How Long After Getting A Tattoo Can You swim?
It’s summer, and that means fun in the sun, chilling by the pool or beach, and showing off your tattoos. You may even be thinking about getting another tattoo to show off, and asking yourself, “If I get a new tattoo, how long until I can swim?”...
The quick answer is, you can go swimming about 14 days after getting a new tattoo. However, there are many different factors that contribute to how soon you can swim after getting a tattoo. That is exactly why we put together this guide to swimming after you get a tattoo, so you will know everything you need to know about tattoos and swimming.
So sit back in your favorite lounge chair, pull down your shades, and jump into our guide about swimming after your new tattoo!
How long does it take a tattoo to heal?
You should avoid any swimming until your new tattoo is fully healed. So, when is your new tattoo fully healed? We will cover that below.
The healing process for a tattoo varies from person to person, from tattoo to tattoo so the healing time may vary. That being said, the average healing time for a tattoo is about 2 weeks or 10-14 days.
There are things you can do to increase how quickly your tattoo heals so you can get swimming faster, such as practicing proper tattoo aftercare and using nourishing tattoo aftercare products. On the flip side, you can slow the healing of your tattoo by improper tattoo aftercare and using harsh aftercare products.
Again, the average time is about 14 days, after this time period you should be safe to go swimming. However, if your tattoo is still looking scabbed up, or is visibly unhealed in any other way, it is still best to avoid swimming until your tattoo is properly healed.
Why should I wait until my tattoo is healed to go swimming?
You are probably asking, “What can happen if my tattoo isn’t healed and I swim, why does it need to be fully healed?”
A tattoo is essentially an open wound, albeit a very cool looking open wound filled with ink. As such, a tattoo needs to be treated like any other open wound, you need to keep it clean, moisturized, and free of contaminants for it to heal properly. This is even more important with a tattoo, because you want it to heal the best way possible so it stays looking beautiful.
The reason swimming is a bad idea is because you are exposing your open wound (the tattoo) to any contaminants that might be in the water. Having the open wound is also a direct pathway into your body for any contaminants in the water, including: Chemicals, bacteria, and anything else that may be lurking in the water.
So if you don’t want a biological waterslide of filth cannonballing into your body, it is best to not risk it and wait until your tattoo is fully healed before taking a dip.
Does it matter where I swim?
You don’t want to risk swimming anywhere until your tattoo is fully healed, and there some places that are especially risky, they include:
Pools and Hot-Tubs public and private: Pools are small bodies of water where contaminants build up and can only be destroyed by harsh chemicals. These chemicals are designed to kill dangerous contaminants and keep you safe (if kept at the proper levels), and these harsh chemicals can also damage your new sensitive skin for healing a tattoo.
Oceans: Oceans should also be avoided while healing a new tattoo, especially after it rains or those in beaches close to densely populated urban areas. The salt water may seem good for healing, but the risk of contaminants far outweighs any of the possible benefits.
Lakes: Lakes like oceans are filled with runoff that can be littered with contaminants that will cause problems with a healing tattoo. Best to avoid until your new tattoo is healed
Baths: Baths at home are definitely the safest bet for a healing tattoo. However, it is still recommended that you use a shower for cleaning while your tattoo is healing, that way anything that you clean off your body isn’t floating around your new tattoo.
Can I Shower After A New Tattoo?
Yes. Showers are perfectly fine to take while healing a new tattoo, and in fact, they are recommended. This is because it is good to rinse your new tattoo to remove any potential contaminants.
Unlike a pool, ocean, or even your bath, in a shower your healing tattoo won’t be submerged in stagnant water that may contain elements that could harm your new tattoo. This makes showers the ideal place for cleaning yourself and your new tattoo.
Plus, if you don’t shower for 14 days, even the coolest tattoo won’t be able to overcome your stench, and people will start calling you “Sticky Inky”. And no one wants that.
What if I really want to go in the water before my tattoo is healed?
But if you can’t resist or you already went swimming before reading this, then here is some advice. Again, swimming at all is not recommended until your tattoo is fully healed.
- Before you go swimming apply a waterproof bandage.
- Limit your time in the water to as short as possible.
- Avoid fully submerging your tattoo as much as possible.
- After exiting the water, clean and moisturize your tattoo as soon as possible.
- Resume your regular tattoo aftercare routine as soon as you can, and avoid doing any additional swimming until your tattoo is fully healed..
In closing, if you get a new tattoo don’t swim for about 2 weeks. This will give your new tattoo time to fully heal, keep you safe, and ensure your tattoo stays looking beautiful for years to come.
If you want to enjoy some time at the beach, the lake, or the pool, while your tattoo is healing it's still possible. Just remember to cover your tattoo to protect it from the sun, sand, or anything else, and keep your tattoo out of the water. Your tattoo will heal soon enough, then you will be able to swim as much as you like.
See you at the beach!