When can I go swimming after a tattoo? How long to wait?

DailyStoke Team

A survey conducted in 2017 found that 4 in 10 Americans have a tattoo. Just like any other work of art, tattoos need to be treated gently, at least initially. This means following the after-care instructions carefully:

  • Avoid submerging the tattoo in water. “That’s true whether you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool or in the ocean or a lake, since you are subject to not only bacteria invasion, but also amoebas,” Sinatra said. “If it’s in the water you can have it in your body.”
  • Wash your hands carefully before and after you touch your tattoo.
  • Keep your tattoo out of the sun. “Sun has a most damaging effect on new tattoos,” Sinatra said. “It can also cause them to fade. And when it’s fully healed we recommend a sun block with SPF 15 or greater.”

Seek immediate attention if your notice your new tattoo is:

  • turning red or its outer edges are turning red
  • if it’s bubbling or oozing
  • feels hot

Those are all danger signs of an infection that could turn into something worse. “And since we are not doctors don’t return to the tattoo shop,” Sinatra said. “Go to your doctor.”

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