A new tattoo usually takes three to four weeks for proper healing. During healing, you must keep the application area away from swimming or the local pool, as it’s important for post-aftercare.
Although, the cool embrace of the swimming water in the hot summer is like a refreshing oasis for the soul. But it’s best to avoid swimming with a new tattoo because it can soon cause the ink to lose its vividness.
Even exposing a fresh tattoo in a swimming pool can lead to infection or irritation in the wound. However, if you still want to swim with a fresh ink design, ensure it is waterproof. And by following some proper tips or ways, you can protect tattoo from water to avoid such damages.
So, In this article, you will get some vital tips on how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming. These tips will help you to protect your tattoo from water.
Allow Your Tattoo To Heal Fully
Before moving on to waterproof tattoos, I recommend avoiding exposing your application area in a swimming pool until it completely heals. Usually, a tattoo takes 3 to 4 weeks to heal properly, but healing time usually depends on the tattoo’s placement, size, and other factors.
Whatever the healing time is, protecting your new artwork from swimming is an important part of tattoo aftercare. Therefore, you should keep following all-important aftercare instructions until it heals.
How to Waterproof a Tattoo for Swimming?
Following are some essential tips to protect tattoo from water.
Use Waterproof Aftercare Products
Before exposing your tattoo to a water pool, apply a thin layer of location or similar products like Petroleum jelly on your application area. I recommend petroleum jelly because it is an additional protective covering when applied to the tattoo.
Moreover, its active agents can trap moisture and prevent water contact with the ink design. However, avoid applying a heavy coat of Petroleum jelly on the fresh tattoo. Doing so may result in faster tattoo fading. Alternatively, you can apply Vaseline. These aftercare products will protect your tattoo from irritation and also minimize water contact.
Use Waterproof Tattoo Bandage for Swimming
If swimming with a new design is necessary, you must protect your tattoo from water. Although you cannot fully waterproof it, you can minimize its contact with water to avoid some potential damage.
One of the most effective ways to keep your new ink design safe is to use a waterproof tattoo bandage for swimming. Second skin like Saniderm is the most commonly used water-repellent bandage. It works well to protect your tattoo from water. So, before entering the water pool, cover the inked area with a waterproof bandage.
You can also add more protection layers on the second skin. For example, wearing a rash guard will be an excellent choice to cover your entire design area if you have a shoulder tattoo. However, some individuals cover their tattoos using plastic wrappers, which is unsafe. So, when you have done swimming, remove the dressing carefully.
Tips for Tattoo Aftercare After Swimming
Wash the Tattooed Area with Lukewarm Water and Mild Soap
Once you have done swimming, dry and remove the tattoo wrap carefully to avoid water flowing over the ink design area. After that, rinse the tattoo area and surrounding skin thoroughly with lukewarm water to avoid irritation. Then, use a good quality tattoo soap like a dove soap to clean it.
Alternatively, you can use any good anti-bacterial soap to keep the tattoo and surrounding area bacteria-free. However, it’s important not to use harsh chemicals or scrub the tattoo vigorously. The reason for this is it can damage the tattooed areas, which can make the healing process slow.
Clean the Inked Area with a Towel
After cleaning the affected area with water:
- Dry it with a clean towel.
- Dab it on the tattooed area gently.
- Avoid rubbing or scratching the tattoo area and spurring skin, as it can damage the tattoo or lead to infection.
Apply Moisturizer or Lotion
Once the skin dries after this process, apply moisturizer or a good-quality lotion recommended by your tattoo artist. Using ointment on the skin is necessary and part of aftercare to keep the skin vibrant. You should keep applying moisturizing lotion on the tattoo until it is healed.
It helps to prevent the tattooed skin from drying out, reducing the risk of scabbing and cracking. Moreover, the location protects the tattoo from itching and provides relief by hydrating the skin. However, it’s better to use a fragrance-free moisturizer to prevent your skin from Irritation.
Protect Tattoo From Direct Sunlight
Swimming in a local pool is an outdoor activity under direct sunlight. Exposing your body art to direct sunlight can cause quick tattoo fading, especially during healing. So, keeping your tattoo protected is important to avoid sun damage. Using high-quality tattoo sunscreen is the best way to avoid harmful sun rays.
Why Shouldn’t You Swim When You Have a New Tattoo?
A new body art takes time to heal, almost 3 to 4 weeks or even a month, depending upon different factors. You should avoid exposing it to water and sunlight during the healing process. Alternatively, wear the best quality sunscreen to protect your tattoo before entering direct sunlight. Swimming with your new tattoo can be harmful to the pigment. Exposing the tattooing area to the water before complete healing can result in the following dangers.
Damage to Body Art
Keeping the fresh tattoo under water for a long time can cause fading of the pigment. This is because swimming water contains high salt, chlorine, and other chemicals. The salt and chlorine can pull out the tattoo ink, making the pigment less vibrant.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid swimming after a new tattoo. Also, staying in water for a long time dries out the skin and delays the healing process; however, if it’s necessary to cover the application area for swimming by using a waterproof bandage.
Risk of Bacterial Infection
Another reason to avoid going to the local pool with your new ink tattoo design is that there are possible chances of infection in the wound. The water in the swimming pool may contain harmful bacteria. So, if you submerge your fresh tattoo, the germs in the water come in contact with the application area and result in an infection. So, learning how to waterproof a tattoo before exposing it to water is important.
Minor skin irritation in a new tattoo is not a big problem compared to skin infection and damage to the ink art. However, severe skin irritation can lead to both of these problems. When you swim, chlorine and other chemicals come in contact with the wound. Exposing the tattooing area to these chemicals may result in pain and rash in the affected part of the body. Therefore, not going in the water with your new tattoo is suggested.
Can you swim with a second skin on a tattoo?
You can swim with a second skin on the tattooing area. But it’s better to wait until the infected area heals completely.
What is the best waterproof tattoo wrap for swimming?
Many waterproof bandages are available to protect your tattoo from wetting. Among them, the sidearm is the most commonly used bandage. Apply the covering soon before going to swim.
Can i swim with second skin?
You should avoid wetting your tattooing area until it heals completely. So, you must avoid swimming for at least three to four weeks to keep your tattoo design safe from damage.
Can you swim with a sidearm on a tattoo?
An infected area can be covered with a sidearm while swimming or bathing. But make sure to completely cover the pigmented area with a sidearm and remove it as soon as you have finished swimming.
How long after tattoos can you swim?
Tattoo artists usually advise not to swim for three to four weeks until the ink art completely heals. This duration may be increased depending on your wound condition.
Can I swim 1 week after tattoo?
Swimming with a fresh wound can be harmful as it can cause the leaching of pigment and damage to the artwork. Therefore, you shouldn’t swim until your tattoo is fully healed. Usually, it takes 3 to 4 weeks for a tattoo to heal completely.
How many days after body art can you swim?
It depends on the condition of your dermis layer. Usually, four weeks are enough for wound healing. After your skin heals properly, you can swim.
Does chlorine affect tattoos?
Chlorine and other salt contents of water can leach pigment from the ink design. Chlorine makes the ink less vibrant. And the pigment color fades quickly.
Soaking a new tattoo is not a good idea for several reasons. The moisture can interact with the tattoo’s healing process and cause faster ink fading. Therefore, you must avoid swimming with the new ink design.
If swimming is essential, you should cover the wound with a waterproof bandage. After swimming, rinse the infected area with water and clean it with a towel. After that, apply a good quality lotion or a cream on it.
Flora Jones is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 5 years of experience working at various studios in Arizona. In addition to her artistry, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise on various tattoo-related topics through her writing.