When can I go swimming after a tattoo?

Playing on the beach or by your local pool may seem like the perfect fashion to show off some fresh ink, but not take on your swimwear yet. When can I go swimming after a tattoo?

Your tattoo should be completely healed within 2 to 4 weeks, but it can take as long as six months. Learn more about When can you can go swimming after a tattoo.

Why it is so important to wait

Waiting to heal before swimming is just as crucial to your health as your new body art.

Risk of infection

Apart from gentle washing, immersion of newly tattooed skin is not recommended, primarily due to the risk of infection. Swimming with your new tattoo can potentially expose it to harmful bacteria in the water. Infections can range from mild to severe. Although rare, sepsis and death are a possibility.

The risk may be lower in chlorinated water in a swimming pool than in open water, such as a lake or an ocean, but chlorine does not kill bacteria.

Damage to your tattoo

Soaking your new tattoo can also lead to fading and discoloration. Chlorine and saltwater are tough on fresh tattoos because both can leak ink from a tattoo, making the color less vivid.

Swimming can also dry out the skin and prolong healing, leading to more itching, flaking, and crusting, leading to fading, smudges, and blurred lines.

Skin irritation

Sure, some skin irritation is expected with a new tattoo anyway. And it does not sound nearly as bad as a nasty infection or damage to your new and expensive art. However, skin irritation can contribute to both of these risks and be very unpleasant.

Freshly tattooed skin is already raw and sensitive. Exposure to chlorine and other chemicals can cause burning and pain and cause irritating contact dermatitis.

It can be hard to know if your tattoo is completely healed. Your tattoo can look and feel recovered in a matter of days – at least on the surface.

Most tattoo artists consider the tattoo to be healed within 2-4 weeks, but it can vary with the location and size of the tattoo. It can take as long as six months for your tattoo to heal. Your lifestyle and aftercare can also affect your healing time.

You can consider your tattoo as completely healed when it is no longer red, itchy, crusty, or flaky. If you are not sure, stop by the studio where you got your tattoo and have a professional check it for you.

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