3 Simple Tips To Protect A New Tattoo Whilst Swimming

by Tori Jones
Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming

Hey there, ink enthusiasts! Tori here, bringing you the lowdown on how to keep your fresh tattoos safe while you’re making a splash. Tattoo lore and science unite in this blog post, as I share with you tips and tricks from the world’s best tattoo masters. This ain’t my first rodeo, folks, and I’m more than excited to dish out some invaluable insights, with a dash of my classic wit on the side.

This blog post is all about how to enjoy the siren call of the waves without compromising the brilliance of your new tattoo. After all, we get these divine etchings to celebrate our uniqueness, not to babysit them at the poolside.

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@Ekaterina Antonova Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

The history of tattoos is as deep as the ocean you’re eager to dive into. In ancient times, tattoos were used as a rite of passage, a symbol of tribal belonging, and even a safeguard against evil spirits. From the Maori of New Zealand to the Ainu of Japan, these permanent marks have held significance and intrigue across cultures and time. The fact that they’re mainstream today doesn’t strip them of their mystique or power – if anything, it heightens it.

Artistically, tattoos have traveled through time, soaking up influences from various art movements, cultures, and personal narratives. The result? A rich, diverse universe of designs that tell stories as unique as our own DNA. And protecting that narrative while you swim? That’s where we’re diving in.

I’m about to unravel the science behind the post-ink healing process, drop some wisdom on what happens when chlorinated water meets fresh tattoos, and guide you through the dos and don’ts of pool-time post-tattoo. Because, my fellow tattoo enthusiasts, no one wants a dulled masterpiece after spending hours under the needle, right?

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@Philipp Kämmerer Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

So let’s embark on this journey together, as we delve deep into the tattoo universe, exploring not only how to keep your ink vibrant in the water, but also appreciating the cultural tapestry and history that adds to the allure of your new artwork.

With humor, expertise, and a dash of the unconventional, let’s ensure that your ink – and its story – remains as enduring as the ocean you’re about to conquer. Dive in, folks, the water’s fine – and your tattoos will be, too!

No Swimming Allowed!

Your tattoo is more than just skin deep, and the healing process is crucial. Here’s a little tip from my own tattoo journey – I learned the hard way, jumping into the ocean too soon after getting my third tattoo. I ended up with an infection that made my healing process way longer than necessary. My advice? Avoid swimming for the first few weeks after getting inked.

Got to Swim? Seal It Up!

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@Alonso Reyes Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

If you really must get in the water, make sure you seal up the tattooed area with plastic. Do it like I did with my stubbornly healing ink masterpiece on my fifth tattoo. I used a plastic wrap, ensuring it was tightly sealed, followed by a good wash with an antibacterial soap after swimming.

Post-Tattoo Care

Before exposing your freshly tattooed skin to any wet environment, you’ve got to go through all the steps of post-tattoo care:

  1. Inking: Your tattoo artist will wrap your tattoo up before you leave.
  2. Once Home: Gently wash off any blood, plasma, or extra ink.
  3. Dry It: Let your skin air dry in a clean environment.
  4. Apply a Cream: Use a recommended tattoo aftercare cream – my personal go-to is the vegan-friendly After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion.
  5. Don’t Scratch: Resist the urge to scratch those itchy scabs.
  6. Avoid the Sun: Keep your fresh tattoo out of direct sunlight.
  7. Sunblock: Once healed, always remember to apply sunblock to your tattoo.

Are Tattoos Water-Friendly?

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@Daniel Lazarov Via Pexels – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

A new tattoo is essentially an open wound, and it needs clean air and time to heal. Trust me on this one, after my ‘Ocean Oops’ with my third tattoo, I was careful with my subsequent inks. The scabs that form on your tattoo are there for a reason – they protect your skin as it heals. They can easily come off if they get soggy, and you might even lose some ink.

When Can I Swim?

You should ideally wait at least four weeks before taking the plunge again. Use my experience as a lesson – now I always plan my tattoo sessions around my vacations, and my tattoos and I have been happier for it.

Swimming Pools 

Chlorine and fresh tattoos are not best friends. The chemical can irritate your new ink and potentially cause skin rashes. Even chemical-free pools can harbor bacteria that may infect your fresh ink.

Be Careful in the Sea

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@OCTAVIO LOMELI Via Pexels – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

The sea may seem tempting, but it’s a bad idea for your fresh tattoo. My ‘Ocean Oops’ episode taught me that the hard way! The sea contains all sorts of bacteria, and even sea salt can cause itchiness and redness.

Protect Your Tattoo 

If your tattoo is healing slowly, you may consider a waterproof bandage. Waterproof ointments can also help to repel water.

Sink or Swim: Tattoo Safety Tips

If you have to submerge your tattoo, here are some tips:

  1. Clean and dry your tattoo thoroughly.
  2. Wrap the tattoo with a waterproof material, such as plastic wrap.
  3. Seal the plastic tightly with medical adhesive.
  4. Limit your time in the water.
  5. As soon as you’re out, remove the wrap and wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and a mild soap.
  6. Let the tattoo completely dry before adding a small amount of lotion.

Safe Tattoo Swimming 

Protect A New Tattoo While Swimming
@SHVETS production Via Pexels – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Swimming with a fresh tattoo can expose your skin to bacteria and germs that may lead to infection. Your skin needs time to heal and should stay dry during the first month after you get inked. But if you really can’t resist the call of the water, remember to wrap it up well and limit your time in the water. Wash your tattoo with an antibacterial wash and clean water once you get out, and leave it to air dry.

Best Product To Buy To Protect Your New Tattoo

The key to protecting your new tattoo while swimming is to keep it as dry as possible. Here are some product recommendations that can help:

  1. Waterproof Bandages:
    • Tegaderm Transparent Film Dressing: This is a waterproof, transparent film dressing that allows you to monitor your tattoo’s healing process while keeping it safe from water and bacteria.
    • Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Adhesive Pads: These pads provide a waterproof seal over your tattoo and are cushioned for additional comfort.
    • TattooMed® Clean & Care Waterproof Tattoo Bandage: A specially designed bandage for fresh tattoos that provides a protective barrier against water and germs while also ensuring a breathable environment for your tattoo.
  2. Ointments:
    • Aquaphor Healing Ointment: A widely trusted ointment in the tattoo community. It helps to hydrate your skin and promote healing while also creating a protective barrier against water and bacteria.
    • Tattoo Goo Aftercare Lotion: This lotion helps to soothe your tattooed skin and helps with the healing process. It is not entirely waterproof, but it does provide some barrier protection. Apply it before swimming and immediately after drying off.
    • Hustle Butter Deluxe: This vegan-friendly ointment can be used before, during, and after the tattoo process to moisturize and help the skin heal, acting as a slight water repellent.

Remember, even with these products, it’s best to minimize your tattoo’s exposure to water as much as possible during the healing process. If you must swim, make sure to clean and dry your tattoo thoroughly afterwards.


And there you have it, fellow ink aficionados! No matter how eager you are to take a dive or bask under the sun, remember that your fresh ink is not just skin deep; it’s a piece of art that needs to be protected. Choosing the right placement for your tattoo can make a difference too. Opt for places on your body that are less exposed to the sun or don’t frequently come into contact with water. As for cost, be prepared to shell out anywhere between $50 to $300 per hour, depending on the design’s complexity and your artist’s expertise.

Yes, that freshly inked tattoo comes with its own share of risks, like potential infection and loss of color if exposed to water too soon. But, as long as you follow the tips I’ve shared, you’ll be swimming safely while preserving the vibrancy of your ink. Remember, each tattoo tells a unique story and symbolizes a moment in your life. Protect it like the precious narrative it is. Until next time, stay inked, stay safe, and keep making waves!

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