Can Salt Water Affect Your New Tattoo?

Energetic young Afro American woman jumping high in swimwear and having fun by the ocean on Summer v...
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If you've recently been inked, you may want to avoid getting into the ocean with your new tattoo. As it takes two to three weeks for a tattoo to fully heal, diving into the salty ocean might not be the best idea. According to, salt water can dry out and possibly irritate the skin, which can lead to a variety of skin reactions like itching, burning, redness or even a rash around the area. Technically, your freshly inked tattoo is still considered an open wound during the healing process, and needs to be cared for as such.

In fact, many tattoo artists, like the ones at, suggest avoiding soaking your tattoo in any sort of water during the healing stages beyond a simple shower. Submerging the tattoo in any sort of water can lead to the risk of harmful bacteria interacting with the opened skin. Swimming in the ocean heightens these chances as the ocean is often filled with millions of forms of bacteria. These germs, while harmless against closed skin, may cause negative side effects around the site of your new ink.

However, if you do feel the need to hit the beach, be sure that your fresh ink is completely covered and out of the way of the elements. Consider using waterproof bandages, wearing clothing, or even using thicker healing ointments in order to keep your tattoo clean. Here are a few options for keeping your tattoo clean while at the beach.

1. Nexcare Waterproof Sterile Bandages

Bandages, $7.44,

Applying a bandage over your new tattoo prior to heading to the beach is a great way to prevent water, sand, and bacteria from infecting the site.

2. Tattoo Goo

Tattoo Goo, $6.89,

Keep your tattoo hydrated and clean during the healing process by using Tattoo Goo. This all natural formula is proven aid in the healing process and keep your tattoo looking its best.

3. Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant Hanging Tube

Lotion, $4.39,

Heal any dryness or flakiness associated with your new ink by using a hydrating, fragrance-free lotion of the site.

While you don't have to postpone your next tattoo due to your beach trip, it is advisable to steer clear of the ocean while your ink is healing.

Images: Spotmatik/Photodisc/Getty Images; Courtesy Brands