HomeBeauty & MakeupHow To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming In 3 Quick Ways?

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming In 3 Quick Ways?

Whether you just got a new tattoo on your arms, legs, neck, or even around the belly button area, you must know it’s essential to protect it from chlorine or seawater. So how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming? You will need to follow some steps before hopping into the pool or sea if you want to avoid complications.

In this guide, I will include the risks of swimming with a new tattoo, when to go swimming safely, how to take a bath with your new tattoo, how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming, aftercare tips, and more FAQs…

So let’s get started…

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming?

How To Waterproof A Tattoo For Swimming In 3 Quick Ways?

If you really need to go swimming and expose your tattoo to the water, here’s what you should do to protect it:

1- Apply A Protective Thin Layer Of Moisturizer

On dry skin, apply a thin layer of coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, gentle moisturizer, or aftercare cream to the area before jumping into the water.

They can cover your tattoo, lock in moisture, and protect your tattoo from damage or your skin from getting infected.

Make sure to clean the area gently once you get out of the water.

2- Cover The Area With A Waterproof Bandage

You can also wear a waterproof dressing that is designed to protect tattoos and skin. You can find this waterproof dressing easily online and it’s available in different size sheets and rolls.

Cover well your ink and skin right before getting in the water. After swimming, don’t leave the waterproof bandage on as this can slow the healing process.

3- Rinse The Area With Fresh Water After Swimming

After getting out of the water, gently wash your tattoo with gentle soap and lukewarm water then pat dry with a clean towel.

Keeping the area dry and uncovered is essential as this helps speed up the healing process and protect you from infections.

How Long Do You Wait To Swim After Getting A New Tattoo?

It’s best to wait for your new tattoo to fully heal before starting to swim again. This usually takes 2-4 weeks but keep in mind that the healing process varies from one person to another.

The key here is to wait until a new skin layer forms and there’s no skin shedding or ink flaking from your skin anymore. This means your skin is fully healed and your tattoo settled so you can go swimming safely again.

You can also check with the tattoo artist to determine whether the area is fully healed or not!

Why Should You Not Go Swimming With A New Tattoo?

It’s highly recommended to give your skin time to heal before going swimming to avoid complications.

Here’s what could happen if you go swimming before healing:

A man with a tattoo on his left arm swimming in the pool


Submerging newly tattooed skin in water can increase the risk of infections. It exposes your skin to harmful bacteria that can cause infections, ranging from mild to severe. In rare cases, this may lead to sepsis or death.

In one case, A man died after swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with a new tattoo as he contracted the flesh-eating bacteria (Vibrio vulnificus).

Irritation Or Inflamamtion

Exposing sensitive freshly tattooed skin to chlorine, harsh chemicals, or salt lead to stinging, irritation, pain, and inflammation.

You could also experience itching, swelling, redness, and blistering, and this will cause damage to your tattoo.

Your Tattoo Could Fade

Swimming in the sea or pool with a fresh new tattoo can lead to color fading and discoloration.

Chlorine in pools and salt in seawater can make the color fade and look less fresh.

Plus, chlorine and salt can affect hair health badly, making it look frizzy, dry, and brittle. And they can dry out your skin which will lead to irritation, itching, flaking, and eventually color fading.

Related: How To Protect Hair From Chlorine In 8 Easy & Quick Steps

What To Do If You Went Swimming After Getting A New Tattoo?

If you swam without protection, you should observe the area for any complications.

Consult a healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain.
  • Blistering.
  • Bleeding.
  • Persistent redness.
  • Flushing.
  • Pus drainage.
  • Fever.

Those symptoms could be an indication of infection so it’s best to visit a doctor.

Also, you may notice the tattoo starts to fade due to leaving the area wet for a long time. So, book an appointment with the tattooist to help fix the problem.

How To Take A Shower With A New Tattoo?

You can take a quick shower but you need to be extra gentle to avoid irritating the area.

So what to do?

  • Take a shower with cool or lukewarm water.
  • Stand under the shower so the water runs all over your body without focusing on the tattooed area only.
  • Avoid using a loofah or washcloth on the area as this will cause irritation and redness. Plus, it can transfer bacteria to the area and cause infections.
  • Use gentle, fragrance-free soap.
  • Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals and alcohol as they will dry out and irritate the area.
  • Gently pat dry the area with a clean towel then apply the aftercare cream to the tattooed skin.
  • Keep the area uncovered as covering the area can slow the healing process.

Furthermore, avoid taking a path with freshly tattooed skin as submerging in water could lead to infections and dry out or irritate your skin.

So don’t take a path for at least 2-4 weeks or ask the tattoo artist for more instructions.

A woman in a red swimsuit in the pool

Aftercare Tips:

  • Follow the tattoo artist instructions carefully.
  • Apply aftercare cream to the area as advised.
  • Avoid covering up the area.
  • Scabs will start to form, don’t pick at them as this can damage your tattoo.
  • Keep the area dry.
  • Avoid sun exposure, sunlight can cause the tattoo to fade quickly.
  • Don’t use products that contain harsh chemicals as they increase irritation and redness.


  1. Can I Swim The Day After I Got A Tattoo?

    It’s highly advisable to not swim that day after you got a tattoo. But if you must swim, wear a waterproof bandage and wash the area with fresh water after swimming.

  2. How To Protect Your New Tattoo If You Have To Go Swimming?

    – Cover freshly tattooed skin with a waterproof dressing.
    – Don’t stay in the water for too long.
    – Rinse the area with fresh clean water when you’re done.

  3. Can You Go To The Beach Right After Getting A Tattoo?

    It’s best to avoid going to the beach right after getting a tattoo as exposure to sunlight can cause the tattoo to fade more quickly. Or if you go swimming, you may develop an infection, experience some symptoms including irritation, blistering, or swelling, or cause damage to the tattoo.

  4. What Are The Risks Of Swimming With A Fresh Tattoo?

    – You could develop an infection.
    – Experience irritation, redness, or inflammation.
    – Speeding up color fading.

Wrapping Up

If you’re wondering how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming, you can cover the area with a waterproof dressing or apply a layer of natural moisturizer, then after swimming, wash the area carefully with clean water and pat dry with clean towel.

Those steps will help keep the tattooed skin protected and reduce the risk of developing infections. But still, it’s best to wait until the area is fully healed before swimming!

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