How Soon After A Tattoo Can You Take a Bath: Everything You Need to Know

Have you recently gotten a new a new tattoo? When it comes to getting a tattoo, there are numerous different factors you may need to consider to ensure you’re getting the most from the new design. And, with this thought in mind, we’re looking at some of the key things you need to know about taking a bath after getting your new tattoo. Indeed, while it can seem a little tricky to work out the best possible solutions, it shouldn’t have to be a major challenge – and there are plenty of things you can consider to ensure your new tattoo looks its best going forward.

How Long Should You Wait Before Taking a Bath After a Tattoo?

There’s something quite exhilarating about seeing a brand new tattoo on your skin for the very first time – especially if this is the first time you have gotten a tattoo. Regardless of the size of the tattoo, it’s always an incredible experience; however, the hard work isn’t over immediately. In fact, those first few weeks after getting your tattoo can be the difference between the tattoo looking amazing and looking a little sorry for itself once it’s healed. With this in mind, taking steps to protect your tattoo is vital – and not soaking it too soon is one of the most crucial here.

This is something that many people fail to realize when getting a new tattoo, and the twinges of pain can make it seem quite soothing to soak the area for a short while. However, while soaking your tattoo site might take away a little of the soreness, it can actually severely hinder the healing process.

Why Soaking your Tattoo is Dangerous

Look at it this way: your new tattoo, first and foremost, represents an injury. Since multiple needle pricks create the tattoo specifically, your body has quite the task ahead of itself to heal these multiple, tiny injuries. And, of course, this poses the risk of scarring.

After your tattoo, you will likely notice that the skin begins to crust over and go dry – this is part of the body’s natural healing process, and while it might not look so nice at the moment, it’s a necessary component of healing. 

If this process is disrupted, however, the scab may fall off prematurely. In turn, this can severely increase the chances of your tattoo scarring – drastically harming the final finish of your tattoo. It’s not a good look, especially on a larger or more intricate tattoo. And, of course, once a scar has formed, it won’t simply go away (although it may fade slightly with time).

With this in mind, the importance of waiting before taking a bath is massively crucial for your healing and recovery process. While there’s no issue with getting your tattoo slightly damp, soaking it can cause the scab to soften significantly, drastically increasing your chances of scarring rather than healing as expected.

But that’s not all. It’s also worth considering that, at its simplest, a tattoo is still an open wound. Initially, it might not seem like it, but your tattoo site can represent a significant “security breach” for your body’s immune system with so many open wounds on your skin. Bathing and softening the scabs could open up these holes once again, meaning your chances of contracting an infection are substantially higher.

The Dangers of Going Swimming

Even more concerning is the risk of going swimming. Indeed, along a similar line as the previous point regarding infections, the chemicals in swimming pool water can actually wreak havoc if they get into your body. In turn, this may cause blood poisoning – certainly not a risk that’s worth taking!

How Long Should I Wait to Take a Bath? 

At this point, we’ve outlined why soaking your tattoo isn’t great – but how long should you wait before having a bath after a tattoo? Well, a minimum of two weeks is generally advisable, but this depends on your recovery time.

Healing from a tattoo shouldn’t take long since the injuries (though numerous) are small; however, you should ensure that the tattoo has fully finished peeling and the skin is back to normal before bathing. Even then, it may be worth allowing a few more days on top, just to be sure.

Further Precautions to Take When Bathing After a Tattoo

In addition to the aforementioned points, it’s worth considering the following precautions the first time you bathe after a tattoo:

  • Start out slowly. For your first baths after a tattoo, it may be worth only submerging the tattoo for a few minutes (just in case it hasn’t fully healed) to reduce the risk of damaging the final artwork.
  • Use only gentle cleaners on your tattoo area, and massage the area carefully with your hands. Even though your skin might look healed, it can take months or years for an injury to return to 100% of its former strength. So, be sure to take things slowly and gently to avoid tearing or harming the newly formed skin.
  • Dry your tattoo gently after your bath; don’t leave the area to air dry. This helps reduce the length of time the new tattoo is exposed to moisture, reducing complications.

Additional Tips for Keeping your New Tattoo Healthy and Looking Great

At this point, we’ve considered some of the most crucial things to know about keeping your tattoo away from bath water for several weeks. However, that’s not the only thing you should do to ensure your tattoo heals well; with this in mind, the following tips are well worth considering.

  1. Apply antibacterial ointment daily or twice daily to prevent infections around the area
  2. Don’t keep the dressing on for too long – check this with the tattoo artist. The bandage will help absorb excess ink, but if left, this may cause the tattoo to become hot, damp, and humid – not a good thing, as we’ve already clarified today.
  3. Protect your tattoo from the sun while it’s healing. Ideally, loose-fitting clothing is best; never use sunscreen on your tattoo until it’s fully healed, as this could infect the wounds.
  4. Moisturize sparingly to prevent your skin from getting too dry, but while ensuring your skin is still able to breathe – a fragrance-free, alcohol-free moisturizer is the most appropriate option in this regard.

While there are steps you can take to try and promote the healing of your tattoo, inevitably, everyone heals differently. As such, if you notice anything that you find concerning while your tattoo is healing, be sure to reach out to your physician and tattoo artist as soon as possible to check that it’s not a sign of complications.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, getting a new tattoo is a hugely exciting experience for many of us! However, it’s worth considering how soon after a tattoo you can take a bath – because, in many cases, taking a bath soon after your tattoo could cause several damaging complications. Fortunately, though, our experts are on hand today to help you find out a little more about when you can take a bath after a new tattoo; hopefully, today’s tips will have given you a little more food for thought.

However, a tattoo is a massive undertaking. As such, if you’ve recently gotten a tattoo and you’re still feeling a little unsure, it’s best to be cautious with this decision so as not to damage the final finish of your stunning new tattoo. This is even more crucial if you’ve gotten a large tattoo; in this scenario, taking a bath too soon after your tattoo could have very upsetting consequences!

While there’s no specific timeframe for the question of, “how long after a tattoo can you take a bath,” we would recommend waiting a minimum of two weeks or more. Allow the tattoo to heal before soaking it – then, once the tattoo has fully healed, you can enjoy a long and soothing soak in the bath to your heart’s content!

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