Five tips to workout safely after getting a tattoo

Written by Sinéad Kennard

Our guide on how to workout safely after getting a tattoo.

If you’ve just got a fresh tattoo, you are probably super keen on showing it off wherever you can, in particular on a body that you’ve been working hard at perfecting at the gym. However, you need to bear in mind that excessive exercise or the sanitary conditions of the space you’re working out in, may affect the healing process and end aesthetic of your new tattoo. Here are 5 simple tips to follow, to ensure you work out safely to look after new tattoos.

1. Follow our aftercare best practice:

Check out our blog post with detailed guidelines on ‘how I should look after my tattoo? (and why?)’. Regardless of how much or little you exercise, your tattoo needs to be cared for properly. The healing process will take different lengths of time for each individual, and also larger pieces will naturally take longer to heal. This means keeping it clean, avoiding direct sunlight exposure, and carefully considering how and when you start exercising.

So what can you do? Running is generally a safer form of cardio that is less intense on the body, as long as you are not exerting too much sweat. Contact sports where your tattoo could get knocked or grabbed need to be avoided.

2. Avoid swimming:

Submerging your tattoo in any kind of water is a big no no for the first two weeks immediately after getting tattooed. The chemicals used in swimming pools, and the dirt in lakes/seas for example, will increase the chances of your tattoo getting infected. Instead we recommend walking or running, (of course depending where you have got tattooed and the size of the piece should be considered) and shower afterwards with unscented soap and use clean hands when applying our aftercare product.

3. Don’t stretch the skin:

Again the placement of your tattoo will play a part in this. Lower body workouts will be best for upper body tattoos, and likewise, upper body workouts are recommended for lower body tattoos. It may be that due to the size and coverage of your tattoo, i.e. a full back piece, that no exercise can be done that doesn’t stretch that area of the skin. Strenuous lifting of weights or intense yoga classes will cause specific areas of your skin to stretch. This will affect the end result of how your tattoo looks, because the ink will not settle evenly into the desired area. Stretching can also cause scabs to fall off, disrupting new ink that’s not fully settled.

4. Be mindful of infection from the gym and equipment

Similarly with swimming, gyms have hundreds of people using the equipment every single day, and they are naturally going to be covered in sweat and bacteria. Whilst you may not use gym equipment or vigilantly wipe down gym equipment before use, being in that environment you are increasing the chances of exposing your tattoo to bacteria. You could accidentally touch/scratch your tattoo with your hands for example. Fresh tattoos are essentially wounds so the scabs are important in protecting the tattoo against any bacteria as the skin repairs itself.

5. Wear loose gym clothing and limit sweating

It is super important that while your tattoo is healing, both your activewear and normal clothing is not too tight on your skin. By not giving your tattoo room to breathe, the chance of infection increases because of trapped bacteria, and clothing may rub off scabs prematurely. Sweat can also irritate your tattoo so ensure your activewear is clean, loose and breathable; and ideally fast sweat absorbing.

For any more queries about your exercise regime after getting tattooed, you can address these beforehand in a consultation, or speak to your tattooist for advice.

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