Home » How to Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming? Complete Protection Guide

How to Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming? Complete Protection Guide

Tattoos are quite awesome. They can be an ideal way of showing off your unique personality and sense of style. Tattoos can also bring out your inner confidence and give you a glamorous look. However, if you love to swim, you must be wondering how long you have to wait before you can jump back to the pool after getting your tattoo.

Well, even if you are not supposed to get your tattoo wet, there are certain things that you can do to keep your tattoo safe when you go for a swim. One thing you can do to make sure that your tattoo is safe even if you go for a swim is to waterproof your tattoo for swimming.

If you are still wondering how you can waterproof your tattoo, you need not worry, as you have landed at the right place. So, let’s jump into the article and see what’s there in store for you. Here, we will talk to you about everything you need to know about how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.

Why isn’t it a Really Good Idea To Go Swimming with a Freshly Inked Tattoo?

Why isn't it a Really Good Idea to go Swimming with a Freshly Inked Tattoo?
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As you know, a tattoo is nothing but a wound. Therefore, it would be best to stay out of pools, hot tubs, and open water until the tattoo completely heals itself. Like any other wound, you would not want your tattoo to get infected once it comes into contact with water. Although it is a rare case, there is always a risk of your tattoo getting infected when you jump into the pool. This is more relevant if you are already suffering from any disease.

The infection can become the stepping stone to various health problems. For example, although the pool seems to be a clean place to swim, there are still some bacteria and insects in the pool water that might cause sufficient damage to the wound created after the tattoo.

Additionally, the presence of chlorine and other chemicals may also damage your tattoo. So, here we have listed out a few reasons why you should try not to get your new tattoo, especially when it is completely exposed. Also, let’s see how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.

1. Risk of Infections

Emerging the new tattoo completely underwater is not recommended mainly because of the risk of infection. Submerging your tattoo can potentially expose your skin to the harmful bacteria present in the water.

The condition of the infection will entirely vary from man to man. In rare cases, sepsis and even death may occur. The risk is lower in heavily chlorinated water in the swimming pool. However, chlorine cannot kill all types of bacteria. So, try keeping yourself away from pool water until the tattoo has completely or partially healed itself.

2. Damage To the Tattoo

Soaking a new tattoo in water can cause discoloration and fading of the tattoo. The saltwater and chlorine are harsh on fresh tattoos. Both can delete ink from the tattoo, and the color becomes less vibrant.

Swimming can also make your skin dry. It can prolong the healing process and can cause itching. It also leads to redness of the skin and blurring of the lines.

3. Skin Irritation

Skin irritation is quite a common problem after getting a new tattoo. However, when you submerge your tattoo underwater, the chances of irritation increase. A newly tattooed skin can be quite sensitive, and exposing the skin to chemicals like chlorine can lead to dermatitis.

Skin irritation mainly happens when chlorine penetrates the skin and causes inflammation. You may also get a red itchy rash in areas around the tattoo. In some cases, blistering and swelling may also occur.

4. Pain

Getting your tattoo wet can also cause a lot of pain. You may feel a burning sensation in that area, and it might also be an uncomfortable experience for you. So, to avoid all this pain and trouble, it is better that you go swimming only after the tattoo has healed and take the necessary precautions.

Also, if you find any pain in the area surrounding the tattoo, you must immediately report to the doctor and get the necessary treatment done. You should also be familiar with how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.

For How Long Should you Try Keeping your Tattoo Away From water Sources?

For how long Should you Try Keeping your Tattoo Away From water Sources?
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It is quite tricky to understand whether your tattoo has fully healed or not. Sometimes, your tattoo looks healed from the outside. However, it may still be raw inside. Most tattoo artists will tell you that a tattoo takes around two to four weeks to heal completely. However, the duration can depend on the tattoo’s size and the location where you are getting the tattoo. In certain rare cases, a tattoo can take around a year to get healed completely.

Your lifestyle and your aftercare routine have also got a big impact on the healing time. This has also got a contributing factor in deciding how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming. You can consider your tattoo completely healed when you no longer face any itching or skin irritation. In addition, the skin around the tattoo should not be red. If you are still unsure whether the tattoo has healed completely or not, it is better to go to a doctor or a tattoo artist and take his advice.

During the healing process, you should avoid wetting the tattoo because of the aforementioned reasons. However, you clean your tattoo area gently. You may also use an aftercare cream so that the skin does not become too flaky. When you see that the skin flakes fall off the area and a new layer of skin is formed, your tattoo has healed completely.

Here are Few Post-Tattoo Care Tips For You

Here are a Few Post-Tattoo Care Tips for you
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Before you go swimming, you should make sure that you take really good care of your tattooed skin. If you went through all these mentions before you think of exposing your skin to the swimming pool water, it is definitely going to help you out.

  • Once you go to the tattoo parlor, your tattoo artist will get you inked, and once the entire process is done, they will wrap it up with a bandage to be extra careful.
  • Once you reach home, you should try to wash off the blood, plasma, and the extra ink from your skin.
  • Always try using clean hands while removing the ink from your skin.
  • Otherwise, it may cause redness or itching.
  • Next, you need to dry the tattoo in a clean and safe environment for a considerable amount of time.
  • Once you are sure that your tattoo has dried up completely, you can apply an after cream. This will make sure that your skin does not get dried up.
  • Avoid scratching your skin or removing the scabs on the tattoo. This can damage your already injured skin.
  • Avoid exposing your skin to the sun’s direct rays, as it can further delay the healing process.
  • You should also try to apply sunblock to the tattoo whenever you go out in the sun. This will trigger the healing process.
  • Only after you are sure that your tattoo has healed completely should you go swimming. Also, try to find out how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.

Why Should You Consider Covering up Your Tattoo?

Why Should you Consider Covering up your Tattoo?
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If you have to go for a nice swim with your new tattoo, then you must try to cover it with a waterproof dressing. Unfortunately, there is no such way to fully waterproof a tattoo, but there are various methods that swimmers have tried to cover the tattoo and prevent it from getting wet. To swim with the tattoo, you will have to cover it up in the best possible way so that it does not directly contact the water.

After swimming, make it a point to wash the injured area with a superior quality antibacterial soap and sterilized water. Then, allow the area surrounding the tattoo to dry completely. This will make sure that no bacterial infections are occurring there.

Effective Ways to Waterproof Your Tattoo for Swimming

Effective ways to Waterproof your Tattoo for Swimming
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If a month or so has already passed and you have the feeling that the tattoo has healed completely, you may try wrapping it up with a waterproof bandage and then go swimming. You can also try to apply some ointment to keep the water away from the tattoo. However, if you have a new tattoo and have to submerge it in water, here is some advice that will help you understand how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming.

1. Clean Your Tattoo

Clean your tattoo thoroughly to ensure that it is free from any bacterial invasion. You may also try using a tattoo-friendly soap. This will ensure that your tattoo remains completely clean even when underwater. Also, do not use harsh soap to wash the area as it may cause itching and rash. It is also a good idea to only use natural products while cleaning your tattoo.

2. Cover Your Tattoo with Good Quality Sunscreen

Simply cleaning the tattoo is not enough. You will also have to apply good-quality sunscreen to your exposed area around the tattoo. This will keep sun damage away. You should also try to check whether the sunscreen you are applying cause any allergies to the skin of the tattoo. So, test out the product before actually applying it to your skin.

3. Try Wrapping the Tattoo Properly with a Waterproof Material

You can use a plastic wrap. If you have hair on the area where you have got yourself inked, then make it a point to get the hair trimmed so that the plastic can lay flat against the skin. Then, when you jump into the pool, that tattoo will remain completely protected, and the plastic wrap will also not come off. You should also pack the plastic wrap tightly with medical adhesive for best results.

4. Wear Loose Clothes while Swimming

When you go out swimming, you should always try wearing water-friendly clothes that have a loose fit. Loose clothes made of water-friendly material will not completely stick to the skin, thereby making you uncomfortable. The clothes should also not get wet easily. In that way, it will protect your skin and cover your tattoo.

5. Do Not Stay in the Water For Long

You should also try to avoid staying in the water for a prolonged time. It is better to stay in the water for not more than 30 minutes. Take short breaks in between. In that way, you will be able to make sure that your tattoo remains dry and safe throughout the healing process. This is also going to reduce the chances of infection, and your tattoo will remain safe at all times.

6. Aftercare is a Must

Once you are out of the water, dry the tattoo properly for a considerable time. Then, apply sunscreen or an after cream on your tattoo to prevent skin drying. You should also remove the plastic wrap as soon as you are out of water. Otherwise, it may again become a cause of infection.

7. Check How the Tattoo is Healing

You should also check whether your tattoo is healing properly or not. If you see redness and itching even after a month of getting inked, then it is better to visit a tattoo artist and get his advice on the same. You may also try consulting a doctor if you see any sign of an infection. However, do not delay the process if you do not want it to take the shape of something serious.

Simple Ways to Get your Tattoo Covered Before Swimming?

Simple Ways to Get your Tattoo Covered Before Swimming
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Before you decide to cover your tattoo for swimming, you must consider several factors. Some of the factors have been mentioned for you:

  • The color of your original tattoo
  • The degree of your tattoo discoloration or fading
  • The material of the cover
  • The level of healing

Covering your tattoo can be quite a simple affair. You may try using a little red lipstick, a concealer, and some powder. The items that you are using should be waterproof. You can also use plastic bandages to cover the tattoo before swimming.

1. Apply some Dark-Colored Lipstick On the Tattoo

Dark color like red is important as it will contrast with the dark color of your tattoo. It will give your tattoo a neutral color. The color will also give your skin a natural look. Additionally, it will easily stick to the skin. So, apply a good lipstick coating before jumping into the pool.

2. Apply a Lighter Tattoo Concealer

These days, many tattoo concealers are available on the market. You can use this concealer over the lipstick coating. Also, make sure the concealer is good quality and should not get washed with water. Finally, blend in beautifully with your fingers or brush so that the tattoo doesn’t show up.

3. Apply a Waterproof Tattoo Concealer

Once you have applied the lighter tattoo concealer, you can go for a waterproof tattoo concealer that will match your skin color. The concealer will prevent the moisture from coming in contact with the tattoo. You can apply several layers of this concealer to remain completely safe underwater.

4. Apply a Bandage

 If you are still not satisfied, you can go for a waterproof bandage. This is going to provide proper protection to your tattoo. You can use plastic material for your bandage as it will repel water. You can also tape the bandage with medicated tape to remain intact even if you are swimming underwater.

Ways to Protect the Tattoo From the Harmful and Strong Radiations of the Sun

Ways to Protect the Tattoo From the Harmful and Strong Radiations of the Sun
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Simply knowing how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming is not enough. If you are going to swim in a place where there is a lot of sunlight, you will not just be swimming. You will also be staying in the sun for a long time. In such a case, it becomes very important for you to protect your tattoo from the water and the sun. So, you can try applying sunlight sunscreen just before you go to the pool. Also, try applying sunscreen after every one or two hours, depending on the condition outside. You should also check whether your sunscreen has the highest SPF and is water-resistant. The sunscreen should not contain any oils in it.


Hopefully, we can explain how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming. We know that you may feel tempted to show off your newly-inked tattoo and go swimming right away, but you need to have a little patience so that the tattoo can last for a lifetime. First, allow the tattoo to heal properly, and only then consider going swimming.

You should wait for at least a month for the skin to get fully healed and then go swimming. Also, make sure you secure your tattoo before swimming. Consider taking the required precautions to ensure they will be safe when you go for a swim.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!