Why can’t you bathe after a tattoo? How long after a tattoo can you shower?

Aftercare of a tattoo is essential as you have been longing to get one. Some negligence will unnecessarily disrupt the quality of the tattoo. If your tattoo is valuable to you, you must sincerely follow the aftercare instructions given by your tattoo artist.

One more important care to consider is when to bath post a tattoo. Many people have this confusion why is it that they cannot shower whereas a tattoo artist suggests washing the tattoo after the removal of the bandage. How does this make a difference?

Don’t worry, we will answer your doubts on how long after a tattoo can you shower and why are you advised to wait for a shower just after a tattoo.

A tattoo turns incredible only if you know the aftermath well. Refer to this guide to know everything about showers and tattoo care.

Why can’t you bathe after a tattoo?

Of all the necessary post-tattoo precautions, bathing is of utmost importance. How you bath post a tattoo plays an important role.

Depending on your design and method used, your tattoo artist will decide for how long you have to wait until you can shower normally. You may also be restricted from swimming, sauna, and sweating.

All the instructions are until the healing process of your tattoo is completed. This period is known as the ‘Healing Period’. Having a new tattoo is like having a fresh wound.

Just like other wounds, a tattoo wound also takes its course of time to heal. The first two weeks of the healing process of your tattoo are critical. You will see the formation of a scab over your tattoo which is a sign of the start of the healing process.

If your scab comes in touch with a large amount of water especially when water enters with a force or pressure like in showers, the scab will become tough and stick to your skin. As a result, your skin is likely to get affected.

Once your skin is affected due to water contact, the ink inside the skin will spread out beyond the allotted outline and some people have complained of permanent scar tissue on their skin.

Remember, although tattoo ink takes time to settle deep in the skin and until it does, it is important to stay away from water contact.

What happens if you take a bath after getting a tattoo?

Exposing the fresh wound to water can result in infection and skin irritation. It is because soaking in soapy water, swimming pool, hot tubs, or shower water can lead to soreness and itchy skin.

Many people find it difficult to control to itch that further damages the tattoo design. In no time of water contact and itching, you will find pigment missing from your design. Your tattoo will either look incomplete or spread out.

Water contact with the skin leads to several types of skin infection as well that will be bad for a fresh tattoo. Along with a shower, you will be advised to stay away from any water-based activities such as washing, swimming, sauna, hot water tubs, etc.,

Once you remove your tattoo bandage after 3 to 4 hours or as advised by your tattoo artist, you can gently wash the tattoo with hot water and mild soap.

The healing process should take about 2 weeks for the tattoo to heal completely, however you don’t have to stay without a shower for two weeks as that will be bad not only for you but for your neighbors too.

How long after a tattoo can you shower?

The ideal period to wait until you can shower is 2 to 3 days. However, even if you begin to take regular showers, you must avoid being in the water for more than 10 minutes.

For swimming and soaking in the bathtub, you will be advised to wait at least for 2 to 3 weeks more. You must avoid shower until you have a tattoo bandage on your tattoo.

There are few things you must consider while taking the first few showers post tattoo and they are:

  • Avoid using any perfumed soap or shower gels when you shower.
  • Do not rub or scrub with a loofah, body sponge, or scrubber. You can gently apply mild soap to your body.
  • Avoid soaking yourself in the bathtub for using hand showers. You may stick to standing showers instead.
  • Avoid taking showers for swimming as you will anyway not be allowed to swim until your tattoo is healed completely. Large water bodies especially when others are using the same water contain bacteria that may not be good for your fresh tattoo wound.
  • You must prefer warm water showers rather than cold water as war water tends to heal skin faster and helps in soothing the wound naturally.

Remember the above points before you plan your bath routine post a tattoo. Trust us, retouches are not cheap and may unnecessarily cause heavy expenses. Moreover, the skin infections will need additional treatment by the health expert.

In addition to the above, there are few things you must know as explained by top tattoo experts. Let’s quickly take a look at these so that you can successfully follow them.

5 Crucial things to know about shower baths post a tattoo

1. First 48 hours period

The first 48 hours are crucial for your tattoo and your skin. As the skin is freshly wounded in the process of inking, it needs to settle down in these 48 hours before you put water pressure on the same.

Protection of tattoos from heavy or large water bodies is crucial in these 48 hours. So you have to be careful of the same.

2. Selection of toiletries

The selection of toiletries plays a vital role before beginning with the showering process. We guess you will have to put those perfumed shampoos, soaps, bath bombs, and body gels in your closet for some days.

Any chemical-based products or strong perfumes may irritate the open skin pores of your tattoo area. You may have to visit the store to get some mild antibacterial soap for the shower and gentle moisturizers post-shower.

Don’t miss out on the shampoo part as there is a possibility that the shampoo water may come in contact with your tattoo skin.  

3. Scrubbing and rubbing

Before, during, and after a shower, ensure that you use soft clothes and a body towel only. The hard cloth of the bath gown that you just wore to reach the shower area may irritate the skin making you itch hard.

A shower bath won’t be a good idea after itching; you can trust us on that! Moreover, how you clean your skin matters too.

You need to understand that the material that you use to scrub or rub your skin mustn’t be hard on your tattoo to heal. When you dry yourself post-shower, use a soft wrap around and pat gently to dry the tattoo.

4. Skin flakes

Many tattoo artists use saniderm or tergiderm on the tattoo for protection. They use it depending on the ink, design, and area of the tattoo.

If your tattoo artist hasn’t applied any ointment on your tattoo, then you must prevent scabbing and flaking under the shower.

Some people have a habit of removing their dead skin and skin flakes in running shower water. By doing so, you are allowing the shower water to enter your skin which may lead to discoloration, infection, and blurring of the tattoo.

5. Lack of patience

All the above is possible only if you have the patience to wait until your tattoo heals. Do not take your skin for granted and be harsh on the water pressure. You will be able to enjoy those cozy and long shower baths soon.

Until then, you will have to wait until your tattoo heals completely. Check with your tattoo artist and if possible visit them to have a quick check on your tattoo.


Enjoy this healing period, stay hydrated, and buy clothes that you think will support you to flaunt your tattoos. Those shower baths can seem more romantic and self-loving once your tattoo delivers the final results.

We hope you found this article informative and interesting to read. If there is anything you would like to share, feel free to drop your comments.