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Swimming after tattoo – and other holiday tattoo FAQs

The dumb stuff that happens on holiday creates memories that last a lifetime. When your mate left his passport in his suitcase that’s now in the hold. Driving your rental car and ending up in a town square. Falling asleep at the waterpark and getting a sun cream artwork scrawled on your back.

Yeah, no wonder you think a tattoo abroad might be a better way to remember your holiday. Here’s how to make sure it stands the test of time – especially if you’re considering swimming with your new tattoo.

Opportunities to meet people everywhere

More creatures in there than the protein shaker you’ve got rattling around under your bed.


At least three weeks.

Yeah, it’s a long time. You’ll be alright if you’re on a world tour but if you’re going for a big one in Ibiza, you’re going have to stay dryer than reading terms and conditions in the Sahara Desert. 

And even then – if those two weeks pass and your tat is still flaking more than your mates three hours before a night out – you shouldn’t risk it. You’ve got to let that thing flake, peel, scab up, and let the scabs fall off of it before you swan dive into a pool again.

And technically a tattoo isn’t properly healed until a fresh layer of skin has grown over it. And that takes about three months. Yeah – the wait before swimming after a tattoo session is long buuuuut it’s important.


Remember Finding Nemo? There was Dory who kept saying ‘Just keep swimming’? Yeah – she hadn’t just had a four-session back piece done in Malia. Do the opposite of what Dory says.

Oh, but you’re thinking of taking a chance? Usually we like risk-takers but this ain’t the time for it.

Swimming pools and hot tubs will have some bacteria in there if there’s no chlorine. Or it’ll have high levels of chlorine. You want to avoid both of those like they’re someone you met once on a night out who is walking towards you. (Do you say hello? Do they remember? Nah, just stare at your phone and ignore them).  Seriously though – infection and irritation – stay out the water.

Then there’s open water swimming. In case you hadn’t guessed – there’s a load of bacteria in there too. More creatures in there than the protein shaker you’ve got rattling around under your bed. It’s not worth the bother.

So yeah. We’re not being the fun police. We just think your sleeve tattoo would look better without a tadpole sticking out of it and that it’s better to get it shaded rather than letting the pool turn it green or something.

Washing it is easy to do too! We’ve got you covered on how to wash a new tattoo so you can start planning the next one.