Can You Shower After a Tattoo? Everything You Need to Know

Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience, and taking care of it is crucial to ensure that the outcome is as expected. One of the common questions that people ask after getting a tattoo is, “can you shower after a tattoo?” The answer is yes, but there are some things you need to keep in mind to avoid damaging your fresh ink. 

If you’ve recently had a tattoo done, here’s how to handle showering while taking care of your fresh ink.


The timing for showering after getting a tattoo varies depending on the type of covering applied by the artist and their specific instructions.

If your tattoo is covered with plastic wrap or a regular bandage, it’s essential to wait until it’s removed before showering. The duration can range from 1 to 24 hours, and this timing depends on factors like the tattoo’s location and size.

Alternatively, if your artist uses a medical-grade, waterproof bandage, you can safely shower at any time, provided you follow the artist’s recommended duration for keeping the bandage in place.

Tips On Taking a Shower After Getting a New Tattoo

Use Lukewarm Water: When it’s time to shower, use lukewarm water rather than hot water. Hot water can open up your pores and potentially introduce bacteria to the fresh tattoo, increasing the risk of infection.

Mild, Fragrance-Free Soap: Use a mild, fragrance-free soap to clean the tattooed area gently. Avoid harsh or heavily scented soaps, as they can irritate the skin.

Hands Only: Use your clean hands to gently wash the tattooed area. Avoid using washcloths, loofahs, or any abrasive scrubbing tools. Pat the area dry with a clean paper towel or a soft cloth, as rubbing can damage the healing skin.

Avoid Direct Water Pressure: During the initial healing phase (usually the first 2-4 weeks), protect the tattoo from direct water pressure in the shower. Water can dislodge scabs and hinder the healing process. You can use a waterproof adhesive bandage or plastic wrap to cover the tattoo temporarily during showers.

Short Showers: Keep your showers relatively short to minimize the tattoo’s exposure to water. Prolonged moisture can soften scabs and slow down the healing process.

No Swimming or Soaking: Avoid swimming in pools, hot tubs, or natural bodies of water during the initial healing period. Prolonged soaking can lead to infection and damage the tattoo.

How Should you Take Care Of A Tattoo After A Shower?

Gently Pat Dry: After you finish your shower, use a clean, soft towel to gently pat your tattoo dry. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the tattooed area, as this can irritate the healing skin.

Cleanse if Necessary: If you notice any residual ointment, blood, or lymphatic fluid on your tattoo after the shower, you can gently cleanse it with mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water. Use your clean hands to wash the tattoo, and then pat it dry again.

Apply Tattoo-Specific Moisturizer: After showering, apply a thin layer of a fragrance-free, tattoo-specific moisturizer or a gentle, unscented lotion to keep the skin hydrated. Moisturizing helps prevent dryness and itching, which can disrupt the healing process.

Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: After caring for your tattoo, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Sunscreen should be applied to the tattooed area if it will be exposed to the sun. Protecting your tattoo from UV rays helps maintain its color and vibrancy.

Be Mindful of Clothing: Choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing to minimize friction and irritation against the healing tattoo. Avoid tight or abrasive fabrics that can rub against the tattooed area.

Follow Aftercare Instructions: Continue to follow the specific aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. This may include a recommended aftercare routine and any products they suggest for healing.

Hands-Off Approach: Resist the urge to touch or scratch your healing tattoo, even if it feels itchy. Touching the tattoo with dirty hands can introduce bacteria and lead to infection.


  1. Can I wash my tattoo with soap and water while showering? Yes, you can wash your tattoo with soap and water while showering, but make sure to use a mild, unscented soap or tattoo-specific cleansing solution.
  2. Can I take a bath with a new tattoo? It’s generally best to avoid soaking in a bathtub for at least two weeks after getting a tattoo, as this can increase the risk of infection.
  3. What should I do if my tattoo gets wet during a shower? If your tattoo gets wet during a shower, gently pat it dry with a clean towel. Do not rub the tattoo with the towel as it can cause irritation and slow down the healing process.
  4. Can a new tattoo get wet in a pool? No, chlorine and other pool chemicals can potentially irritate the healing skin and affect the tattoo’s quality, so it’s advisable to wait until the tattoo is fully healed before swimming.

Final Takeaway

Taking care of a new tattoo is essential to ensure that it heals properly and looks its best. While you can shower after getting a tattoo, you should be careful to avoid exposing it to direct water pressure and follow proper aftercare guidelines. By following the advice outlined in this article, you can help ensure that your tattoo heals quickly and looks great for years to come.