5 tips for swimming safely after a new tattoo

Are you a swimmer with a new tattoo? There are some rules you should know before heading back to the water. We’ll explain everything here!

5 tips for swimming safely after a new tattoo

Have you been desperate to go swimming ever since you got your favourite tattoo but don't know when and under what conditions you can swim? Tattoos require commitment and careful aftercare. So, what should you do to ensure proper healing?

The first thing to do is to follow the advice your tattoo artist gives you. They will know what aftercare is most suited to their style of work. Every tattoo artist is different. And if you listened to the advice at the end of the session but you were still getting yourself together after the tattoo session, don't panic! Here, NABAIJI summarises the 5 golden rules to respect to maintain your tattoo and be able to go swimming with peace of mind once again.

1. Keep it dry for the first 3 weeks

Whether in the sea or in the pool, you should avoid contact with water to begin with to allow your tattoo to heal without issues. Any extended contact with water should be avoided, as it risks displacing the ink of the tattoo or altering the colour. Baths, rivers, jacuzzis, etc., it's better to avoid all forms of bathing if you want to preserve the design of your tattoo!

The water in a swimming pool, for example, can pose an infection risk to your wound. The water in swimming pools is treated with products to disinfect the pool, which doesn’t mix well with a wound.

Another important piece of advice: avoid gyms! When you exercise, your muscles stretch your skin and you sweat. Stretching the skin and sweating excessively in the area of your tattoo can impede the healing process.

4. Let your tattoo heal in the open air

The cling film that your tattoo artist applied at the end of the session is to keep out bacteria and protects your tattoo for the first few hours. Once you have taken the dressing off and cleaned the wound for the first time, allow your skin to breathe as much as possible!

Fresh air allows your skin to heal as quickly as possible. So that the healing can take place in the best possible conditions, wear loose clothing and leave your tattoo open to the air as often as possible. For your bedding and clothes, go for natural materials such as cotton and avoid synthetic fabrics!

Tattoos should be moisturised regularly so they don't dry out, which could result in scabbing. When applying healing balm, bear in mind that applying more cream than necessary won't speed up to process. On the contrary, under a layer that is too thick, your tattoo will not be able to breathe. After applying the balm, massage it with a circular motion so that the cream penetrates deep in. Pamper your tattoo!

5. If you do go into the water, protect your tattoo

If you absolutely have to get in the water during the healing process, take certain precautions to make sure you preserve your tattoo as much as possible.

Start by protecting your wound with a protective cream. Then add a second layer of protection with a waterproof dressing that you stick over your tattoo. These items can easily be found at the pharmacy. The last precaution is to clean your tattoo with clean water as soon as possible after you get out of the water. This allows you to remove any residues of chlorine, salt or sand from your skin.

5 tips for swimming safely after a new tattoo

3. Clean the wound regularly

At the end of the session, your tattoo artist made sure that the wound wouldn't get infected by applying a dressing with cling film. After 3 to 6 hours, depending on your tattoo artist’s instructions, you can take off the dressing and clean the area for the first time. This is a step that people enjoy as, once the residual ink and blood have been washed off, it’s the first time that you get to see the results of your tattoo!

To clean the wound, start by thoroughly washing your hands. Avoid rubbing your tattoo with a flannel or any other exfoliator. They could contain bacteria and increase the risk of infection in the wound.

Only use clean hands! They should be cleaned with a gentle, unscented soap.
Cosmetic products with alcohol or certain chemicals can irritate or dry out the skin. Which can slow healing.

Once the wound is clean, pat your tattoo with a clean towel or kitchen roll to gently dry the area. Follow this routine diligently twice a day, morning and night, and soon you’ll be able to get back to the pool!

5 tips for swimming safely after a new tattoo

2. Do not allow water to run over your tattoo while in the shower

While it is not necessary to protect your tattoo with cling film or a plastic bag when in the shower, avoid allowing the water to run over it for too long.

Take quick showers and use lukewarm water. If your shower pressure is high, avoid pointing the shower head directly at your tattoo.
Showering and allowing the water to run over you isn't necessarily a problem in itself, as long as you don't spend too long in there and you avoid the area of your tattoo!

Don't worry about getting it slightly wet – it isn’t that serious as long as it’s only a small amount of water. You’ll need to get it wet to clean it anyway.

The time required for your tattoo to completely heal depends on its size, where it is on the body, your lifestyle and on your aftercare.

When your tattoo is not covered by a protective layer, it is vulnerable to: bacteria, the sun, chemicals and pollution. Your tattoo is fully healed when it is no longer scaly or peeling, and when all the scabs have fallen off. The average time for the “initial healing” is between 2 and 4 weeks. The tattoo will be completely healed after around 3 months.

Allowing your tattoo to heal during winter to avoid the sunlight as much as possible would be ideal. But if it's nearly summer and you just got your tattoo, that’s fine too! Respect NABAIJI's 5 golden rules and you will heal quickly. With proper aftercare and hygiene, you’ll soon be able to proudly display your tattoo by the pool or at the beach.

5 tips for swimming safely after a new tattoo

BASILE

WRITER FOR TEAM DECATHLON

Running yogi and marathon enthusiast. Currently catching the bug for swimming. Bike commuter and fan of biking holidays. A triathlon seems inevitable!

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