Can I Work Out After I Get a New Tattoo?
Tattoos are increasingly common, but this doesn't mean we all know how to care for them properly. Before we discuss working out with a new tattoo, we should point out that it is important you ask your tattoo artist about the right tattoo aftercare. However, there may be some questions you forget to ask or your artist was unable to clarify for whatever reason. One question you might not think to ask until later is can I work out after I get a new tattoo? Since we want to maintain our tattoo's quality and avoid any health issues, oneHOWTO answers this question so you can know when to exercise after getting inked.
What happens if I work out with a new tattoo?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to whether it is OK to exercise after getting a tattoo. Each case depends on the individual circumstances. However, by looking at the individuals factors, you can make the decision for yourself. Such factors include the size, placement and healing development of the tattoo.
Any sport will require you to move your body to some degree, many of which are physically very demanding. If it is a contact sport, in particular, there is a risk of damaging the tattoo area. This can lead to the tattoo not healing properly. Since a tattoo is essentially a superficial wound, we need to treat it with care. Knocking against equipment, rubbing against tight sport's clothes, sweating and other factors can damage the tattoo.
Sweat is not ideal for a new tattoo. This is because it will moisten the inked skin for a prolonged period of time. This can not only prolonged the healing period, it can promote infection in the tattooed skin. In some cases, natural sweating can affect the correct absorption of the ink into the skin. This means it is possible that rigorous exercise with a new tattoo can lead to the ink fading prematurely or losing its shape.
Training in the gym, going for a run, practising sports or even swimming in water with a new tattoo are not ideal activities. In addition to sweat, friction is a problem. Sports can be intense and the healing skin will be affected if we rub it. The skin itself can be removed and the original ink might not hold. Trauma of hitting against someone or an object can also damage the skin in a similar way.
Damage to a tattoo during a workout is most likely if the tattoo is big and in an area covered by clothing. Small tattoos which are open to the air and will not be affected by material rubbing against it are less likely to be damaged, although both can be negatively impacted by sweat.
How long should I wait to work out after getting a tattoo?
Like any other small wound, the tattoo becomes a delicate area that requires protection and care. This prevents further damage, as well as secondary problems such an infection. The time it takes for a wound to heal depends on various factors. The size and depth of the wound, and the body's immune system are two of the most important factors.
If you have a small tattoo that is healing well, you should wait about 1 week before doing a strenuous workout. For larger tattoos, e.g. full chest or back tattoos, you may need to wait up to 3 weeks. Before you return to exercise, you should look at the tattoo and observe the progress of its healing. The same goes for similar body modifications such as scarification, the latter usually taking even longer to heal than a tattoo.
At the slightest sign of infection, swelling or general discomfort, it is advisable to seek medical consultation. In addition, we advise you to read these other informative articles from UNCOMO:
Tips for caring for a new tattoo
Now you know when you can work out after you get a new tattoo, you should know that the tattoo's aftercare is also a significant factor in its healing. This will ensure duration and quality once the tattoo has fully healed. In addition to avoiding exercise if you have a large or delicately-placed tattoo, you will want to follow some basic tattoo aftercare tips and guidelines:
- Once you have removed the protective film the tattoo artist placed over the ink (it usually needs kept on for about 4 hours), wash the area with warm pH neutral soap. Dry thoroughly to initiate healing. Do it preferably with absorbent paper and never rub or scrub, just give gentle touches or blotting.
- Always strictly follow the instructions given by the tattoo artist. They will probably have recommended some healing ointment or cream with antibacterial and antibiotic properties that you will have to apply once or twice a day. If you are unsure which take a look at our article on Vaseline for tattoo aftercare.
- Try to have the tattoo in the air when possible, but cover it with a dressing to avoid friction, for example with clothing, which should be as loose as possible.
- With a fresh tattoo it is essential to avoid exposure to the sun.
- The first days do not do water activities.
- Employ extreme hygiene measures, especially of your hands, when treating your tattoo (daily wash and ointment).
- When healing progresses and the tattoo dries, apply moisturizer at least once a day to prevent the skin from peeling or flaking excessively.
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