Getting a new tattoo is a rather exciting moment, especially if it’s you’re first one. However, amidst all of the excitement, there comes a point in the tattooing process when you no longer think about the tattoo itself, but rather how you’re going to take care of it properly. It is no secret that the aftercare routine, and whether you follow it properly or not, can make or break your new tattoo.
Every tattoo artist will tell you what to do, in general. You need to keep the tattoo clean, but not overdo the cleaning, keep it moisturized, but not too much…All of it seems pretty complicated and there’s a lot of pressure on the whole aftercare process during the first week of healing.
But, one thing tattoo artists fail to mention without clients asking them about it is showering and bathing with a new tattoo. They might mention a word or two about how you should not go swimming, but what about other things where you’re exposed to water, like showering and bathing?
Well, in the following paragraphs we’ll fill you in on all the info your tattoo artist failed to mention, or you’re simply curious about. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Showering After Getting Tattooed: Everything You Need To Know
Can I Shower With a New Tattoo?
The short answer is yes, you can shower with a new tattoo. Not only that you can shower, but you should shower after getting a tattoo; you’re not going to walk around dirty while you’re dealing with a sensitive, open wound, right?
But, here’s the deal. You cannot shower right away.
The first 24 to 48 hours are crucial when it comes to the future of your tattoo’s healing process. In that period, you should not play around and expose the tattoo to water right away.
The reason for this is the fact that the tattoo or the wound needs to start closing. In order for that to happen, the tattoo first needs to get rid of all the excess ink, blood, and plasma. After that, the tattoo may require a light wash, and then it needs to start drying out. All of that should happen in the first 24 to 48 hours, so you need to be patient.
How Soon After a Tattoo Can I Shower?
Your first shower after a new tattoo can be the day after you got the tattoo. That could be between 12 and 48 hours. Sometimes, the tattoo becomes messy after a night of oozing blood and ink. In order for the tattoo to start healing properly, you need to give it a light wash with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water.
After 48 hours, your tattoo should be good for water exposure, but only once or twice a day. During the first week, it is essential not to expose the tattoo to the water for longer periods. This will prevent the tattoo from drying and forming a new skin layer. In such a case, your tattoo could get infected.
Note: we also recommend you avoid sweat-inducing activities, like working out, jogging, etc. Sweat carries bacteria that can infect the tattoo. Furthermore, sweating prevents the tattoo from drying out, which could also lead to an infection. If you must stick with light walks and yoga-like exercises, which will keep you active without causing much sweating and increased body temperature.
So, How Can I Shower Without Disrupting the Tattoo?
Here are few important tips to utilize when showering with a new tattoo;
- Use a mild, antibacterial soap – it is essential you use a mild, antibacterial, fragrance-free soap when showering with a tattoo, or when washing the tattoo itself. Try to be gentle and do not press or rub the tattoo. Use lukewarm water and try not to lather the soap during the very first tattoo wash.
- Apply a thin layer of Vaseline – if you want to take a longer shower, you can apply a very thin layer of Vaseline onto a healing tattoo. This should protect the tattoo from the water or a stronger soap. After you’re done with the shower, make sure to remove the Vaseline layer and gently wash the tattoo. Do not apply Vaseline otherwise, because it will clog the tattoo, prevent it from drying, and potentially cause an infection.
- Avoid using a washcloth or loofah – now, even though we used them to get clean, a washcloth or loofah are filled with all sorts of bacteria and germs. Gross, right? So, to prevent the tattoo from getting infected, avoid showering using these items. Use your hands to shower until the tattoo has healed completely. And even then, make sure to use a new and clean washcloth or loofah.
- Avoid spraying the tattoo directly – during showering, avoid direct water pressure on the tattoo. It is best to simply stand under the shower and let the water run over the tattooed area.
- Do not shave the tattooed area – for obvious reasons, you should not shave an open wound, which your tattoo is in the beginning. Be patient and wait for the tattoo to heal, and only then try to carefully shave the area.
Can I Take a Bath After Getting a Tattoo?
Well, as we mentioned, it is essential to take quick showers and not expose the tattoo to moisture for too long. It is okay to shower, but to soak the tattoo, well, that is not a good idea. So, avoid submerging the tattoo in the bath until it heals completely. Excess moisture will prevent your tattoo from drying out and healing properly, which can indirectly lead to a tattoo infection.
Note: The same applies to swimming. Try to avoid swimming until the tattoo has healed, so wait for at least 3 weeks. Submerging the tattoo underwater for a longer period will prevent it from proper healing, and might even prolong the whole process which could lead to an infection.
How To Take Care Of the Tattoo After Showering?
It is essential to take off the tattoo properly after showering.
First of all, if you’ve put Vaseline on the tattoo to protect it from water, make sure to clean it off and wash the tattoo with lukewarm water.
After you’re done showering, make sure to dry the tattoo by tapping it gently with a cloth, a soft towel, or even a paper towel. Avoid sudden moves, aggressive rubbing, and similar actions. Be gentle and press the tattoo mildly, just to pick up any excess moisture on the skin.
Now that your tattoo is dry, it is important to help it regain its natural moisture. You can do that by using a light, fragrance-free lotion or shea butter. It is essential to use lotion once or twice a day, especially when the tattoo starts peeling and itching. The lotion will be your savior until the tattoo heals completely.
Some of our favorite tattoo aftercare creams and lotions are;
- Bepanthen Diaper Care Ointment – this ointment is intended for the care of sensitive skin, such as tattooed skin. It is gentle and because of its vitamin D5 formula, it also promotes faster tattoo healing. The ointment is fragrance-,preservative-, and dye-free.
- La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm – this soothing balm will take care of your tattoo in an instant. The balm is created to soothe treated, cracked, dehydrated, and dry skin. It protects the skin’s natural barrier and keeps it moisturized. The balm contains shea butter, glycerin, and panthenol for proper hydration and faster tattoo healing.
- Brooklyn Grooming Tattoo Balm – this balm is specifically designed for tattoo care. It is nourishing, regenerating and helps with swelling, tattoo peeling, irritation, and itching. That is because the balm is made from beeswax, sesame seed oil, shea butter, and hemp seed oil. The balm promotes faster tattoo healing and keeps it hydrated after a shower.
Other Things to Consider
- Do not touch the tattoo without thoroughly washing your hands first.
- Avoid sunbathing and make sure to wear a high SPF sunscreen whenever your tattoo is exposed to the sun (UV rays).
- Make sure not to pick, peel and scratch the tattoo as it heals. Picking and peeling the tattoo will prolong the natural healing process and potentially lead to an infection (since you’re transferring bacteria from your fingers and nails onto the tattoo).
- Avoid using harsh products on your tattoo, whether chemical pr physical. For example, avoid heavy, fragrant lotions as well as harsh towels and abrasive cloths.
- Do not apply Vaseline onto the tattoo during the healing process. The only moment you can use Vaseline is during the shower, to protect the tattoo from moisture. Even then, you have to clean the tattoo thoroughly from any Vaseline.
- Ensure your tattoo is not drying out. Try to find a balance between hydration and natural drying out of the tattoo. Going into extremes can simply lead to inflammation and infection.
- Do not go into hot tubs, pools, and open water until your tattoo has healed completely. These places can expose your tattoo to bacteria and prolonged moisture exposure can lead to an infection.
The only period you should not shower with a new tattoo is when you just get it, as well as the next 12 to 24 hours. After that period, you simply have to shower and clean the tattoo from all the remaining ink, blood, and plasma. However, you should not overdo the showering and cleaning since it could prolong the healing time and lead to complications.
Try to avoid swimming and bathing until the tattoo is fully healed. And, that’s it. Hopefully, you found this article useful and informative. For more information about the tattoo aftercare make sure to check our other related articles.