How To Waterproof a Tattoo for Swimming – How Long Should I Wait

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Talking about the kind of water exposure you can really afford until the tattoo is fully healed is important because new tattoos are still a type of healing wound.

So swimming is definitely not advised when you have a new tattoo. Every single tattoo artist will emphasize and rule out that as a possibility. Now, you might be wondering why.

Why Is This Combination Not Recommended?

Well, fresh tattoos must dry out before they can begin to heal. The skin dries out and forms scabs, which are then covered by fresh skin layers that enable the tattoo to fully set, heal, and acquire a matte finish.

Now, if you immerse a fresh tattoo in water, you run the risk of something called moisture buildup, which means that the tattoo will be simply too wet to dry out and begin healing. As a result, the tattoo will turn into a perfect, moist environment for the growth of bacteria and other harmful organisms. The presence of bacteria near a wound is never good, as we all know. This may directly result in tattoo inflammation or infection, which may seriously impede the tattoo’s ability to heal and, ultimately, affect the tattoo’s final design.

So, are you really willing to gamble a costly and unpleasant investment like your tattoo just to go swimming for a short while? I sure hope you didn’t because the moisture-buildup problem is anything but innocuous. Your immune system and general health may be negatively impacted by the consequences. Additionally, even if the tattoo heals well and doesn’t become infected, you will still have to pay more for a touch-up, making the tattoo far from economical.

Because getting inked is essentially an open wound that could become infected, you shouldn’t swim right away.

Bacteria exist whether in a chlorinated pool or in the open water, and if they come into contact with an unhealed wound, infection may result.

This may result in serious health issues as well as tattoo damage. My yellow and blue tattoo, for instance, had a small area where it bled and turned green.

Additionally, exposure to chlorine and saltwater can irritate open wounds, causing pain and a redness that may itch.

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming

Here are some steps you can take to help protect your tattoo if you find yourself in a situation where you must expose it to water, such as for physical therapy or rehab.

Apply A Waterproof Dressing

If you need to submerge your new tattoo, a waterproof dressing like Saniderm can help. They are offered in sheets and rolls of various sizes. Make sure the entire tattoo is covered. Apply the bandage only just before entering the water, and take it off right away. The less time you spend covering a healing tattoo, the better. It can slow down the healing process.

Clean The Tattoo As Soon As You’re Done

To prevent the water from running over your skin as you remove the bandage, pat it dry first. Once the bandage has been carefully removed, gently wash the tattoo with warm water and mild soap. Use a fresh paper towel to gently pat your tattoo dry.

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Showering With A New Tattoo + Protection

How do I shower is currently one of the most frequently asked questions about new tattoos. It’s not easy to shower after getting a new tattoo. You can get away with taking brief, daily showers as long as you protect your tattoo and avoid submerging it completely.

If you are still in the early stages of the healing process for your tattoo, we advise you to take a real shower right away. As the tattoo heals, this is the most delicate time and is also the time when infections are most likely to occur. Wait a few days until the tattoo begins to heal, close up, and dry out.

You can then take a full-body shower once you can see the tattoo healing. Even so, you still need to protect your tattoo. What we recommend is applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the tattoo to the tattoo can stay water-proof during the shower. Once you’ve finished showering, be sure to completely remove the Vaseline and clean your tattoo. Vaseline should never be used on tattoos because it can close them, obstruct airflow, which is necessary for skin healing, and even lead to an infection.

Keep the tattoo away from direct water pressure while taking a shower. Until the tattoo has completely healed, you shouldn’t wash it in the shower or do anything similar. You’ll just mess it up, encourage moisture buildup, and possibly put your tatto at risk for infection.

Tattoo Care Tips For Swimmers

A tattoo needs special care in the first few days after getting one. A fresh tattoo is an open wound, as was previously mentioned, so care must be taken.

Use the aftercare cream that your tattoo artist gave you at all times. They can give you advice on how often to use it, but typically, it should be done twice or three times per day.

The area where you have been tattooed needs to be moisturized and kept healthy in the beginning while it heals. This cream will achieve precisely that, and once applied, it should be left to air dry naturally without being covered up.

Your tattoo will scab and flake off as it recovers. Although it may occasionally itch, you should never scratch the area because doing so could harm the tattoo. The scabs that develop over the tattoo should never be picked at or removed, and they should always be kept dry.

The healing process for your tattoo should not be interfered with by exposure to the sun immediately after getting it. Additionally, since sunscreen contains chemicals that can infect the area, you shouldn’t apply it while it is still healing.

Instead, conceal it with some airy clothing. You can use sunscreen on it once it has healed the same way you would on the rest of your body.

Can I Take A Bath

Unfortunately, this response will dissatisfy every bath lover. It is not recommended to take a bath right after getting a new tattoo because your new ink will likely be submerged underwater for a while.

Baths are not recommended if at all possible because leaving your tattoo submerged could increase its susceptibility to infection and irritation.

If your tattoo is small and you can keep this area of skin out of the bath, there shouldn’t be a problem.


Finally, until the tattoo has healed, all forms of swimming should be avoided. If you don’t follow the care instructions, you risk getting sick or damaging your new tattoo.

If swimming is a must-do activity for any reason, you can safeguard your tattoo by using a waterproof bandage, Vaseline, and the methods mentioned above.

Russell Franklin

Russell Franklin