Will Sweating Affect a Tattoo?
Q) Hi Jinxi, I work out several times a week and am worried that if I get a tattoo I might damage it by sweating. Is this an issue that tattoo collectors face? Any advice would be appreciated. - Dave
A) Hi Dave, Thanks for the great question. As an athlete training for a triathlon, I share your concern with this issue; but the good news is that the crucial period for the effects of sweat to a tattoo happens within the initial aftercare time span.
See, our skin is composed of the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The epidermis (the outermost layer), is about 1mm thick (on average) and is made up of five smaller layers. These layers protect the body from abrasions and foreign chemicals.
When a tattoo needle penetrates the skin, it disrupts the barrier function of the epidermis, causing a wound as it openly deposits tattoo ink into the dermis. How the wound heals affects not only the quality of the tattoo, but also the quality of the skin function after the wound has healed.
So during those days when you are babying your skin and taking care of your new tattoo, you need to treat it like a wound, doing your best to avoid anything that would normally have adverse effects to healing an injury. It is during this initial healing period when you will want to think twice about sweating too profusely. Just as hot tubs/Jacuzzis, the ocean, chlorinated pools, and the sun should be avoided when healing your new artwork, it's best to take a few days off from the gym too.
It also might be beneficial to avoid contact sports or activities where you might be stretching and flexing the area your new tattoo is on so that you don't cause any unnecessary stress to the area.
I know it's tricky to stay away when you are training for something, or just love incorporating exercise into your daily routine, but look at it from the long-term standpoint. Taking a few days to properly let your tattoo heal and get the attention it deserves, will definitely benefit you in the long run.
Remember that the aftercare phase of tattoo collecting is important and should not be taken lightly. Aftercare is easy, but does require time and effort, so be prepared to do what it takes to assure that your new ink gets the best chance at looking and staying beautiful from the start. You are investing areas of your body, time, and money into a lifelong piece of artwork. The healing process is just as important as the time you actually spend in the tattoo chair.
You can read more about Tattoo Healing and Aftercare here.
Last updated on January 16, 2012 by Jinxi Boo