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How Long After a Tattoo Can You Have a Bath or Swim?

Usually, tattoo aftercare advice goes a long way, especially when it comes to water contact with freshly tattooed skin. Below we explained how long to wait for showers, baths, or swimming after a new tattoo.

One of the things for good tattoo aftercare is to know how to cleanse the skin afterward, or when more precisely. Many things make us wonder about this specific aspect of the aftercare, but water and cleanser contact with the skin is maybe the most common one.

You certainly wonder how long after a tattoo can you have a bath or a swim? We can answer that for you, and even divide it into detailed segments.

How Long After a Tattoo Can You Have a Bath or Swim?

First, we need to clarify the bath phrase. By this, we mean personal hygiene, and/or spa time as well. In that case;

You can have a shower immediately the same day or after you get home from the tattoo salon. When it comes to soaking in a tub, or jacuzzi, or spa baths and similar, for this you need to wait at least 2-4 weeks.

The same applies to swimming in pools, lakes, seas – you need to wait at least 2-4 weeks, depending on how it heals in the meantime.

new tattoo bath

What happens if I have a too hot or too cold shower after a new tattoo?

This is quite important, the temperature of the water affects the tattooed skin. Hot water should never, ever be your option when it comes to a fresh, new tattoo. The hot water will make your skin very relaxed and will open up all the pores – similar to the beauty salon for a facial treatment.

hot or too cold shower after a new tattoo

In this case, you don’t want the pores to open at all, because the tattoo needs to form a scab-crust, and besides, open pores will increase the risk of bacteria entering! Even worse, link leakage is also an option, even though not so often.

On the other hand, (icy) cold or normal cold water will be perfect on a fresh tattoo. It will even feel heavenly; the irritated skin from all those needle pokes will be cooled off, relaxed, it will stay tight and pores will remain as such.

Read also: The Best Tattoo Aftercare Products

Can I use regular gels and scrub cosmetics in the shower on a new tattoo?

No, definitely no, at least not in the first few days. You need to use only what the artist told you to use, whether it’s antibacterial soap, or a special medical-approved tattoo aftercare cleanser.

In the first few days, the tattooed skin feels swollen, irritated, or like it has been burned, and it needs proper expertise aftercare. After the initial few days, you can slowly incorporate your regular, but preferably, mild and gentle body wash products.

gel on a new tattoo shower

What about sponges, loofas, and similar skin-washing items?

Definitely no! Wait at least a month or two before you start using harsh scrubbing techniques and products on the tattooed skin. The skin there has to form the initial scab-crust, and you must not pick on this, or vigorously scrub it at all! Let it heal by itself, and only cleanse it with your gentle hand movements. No sponges, no loofas. Just a gentle touch!

How to dry my tattoo after the shower?

You need to be extremely gentle in this case too! Always, always have a clean towel to gently pat on the skin. Do not move the towel up or down, do not squeeze or press it weirdly on the skin as you might usually do. A gentle tap to dry and that is all.

How to remove adhesive foil or bandage after a tattoo

The artist will advise you on this in the best way possible. Of course, too hot or even too warm water is no good, so if you need to remove the bandage after the session, use lukewarm water and gently lift off the edges of the bandage. The cold water will not help in softening the adhesive from the bandage, so lukewarm water is good in this case.

What happens if you go to a spa bath with a fresh tattoo?

It is a big, certain no! Even at home, it is not safe to use hot water and be in a very steamy bathroom, let alone in a shared spa bath or similar. The vapor, steam, and hot water will open up the pores, will make the tattoo seem ‘risen’ and there will be the risk of germs and bacteria – because spas use shared spaces for this, no matter how much they guarantee cleanliness!

Can I visit saunas with a fresh tattoo?

No, avoid all those cosmetic salons and shared baths, or saunas. Even if the room is ready only for you, you can never know for certain if it has been cleaned properly. Besides, do not forget, steam and hot water go together well on other days, but never for days of freshly made tattoos!

What happens to the tattoo if I swim in a pool immediately?

If you enter a pool, even one with cold water, there is an extremely high risk of germs, bacteria, and even potential other problems. The pool water often, or always, contains special chemicals and chlorine among others, and this might trigger irritation and issues with the new tattoo. You might end up with redness and similar skin issues when you arrive home.

Will a new tattoo be fine if I swim in lakes or seas right after?

swim in sea after new tattoo

Do not enter lakes or seas with a fresh tattoo. Do you know if the lake water is fully clean? Are there not plants, residues, mud, or everything else found in large bodies of water? These are hidden risks. Also, if you go in the seawater, the salt naturally found there will irritate the fresh tattoo, and even dry up the skin more when you get out. Avoid this for at least a month!

Read also: Best Sunscreen for Tattoo Protection


In conclusion, it is good to cleanse the skin after the tattoo session, and personal hygiene was never an issue after the tattoo is done. But, to clarify, showers with lukewarm or cold-ish water are allowed. However, soaking in tubs, going to shared baths and spa (or similar) is not allowed within the first month. And, the same applies to pools, lakes, seas…

As you see, all will be well if you postpone the beauty appointments, or social gatherings, or vacations that include swimming or shared tubs of water. Be safe, and take care of the new ink!

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