Tattoo 101: How Long After Getting a Tattoo Can You Shower

Showering is the recommended method of bathing after getting a tattoo. In some instances, after a tattoo, you can shower immediately and other circumstances will cause you to have to wait 24 to 48 hours afterward.

Some tattoo artist applies medical grade bandages like the Saniderm and Tegaderm bandages that adhere tightly and create a water barrier. If this is the type of bandage you have then you can jump in the shower immediately without fear of problems with the tattoo.

Bandages that are not designed to create a water-tight barrier will have to be removed prior to showering, so you must ask your artist if you can shower immediately, or if you have to wait for any length of time. Generally, you will have to postpone your shower for at least twelve hours after the procedure. During that twelve-hour period, you are normally supposed to be wearing the bandage.

Showering Tips and Advice

tattoo shower tips

Before you head for the shower after a tattoo procedure you should prepare yourself and have the right things on hand. You have a new wound on your body that needs to be properly cared for so you are not simply going to hop into the shower like normal.

Gather the Following things

  • A mild soap that is both fragrance and dye free. Many fragrances and dyes that are used in soaps and lotions can cause problems with new ink areas.
  • A soft cloth for bathing. Do not use a loofah on the area it will create too much friction. Do not use the wash cloth to apply the soap to the new tattoo.
  • A soft cloth for patting the area dry.
  • Lotion or ointment. After the shower, and after patting the area dry, you will most likely want to apply a very thin layer of ointment, salve, or lotion to the area.
  • Bandages if required. You normally will not need to put another bandage on your tattoo to cover it, but if the artist recommended that you do so then have all of your bandaging supplies readily available for after the shower.

Here are the 8 steps you can follow before taking shower

steps tattoo shower
  • Turn the shower on and select a temperature that is warm but not hot. You can resume really hot showers after the wound heals.
  • Remove the bandage from the area and check for excessive bleeding, oozing, redness, swelling, or signs that something might be wrong.
  • Step into the shower and allow your body to get wet, but be careful to not stand where the shower is directly spraying on the wounded area.
  • Lather with the mild soap. When you reach the area of the new tattoo be very careful to gently apply lather without rubbing or creating undo friction. Apply the lather to this area using just your fingertips. Do not use the wash cloth to rub soap over the open wound. Rubbing vigorously can cause the tiny puncture wounds to open back up and allow bleeding, or oozing.
  • Rinse off and do not allow the spray of the water to be directed at the wound. Let the water gently run over the area and wash away the soapy residue.
  • Turn off the water and use a clean dry towel to dry off. When you are drying the area of the tattoo be sure that you gently pat the skin dry and do not rub the towel over the wound.
  • Apply lotion, or bandage to the tattoo accordingly. Lotion must be applied in a very thin layer. Too much lotion will work like soaking the area and cause the scab to fall off too quickly.
  • When you are dressing choose clothing that will fit loosely over the new tattoo and will not rub or create friction. You may want to wear clothing that allows the tattoo to be exposed and not covered.

Can I Tub Bath?

Can I Tub Bath After Getting Tatoo

You can take a tub bath after receiving a new tattoo but they are not recommended. The wounded area should be protected and not allowed to soak in water until it heals. If you take a tub bath you are more likely to get the area extremely wet and cause problems for yourself.

Avoid getting into the water where you will stay for a prolonged period of time. This includes tub baths, hot tubs, swimming, skiing, and surfing. If the tattoo is soaked before it heals you may see it fade faster and be less clear and distinct.

Should I avoid Showering Until the Wound Heals?

Showering is a gentle method of cleaning. It is recommended that you clean the area two to three times a day. This cleaning will allow bacteria that could cause infection to be removed. Avoiding a shower until the wound completely heals would allow bacteria and dirt to build upon your body and possibly be transferred to the wound.

By keeping clean you are preventing complications. Do not avoid proper showering.

If my tattoo has a scab can I still shower?

You can still shower after a scab forms on the tattoo. Be careful to not allow the area to be drenched in water by the shower spray. Be careful to not rub soap onto the area using a cloth or loofah.

Gently apply soap using only your fingertips and rinse the soap away by letting the water hit another area of your body first, and then roll gently down to remove the soap on the tattoo.

Be extra gentle when you are patting the area dry so you do not disturb the scab. The scab is the body’s way of creating a barrier to stop bacteria and germs from getting into the wound. You want to protect that scab and allow it to do its job as long as it needs to.

How long do I have to shower like this?

The majority of tattoos will heal enough in a 14-day period to allow you to resume showering like you did before the procedure.

Even after the initial two weeks when you return to normal showering rituals try not to vigorously scrub the area. You can wash using a cloth and possibly using a loofah if the scab has already fallen off, but do not scrub the area.

The showers can be taken with hotter water after the first two weeks but new skin will have recently formed over the punctures and that new skin may be more sensitive to the water temperature than the rest of your body is.

A good rule of thumb to follow is “if it hurts, stings, or causes irritation, stop doing it.”

Final Thoughts

You are responsible for caring for your new tattoo in such a way as to promote healing and retard ink fading. You must follow all instructions for aftercare procedures carefully, and you must not try to take shortcuts or rush the healing process.

Be patient with your skin and give it ample time to heal properly. You have an investment in your new ink and you want to protect that investment to the best of your abilities.

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