We know how tempting it can be to join your crew in saltwater festivities, but it’s important not to jump the gun. Today, we provide you with some insight into what you need to know before getting back into the ocean after getting inked.

Four Key Things to Know and Consider Before Going Into the Ocean After Getting Tattooed

Wait at Least Two Weeks to Four Weeks

The golden rule for diving back into the deep blue after getting tattoo is to wait at least two weeks, although the facts state it can commonly take up to four weeks to fully heal. And that’s they key – your tattoo must be fully healed. That means you should return to our studio for your follow up, and when your artist inspects the work and gives you the thumbs up, you can then (and only then) return to the sea.

Water Quality Plays a Role

The two to four week rule is an all-else-equal one. But you’d better believe that water quality makes a difference, especially if you decided that you’re going to enter the water before getting the go-ahead from your tattooist. Polluted ocean water carries a lot of bacteria (millions of forms, in fact), and unfortunately your dealing with a lot of that within the Ocean.  If you plan on stand-up-paddle boarding in the Salt River for instance, you had best be sure of your balance because a dip in the brown toned saltwater can lead to infection if your tattoo is not fully healed. 

Types of Ocean Activities Matter

What you plan on doing in the ocean makes a big difference too. For instance, if you’re just wading in the water, speed boating, or jet skiing and getting splashed a bit, you can probably get away with the two-week rule without detriment. If swimming, you will want to wait a week or two longer. However, if you have received a tattoo on your front thighs, abdomen, chest, or anterior deltoid (front shoulder), and you plan on surfing, you must absolutely wait until you’ve been cleared by your tattooist. Simply put, if your ocean activity puts any sort of strain or impact on the area where your tattoo is, be patient.

Types of Ocean Activities Matter

Once in the clear, it is important to take every precaution to protect the tattoo for both health and aesthetic reasons alike. The coarseness of saltwater can wipe away sunblock, so be sure to lather up the tattooed area frequently with a waterproof lotion that carries a minimum SPF rating of 30 (although 50 is preferred for the fair skinned). In fact, always apply an extra layer of sunblock to your tattoo before playing in the ocean, even in the years to come, a practice that will help keep the lines looking sharp for much longer. In addition, consider wearing a waterproof bandage and layer of “clothing” for the first week of ocean water reentry, such as a rash guard or even a wetsuit for when surfing, wake boarding, kiteboarding, or waterskiing even if the water temperatures have you wanting to stick to board shorts or bikinis