Can You Shower After Getting A New Tattoo?

Shower smarter by navigating the waters of tattoo aftercare to ensure hygiene and health.

Written by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA (English) Gazala Firdos Ansari Integrated MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Last Updated on

You got yourself freshly inked and are now buzzing with excitement! But, the burning question on your mind is, can you jump into a soothing shower without wreaking havoc on your new tattoo? Well, fear not fellow ink enthusiasts! Navigating the delicate balance between post-tattoo care and hygiene is crucial to attain a healed and healthy tattoo and avoid a nasty infection. In this article, unravel the mystery of whether you can hit the shower after getting inked, exploring the dos and don’ts to keep your tattoo looking as vibrant as the day it was created, and the kind of small changes you need to make in your bathing process. So, let’s dive into the world of tattoo aftercare and find out how to pamper yourself without sacrificing your new masterpiece, or making your showering process too complicated! Read on to learn more.

Can You Shower After Getting A Tattoo?

Yes, you definitely can take a shower after getting a tattoo, but there’s a bit of an art to it. As water can prove to be an enemy of tattoos, a delicate dance between cleanliness and tattoo care must be maintained. You want to keep your fresh ink clean, but you’ve got to be gentle. Skip the hot shower – it’s a bit much for your brand-new tattoo to handle. Keep the tattooed skin area away from the direct flow of water and avoid soaking in water for extended periods. Follow these rules, and your tattoo and skin will thank you for the TLC!

protip_icon Pro tip
Avoid rigorous workouts for 3-4 days and afterwards and opt for a cool water rinse before your regular shower. It helps remove sweat without subjecting your healing tattoo to the full force of a hot water shower after a workout.

If you have doubts as to how to go about taking a shower with a new tattoo, keep reading!

How To Shower With A New Tattoo

A woman with a tattoo in the shower
Image: IStock

When showering with a new tattoo, prioritize gentleness to aid the tattoo’s healing process. To avoid getting your tattoo wet while you shower, keep your fresh ink covered with a specialized waterproof tattoo bandage for at least 3-4 days. Opt for cold or lukewarm water to shower, as well as to gently clean the tattooed area. Keep your shower brief to minimize exposure to water. Ensure a gentle stream and stay away from the powerful water jets of a shower head. Pat the tattoo dry with a clean, dry, lint-free towel afterward. Steer clear of baths, swimming pools, and hot tubs until your tattoo is fully healed, usually for about 3-4 weeks. 

  • Can You Shower With A Tattoo Wrap On?

When it comes to showering with a tattoo wrap, it’s best to proceed with caution. Although the wrap shields your fresh ink from outside elements, wearing it in the shower can backfire. Prolonged moisture beneath the wrap might impede the entire healing process and invite potential complications. Advisably, remove the wrap before stepping into the shower, allowing your tattoo to breathe. If you still have doubts, it is best to consult your tattoo artist for personalized advice based on your tattoo’s size, location, and intricacy.

Wondering how long you have to wait for a shower after getting a new tattoo? Read on.

How Long After A Tattoo Can You Shower Normally?

If you just got your tattoo, then we recommend that you wait at least 3-4 hours before going for a shower, given that your fresh ink is covered with a fresh tattoo bandage or adhesive wrap. If your tattoo is covered with a wrap, then you should wait 24 hours before taking a shower. Keep your showers short and only use lukewarm water to gently clean your tattooed skin, minimizing prolonged direct contact with water to avoid aggravating the area. It is always best to use a waterproof tattoo bandage to keep your fresh tattoo covered for 3-4 days to allow it to heal properly.

protip_icon Pro tip
If your tattoo is in a sensitive spot, like the back of your neck or ears, consider using a silk pillowcase. The smoother surface reduces friction and minimizes irritation while you sleep during the crucial healing period.

Now that you know how long you have to wait for a shower after getting a new tattoo, there’s some crucial points that you should keep in mind while showing. Keep reading!

What Not To Do When Showering After Getting A Tattoo

washing the tattoo gently
Image: IStock

While getting a tattoo is an amazing experience, taking care of it takes a bit of effort on your part. The following are certain things that you should definitely steer clear of while showering after getting a new tattoo:

  • Avoid Hot Water: A hot water shower can be tempting, but it’s a no-go for your fresh tattoo. Hot water can harm and irritate the tender skin as it heals and scabs while washing out the ink.
  • Say No To Harsh Soaps: Avoid strongly scented or chemical-laden soaps. Opt for mild soaps that are fragrance-free to avoid irritation.
  • Skip Scrubbing: Resist the urge to scrub your tattooed skin. Let the water do the work, and be gentle to avoid disrupting the clotting and healing process.
  • Do Not Take Too Long: While long showers are fantastic, keep yours brief to minimize your tattoo’s exposure to water.
  • Don’t Forget Aftercare Instructions: Disregarding your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice is a big no-no. After your tattoo session, discuss aftercare instructions with your tattooist and follow them diligently for optimal healing and tattoo appearance.

If you’re wondering how to take the utmost care of your tattoo after a shower, and if there are any specific instructions to follow, keep reading.

How To Take Care Of A Tattoo After A Shower

Applying a tattoo ointment
Image: IStock

Caring for your tattoo post-shower is crucial for its proper healing. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Pat, Don’t Rub: After your shower, use a clean, soft cloth towel or a paper towel to gently pat dry your tattoo. Avoid rubbing, as it can irritate the sensitive skin.
  • Apply Aftercare Products: Following the drying, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment or your recommended aftercare product. This could be a fragrance-free moisturizer cream or a specialized tattoo ointment devoid of harsh chemicals. Ensure your hands are clean before application.
  • Air-Dry: If you have time, let your tattoo air-dry for a few minutes before applying aftercare to allow the healing skin to breathe and minimize the risk of infection.
  • Avoid Tight Clothing: Opt for loose, breathable clothing to prevent friction against your fresh tattoo as it can cause discomfort and hinder the healing process.
  • Hands Off: Refrain from touching your tattoo with unwashed hands to minimize the risk of infection through the introduction of bacteria and germs to the healing area.
  • Stay Hydrated: Consume plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out, as well-hydrated skin tends to heal more efficiently.
  • Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: Shield your tattoo from direct sunlight using broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, especially if it’s a colored fresh piece. The UV rays can fade colors and compromise the healing process.

Since the common concerns around tattoos always deal with the healing process, read on to learn how long it takes for a tattoo to properly heal.

How Long Does It Take For A Tattoo To Heal?

Your new ink is on its own timeline, typically taking 2 to 4 weeks to heal on the surface, but it can easily take up to 6 months to fully heal if the needle penetrates deep into the layers of the skin. It also takes time for the ink to completely set into the skin. After the session, the tattoo typically remains red and sees mild to moderate fluid and a bit of blood discharge in the first week, followed by the feeling of itching, scabbing and peeling in the next 2-3 weeks, as it heals. You will experience itchy skin before the dry skin flakes peel off to reveal healthy and healed skin.

Jason Sorell, an artist and blogger, shares his healing experience after getting a colorful art piece. He writes, “Something I forgot from my last tattoo was how much direct sunlight HURTS! (i)” While talking about his wash process, he continues, “I’ve been showering like normal, but avoiding scrubbing the tattoo. Instead, I get a lather going in my hand and pat the suds on my tat. I dry the tattoo the same way, patting instead of wiping.”

Now that you’ve navigated the delicate dance of post-tattoo care, you’re ready to embrace the shower with confidence. Remember one thing tattoo lovers, patience in the initial 24 hours is key, as is opting for lukewarm water, mild unscented soaps, and gentle care. As your tattoo heals over the next 2 to 4 weeks, you can gradually return to your normal shower routine, celebrating the vibrant artwork adorning your skin. However, the journey doesn’t end here; continue to follow aftercare instructions so that your tattoos heal beautifully and tell the story you want through them. Keep the tips from this article in mind as you embark on your journey toward the initial tattoo healing stages. Finally, seek advice from a healthcare professional if you need additional help to speed up the healing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I shower an hour after getting a tattoo?

No; it is advised that you take a shower 3-4 hours after the tattoo session, as the ink takes time to settle.

Will soaking a new tattoo fade it?

Yes, soaking a new tattoo, especially in prolonged baths, hot tubs, or swimming pools, can lead to fading. It is best to minimize water exposure during the initial healing period to avoid the risk of infection and to achieve vibrant results.

Can I shower with Second Skin?

It is best to avoid showering with Second Skin (or any type of protective film or adhesive wrap) directly over your tattoo. While it is water-resistant, it can come off due to excessive water exposure.

How do I wash a new tattoo?

You can use antibacterial soap and lukewarm water to wash your tattoo. Pat dry after cleansing and apply an antibacterial ointment or any cream your tattoo artist recommends.

Key Takeaways

  • Use a waterproof tattoo bandage for the initial couple of days to shield it during showers.
  • Wait at least 3-4 hours before showering, and if your tattoo is covered with a protective wrap, wait 24 hours before the first shower.
  • Use lukewarm water and keep showers brief to minimize water exposure.
  • Avoid itching or scrubbing the area for about 3-4 weeks after getting the tattoo.
can i shower after getting a tattoo

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Taking a shower might seem daunting after getting a fresh tattoo, but if you’re careful and follow simple instructions, you may be able to go about your day without much hassle. Click on the video below to learn more.

Personal Experience: Source

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Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya MukherjeeBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Shreya is a beauty and lifestyle writer with two years of experience. After graduating from Christ University, Bengaluru, she started as a writer for a non-profit organization, Bhumi, as an intern. She then wrote for a progressive content website.

Read full bio of Shreya Mukherjee
Madhumati Chowdhury
Madhumati ChowdhuryAssociate Editor
Madhumati is an associate editor with seven years of professional experience. She has previously worked as an editor, proofreader, and a writer with various organizations, helping her navigate through the various facets of content creation and refinement with ease.

Read full bio of Madhumati Chowdhury
Gazala Firdos Ansari
Gazala Firdos AnsariBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Gazala Ansari is a beauty and lifestyle writer with two years of experience. She writes on relationships, makeup, and lifestyle and has bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from the Central University of Jharkhand.

Read full bio of Gazala Firdos Ansari