How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Getting A Tattoo?

If you've recently gotten some new ink, you may be wondering about what you can (and cannot) do while your tattoo is still healing. Tattoo aftercare is vital to the healing process, so it's important to know how to properly care for your tattoo in order to prevent scarring or infection (via Bustle). While your tattoo artist will initially cover your tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap to prevent anything from coming in contact with the skin, it's up to you to continue to clean it and protect it from the elements.

While it is okay to shower after getting a new tattoo, you may have to wait a few hours before getting it wet. This will depend on the type of bandage your tattoo artist decides to use. "If you get Saniderm or Tegiderm, then you can shower immediately. This type of covering is waterproof," Carrie Metz-Caporusso, a tattoo artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, told Bustle. "If you get a classic bandage or cling wrap, then you must wait anywhere from two to 12 hours, depending on what your artist recommends. After you take that off, you can shower anytime," she states. As far as soap is concerned, it's best to use either an antibacterial, or fragrance-free soap. Applying a small amount and gently washing the tattoo will help to protect against infection.

How to care for your new tattoo

After washing your tattoo, you'll want to apply Aquaphor or a fragrance-free moisturizer to the area. This will help to keep your skin hydrated and reduce the chances of peeling or flaking (via Byrdie). Tattoo artist, Tuki Carter, cautions that using too much however, could end up clogging your pores and increase the risk of developing a rash. Therefore, be sure to only apply a thin layer and to blot any excess. This should be done every day until your tattoo is fully healed.

It's important to let your new tattoo breathe after the first wash. However, if your tattoo is in a place not covered by clothing, you'll want to cover it up to protect it from sun exposure, as the sun's ultraviolet rays can damage tattoos, causing them to fade (via Bustle). After your tattoo has healed, you can apply sunscreen to the area to continue to protect it from sun damage.

It's also a good idea to avoid touching your tattoo during the healing process. It's normal to experience a little peeling, flaking, or scabbing around the tattoo site for a few days, but that's why you shouldn't further scratch or pick at it. Unnecessarily touching your tattoo could prevent it from healing properly and may lead to scarring or discoloration.