Is It OK To Take A Bath After Getting A Tattoo? Here's The Dirty Truth

Getting a tattoo is a pretty big decision, and nothing is more crucial in determining how well it will turn out than proper aftercare. If you're both a lover of tattoos and baths and find yourself wondering, "Is it OK to take a bath after getting a tattoo?" the answer might not be your favorite. But as long as you keep your eyes on the prize and focus more on doing everything possible to make sure your tattoo heals properly, small tweaks in your beauty routine will be well worth it.

Though you most definitely can still take showers and stay clean, you'll want to take a break from baths when you first get your tattoo. The artists at Studio 8 in Houston, Texas explained, "Fully submerging your tattoo for any extended period of time into a body of water like a hot tub or bath will often cause serious damage. Make sure you avoid both for about two to three weeks after getting your new tattoo."

As for taking a shower, the artists at Living Canvas Tattoo in Columbia, MO advised using "a mild, fragrance-free soap (Dove, Dial, and Neutrogena) [to] gently wash all excess blood, ointment, ink, and plasma from your tattoo. [But] do not use a washcloth or loofah as they can harbor bacteria."

Skipping bubble baths for two weeks and swapping them for short, gentle showers doesn't sound so bad, right? Don't forget to follow the other tips below, too!

1. Talk To Your Tattoo Artist Before You Leave

Depending on the kind of tattoo you've gotten, your artist might have very specific aftercare tips. Definitely be sure to ask them for any healing techniques you need to follow.

2. Leave The Bandage On

InkedMag shared, " Leave your bandage or tattoo covering on for one to three hours after your tattoo is finished." Why? "This process is collecting a lot of the goop, blood, and even ink from the fresh tattoo, so keep it on!"

3. Wash Your Hands Before Any Care

"Remember, your new tattoo is just like an open injury," shared TattooArtistMagazine. "Most tattooists advise hand-washing [your] tattoo extremely lightly though thoroughly with your (clean) fingers, using an unscented, anti-bacterial soap."

4. Avoid Sunlight

Channel your inner vampire for the first two weeks of tattoo healing and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. As TattooArtistsMagazine explained, "UV rays damage the skin, and will fade your tattoo’s color."

5. Keep It Hydrated

Aquaphor, $13.55, Aquaphor

Keeping your tattoo hydrated during the first few days is crucial. InkedMag recommended rubbing it with Aquaphor, and that's what I've always used!

6. Don't Pick Flakes

Scabbing is normal and a sign that your tattoo is healing properly. No matter what, fight the urge to itch it! Itching and scratching can cause your tattoo to morph and even scar.

7. Wear Clean Clothing

Just got a fresh sleeve tattoo? Your sweaty gym hoodie isn't the ideal thing to wear over it. Since you really do essentially have an open wound on your body, only wear freshly laundered and clean clothing to avoid infection.

8. Wear Sunscreen

Ultra Facial Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 30, $21, Kiehl's

Once your tattoo has totally healed, Studio8 Tattoo shared, "You’ll want to be vigilant about protecting it from the sun’s UV rays. Ultraviolet light can quickly damage or even fade the brightest and most colorful tattoo." Always reach for at least SPF 30!

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Images: Annie Spratt, Milada Vigerova(2), Angelina Litvin/Unsplash; Shannon Archuleta, slappytheseal, jintae kim/Flickr; Courtesy of Brands