It’s a fact: Getting a tattoo is going to hurt. How much it hurts depends upon the person and where you get the tattoo. An area with thinner skin, more sensitive skin or more nerve endings can hurt much more than other areas. And the feeling varies: some people may feel as though it’s like a cat scratch, while others a burning sensation. Once the tattoo is done, will it continue to hurt? Can you work out after getting a tattoo? So many people wonder about these questions. Now let's take a closer look.

Can You Work Out After Getting a Tattoo?

When you get a tattoo, you should wait for at least 48 hours before working out. There are a few reasons for this. First, working out may stretch the area where the tattoo was created, leading to a problem with the shape of the tattoo which you don't want to live with for the rest of your life! Second it may hurt. That area will be very sensitive after the tattoo, and getting sweat on the area will probably cause pain.

In addition, remember to always wear loose clothing over the area for a few days so that there is no chafing or rubbing of the skin. This can irritate the area and make healing time take much longer. If you have a regular workout schedule, skipping it might feel wrong. Then learn how to care your new tattoo when workout is vital.

Take Precautions When Workout

If you still ask "can you work out after getting a tattoo?" or "do I really have to wait at least 48 hours?", then you must really want to exercise even though you have got a new tattoo. If you do choose to work out before your tattoo is fully healed, take some precautions to make sure your tattoo stays as fresh as possible.

Any workout clothes that rub against the new tattoo are an absolutely no-no. Avoid these no matter what! When you do head to the gym, put a thick layer of ointment on the tattoo, as well as a nonstick bandage, plastic wrap and tape. This precaution helps ensure no bacteria gets into the tattoo and causes an infection. Hopefully, the bandage will also block sweat from getting to the new ink. As soon as the work out is done, wash your hands thoroughly and remove the bandage, and then continue with regular tattoo care.

How to Take Care of Your Tattoo

Besides the question "can you work out after getting a tattoo", there are other things you should do when you are taking care of a new tattoo. Here are a few great tips:

On the Day You Get the Tattoo

When you get the tattoo, take care of it immediately. Within a few hours after the work is done, remove the bandage and wash the tattoo thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. Using hand soap is perfect. Also avoid hot water – use only lukewarm water. Though washing should be thorough, keep it gentle – don’t dig into the skin. You just have to remove all the blood, ointment, and any other residue that might still be left on your skin.


Routine Daily Care

Apply a good antibacterial ointment after washing the tattoo. You will need to use this for 3 to 5 days for the best outcome. Do not use petroleum jelly or other oil-based products, as they can lead to problems. Just a slight bit of ointment, enough to give the skin a sheen but not to obscure the tattoo. Rub very gently to avoid removing any scabs.

Remember that the more you wash your tattoo, the faster it will heal, so do this throughout each day. Always remember to use the ointment afterward. No matter what, always wash your hands thoroughly before you start to avoid infection. If your tattoo hurts, use ibuprofen, add a bag of ice to reduce the swelling and keep the area elevated if possible.


When It Starts to Peel

Anywhere between day 3 and 5, your tattoo will begin to peel. At this point it will look like a sunburn peeling, but the colors will be in those of the tattoo. This is normal and means that it is healing properly. Now you can switch from the ointment to a good hand lotion, one that is unscented, of course. Keep washing the tattoo as usual and using lotion each time, and expect to go for another 2 weeks before the peeling finally ends. Always let scabs fall off on their own – never pull on them.

Avoid the Following Things Before Your Tattoo Heals


Avoid Sleeping on the Tattoo

In the weeks after you get your tattoo, avoid sleeping on the area. This will reduce pain and save your sheets, as the colors of your tattoo will wear off onto the fabric. If you wake up and some fabric is stuck to your tattoo, don’t pull it! Get into the shower and wet the fabric in order to ease it away from your skin.


Avoid Soaking the Tattoo

When you ask, “Can you work out after getting a tattoo,” another reason the answer is “no” comes down to water. You should not get a shower or bath for at least 24 hours after you get the tattoo. You should never soak the tattoo during those first few weeks – this includes avoiding hot tubs, swimming and long showers. This could lead to a splotchy mess instead of a neat tattoo.


Avoid Sun Exposure

Don’t let your tattoo be exposed to sunlight until it is fully healed. Even then, you should always use a powerful sunscreen over the tattooed area to avoid fading. When you work out outdoors, cover the tattoo lightly to avoid sun damage.


Avoid Infection

Finally, work hard to avoid infection. This means no working out for 48 hours, no soaking, and being very careful to wash the tattoo regularly. If your tattoo begins to redden, becomes very painful, begins to weep with a clear or yellowish liquid, or begins to swell beyond the normal, you might have an infection. In this case, talk to your doctor and alert your tattoo artist to the problem.


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