How to Waterproof a Tattoo for Swimming: 3 Effective Ways

Waterproof A Tattoo
Is it possible to go swimming with a new tattoo? How to waterproof a tattoo for swimming? Why is it important? We've answered all the questions in our article.

Have you recently got a new tattoo? Do you want to brag about it in front of others? The beach or pool is a great opportunity to show others your new design. Can you swim or take a shower with a fresh or old tattoo, though? It isn’t cool just to come to the beach or the pool and lie by the water ☹️.

Therefore, we analyzed 20+ sources to answer the most exciting questions:

  • Tattoo waterproofing.
  • ✓ Waterproofing importance.
  • ✓ Possibility of swimming with a new tattoo covered.
  • ✓ Period before swimming with a new tattoo.

So, let’s find out how to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, and swim with a tattoo!

? Note:
Tattoo care can exclude the possibility of complications. We suggest you get acquainted with the best aftercare practices that will help you keep your design in the best possible way.

Tattoo Waterproofing Importance

Tattoo Waterproofing Importance

While getting a tattoo, many micro wounds appear on your skin, which together forms a large one. Its contact with any surface or liquid increases the risk of complications that can harm your health.

However, do these apply to water? Unfortunately, yes. Below, we will provide you with three possible risks of swimming with a new tattoo uncovered.

? Note:
In addition to the tattoo problems listed below, you may experience tattoo peeling. Therefore, we recommend that you find out whether it is normal for your tattoo to peel off and how to deal with it.

Tattoo Damage

Pool and seawater will discolor your tattoo! It’s no secret that chlorine is used in pools to disinfect the water. This chemical forms perchloric acid. It contacts with water and literally destroys the paint.

What about seawater? Unfortunately, it also has a bad effect on the color of the ink. Saltwater washes out the ink from your skin and the tattoo starts to fade.


Swimming in the sea and pool can cause skin irritation, which is caused by the same reason as the previous issue. However, it is still worth describing in more detail.

  • ? Irritation when swimming in the pool. After getting a tattoo, the skin becomes more sensitive. Therefore, contact with chlorine may cause irritation or dermatitis.
  • ? Irritation when swimming at sea. Water in different seas has a different composition of minerals and inhabitants. However, during bathing, larvae of jellyfish can accumulate on the body surface. They cause intense itching and irritation.


You are highly increasing the risk of infection when swimming with a new tattoo uncovered because bacteria and other microorganisms live in water. They can get into the wound and cause infection, the consequences of which are difficult to foresee.

Of course, the risk of infection is much less in water with a high concentration of chlorine. However, it can damage your tattoo or cause skin problems such as irritation or dermatitis.

? Scary fact:
A 31-year-old Hispanic man died after going swimming 5 days after getting his tattoo. The infection got through the wound and left no chance of survival [1].

Swimming With a New Tattoo Covered: Myth or Reality?

Swimming with a New Tattoo Covered: Myth or Reality?

Waterproof bandages and liquid sealant can give you a real opportunity to swim with a new tattoo. These products are designed to make the wound heal faster and protect it from bacteria that are in the air, on surfaces, or in water.

The only way to avoid the use of waterproofing products is to wait till your tattoo will be completely healed. You can find out how long it will take later in the article. Anyway, it is better to get acquainted with three possible ways of protecting your tattoo in water, so you will understand why they are useful and used during aftercare. 

3 Effective Ways of Tattoo Waterproof for Swimming

3 Effective Ways of Tattoo Waterproof for Swimming

As we said earlier, chlorine and salt water are especially harmful to tattoos. Due to them, the design’s color will fade slowly, and irritation or infection may appear. Therefore, you should cover not only new tattoos, but also old ones. Thus, you can extend their life and preserve the depth and brightness of colors.



Vaseline is one of the possible options to protect your tattoo from water. The composition of this substance includes wax and paraffin. They don’t dissolve in water. Therefore, even a thin layer of vaseline can protect the skin’s surface from moisture.

However, vaseline is not a panacea for all problems. It cannot be applied to a new tattoo because it does not allow air to penetrate the wound surface. In this case, a crust will not have time to form on the wound surface, and bacteria can get inside it. Therefore, you can use vaseline to keep the tattoo water-resistant only after it has completely healed.

? Note:
How much time does it take to completely heal a tattoo? Check out this article and dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

Waterproof Bandage (Barrier)

Waterproof Bandage (Barrier)

Waterproof bandages provide the most convenience and effectiveness when protecting your skin while swimming. Many tattoo artists use them and recommend them to their visitors. There are several reasons for this, which we will describe below.

  •  ? Water tightness. These bandages are made from waterproof materials that can also retain moisture. Thus, you can apply it and will not need to use creams and lotions to moisturize the skin.
  • ? Rapid healing. The bandages retain the moisture the body needs to heal the wound. Thus, it prevents your skin from starting to peel and damage the wound surface. Users note that up to 90% surface of the tattoo can heal in 5 days.
  • ? Convenience. Waterproof bandages are elastic and transparent. Therefore, you can apply it anywhere on the body and your design will remain visible to others.

Therefore, when using waterproof bandages, you can swim in the sea/pool, play sports, and take baths without any problems.

? Note:
For a new tattoo, apply just before entering the water and remove immediately after you’re done. Wash the tattoo with mild antibacterial soap and blot dry with a clean paper towel before applying another sheet.

Liquid Sealant

Liquid Sealant

Another effective way to secure a tattoo is a liquid sealant. What’s more, it can be used for new tattoos to help you heal faster. It has antibacterial properties and is anti-allergic. However, liquid sealant has its special characteristics of use:

  1. They must be applied to a skin cleansed of blood;
  2. Liquid sealant should be sprayed at a distance of 11″-17″. Otherwise, the concentration of the substance may be too high, so a burning sensation will occur. Also, 2–3 sprays will be enough to cover, after which the substance will dry within 2–3 minutes;
  3. Within 3 hours, you will be able to swim, take a shower, and play sports without any difficulties. After, you will need to remove the sealant from the skin surface because it will no longer be effective.

How Long To Wait Before Swimming

How Long to Wait Before Swimming

Tattoo healing is a long process. On average, it takes 3–5 weeks, and can be divided into the following stages:

  • ? Day 1. The skin is slightly red and warm. It may ooze liquid. Also, you may feel pain.
  • ? Week 1. Tattoo colors become dimmer due to healing processes. Also, the design may begin to peel off, but you should not cut it off. You can learn more about tattoo peeling in our other article.
  • ? Week 2. There is a noticeable reduction in redness, but severe itching begins. You need to moisturize the skin so that cracks and wounds do not appear.
  • ? Week 3. Scabs on the tattoo and redness should be gone. Otherwise, it may be an infection and you will need medical attention.
  • ? Month 1. You did it! Now, your tattoo is healed, and you can safely swim in the sea and the pool!
? Note:
Your new tattoo is a wound, so you should not forget about tattoo aftercare. Get acquainted with our article and learn the best practices.


There are 3 effective ways to waterproof tattoos for swimming. They are suitable for both new and old designs. In addition to protecting you from water, they can help you heal faster, avoid infection, and keep tattoo colors vibrant and deep.

However, it is better to wait for 3–5 weeks after your tattoo has completely healed. This way, you will minimize the risks of negative consequences for you and your design.

? Note:
If you can’t decide on one of these 3 ways to help waterproof the tattoo, contact the tattoo artists, and they will consult you on how to choose the best one.


? Should Swimmers Get Tattoos?

Yes, swimmers can get tattoos. However, it is worth remembering the healing period (3-4 weeks), protection from chlorine and salt water, sun exposure, and good moisturization. Olympic swimmers such as Caeleb Dressel and Anthony Ervin have tattoos that are in good condition thanks to proper care.

? What To Do After Swimming With a New Tattoo?

In this case, you should take a warm shower to clean your skin from chemicals, and apply an antimicrobial soap and ointment to disinfect the tattoo.

? Is It Possible To Swim in the Ocean With a Tattoo?

Yes, but it is better to wait 3–5 weeks, so your tattoo will be completely healed. Moreover, you may use a waterproof bandage or liquid sealant to protect the design from sea salt.

? Can I Go Swimming/Take a Bath 3 Weeks After Getting a Tattoo?

You should wait three weeks, and then you can swim in the pool/sea or take a bath. However, you should make sure that the design is fully healed. Otherwise, you may experience irritation, redness, or even infection.


  1. Tinker, B. (2017, June 3). Man dies after swimming with New Tattoo. CNN. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from 

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