How To Protect A Tattoo While Working

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 21, 2019
    Last Updated: November 28, 2020

Once you have your new ink, the work isn’t done. As a new tattoo owner, you have to be careful. This isn’t only with the healing process, but with every day after that to keep your tattoo in good condition. It doesn’t take much for it to go from a fresh tattoo to a medical emergency, if you aren’t careful.

You can protect a tattoo while working by:

  • Using Saniderm
  • Keeping your tattoos covered
  • Moisturizing your tattoo often
  • Using an SPF
  • Staying hydrated

Reasons Why You Have to Protect Your Tattoo at Work

When you’re very busy, it’s easy to forget all about your tattoo as you go about your business. This is why you should prepare your tattoo before you leave for work each day. Doing so can prevent:

  • Infection
  • Fading
  • Swelling and irritation


Infection is especially a danger when a tattoo is fresh. It’s such a risk that, for some, it’s recommended they should take some time out from work. This is for professions where open wounds aren’t allowed, such as the catering industry, and where the skin may be exposed to the elements, even if covered well.


Tattoos fade when the skin is under stress. Working in direct contact with the sun’s rays and sweating excessively can both encourage fading in a new tattoo. Heat is terrible for your tattoo as it causes the ink molecules to be more viscous than solid as they melt. In fact, this is how tattoos used to be removed — by melting the ink beneath the skin until it’s removable. 

However, heat from the sun isn’t hot enough to melt ink to the point of removing it, but the strong UV rays can do plenty of damage to the area over time. This can lead to fading or even a distorted tattoo. The tattoo will lose its color and vibrancy, defeating the beautification purpose of the tattoo.

The sun can do a lot of damage to your tattoo over the years

Swelling and Irritation

Not taking care of your tattoo at work could also lead to irritation and swelling. The skin that bears your tattoo is a lot more sensitive than the rest of your body. This is because it has not only dealt with mild trauma, but it now carries foreign particles — ink — inside it.

Dealing with dirty water, sweat or rubbing against dirty surfaces can trigger sensitive skin. This irritation can make it red, swollen and itchy, and put you through a lot of unnecessary discomfort.

Ways to Protect Your Tattoo While Working

Use Saniderm

Saniderm is a breathable, flexible and transparent film that’s used for the protection of new tattoos from friction, infections and more. It helps speed up the healing process for new tattoos and allows for oxygen and vapor to reach the skin, keeping it healthy.

Even for older tattoos, it will still do the job and keep your skin safe.

However, you must be extremely cautious when wrapping your tattoo for work in order to prevent any issues from occurring.

If you wrap your tattoo without properly cleaning the area first, you’ll let the lingering bacteria thrive and multiply in the warm, humid environment between the wrapping and your skin – especially if you leave the wrap on for too long and let sweat accumulate within the plastic.

This is why it’s always advisable to only have a professional tattoo artist wrap a tattoo, and not to do it without professional supervision.

Keep Your Tattoos Covered

You should be proud of your new body art, and, of course, you want to show it off. However, at work, it’s best to keep them covered to protect them from irritants like sunlight and rubbing over surfaces. You’re also more likely to be tempted to show your colleagues your new skin, which can open it up to bacteria and infection when it should be covered.

Try to dress with your tattoo in mind and do what you can to cover it. It can be quite annoying to have to dress in a manner that covers your skin, but think long-term. You’ll have years to show off your tattoo once the skin’s healed.

However, don’t wear anything too tight as you don’t want to cut off oxygen to the tattoo or cause any excess rubbing that may irritate the area and prolong healing.

Moisturize Your Tattoos Often and Use SPF

Moisturizers are your best friend as a tattoo wearer. Keeping the site of the tattoo moisturized reduces the chance of irritation and inflammation. This way, your tattoo stays smooth and looking good.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​ Click here to buy from Amazon.

You should also learn to use sunblock. SPF is vital in typical day-to-day life, but even more so when you have a tattoo. Always slather on some sunscreen before you leave the house to protect your tattoo from the sun.

Some high-quality moisturizers combine as an effective SPF. Check your favorite range of products to see if the company has one in its range.

It must be noted, though, that if your tattoo is less than a couple of weeks old, you shouldn’t apply any sunscreen to the area as it may irritate the healing tattoo. If your ink is still only less than two weeks old, keep it out of sunlight completely for optimum healing.

Stay Hydrated

Water is also an essential part of your tattoo care. Carry a bottle or flask with you to work, and drink from it often. Your skin, especially the tattoo site, needs the hydration. Water will keep your skin plump and fresh, and your tattoo happy. A good moisturizing lotion will also work wonders at keeping the area well-hydrated and nourished.


The workplace often requires all our attention, making it easy to forget that we have a sensitive adornment on our skin.

Heat, UV rays, sweat and dirty material are agents just waiting to attack your tattoo, but they can be combated. With constant hydration, sunblock, and care, you’re making huge strides in protecting your tattoo while working.

Related Tattoo Aftercare Articles