How Long After Getting A New Tattoo Can You Swim?

After getting a brand new tattoo done at the studio you will want to make sure that you look after it as best as you can, especially during the healing period. Swimming after getting a tattoo isn't very good for your newest piece of ink and this article explains why.


Can you Swim After Getting a New Tattoo?

Swimming Pool and Tattoos

Right after getting a brand new tattoo, the area of skin is essentially a completely open wound with no protection whatsoever against harmful germs and bacteria. It's therefore essential that you do whatever you possibly can to make sure your tattoo remains clean - and this means staying out of any type of water (apart from showering and properly cleaning your tattoo by hand).

Before your tattoo has completely healed, it's prone to a magnitude of different types of infections caused by millions of different kinds of bacteria, many of which originate from water.

Even if the water itself is generally clean of germs and bacteria, its surrounding areas are probably not (swimming pool changing areas, sunbeds and towels for example).

Can you Swim in Swimming Pools After Getting a New Tattoo?

No. Most indoor and outdoor swimming pools (either private or commercial) have some sort of strong bacteria-killing chemicals continuously filtering through the water – the most common chemical used is Chlorine.

Chlorine is an enemy to your new tattoo and you should stay well away from coming into contact with it during the initial healing period.

Chlorine can irritate your tattoo by making it extremely dry and flaky. It can also make the area itch and cause a host of other conditions such a skin rashes and red bumps appearing over the area.

Pool and Tattoos

Not only this, but Chlorine can also leach ink from your tattoo during prolonged exposure, potentially causing fading and patchy ink.

If the swimming pool doesn’t use Chlorine or any other chemicals, you should definitely still stay well away. These swimming pools will likely have no preventative methods to protect against bacteria or germs and therefore your tattoo will be extremely prone to infection.

Can you Swim in the Sea After Getting a New Tattoo

No. Not only will the sea contain millions of types of horrible bacteria (many sewer systems throughout the world drain out into the sea remember), but the sea salt will have very negative effects on the healing of your tattoo.

Sea and Tattoos

Much like Chlorine, salt will really dry the area out and irritate the skin, causing many different types of possible reactions such as itchiness, redness and rashing.

Can you Swim in a Lake or River After Getting a New Tattoo?

No. These places are as bad as the sea. Even though some lakes and rivers may look sparkling clear, they will still play host to rat urine/faeces, fish excrement and a whole load of other nasty surprises – so stay away during healing.

Can you go in a Hot Tub with a New Tattoo?

Hot Tub and Tattoos

No. Many hot tubs contain extremely high levels of Chlorine which will wreak havoc with the super sensitive area around your healing tattoo.

Not only this but due to the extremely confined area of water and the large amount of people who bathe within single hot tubs, the whole enclosure will most-likely be full of nasty germs, Chlorine-or-not.

Can you Take a Bath with a New Tattoo?

No. What can possibly be worse for your new tattoo than bathing in your own germs and dirty bathwater? It doesn't matter if the germs come from your body, they can still infect an open wound in the skin.

Not only this, but bathing in any body of water for long periods of time will flood the recovering tattoo with water, potentially allowing ink to drain and leak out, leading to possible fading and patchiness.

Tattoo In Bath

You can bathe safely with your beautiful tattoo all in good time

How Long After Getting a Tattoo can you Swim / Bathe in Water?

Proper tattoo aftercare should be performed for at least 3 weeks before bathing or swimming in any type of water in order for the skin to recover and close properly, guarding the tattoo/wound from bacteria and the chance of water saturation.

You should definitely wait until your tattoo has finished scabbing and peeling, so if your tattoo takes longer than 3 weeks for this process to finish, then wait a little while longer before you go for a swim.

Holiday Tattoos - Top Tip

Beach and Tattoos

If you go on a beach holiday/vacation and have your heart set on getting a tattoo while you’re away – try and get the tattoo done as close to the end of the vacation as possible so you don’t need to ruin the trip avoiding water or swimming for days/weeks on end.

Getting a new tattoo on the first day of your vacation followed by leaving your tattoo out in the sun and swimming every day for the next two weeks is not going to leave you with very nice looking ink by the end of the healing process.

Not only this but you will potentially be putting yourself at risk of ending up with one of the many possible nasty skin infections caused by bacteria entering an open wound (such as the open wound caused by getting a new tattoo).


Swimming too soon can quite easily ruin a tattoo and delay healing. The 2-3 weeks after getting a new tattoo is the most important times during the life of your ink, so treat it with care as best as you can during this period.

If you do accidentally/purposefully find yourself swimming or bathing in any of the areas mentioned above, make sure you wash your tattoo as best as possible immediately afterwards to minimize risk of infection.

I hope you now understand about how long after getting a new tattoo that you can swim safely, and realise the importance of initially staying away from water with a new tattoo. Look after your ink and it will continue to look amazing for many years to come.

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