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Swimming with a Tattoo? Here’s How to Keep It Safe

Swimming with a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is an exciting and personal form of self-expression. However, if you’re an avid swimmer, you might wonder how it will affect your ability to enjoy water activities. The good news is that with proper care and precautions, you can safely swim with your tattoo without compromising its appearance or risking infection.

Have you gotten a new tattoo recently? Do you want to boast about it in public? The beach or pool are ideal places to show off your new design. But can you swim or take a shower with a new or old tattoo? It’s not cool to simply go to the beach or the pool and lay by the water. In this blog post, we will provide you with essential tips and guidelines to help you keep your tattoo safe while swimming.

Wait for Proper Healing

Before diving into the water, it’s crucial to allow your tattoo to fully heal. The healing process typically takes around 2-4 weeks, during which time your tattoo is susceptible to infection. Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist and ensure that your tattoo is completely scab-free before exposing it to water.

Protect with a Waterproof Barrier

Once your tattoo has healed, protect it from the water by applying a waterproof barrier. There are various products available, such as waterproof bandages or specialized tattoo sealants. These barriers create a protective shield that keeps the water out and prevents bacteria from entering the tattooed area.

Avoid Prolonged Submersion

While it’s generally safe to swim with a healed tattoo, it’s important to avoid prolonged submersion in water. Excessive exposure to water can cause the tattoo to become saturated, which may lead to fading or distortion of the ink. Limit your swimming sessions to a reasonable duration and take breaks to allow your tattoo to dry properly.

Rinse and Pat Dry

After swimming, rinse your tattoo with clean, lukewarm water to remove any chlorine, salt, or other impurities that could potentially irritate the skin. Avoid using harsh soaps or scrubbing the tattoo vigorously. Once rinsed, gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel—avoid rubbing, as this can damage the tattooed area.

Moisturize Regularly

Keeping your tattoo moisturized is essential for maintaining its vibrancy and preventing dryness or itching. After swimming, apply a fragrance-free, gentle moisturizer or a tattoo-specific aftercare product to keep the skin hydrated. This will also aid in the healing process and minimize any potential damage caused by exposure to water.

Protect from Sun Exposure

Sun exposure can cause your tattoo to fade and lose its sharpness over time. Before swimming outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your tattoo from harmful UV rays. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after being in the water, to ensure continuous protection.

The Importance of Tattoo Waterproofing

Tattoo Waterproofing

When you get a tattoo, tiny micro-wounds grow on your skin, eventually becoming huge ones. Its interaction with any surface or liquid raises the possibility of problems that might be harmful to your health.

Do they, however, apply to water? Regrettably, yes. We’ll go through three potential concerns of swimming with a fresh tattoo exposed below.

Tattoo Adverse Reactions

Pool and ocean can permanently fade your tattoo! Chlorine is often used in swimming pools to sanitize the water. Perchloric acid is formed by this chemical. When it comes into touch with water, it physically ruins the paint.

How about salt water? Unfortunately, it also has a negative impact on the ink’s color. Saltwater removes the ink from your skin, causing the tattoo to fade.


Swimming in the sea and in pools may cause skin irritation for the same reason as the preceding problem. However, it is still worthwhile to go into further depth.

Swimming in the pool causes irritation. The skin gets more sensitive after having a tattoo. As a result, contact with chlorine may result in irritation or dermatitis.
Irritation when swimming in the water. The composition of minerals and organisms in various waters varies. Jellyfish larvae, on the other hand, may collect on the body surface after bathing. They itch and irritate the skin severely.


Swimming with a fresh tattoo exposed greatly increases your chance of infection since bacteria and other microorganisms dwell in the water. They may penetrate into the wound and induce infection, with unpredictable effects.

Of course, the danger of illness is significantly lower in water with high chlorine content. It may, however, harm your tattoo or create skin issues like inflammation or dermatitis.

Avoid Chemical-Laden Pools or Hot Tubs

Chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in pools or hot tubs can be harsh on tattoos and may cause irritation or fading. Whenever possible, opt for natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean. If using a pool or hot tub is unavoidable, limit your time and rinse off with clean water immediately after.


With proper care and precautions, you can safely enjoy swimming with your tattoo. Remember to allow sufficient healing time, protect your tattoo with a waterproof barrier, avoid prolonged submersion, rinse and pat dry after swimming, moisturize regularly, shield from sun exposure, and be cautious of chemical-laden pools or hot tubs. By following these guidelines, you can confidently embrace both your love for swimming and your cherished tattoo.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is essential to consult with your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations regarding caring for your tattoo while swimming.

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