How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can I Swim?

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on December 31st, 2022

Getting a tattoo is an exciting and potentially life-changing experience. But what comes after the ink has been applied? One of the first questions many people ask is how long they have to wait before taking a dip in the pool or ocean. We’ve got the answer for you right here!

Understand the Risks of Swimming with a New Tattoo

Swimming with a new tattoo can be risky. In addition to the potential pain, several other factors should be considered before taking a plunge.

tattoo, tattoo artist, arm

The water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause infection, so it’s important to ensure your tattoo is properly healed before you swim with it.

Also, the chlorine in pools and hot tubs can irritate, and irritation can further delay healing. For these reasons, it’s best to wait at least two weeks after getting your tattoo before swimming.

Check with Your Tattoo Artist

No matter what advice you find online, the best thing to do is to discuss your plans with your tattoo artist. They know best when it comes to the healing process of your particular tattoo.

Ask them what they would advise in terms of swimming and any other activities that may put your tattoo at risk. They will be able to give you their professional opinion, which should be the most reliable source of information.

Wait at Least Two Weeks

After getting a tattoo, it’s best to wait at least two weeks before submerging it in water. This is the minimum amount of time you should wait to ensure the tattoo is fully healed and minimize the risk of infection. While it might be tempting to jump into the pool after only a week, giving your body enough time to heal is important. Doing so will help reduce the risk of infection and complications.

Choose Chlorine-Free Water

When swimming with a new tattoo, it’s important to make sure you choose chlorine-free water. Chlorine can irritate and dry out the skin, and it can also cause discoloration or fading of the ink. It can also lead to infection or scabbing if it gets into the open wound. That’s why it’s usually best to avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, or other chlorinated bodies of water until your tattoo is fully healed.

If you must swim in a chlorinated pool, wear a waterproof bandage over your tattoo to protect it from the chlorine. After swimming, you should also rinse off with fresh water and moisturize your skin.

Keep Your Tattoo Clean and Covered

Keeping your tattoo clean and covered while swimming is essential to ensure it stays healthy.

Before swimming, clean the area with warm water and mild soap. If the tattoo is still healing, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or an antibacterial ointment on the area before covering it with a waterproof bandage.

If the skin feels itchy or irritated, stop swimming and seek medical advice right away. After swimming, shower and reapply the ointment to clean and moisturize the area.

Know the Signs of Infection

No matter how careful you are, it’s important to be aware of the signs of infection when swimming with a new tattoo. Infection can occur if your tattoo isn’t properly healed or if you’re exposed to bacteria and other contaminants in the water.

If you notice any of the following signs, it’s important to consult with a doctor or your tattoo artist as soon as possible:

  • Increased heat or inflammation
  • Redness
  • Pus or a yellow discharge
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Itching or burning
  • Swelling
  • A rash or hives

These signs indicate a minor infection, which can be easily treated with antibiotics. However, if not treated, it can lead to a more serious infection that can cause lasting damage to your tattoo. Always watch your tattoo and be aware of changes that don’t feel normal.

Research the Type of Water You Plan to Swim In

When you’re ready to take the plunge with your new tattoo, research the type of water you plan to swim in. Saltwater, chlorine, and bacteria can harm a fresh tattoo. Stick to swimming in clean, chlorinated pools or filtered hot tubs.

If you plan to swim in a lake or the ocean, use a waterproof barrier cream to protect your tattooed skin. Be aware of the potential for bacteria and other pollutants in natural bodies of water, and check with your doctor or tattoo artist if you have any questions or concerns.

Be Careful in Natural Bodies of Water

When swimming in natural bodies of water like lakes, rivers, or oceans, it’s important to be extra cautious. These areas can contain bacteria and other contaminants that can cause infection if your tattoo isn’t properly healed.

In addition, the sun’s UV rays can be more intense in natural bodies of water, so it’s important to keep your tattoo covered with clothing or waterproof sunscreen. If you choose to swim in natural bodies of water, inspect your tattoo for any signs of infection immediately afterward.

Choose a Comfortable Swimwear Option

Once you’ve waited the recommended time and your tattoo is healed, choosing a comfortable swimwear option for swimming is important. Make sure the fabric is lightweight and breathable to avoid irritating your skin.

Also, make sure you choose a suit that will cover your tattoo; this will help protect it from the sun and reduce the risk of infection. If you plan to be in the water for an extended period, it’s a good idea to bring a rash guard or light cover-up when you’re out of the water. This will help protect your skin and tattoo from the sun, wind, and salt water.

Moisturize and Reapply Sunscreen Regularly

No matter how long you wait to swim with a new tattoo, it’s important to moisturize and reapply sunscreen regularly. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin and the ink in your tattoo.

Moisturizing your skin helps to prevent the ink from fading and cracking, and sunscreen will protect it from further damage. It’s also important to ensure you use the right sunscreen for your tattoo.

Look for one specifically designed for tattoos, as these are more likely waterproof and won’t interfere with the healing process. Additionally, consider wearing a rash guard or long-sleeved shirt to cover your tattoo when you swim.


Editorial Staff

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