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How Long After a Tattoo Can You Swim?

How Long After a Tattoo Can You Swim?

A common question from most tattoo amateurs is, “How long after a tattoo can you swim?” The quick answer is not until your tattoo is entirely healed, which means that every scab and bit of dry skin needs to have fallen off. It can be anything from two to four weeks. Taking proper care of your body art can prevent premature fading and keep it looking sharper for longer. Beautiful tattoos are designed to be displayed. You might be tempted to head straight from the tattoo studio to the pool for those sexy Instagram shots, but this is a terrible idea. Any tattoo artist worth their salt will make sure you’re aware of this before you head out the door.

Why Can’t I Get My New Tattoo Wet?

You can get it wet, but hygiene is everything. Keep it clean by washing it carefully in the initial days of healing, and you’re still able to shower. Nobody’s personal hygiene needs to suffer. Stick to the showers though and avoid baths, hot tubs, pools, and the ocean because: Appearance can suffer. Immersing your new tattoo in water for an extended period might dilute the ink and reduce vibrancy. Infection is likely. Your new tattoo is an open would. Until the tattoo is healed, it is highly vulnerable to infection in the first few days. Chemicals hurt the skin. The chlorine used in pools and hot tubs can irritate your raw skin, causing blistering, itchy bumps, and peeling, which will affect how the tattoo appears after healing.

A Bit More About Infection

At the risk of belabouring the point and sounding like your mother, we think it’s worth mentioning the risk of infection again. Your new tattoo, as amazing as it looks, is still a wound. It is highly susceptible to bacterial infection. Any large body of water, be it the ocean or your bathtub, contains plenty of bacteria waiting for something to invade. Fully intact skin has no problem keeping out bacteria, but an open wound is fair game. In extreme cases, sepsis and death have been known to occur from bacterial infection of a new tattoo, so stay out of the water until it’s healed.

How Can I Avoid Soaking My New Tattoo?

The good news is that you don’t have to avoid washing for three weeks. Showering is safe. A handy hint can be to use plastic wrap with waterproof bandages in the early days to keep the area completely dry. After a few days, some running water from the shower shouldn’t be a problem. Avoid body lotions or oils, too. It brings moisture to the area and interferes with the skin’s healing processes. Once the tattoo is completely healed, applying lotion to the skin is considered good tattoo aftercare, as it keeps the skin healthy and supple under your tattoo. Avoid sweating, if possible. It isn’t always under your control, and you still have to work out, but avoid anything that makes you drip with sweat, like heavy running or hot yoga (at least, for the first few days). If you must gym after this, make sure you wash and dry the area thoroughly immediately after your workout to avoid germs under the bandages.

How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Fully Healed?

Technically a tattoo isn’t considered fully healed until the new layer of skin has grown over it, which takes about three months. It pays to be mindful of the area and monitor it for signs of infection, including pain, swelling, discharge or fever. If you think your tattoo has become infected, seek medical advice immediately. If you’re able to stay out of water for the full three months, that’s healthier. Most people aren’t willing to interrupt their fun for that long, though, and four weeks should be enough time. Once all the scabs have fallen off and there’s no more peeling or itching, you can consider your tattoo healed enough to head out for a dip.

Ready to Explore Your Own Custom Tattoo?

At Chronic Ink Tattoo, our talented artists are ready to help you explore Custom tattoos to make sure you find something you’ll want to show off for decades to come. If you’re in the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga, Kitsilano Vancouver area drop by our shop and check us out for yourself.

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Tattoo Studio Locations

Downtown Toronto

378 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1S6 Directions

Midtown Toronto

252 Eglinton Ave East, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K2 Directions


7381 Kennedy Road, Unit #105, Markham, Ontario L3R 5B5 Directions


100 City Centre Dr., Unit #2-311, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 2C9 Directions


1804 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1M3 Directions

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Browse our selection of one of a kinda tattoo designs created by our Chronic Ink artists. Each piece is individual and will only ever be tattooed once.

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