Swimming Events

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming? Everything You Need to Know 

Read Time:7 Minute, 12 Second

Summer is the ideal time to put on your swimsuit and flash some flesh. However, now is not the time to go swimming with new ink.

If you have a fresh tattoo, your skin is still uncomfortable and sensitive, similar to an open wound.

So, ideally, it should only get wet while you’re cleaning around it or having a shower.

In fact, specialists advise you to avoid any aquatic activities until your skin recovers.

Why I Cannot Swim With A New Tattoo?

Given that fresh tattoos are still a form of healing wound, it is critical to discuss the level of water exposure you can tolerate until the tattoo is completely healed.

Swimming with a fresh tattoo is thus strictly prohibited. Every tattoo artist will stress this and rule it out as an option. You may be wondering why.

New tattoos, on the other hand, must dry out in order to heal. When the skin dries out, it generates scabs under which new skin layers emerge, allowing the tattoo to properly set and heal while also developing a matte appearance.

Now, if you immerse a fresh tattoo underwater, you risk moisture accumulation, which means the tattoo will be too wet to dry out and begin healing. As a result, the tattoo will become a great breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Bacteria, as we all know, is never healthy surrounding a wound. This can cause tattoo inflammation/infection, which can disrupt the healing process and, eventually, the design of the tattoo after it heals.

So, do you really want to jeopardize a costly and painful investment like your tattoo for a few minutes of swimming? Let’s hope you responded no, because the moisture-buildup problem is far from innocuous. The repercussions can seriously compromise your immune system and negatively impact your general health. Furthermore, if the tattoo becomes infected, even if it heals well, you will have to spend extra for a tattoo touch-up, making your tattoo far from cost-effective.

When I Cannot Swim With A New Tattoo?

When it comes to diving underwater with a fresh tattoo, we must distinguish between a quick shower and a full-fledged swim.

We must all demonstrate, and it is preferable to avoid showering for a few days after getting a new tattoo. We’ll go over this further in the coming sections, but in general, your tattoo should be totally protected while showering, and you should never expose it to direct water pressure.

Swimming should be avoided until the tattoo has completely healed. When is that, you may wonder? Your tattoo may take up to two months to heal, depending on your immune system, tattoo aftercare regimen, and general skin health and resiliency. When the tattoo is completely closed, healed, scab-free, and matte in appearance. This implies you should avoid swimming for at least 2 to 3 weeks, just to be cautious.

Let’s face it: the sea, rivers, and ponds might be brimming with germs, and you may wish to avoid a bacterial infection of the tattoo. So, by not swimming for a few weeks, you’re ensuring that the tattoo is properly cared for and remains healthy. So be patient and wait; it will be worth it!

How to know whether your tattoo has healed completely

It might be difficult to tell if your tattoo is completely healed. On the surface, your tattoo may seem and feel healed within a few days.

Most tattoo artists believe the tattoo to be healed between 2-4 weeks, however this might vary depending on the location and size of the artwork. A tattoo might take up to 6 months to completely heal.

Your lifestyle and how careful you are with aftercare might also have an influence on recovery time.

When your tattoo is no longer red, itchy, scabbing, or flaking, it is considered healed.

If you’re unsure, go to the studio where you got your tattoo done and have a professional look it over.

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming?

1. Cover the tattoo with plastic wrap.

Although it may appear strange, tattoo artists actually advise hiding your ink.

It’s ideal for the first few nights of sleeping with fresh ink, and it’s also a simple method to keep tattoos clean and dry.

Remember to first apply a thin coating of ointment or a moderate moisturizer. Then, cover with gauze or a paper towel.

They provide an airtight barrier, limiting the amount of moisture that may enter and harm your skin.

In summary, it’s an excellent technique to lower the danger of infection while also accelerating the healing process.

However, the less plastic wrap you use to cover your tattoo, the better.

Remember that in order for your skin to return to normal, it must be able to breathe, which it cannot do if it is covered.

2. Apply a medical sealant to the plastic.

A medical sealant is a sort of surgical adhesive that doctors use to close wounds. As a result, they are a no-hassle alternative for waterproofing fresh tattoos.

SkinLock is a brand that many tattoo artists swear by.

It’s simple to use, and the greatest thing is that it works in 30 seconds or less, which is rather fast.

For even coverage, use 3-4 applications each day.

The sealant will then flake off on its own after around 7-10 days.

This should allow the skin time to heal while keeping the tattoo intact.

3. Vaseline Alternatives That Are Safer

Vaseline, often known as petroleum jelly, should not be used for tattoo aftercare. For one thing, it restricts ventilation and traps moisture.

Furthermore, it retains dirt and bacteria, which can cause skin discomfort.

On fresh tattoos, for example, it might cause more harm than benefit.

The good news is that there are a few alternatives to using Vaseline to waterproof your skin art, such as those listed below:

  • The oil of coconut
  • Chocolate butter
  • Shea nut butter
  • Skin cream designed particularly for tattoo aftercare
  • Skin moisturizer with no alcohol or smell, such as Eucerin or Lubriderm

After gently washing and drying your skin, use any of these replacements.

Then, 3-4 times each day, put a thin layer over the tattoo.

4. Take Care of Your Tattoo Right After Swimming

Assume you couldn’t resist the impulse and had to go swimming. What steps do you take after that to protect your ink and maintain your skin healthy and clear of inflammations?

Let’s pretend you covered your tattoo with a waterproof dressing or wrap for the purpose of argument.

Saniderm, an adhesive medical waterproof tattoo bandage, is one of our faves.

It’s pliable, breathable, and, best of all, comes in a variety of roll and sheet sizes for increased convenience.

Keep in mind that the longer the tattoo is concealed, the longer it will take to heal.

As a result, remove the dressing as soon as you get out of the water.

Rinse and pat dry the dressing with lukewarm water.

Then, carefully peel it off and cleanse your skin with mild soap or an antibacterial wash and water.

Finally, pat your skin down with a nice, clean cloth.

Apply a healing ointment or skin cream as a final precaution to assist decrease skin inflammations.

They can also aid with the preservation of the pattern and color of your tattoo.

How To Do If I Swim With A New Tattoo

Don’t freak out. That one fatality case stated above is undoubtedly troubling, but it is not an everyday occurrence.

However, you should keep a watch out for any indicators of problems.

In the first few days after obtaining a tattoo, some redness, pain, and peeling is common. However, if these symptoms persist or increase, it may suggest a problem.

Consult your tattoo artist if you observe indicators of tattoo deterioration, such as bubbling, which occurs when a new tattoo is left moist for an extended period of time. There is also the possibility of fading and scarring.

Tattoo in swimming


We understand how tempting it is to show off your new tattoo and go swimming straight away. However, having a little patience with something that has been ‘carved’ into your skin to last a lifetime should be common sense. Allow your tattoo to heal properly; nothing can genuinely protect it during swimming like your own, fully healed skin. So, be patient and plan your tattoos intelligently; if you want to go swimming during the summer, don’t get your tattoo a month or two before the holiday season; instead, get it done during the fall or winter months so that it may fully heal just in time for a good, refreshing swim.