One of the most common questions after getting a tattoo is how to waterproof it for swimming. Although swimming is a fun activity, exposing your tattoo to chlorine and saltwater can cause damage, inflammation, and discoloration. Therefore, it’s essential to protect your newly inked art while enjoying your favorite water activities. In this article, we will discuss how to waterproof a tattoo for swimming, so it stays vibrant and healthy for years to come.
1. Wait for proper healing.
The first and most crucial step in waterproofing a tattoo for swimming is waiting for it to heal properly. A new tattoo takes two to four weeks to heal, and you should wait at least one to two weeks before submerging it in water. This allows the skin to heal and the top layer of cells to regrow, closing off the area to keep out harmful bacteria from the water. If the tattoo is not fully healed before you swim, it can cause inflammation, infection, and other complications that may affect the overall quality of your tattoo.
2. Cover your tattoo appropriately.
Once your tattoo has fully healed, it’s crucial to cover it appropriately before diving into the water. One of the best ways to do this is by using waterproof bandages or dressings. With waterproof dressings, apply them directly over your tattoo to create a protective barrier between it and the water. This will prevent any harmful contaminants from entering the tattoo and provide extra moisture protection when swimming. You can also use plastic wrap and clear adhesive tape as an alternative to waterproof dressings.
3. Apply tattoo sealants.
Another great way to waterproof your tattoo for swimming is through sealants that create a protective layer over the tattoo, keeping it safe from water exposure. Liquid barrier films are popular options; they create a flexible, waterproof layer over the tattoo. Liquid bandages are also highly recommended, providing an extra layer of protection against germs and bacteria that thrive on water surfaces.
4. Use the Right Sunscreen
Sunscreen is essential when going swimming to protect your skin from sun damage, but it is also vital to keep your tattoos well-maintained. Ultraviolet (UV) light can damage and fade tattoos, causing them to age prematurely. To avoid the damaging effects of UV light on your tattoos, use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 that is water-resistant for at least 80 minutes and safe for sensitive skin.
5. Rinse Your Tattoo Post-Swim
As soon as you get out of the water, rinse your tattoo with cool to lukewarm water to remove any harmful chemicals or bacteria that may have come into contact with it. Using a gentle, fragrance-free soap can also help to remove any chlorine or saltwater residue left on your skin. Avoid using hot water or harsh soaps, as these can dry out the skin and strip it of the necessary oils to hydrate and protect it from external factors.
6. Moisturize regularly.
It’s essential to moisturize your tattoo regularly, especially after swimming. Swimming can dry out your skin, which can cause the tattoo to become itchy, flaky, and cracked. Therefore, moisturizing regularly will keep your skin hydrated and prevent the tattoo from drying out. Use a lotion that is specifically formulated for tattoos or that doesn’t contain any fragrances or harsh chemicals. Apply a thin layer of the lotion to the tattoo and gently massage it into the skin to ensure it penetrates through the pores.
To sum up, protecting your tattoo while swimming is essential for maintaining its vibrancy and quality for years to come. Allow your tattoo to heal fully before submerging it in water, and do not forget to cover it with waterproof dressings or sealants. Use the right sunscreen, rinse your tattoo after swimming, and moisturize regularly to keep it healthy and protected. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy swimming without worrying about the risk of harming your inked art.