Showering After a Tattoo

Well, what a mess. You reach home after your last tattoo session, wait for a while, and take off your bandage to marvel at your new tattoo. Or, at least, you would…if not for all the plasma, blood, and ink that spills out! With a mess to clean, everyone naturally wants to jump into the shower and scrub away that extra stuff. Not so fast! Showering after a tattoo takes a little bit of thought, and this page walks you through everything you need to know! It helps to acquire the best lotion for a new tattoo before you begin these steps.

How Long Should you Wait to Take a Shower After a Tattoo?

When your tattoo artist sends you home, they usually do so with a bandage and an amount of time to keep it on. Usually, it amounts to taking it off in the evening before you go to bed. Once off, it stays off, and keeping your tattoo open to air makes it heal faster. However, without a bandage, any direct water will damage your tattoo. Only certain soaps work on tattoos without damaging the ink, while special cleaning methods keep your tattoo safe from wear and tear.  You may shower at any point after you remove the tattoo bandage, but carefully clean around your tattooed area. Use the instructions on this page to learn about washing your tattoo, or read the whole run-down on tattoo after care here.

How Do I Clean my New Tattoo?

For starters, make sure your soaps all contain ink-safe ingredients. Although spectacular at killing germs, a lot of soaps also wash away tattoo ink. Petroleum, alcohol, lanolin, and several other common compounds prove hazardous to your tattoo. Alternatives—many with the same origins, but a different chemical structure—exist to aid you during the healing process. On top of that, organic, vegan, and allergen-free soaps work wonders and make up many of the best soaps for tattoos. For more details on those, check out our complete guide for tattoo aftercare.

Gather your good soap and some paper towels around a sink. Putting direct water onto your tattoo poses a risk, so spread your soap with your fingers and then dab it off with the paper towel. Scrubbing or scraping at the tattoo only damages your wound further, while using actual towels will stain and pull up ink.


But wait, how can you shower without affecting your tattoo, if direct water impacts the quality of your ink? Let’s explain that in more detail.

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions

Although we detail the tattoo healing process here, it helps to go over this anyways. While your tattoo heals, it leaves the deep layers of your skin exposed. The deepest layer contains all of your tattoo’s ink. Tattoo aftercare ointment helps keep the area safe, but it doesn’t quite work in the shower. When you pour water directly onto your tattoo, nothing stops it from seeping in and turning your crisp tattoo into a waterlogged image—albeit less dramatically than I put it here. However, gravity pulls water away from your tattoo while showering. Unless your tattoo takes up your back, neck, or chest area, then your tattoo weathers a shower. Covering it anyways makes sure it stays safe, though!


So, when can you stop washing your tattoo with antibacterial soap? We provide every last detail you need in our tattoo aftercare guide. Also, check it out for more tattoo aftercare tips!

Showering With Your New Tattoo

Rest easy, knowing how to clean off all of today’s gunk without harming your tattoo! Simply keep these tips in mind while cleaning and take extra care to only use the correct soaps on your tattoo. Keep your regular shampoo out of the tattoo, pat it lightly with a paper towel to dry it, and enjoy your squeaky-clean self! We provide more in-depth aftercare information—including what soaps work best, the do’s and don’ts of tattoo aftercare, when it’s safe to use sunscreen, and so on—at our main aftercare guide hub. Leave a comment if you have any questions about showering after a tattoo or to tell us of another tattoo-related worry of yours.

As always, thanks for reading!

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