How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Swim in Chlorine?
Swimming after getting a tattoo is not the best idea. Your new tattoo is an open wound that needs to heal effectively before you can submerge it in water for long periods.
The following article will explain why chlorine is bad for your new tattoo and outline why waiting four weeks is a safe amount of time before heading back into the water.
Swimming in chlorine with new ink is a bad idea
Swimming after getting a new tattoo is not recommended. Your tattoo is a fresh wound that needs to be kept clean and looked after during the entire healing process.
Submerging your tattoo in water for long periods can cause significant damage to your new tattoo by affecting the ink underneath your skin before it’s had a chance to heal.
Before you consider anything else regarding swimming with a new tattoo, it’s important to remember that chlorine is a very strong chemical, and there’s a lot of it in both personal and community swimming pools.
Do you want to introduce something known to be harsh and abrasive to damaged and healing skin?
Sure, the likelihood of an infection is likely lowered by chlorine, but that shouldn’t matter given how many people encounter chlorinated swimming pools every day.
You don’t want anything nasty to get into your open wound.
What problems does swimming in chlorinated water cause new tattoos?
Chlorine can create a range of problems after you go swimming. These include:
- Itchy skin
- Red bumps and lumps
- Fading and discoloration
- Discomfort and pain
If a large quantity of the chemical enters the body through the wound, it could potentially end up entering the blood, leading to blood poisoning and wider health issues.
Even after the first week, when the fresh wound is knitting and your tattoo is scabbing, peeling, and itching, swimming in chlorine remains a pursuit to avoid.
Chlorinated water can damage the ink on the top layer of skin, leaving discoloration and scarring that could result in the need to repair the tattoo or for the costly process of having it removed all together.
The risks to your tattoo and health are not worth the brief enjoyment that taking a dip will give you.
Can I take a shower, bath or hot tub with a new tattoo?
It’s best not to have a shower until 24 hours after getting new ink. You can keep the tattoo clean with gentle cleansing in the short term.
After that initial period taking a shower is fine, especially if it’s short, sharp, and features warm water and antibacterial soap.
Again, it’s the prolonged exposure to water that creates issues with new tattoos and the healing process, so a bath should also be avoided.
And don’t get me started with hot tubs. You might as well be cooking your brand new tattoo, so don’t even think about it!
What about saltwater and freshwater bodies? Can I swim in those while my tattoo is still new?
No. There’s a range of issues with bacteria in natural water bodies that can be as bad for you or worse than the problems chlorine can create.
Seawater for starters contains a lot of salt, not to mention other kinds of contaminants, such as animal wastes, bacteria, and even pollution.
When the scab encounters a large amount of water the scab tends to stick more to the skin. This ruins the skin underneath, causing the ink to spread out beyond its designated lines.
The task of mending the tissue underneath is up to the scab and disrupting that can lead to the formation of some permanent scar tissue.
The risk of infection is also an extremely prevalent one in natural water bodies where there are an amazing variety of bacteria sources that can cause irreparable damage to your tattoo.
Refrain from entering the ocean, lakes, rivers or creeks after having a fresh tattoo done. It’s best to avoid potential problems all together and focus on healing your tattoo quickly and efficiently.
So, when can I get back in the pool?
It generally takes tattoo healing three to four weeks for the top layer of skin to heal so that you can start showing it off to friends and family. It’s at this time that you should be able to get back in the water and swim.
After this point, there is still healing to be done underneath the top layer skin so be careful with your tattoo aftercare, and make sure to wear a tattoo specific SPF 50+ sunscreen to help protect your new ink when out in the sun.
For more articles on aftercare and tattoo healing click on the links below: