legs. There are a million ways to hide your ink, but I found this really useful for golf (and will probably continue to wear it golfing in the Texas sun even after fully healed). Luckily, I own a business in an industry that is tattoo-friendly, so I don't have the restrictions of the people in the photos:

http://www.tat2x.com/ink-armor-customer-pics_a/262.htm

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I like the idea. I'm in the medical field, and don't usually have to worry (much) about it in a clinical setting since in my office we don't wear uniforms or scrubs, usually, but I just recently started a part-time job to pick up extra money and in that particular clinic I have to wear their uniform scrubs in surgery, and can't show tattoos per policy. That is no problem, and mine do not go below the elbow, but they DO show below the short-sleeve of the scrub top.

I've been wearing a long sleeved shirt or a three-quarter sleeved shirt, but it gets HOT in the OR often, and now that warm weather is here I'll be sweatin on my way to and from work wearing the extra layer under the scrub top. Just slipping on sleeves that would make it look like I was wearing a shirt under my top but would not be hot would be a great solution (tempting as cutting the toe off a gym sock is, lol). After I'm done I just peel off the sleeve and go on about my bidness. Problem solved. 

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Hey, @otisc! Thanks for posting this review. I play summer league kickball with my office team, and I need to cover my tattoos from the sun while we are on the field. Bought a a full length pair and a pair of half sleeves, too. Appreciate the heads-up. Really like them!

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On 6/4/2016 at 9:26 PM, oboogie said:

Hey, @otisc! Thanks for posting this review. I play summer league kickball with my office team, and I need to cover my tattoos from the sun while we are on the field. Bought a a full length pair and a pair of half sleeves, too. Appreciate the heads-up. Really like them!

These are great for sports in the sun. I'm an avid golfer, and I'm also pretty obsessive about sunscreen and re-applying it regularly throughout an 18-hole round. Even with regular spraying of myself, I still get color on the parts of my skin that are outside the sleeve. This is really damaging to a new tattoo (I'm only 17 days into the second stage of my sleeve), as well as long-term. So I can vouch for the UPF protection standing up as advertised as 50+.

I also wear the sleeve a lot when I do long drives, as my left arm is just in the sun, whether the window is down or not. Since getting my sleeve started, I've been hyper aware of noticing others' arm work... and I have seen so many faded/aged tattoos that probably would have benefited from more sun protection, especially in the early stages. 

The only negative I would add to my review is that the sleeves will stretch out approx 1/2-3/4 inch if you wear it a lot (I've worn mine a ton during healing). It's just enough to make the sleeve a bit loose, but not enough to justify going down a full size using their sizing chart. Since the product uses tactile grip to stay up instead of tension like many other brands, it's not a huge problem for walking around... but for golf, I do need to tug it up every 5-6 shots. This occurred after 5-6 times of wearing the item for long periods of time (4-8 hours). I am thinking about getting a forearm-only version to try out, as my shirt cover most of my upper arm.

Still, even with the negatives added, I would still say this is a great product. A must-have for certain employment situations, and a great way to protect a new tattoo during that initial 4-6 week period when the peeling is done but your tattoo is still super-sensitive and the outer skin is still rebuilding.

 

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