Showering with a New Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 10, 2016
    Last Updated: May 17, 2023

You’re probably wondering whether it’s safe or not to have a shower straight after getting your awesome new tattoo. The short answer is yes, you can shower after getting a new tattoo, but you must be careful. There are also a few instructions to follow to ensure you don’t do any damage to your new ink.

This article will show you how to safely shower while your tattoo is healing without causing any damage to the final appearance of your ink.

While getting a new tattoo wet is okay, you should refrain from submerging it or leaving it to soak in any body of water. Thankfully, this means that it’s definitely fine to shower with a new tattoo. However, what this does mean is that you should avoid any kind of bathing or swimming until your tattoo has completely healed, which typically takes between two and three weeks.

How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Shower?

Once you’ve taken the protective wrap off of your new tattoo, you should be able to shower whenever you feel you’re ready to, although some artists suggest you wait at least 24 hours before trying to shower.


It’s always best to listen to your artist first-and-foremost, as they will always know your tattoo better than anybody else, and will therefore always be able to advise of the best possible aftercare routine for your personal body art.

Although you’re able to shower soon after getting your new tattoo, there are a few rules you should always follow to ensure you don’t potentially ruin your tattoo in any way during the showering process.

You must remember that your new tattoo is essentially an open wound, and therefore needs to be treated with utmost care at all times during the healing process.

How to Shower with a New Tattoo Correctly

Follow the steps below to make sure that you don’t damage your tattoo in the shower:

1. Set Water Temperature and Power

Turn on your shower and run the water until it’s either cool or lukewarm. Always check the water with your hand before getting in.

Do not get in a hot shower with a new tattoo. Your skin will be extremely sensitive and the hot water will cause pain and stinging to the area, as well as possibly causing the area to swell more than it already has done.

Warm/hot water also has the ability to open up the pores in your skin, which could, in turn, lead to ink being lost, leading to a faded or patchy tattoo.

For this same reason, you will want to make sure that the shower isn’t set to blast water out too powerfully, in case your tattoo comes into contact with the jetstream. The powerful water jets could cause your tattoo to sting, and they may possibly force ink out from the area.

2. Wet the Tattoo

Very carefully dampen the tattooed area with the shower water. Never apply water directly onto the tattoo with the showerhead.

Instead, make sure that you cup the water with your hand and wet the area this way. This is less harsh on the sensitive skin and limits the possibility of the jets coming into contact with the area.

3. Gently Clean the Tattoo

Ensure you have a skin-sensitive and fragrance-free soap available to clean your tattoo with.


Always check the ingredients to ensure the soap doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients that are harmful to your skin and tattoo, such as alcohol or any artificial fragrances.

Proceed to very gently rub the soap over the tattooed area, ensuring you rub off as much loose and excess blood, ink and plasma as possible. Once you’re satisfied that the area is clean, cup water over the area again and make sure all soap has been washed away.

Alternatively, you can clean your tattoo before you get into the shower; this way you can be more careful and attentive to the tattoo. We also have an entire article based around properly cleaning a new tattoo.

4. Quickly Get out of the Shower

Once you’ve cleaned yourself and the tattoo, leave the shower as quickly as possible.

You will want to keep showers as brief as possible so your tattoo is exposed to steam, water, and soap for as little time as possible. Any of these things in excess can lead to problems with your tattoo fading, or becoming extra-sensitive.

Too much water can saturate the area and may dilute/wash out the ink. Too much soap can dry out the area out too much. Too much steam can open the pores of your skin and cause ink to draw out from the area.

5. Dry Your Tattoo

Be very careful not to dry the area with the towel you normally use to dry yourself with after a shower.

You are welcome to dry the rest of your body with this towel but either let the tattooed area air-dry naturally, or blot it dry with a paper towel.

Remember that your tattoo is still an open wound and your regular towel is likely to contain many types of various germs and bacteria that are dangerous to your wound, and can potentially cause an infection.


Never scrub or rub your new tattoo. Always dry it by air-drying it or lightly and gently dabbing/blotting the area with a clean and non-abrasive paper towel.

This ensures you don’t accidentally pull away any scabs or pieces of peeling skin that are not yet ready to come off. This can lead to prolonged healing, scarring, fading and infection (due to the lack of scabs protecting the wound).

6. Moisturize the Area / Apply Lotion

After your tattoo has completely dried, you will want to add a good quality tattoo-safe lotion to the area to ensure the skin doesn’t dry out too much. Specially-sold tattoo lotions are usually full of added vitamins and ingredients to help speed up the healing process.

Ensure your hands are clean before applying any lotion, and make sure you only apply a very thin layer to the tattoo. A thick layer can suffocate the area and prolong healing times.

This is FAR too much lotion and some should be blotted off with a paper towel

There are many various tattoo-specific lotions available which help to keep the area well hydrated and promote faster healing by containing quality organic ingredients.

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.


Showering with a new tattoo shouldn’t be a difficult or painful process. Just follow the steps above and ensure you treat your new ink as well as you possibly can during the initial tattoo healing stages.

After 2-3 weeks, or once your tattoo has finished scabbing and peeling, you should be able to go back to your usual showering routine and get the tattoo as wet as you like with no problems.

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