Showering After a Tattoo
Of course, everyone knows that water harms the tattoo healing process. However, no one wants to go stinky for six weeks. How do you keep up with personal hygiene when you wear an open wound on your body? A wound needs constant cleaning as well, but how can you handle that when basic antibacterial soap poses a risk to your tattoo ink?
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Naturally, you shower after your tattoo anyways! A shower after tattoo ink starts running seems like common sense to many people, but it holds risks of its own. Because of the nature of a tattoo, you need to take care as you shower. Regular soaps, scrubs, lotions, moisturizers, and so on actually damage your tattoo. This guide helps you care for your tattoo while you smell nice!
Can I Shower With a New Tattoo?
If water hurts your tattoo, why are you allowed to take a shower? Simply put, only certain types of water exposure harm your tattoo. By swimming or taking a bath, water seeps directly into your tattoo. Lakes, rivers, creeks, and the sea pose a particularly huge risk, since lots of bacteria thrives there. Water actually poses the risk of siphoning out your ink and moving it around, but something else causes a huge problem. Leaving moisture in a healing wound allows bacteria time to fester and grow.
On the other hand, the small droplets in a shower rarely seep through the entire tattoo. While it still encourages bacterial growth, a little bit of soap entirely offsets this risk. The type of soap you use matters just as much as your tattoo’s water exposure. Even a small amount of antibacterial moisturizer seeps into your tattoo and damages the ink. In other words, before you shower, find soaps that leave your tattoo unharmed. I give instructions on this further on, but you can also check out our in-depth tattoo aftercare guide!
How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can you Shower?
How long should you wait to take a shower after a tattoo? This depends on your artist’s technique, the size of your tattoo, and the type of tattoo you received. When your artist first tattoos you, they usually cover it with plastic wrap and paper towels. On top of that, they tell you when to remove your wraps. Usually, this amounts to removing them before you go to bed. Once you remove them, lots of yellowish-orange plasma, ink, and blood will streak from the wound. Gross! Can you hop into the shower?
Unfortunately, I don’t recommend that just yet. Letting it air out for a night works wonders on the healing process. Lightly rinsing it with clean water and then dabbing it dry with a paper towel keeps you from feeling grody while you sleep. For pointers on washing your tattoo at this point, feel free to read our day-by-day tattoo healing instructions. After a good rest, feel free to follow the showering instructions below!
How to Shower with a New Tattoo
So, let’s finally learn how to take a shower with a new tattoo! First of all, keep it out of the direct stream of water. That way, it only comes into contact with harmless little droplets. Avoid submerging it or inundating it with water. Then, start soaping up your hair and body like usual, simply skipping the area with the tattoo.
Why not include your tattoo with the rest of your routine? Well, unfortunately, scrubbing a tattoo damages both your healing process and your tattoo color. Make sure none of your soaps contain alcohol (stearyl, isopropyl, and so on for each type of alcohol). Petroleum and petrolatum hinder the healing process, but as long as those soaps stay away from your tattoo, they work fine for the rest of your body. For cleaning the tattoo itself, I find it heals better when you wash it individually over a sink. Our ultimate tattoo care guide goes over the all basics of washing your tattoo.
If you own no shampoos or soaps without alcohol as the disinfecting ingredient, then quickly wrap your tattoo with paper towels, regular towels, or plastic wrap. Anything that keeps water out for your fast shower will work. If you plan on dying or bleaching your hair, use this same approach to keep harmful chemicals away from your tattoo ink. I want to stress that regular soaps will clean your tattoo perfectly—but that also means scrubbing the ink off as well! The washed-out tattoo as a result of this negligence never looks good. Sometimes, the form of the tattoo looks indiscernible. Similarly, wait to tan until your tattoo heals entirely.
Showering After a Tattoo: Complete Guide
This guide provided elaborate instructions for showering after a tattoo that hopefully concluded your quest for answers. If you still need to ask questions, then ask away! 101-Tattoos provides quality content to help your tattoo heal and shine. For information that goes over each stage of the healing process in detail—especially the first three days—check out our tattoo healing process page.
By showering after your tattoo, you keep yourself clean, healthy, and hygienic. Every bit of effort you put into your body rewards you with good health and a wonderful appearance. As someone with a fresh new tattoo, keeping things clean and comfortable takes priority, if only to keep your tattoo from infection! So use the advice on this page to keep your showers safe, simple, and clean!