Tattoo Aftercare: Can I Shower After Getting a Tattoo?

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Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience, but the real work starts after you leave the chair. Taking care of your new ink is essential for avoiding infection and ensuring it heals properly. One of the most common questions among those who’ve just gotten a tattoo is, “Can I shower after getting a tattoo?” The answer to this question can vary based on individual circumstances, so getting clear instructions from your artist before taking action is essential.

Read on to learn more about how long you should wait to shower after getting a tattoo and how to protect your skin while caring for your new artwork.

Can I Shower After Getting a Tattoo?

woman with a tattoo taking a bath

It all depends on what your tattoo artist uses to cover up your ink. If it’s a plastic wrap or regular bandage, you’ll have to wait at least one hour before removing the covering and jumping in. It can even last up to 24 hours, depending on the location and size of the tattoo.

Medical-Grade Material

On the other hand, if they use Saniderm, a medical-grade, waterproof material – then go ahead with caution! Make sure you keep that tattoo covered for as long as your artist instructs so everything stays intact during its healing journey!

Lukewarm Water

At this point, you’ll likely ask how to shower with a new tattoo. So, to ensure your tattoo remains vibrant, keep showers lukewarm and avoid a direct flow of the showerhead over your new ink. Hot water is too painful for freshly-tattooed skin – it opens pores which can cause fading and blurring. When you bathe, rinse delicately with your fingertips; this way, your brand-new work of art will remain as pristine as possible!

Take Precautions

But if the tattoo hurts when you shower, you should take precautions. Cut down shower time to five minutes or less, avoid scrubbing the tattoo area, and pat it dry gently with a clean towel.

Finally, moisturize your new tattoo afterward by applying a generous layer of SPF-infused lotion. This will ensure that your artwork stays vibrant throughout the healing process!

How Long After a Tattoo Can You Shower Normally?

Once the tattoo is healed, you should be able to shower normally. Although it may seem that the outer layer of skin, or the part you can observe, that has been tattooed is ready to go after two to three weeks, the actual healing process could take up to 6 months. Don’t be tempted by appearances; continue with your post-tattoo care until the full recovery period has passed.

At this point, you must avoid harsh skin care products and stick with mild soaps and cleansers. Keep moisture levels in check; never let your freshly-inked skin dry out!

Potential Risks of Showering Too Soon After Getting a Tattoo

Your tattoo is still an open wound and should be protected from bacteria by keeping it as dry as possible. Showering immediately after getting a tattoo can cause ink smudging, fading, and bacteria buildup, leading to infection. A water-damaged tattoo can also result in a slower healing time and an uneven appearance.

Additionally, you may still be sensitive to hot water, so take caution when showering and lather up with soap gently. In the worst-case scenario, water damage to your tattoo can result in scabbing and scarring. So play it safe and wait until your skin has fully healed before showering normally!

Washing with Soap

hands with soap

A mild, chemical-free soap is the best way to clean off your tattoo during its healing process. Soap helps remove excess ink, dead skin cells, and bacteria from the area and prevents them from getting infected. When washing with soap, use lukewarm water and gentle circular motions for maximum protection.

How Long After a Tattoo Can You Take a Bath?

Avoid soaking it in water to ensure your tattoo is not exposed to potentially harmful bacteria. This includes avoiding activities like swimming and taking baths for up to two weeks (or whatever the advised amount of time from your artist may be). Doing so could strip away moisture that can cause skin cracking or infection, resulting in possible scarring. Protecting your new piece should always come first!

Will Soaking a New Tattoo Fade It?

Soaking a new tattoo in water can cause the ink to run and blur, resulting in an uneven look. Never submerge your tattoo underwater for any time — this includes taking baths or swimming until the healing process is complete.

How to Properly Wash a New Tattoo

Washing a new tattoo is essential for its longevity and vibrancy. Start by washing your hands with soap before touching the tattooed area to avoid bacteria buildup. When cleaning, use lukewarm water and mild, unscented soap in circular motions. Pat dry gently with a clean towel or Saniderm when you’re done; never rub!

What to Wash a Tattoo With

To keep your tattoo healthy and vibrant, wash it with an antimicrobial, fragrance-free soap and pat dry. For the following days, apply a layer of antibacterial/Vaseline ointment twice daily without covering it with bandages. Additionally, gently wash your tattoo area twice daily before reapplying with the same antiseptic cream for extra protection from potential infections or irritations.


It is essential to use fragrance-free lotions and soaps on your tattoo. Switch over to unscented shampoo, conditioner, and body wash if needed. Aromas in products can be a significant cause of irritation when it comes into contact with the ink used for tattoos. This precaution may become necessary depending on where you have gotten your tattoo.

At this point, you’ll ask. “how often to wash a new tattoo?” My answer is to wash it twice daily for the first three days to two weeks and then switch to once daily.

happy woman removing face mask after taking a bath

Can You Swim with a New Tattoo?

Before you show off your new ink poolside, wait for it to properly heal — between two and four weeks at least. Not only is this beneficial for the longevity of your art, but also essential for keeping yourself in good health. So don’t throw on that swimsuit yet; let your tattoo enjoy its deserved healing period first!

It is essential to properly care for your new tattoo to ensure that it remains vibrant and healthy. It is best to wait at least one hour before showering after getting a tattoo and avoid submerging the area in water until the healing process has been completed. When you bathe or shower with a new tattoo, use lukewarm water instead of hot, keep showers short (no more than five minutes), and pat dry gently afterward. Additionally, apply an SPF-infused moisturizer regularly throughout the healing period. This will help protect against potential risks such as infection or fading due to water damage. By following these steps carefully and listening closely to instructions from your artist, you can enjoy beautiful tattoos for years!

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