Can You Go Swimming After Getting a Tattoo? (When Can You?)


Got a new tattoo on your body? Wondering if you can go swimming with it already? Your gut says that you better not, but this irresistible urge wouldn’t listen. What should you do?

You should not go swimming with a new tattoo unless it has been 2-4 weeks. It’s suggested not to let the newly tattooed skin submerge in water because it could cause infection and skin irritation. If you absolutely have to, go with an waterproof dressing.

Why Is This a Bad Idea to Swim with a Healing Tattoo?

The way you skip jumping into the water with a fresh wound, you should do the same with your new tattoo. But what if you can’t control the urge to touch up your swimming skills at that time before it’s fully healed? Well, be ready for some unwanted hassles like:


Submerging your newly tattooed skin in the water will do nothing but increase the risk of infection. Essentially, you need to treat an open wound and a new tattoo in the same way.

Going into a pool and getting a tattoo wet might make it come in touch with harmful bacteria. As you never know the potential bacteria, they can cause any damage from severe to mild. But how severe?


Well, though rare, it can reach a conclusion like death and sepsis, especially if the bacterial infection is caused by any flesh-eating bacteria. And yes, it has already happened.

FYI, the risk is significantly low in swimming pools as the water is heavily chlorinated. But that’s definitely not the same case for open water like ocean or lake.

Skin Irritation

Skin irritation is never a fun thing, especially when you’ve just got a new tattoo. Maybe you’re thinking like – at least it’s not infecting or damaging the tattoo. Well, skin irritation can lead to both.

There’s no need to say it again that new tattoos are already sensitive. But when you’re coming in touch with other chemicals like Chlorine, they can trigger pain and sting. In most cases, Chlorine causes inflammation after slipping into the skin.

Plus, many tattoo artists suggest avoiding swim as it can lead to reddish rashes backed by blistering and open sores, sometimes swelling too.


Damaging the New Tattoo

How would you feel about seeing your new body art getting faded and discolored? Terrible, we guess. Well, there is a high chance of that happening if you can’t avoid swimming with the fresh ink. After all, both saltwater and chlorine content never take it easy on the new ink.

Besides, going into the swimming pools might not let the tattoos fully heal and prolong the healing duration. But the worst part is it might cause an increase in itching and flaking.

How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Fully Heal?

Clearly, having a swim right after getting a tattoo is a wrong move and any qualified medical practitioner will say the same. This is why you need to give it the required time to heal. But how many days will you have to actually wait?

Well, on average, it’s 2 to 4 weeks. For smaller ones, it takes around 2-3 weeks and the bigger ones might need a little more than 4 weeks. But to heal properly, you need to take care of it from the very beginning.

Once the tattoo is done, the artist will cover it up with a bandage that you can take off after some hours. But you’ll have to gently wash off the blood and excess ink in there. You don’t need to use any additional kit for that as using your hands will be enough. But make sure that you’re doing it with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water.

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Video Creator: Sorry Mom Tattoo

How to Get into a Pool with a New Tattoo

We admit it, for swimming enthusiasts; it’s tough to avoid the urge, even if they’ve got a new tattoo on their skin. But is there no way but to wait for weeks into the water?

Well, if you can’t help to swim after getting a tattoo, then go for it but make sure that you’re following certain rules, which we believe any healthcare practitioner will agree to as well.

Wrapping the Tattoo

Feel free to go into any public pool once the tattoo is fully waterproof. The best way to do that is taking a plastic wrap that will be able to work as a barrier and prevent the water from making the tattoo wet. Even if you’re going into hot tubs, this precaution is still suggested.

Using Waterproof Patches

In case you’re not counting plastic wrap as an ideal option, you can give waterproof patches a shot. They’re basically made for people who swim with wounds. As unhealed tattoos themselves are kind of considered wounds, these patches can come in really handy. But these patches work best with partially healed tattoos.

Clean the Tattoo Thoroughly

Nobody said that you’ll always be able to go for a swim with all the protection. In such cases, you better get rid of all the sea salt from your tattoo once you get out of the water. Do the same for chlorine if you’re swimming in a pool.


How to Accelerate Tattoo Healing Process

The best way to get into the water with a new tattoo is to let the tattoo heal properly. Usually, a tattoo heals within two weeks and sometimes three. But what if you can’t wait for two weeks? Well, in that case, you better reduce the healing time, and to get that done, we’d say you better try the following techniques.

Covering the Tattoo

If you’re letting the sunlight hit your new tattoo, then don’t blame your tattoo artist for the fading. After all, all kinds of fresh tattoos react under the sun.

So, the best way to save the ink is to keep it covered with clothes and make sure you’re using loose clothing. And don’t even think about using sunscreen if the tattoo is not fully healed.

Avoiding Re-bandaging

Obviously, the bandage is all about helping with the healing process. But once you get rid of the bandage, make sure that you’re letting the new tattoo breathe. Keeping it covered again and again will add up extra moisture. Plus, the lack of oxygen can slow down the healing.

Cleaning Daily

Like any other wound, keep the new tattoo clean and try to do it daily. It’s better to use lukewarm water so that it doesn’t hurt your skin. But to heal completely within a short time, try cleaning 2 to 3 times a day. And yes, before you get started with the cleaning, disinfect your hands properly.


Applying Ointment

Heavier products like Vaseline prevents the tattoo from getting the required air it needs to heal. So, a piece of professional advice, skip using heavier cosmetic products or chemicals unless the wound is fully healed.

Yes, there can be exceptions too where you might have to use heavier products under the suggestion of your tattoo studio.

In the beginning, your tattoo artist might suggest you to use products that include petroleum, lanolin, and vitamins A & D. After using them for a few days, go for an after-care moisturizer, fragrance-free of course. You can try coconut oil as well.

Saying No to Scratching or Picking

If you’re familiar with the tattoo healing process, scabbing is a part of it. But scratching or picking over the scab will do nothing but make you wait for more as it’ll extend the healing times. Plus, it might mess with the integrity of your new tattoo too.

Keeping It Dry

Apart from the warm water that you use to keep the tattoo clean, try not to let it get wet, at least not for the first two weeks. You can definitely take a light shower using waterproof bandages, but getting down in a swimming pool? Well, it’s better to skip that part before the tattoo is fully healed.

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Video Creator: EmmaVictoriaBeauty

Final Thoughts

Obviously, it’s tough to skip a beach day when you’re in the mood or a pool party you’ve been waiting for. But how can you go swimming after getting a tattoo? After all, submerging the ink might invite bacteria and trigger irritation or infection.

Well, this is where you need to handle things a bit carefully as even small mistakes can lead you to unwanted health issues. But with proper care and if you know how to accelerate the healing time, we guess you won’t have to hold yourself back for too long.