How to Take a Shower With a New Tattoo

Caring for a new tattoo properly for the first several weeks is critical to maintaining the appearance and health of the artwork. Because of the way the ink is applied, a fresh tattoo is an open wound, and must be allowed to heal properly. Improper care can result in scarring or loss of pigment. Tattoo aftercare is a multiple-step process, but an important element in that process is learning how to take a shower with a new tattoo. Showering correctly will help your tattoo heal quickly and maintain its appearance.


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    Remove the bandage applied by the tattoo artist. After finishing your tattoo, most artists will wash the area with mild soap, apply an antiseptic ointment, and cover your tattoo with a bandage to help prevent infection. Depending on the size of your tattoo, this bandage may be gauze, medical bandaging, or even plastic wrap.
    • This bandage should be removed after 4 to 6 hours. This will allow your skin to breathe, which is essential for the tattoo's healing. Showering with this bandage still in place can soak the bandage and hold too much water against your tattoo.
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    Clean your tattoo with mild soap and water. After removing the bandage, your tattoo will likely be covered with adhesive, ointment, and dried blood. This mixture should be washed away before you shower.
    • Use a very mild soap (such as liquid hand soap) and water to clean the tattoo. Use only your fingers to lightly massage the soap onto your skin; do not use a cloth and do not scrub - this can easily abrade your skin and result in scarring. Gently pat the area dry with a cloth when finished.
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    Take a shower with your new tattoo. After getting tattooed, you should try to wait at least 48 hours before you shower to give your new tattoo time to form a protective barrier, but sometimes it's unavoidable. For the first week or so - especially the first few days - after getting your new tattoo, you will need to follow specific rules in the shower.
    • Run your shower with cool or lukewarm water. This is helpful for 2 reasons: it prevents the stinging pain that hot water would cause on your fresh tattoo, and it prevents your pores from opening too wide. Hot water will cause your skin's pores to open, which can lead to loss of pigment. As an added precaution, consider running cold water indirectly over your fresh tattoo for the last 30 seconds of your shower to close your pores.
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    • Do not allow the stream of water to hit your tattooed skin directly. When rinsing, let the water wash over your tattoo indirectly. This will help prevent scarring or puckering of your skin.
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    • Take as brief a shower as possible. Your tattoo will heal better if it is minimally exposed to steam, water, and soap. Hold your tattooed skin out of the water as much as possible during the shower.
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    Dry off after showering with your tattoo. After showering, you should dry your tattoo as quickly as possible. Using a clean towel, gently pat your tattooed skin dry. Do not use a rubbing motion, and do not allow your tattoo to slowly air dry. Dry the rest of your body as usual.


  • Until the fresh tattoo is completely healed, avoid submerging it completely in water; this means avoiding swimming or taking baths. If a bath is the only way you are able to wash yourself, take as brief a bath as possible.
  • Don't forget to put A+D, H2Ocean, or tattoo goo on afterwards, and to never use neosporin.
  • Don't soak the tattoo in ointment. Put it on lightly so your tattoo is still able to breathe.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel

Article Info

Categories: Tattoos and Piercing