How and When to Shave Over a New Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

Should you shave over a brand new tattoo before the area has had the chance to fully heal? The short answer is no. A tattoo is an open wound, just like any other cut and you don’t want to damage it further or cause any infection by shaving. 

The skin should be left to heal before shaving and should be cared for properly to make sure that it heals quickly and properly. If you damage your tattoo, you’ll be stuck with it forever.

We’ll let you know what the general advice is regarding shaving over tattoos, including when to do it and how to do the job properly.

Shaving Over a Tattoo: When and How

Freshly tattooed skin shouldn’t be shaved and you should leave shaving until your tattoo is healed fully. Any scabbing or shiny new skin should have gone and your tattooed skin should look just like any other skin on your body before you start to shave. Your tattoo should be flat on your skin and you shouldn’t have any raised skin or bumps. 

Once the tattoo has fully healed, you are then able to shave as normal. However, we would still recommend taking care when shaving, especially for the first few times. Your skin is healing from an open wound so it will be tender and you don’t want to cause any damage to your new tattoo.

Tattoo Healing Process

A new tattoo can take up to six weeks before it’s fully healed. The healing process will depend on the aftercare and the condition of your skin. It could be that it heals in as little as two weeks, each individual is different as is each tattoo. The healing process will also depend on the size of the tattoo and its location on your body. 

As your tattoo starts to heal it will start to scab over. This is a good thing and the scabbed skin will then start to peel, revealing shiny new skin that will help to protect your tattoo and allow it to heal fully. 

What Happens If I Shave Too Early? 

If you shave regularly there will always be the chance that you forget about your tattoo when rushing and start to shave the area. This is the same as when you have an itchy tattoo that you know you shouldn’t scratch but you sometimes do, just out of habit. 

As soon as you remember that you shouldn’t be shaving the tattoo, you should stop. If you do that it shouldn’t be such a major issue. 

Remember that your tattoo is an open wound that should be treated as such until it heals. Once you have stopped yourself from shaving the tattoo, you should gently clean the area with warm water and antibacterial soap to stop an infection from occurring. 

Hopefully, you’ve caught it in time and there won’t be any lasting damage. However, in the worst-case scenario, it could be that you are left with some scarring or the colors of the tattoo have discolored.

What About Other Hair Removal Options? 

Just as with shaving, you shouldn’t use any other kinds of hair removal on your tattooed area while it’s healing. You may be a little more hairy than normal but it won’t be forever, and you will be left with the perfect tattoo that you dreamt of. 

Depilatory Creams are able to be used on a healed tattoo as they only remove hair from the epidermis layer of the skin whereas the ink is in the dermis, which is lower down. Waxing can also be a good option for removing hair on healed tattooed skin.

Tattooed skin shouldn’t have any kind of laser treatment, even if the tattoo is years old. This could cause the skin to burn or blister, which will distort even an old tattoo. 


It’s frustrating to not be able to shave the tattooed skin until healed, but your tattoo will benefit from this. Aftercare is important and even more so if you have more hair than normal. As it will be difficult to keep the area clean and moisturized. 

We hope that we’ve answered your question and that you understand the damage that can be done by shaving too early. By restraining yourself your tattoo will look perfect.

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