If you are someone who has just got a new tattoo or are planning to get one, then first of all, congratulations! Getting a tattoo inked on your body is the perfect way to indicate what is important to you to the wider world. You can go for a tattoo like a compass to highlight your exploring nature or a yin yang tattoo if you are a believer of balance and unity in opposites.
The options are simply endless, especially if one researches the choices available to them. You can even get a tattoo to pay homage to someone close to your heart. As mentioned earlier, the possibilities are simply endless. This is also one of the reasons why tattoos have seen a resurgence in popularity in the last decade.
Inking a tattoo on one’s body is not a new concept. In fact, archaeologists and historians have found evidence of its use going back to the stone age. So, calling tattoo inking a new concept is not accurate.
Moreover, the dogmas of delinquent behavior attached to tattoos have faded away only recently. And a reason more people are opting to ink their bodies. According to Statista, every 4 out of 10 adults in the US have a tattoo on their body. So, yes, tattoo inking is here to stay.
But before you go and get a tattoo inked on your body, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. It is especially concerning how you are going to take care of your tattoo.
As permanent tattoos stay inked on the body for a long time, the first couple of weeks are crucial to ensure that the tattoo is set properly.
How to Shower With a New Tattoo: Things to Know
Questions like ‘Can I shower with a new tattoo and “How to shower with a new tattoo?’ need to be answered, preferably before one schedule and an appointment at a tattoo parlor.
So, without further ado, here are the things you need to know about showering with a new tattoo?
#1. Can One Shower With their New Tattoo?
Now you may have heard many things about showering after getting your tattoo inked. We can safely say that you can discard almost every one of them as urban myths. You might have heard that showering after getting a tattoo could result in the tattoo being washed off, but that does not happen. Your tattoo will be completely fine if you take a shower after getting it inked. However, you have to take a couple of precautions before and after taking a shower.
#2. How Soon Can One Take a Shower After Getting a Tattoo?
This is another common question that needs to be answered. The answer – it varies. The duration varies due to the tattoo’s size, design, and the color of the ink used. The duration also varies, whether wrapped in a bandage or nothing at all. The period could be anywhere between 1 to 24 hours. In such circumstances, the easiest thing to do is directly ask the tattoo artist when it would be safe for you to shower again.
If the tattoo is covered in a plastic or regular bandage, tattoo artists would advise you to wait for a shower until it is completely off. However, there is a way around it. Ask whether they can use Saniderm, a medical-grade waterproof bandage. If the answer is yes, you can shower anytime you want after getting a tattoo inked on your body.
#3. Thing One Need to Keep in Mind During the Shower
It is okay if your tattoo is getting a bit wet; focus on ‘a bit’ here. But you should ensure that it is never wholly submerged in the water. Also, it should not be left under the running water for long periods. Both would have disastrous consequences on your tattoo design.
So, keep it bare minimum and avoid irritating the tattoo too much. Simply leave the tattooed area alone. That means not using loofah or washcloth to clean the tattooed area. Simply wash the area using a mild, fragrance-free soap.
#4. What About After Taking a Shower?
Once you have taken a shower, you need to be extra careful around your tattooed area. It is better to avoid harsh touch and products that contain harsh chemicals. After the shower, simply dry clean the area using a paper towel and then apply a moisturizing ointment. The ointment will ensure that your skin does not dry off and adds a protective layer. It would be best if you asked your tattoo artist what the best odorless ointment for you might be to use. Simply follow these steps after a shower, and your tattoo would be good to go after a couple of hours.
#5. Can One Take a Bath After Getting their Tattoo Inked?
No. It is as simple as that. The wounds on your skin would still be relatively fresh even after a couple of hours. Soaking it into the water simply is not an intelligent thing to do. Firstly, it could damage the design, and you surely would not want that to happen. And second, since the wound is open, soaking in the water could allow bacteria and other harmful particles to get inside your skin through it.
This could easily lead to an infection, scarring, or even more harmful condition. So, the best thing you can do is simply forget about taking a bath in a swimming pool or bathtub for at least two weeks, the bare minimum. If you want to wash, go for a shower. But, wait for the tattoo to heal completely before taking a bath in open water.
#6. How Would One Know When their Tattoo Wound is Completely Healed?
It is a complicated question as there is no fixed timeline. It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for a tattoo wound to heal completely, but again that depends on several factors. Factors like the size of the tattoo, its design, the color of the ink used, and the quality of the ink are factors that determine the length of the healing process.
In some cases, especially if you have opted for a red ink tattoo, the healing process could take as much as six months to complete. So, you need to do some research and ask your tattoo artist about the healing period.
And if you are unsure about whether the tattoo is healed or not, go and see your tattoo artist to verify. Also, it is vital that you meticulously follow the aftercare instructions. The more rigorously you follow the aftercare routine, the sooner your tattoo wound will heal.
#7. How Would One Know that Something is Wrong With my Tattoo?
If you suspect that something is wrong with your tattoo, then the first thing you need to do is to reach out to your doctor to check whether or not you are suffering from an allergic reaction. And while it is not unusual for a tattoo to look a bit gnarly after their application, this should not be the case after 2 to 3 days. Redness, crusting, and oozing is something that should stop after a couple of days. If that is not the case, then you might have some problems.
If you see some peeling in the shower, you need not worry, as it is pretty common. However, you should not try to speed up the process as it could risk scarring or discoloration.
Here are some of the red flags that you need to look out for.
- A prolonged redness on and around the tattooed area
- A swollen or puffy skin
- Pus or fluid oozing out from the wound even after a couple of days
- Constant bleeding from the wound
- Severe itchiness
- Discoloration of the tattoo or around the tattooed area
- If you have been suffering from fever for the last couple of days
- Continuous chills
- Excessive pain in your body
- Itchy, red, and bumpy rash on and around the tattooed area
- Open sores
These are just some of the more common symptoms that indicate that you might be suffering from a tattoo infection, which does happen. If you observe any of the above-listed symptoms, you should immediately reach out to your doctor.
The pointers mentioned above are, of course, going to remedy your problems if followed; at least it will guide you on how to take a shower properly after getting a tattoo.
Some Tips of Caution You Should Take Care of
Here are steps that you need to follow to ensure that your tattoo is okay and avoid the issue of tattoo infection, which, while rare, can cause serious problems to the individual. Follow the below-listed steps meticulously.
#1. Treat the Tattoo as an Open Wound
It would be best if you treated your new tattoo as an open wound, which it actually is. You need to be extremely gentle about allowing the tattoo to interact with your surroundings. That is not only limited to the water from your shower. You need to be extremely careful to maintain sanitary conditions during the healing period of your tattoo. Your skin takes some time to heal and needs proper care during that period.
#2. Set Water Temperature of the Shower at Lukewarm
You need to have utmost care when showering after getting a tattoo. Always ensure that the temperature of the water is lukewarm at best and check it before getting in the shower. Hot water is simply a no-go and should be avoided at all costs. The reason for that is simple.
Your skin is susceptible after it has undergone the tattoo inking procedure, and even slightly warm water could cause pain and sting to the affected area. And, pain and some stings are not the only trouble that one can invite, if they are not careful about the temperature of the water in their shower.
In addition, a hot water shower could cause the tattooed area to swell more than it has already done. Hot water can also open up the pores in your skin, which not only could cause the ink to fade but can also lead to tattoo infection. So, yes, you need to be extra careful about the temperature of your shower.
You also need to be careful about the speed of your shower as well. If the shower is set to blast, your tattoo could easily get in contact with the water. This could result in the tattoo ink getting out from the area and your tattoo fading.
#3. Careful How You Wet the Tattoo
While you need to ensure that your tattooed area does not get submerged in the water, that does not mean that you have to stop washing the tattooed area. No, that is not the case at all. You can clean the tattooed area by carefully damping the area with shower water.
However, you should not ever apply water directly with the showerhead. It could easily result in tattoo ink getting out from the tattoo area and fading your tattoo. Instead, just cup your hand, collect some water, and then wet the tattooed area and its surroundings.
This fulfills two purposes. First, it ensures that the force of water’s impact is low so as not to disturb the ink from the tattoo. Second, this method is less harsh if you have sensitive skin.
#4. Gently and Carefully Clean the Tattoo
You can clean your tattoo using a skin-sensitive and fragrance-free soap. Ensure that your soap matches these criteria, and only then clean. Additionally, verify that it does not contain any harsh ingredients that might harm your skin. And if you are not sure about your soap, it would be best to buy a new tattoo-friendly soap beforehand.
Carefully and gently rub the soap over the tattooed area and clean it up. Do not put too much pressure on it. And once you are satisfied with the cleanup, simply cup your hands again, collect some water and wash the soap away.
#5. Take a Quick Shower
It’s best if you do not dawdle too long in your shower. Once you have cleaned up your tattoo, leave the shower as soon as possible. The more time you spend in your shower, the more likelihood of your tattoo getting exposed to too much water. There is also steam for you to consider. Too much water saturation in your surrounding area could cause the tattoo ink to dilute or even wash out. In addition, the steam can easily open pores in your skin and harm your tattoo.
#6. Remember to Dry the Tattooed Area
Once you have taken a shower, the very next thing you need to do is to dry the tattooed area as soon as possible. But here, you should keep in mind not to use the same towel that you normally use to clean yourself after the shower. Of course, you are free to dry up the rest of the body using your usual towel; in fact, it is recommended that you do that. And then dry the tattooed area using a paper towel or let it air dry naturally.
The simple reason behind such a course of action is that your usual shower towel would contain various germs and bacteria. In addition, the germs due to the open wound because of the tattoo could enter the bloodstream. This could lead to complications and even infection in the future. So, the best thing you can do is to get a separate paper towel that you can use to dry the tattooed area after taking a shower.
You should also keep in mind not to rub your new tattoo too much or even too hard after taking a shower as it could cause peeling of the skin.
#7. Apply Lotion on the Tattooed Area
After you have followed the above-listed steps and process meticulously, the last thing you need to do is to put lotion on the tattooed area. Only do this once the tattoo is completely dried off from the shower. Applying a good quality lotion to the tattooed area would ensure that neither the tattoo nor the skin would be too dried off.
You can easily find hundreds if not thousands of tattoo lotions available in the market full of vitamins and ingredients that would moisturize the skin and speed up the tattoo healing process significantly. And if you are unsure about which might be the best one for you, especially with the wide variety of options that are available for you to choose from, simply reach out to your tattoo artist and consult with them. Since they have dealt with this and have prior experience, reaching out to them is simply the best decision you can make. Just make sure to clean your hands before applying the lotion to your tattooed area and ensure that the applied layer is not thick. A thick layer can suffocate the area, which would have a negative impact on the healing.
There are many urban legends about taking a shower after getting a tattoo. As every individual is unique, there is no substantial evidence that states you cannot take a shower after getting a tattoo inked on your body. Sure, there are some things you need to be careful of, but once the healing period is over, you are free to do whatever you want!