Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming: Erase The Lines On Your Tattoo For A More Natural Look

Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming is a Tegaderm tattoo that can be worn in the pool. Tegaderm is transparent, waterproof dressings that are made of acrylic adhesive material with a hydrocolloid base. Tegaderm is used to cover wounds and protect them from outside contamination. Tegaderm tattoos have been designed for people who want to swim, surf, or engage in other water activities but do not want their traditional ink-based tattoo damaged by chlorine and saltwater.

Tegaderm Tattoos can last up to 14 days and Tegaderms are waterproof, hypoallergenic, transparent, and breathable. Tegaderm tattoos will not fall off if they become wet but must be removed before showering or bathing as the adhesive is water-activated. The Tegaderm tattoo should be applied directly over a completed black tattoo.

The Tegaderm tattoo can be cut to size and placed on a body part that will not come into contact with water. Tegaderm should not be applied over an open wound or irritated skin, nor around the eyes or mouth of infants and young children. Tegaderm tattoos are available in both adhesive backings for application directly onto dry clean skin and Tegaderm Waterproof Transparent Dressing Strips for application onto the skin that is already dressed. Tegaderm should be applied over a tattoo and covered with sunscreen before going into the sun or chlorine water to prevent discoloration of Tegaderm tattoos. Tegaderm Tattoos are not recommended for use on infants or young children under five years of age. Tegaderm tattoos come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors that can be worn by men or women with most standard body art designs being suitable for Tegaderms.

“Can you swim after getting a new tattoo?” has been one of the most debated topics among the tattoo communities worldwide for as long as I can remember.

If you’ve done some digging already, I’m pretty sure you must’ve come across the term Tegaderm a couple of times too. But what exactly is the relation between them?

In this article, I’m going to put an end to the decade-long debate and tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about whether you should go on swimming with a new tattoo or not. Additionally, you’ll also be learning about Tegaderm – which is the magic of modern medical science that allows you to swim even five minutes after the tattoo appointment! Lastly, as always, I’ll be answering some commonly asked questions in the FAQ section.

Excited? Let’s get right down to it!

Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming
Photo: Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming

Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming: Is it possible to swim after getting a new tattoo?

No, it isn’t. A new tattoo is essentially a healing wound, and it needs to heal fully before you get anywhere near the water. It’s crucial to avoid swimming with a new tattoo as both the tattoo and your health would be at stake.

Now, why is that?

First off, it comes with the risk of infection. As I was just saying, the fact that a new tattoo is an open wound means immersion would expose the tattooed skin to a range of harmful bacteria present in the water. Depending on how lucky you are, the infection can be anything between mild and severe.

There is even a slight chance of sepsis and death. That’s how dangerous it can be.
Risk of infections aside, swimming after a tattoo procedure may cause your tattoo to fade as well. Chlorine and saltwater are known to wash away tattoo ink from the tattoo. As a result, the tattoo looks less vibrant due to discoloration.

Last but not the least, a new tattoo is extremely sensitive. If you expose it to harmful chemicals like chlorine, they may trigger inflammation and skin irritation. Blisters, open sore, swelling and crusting are some common after-effects, that may also affect how your tattoo would be looking in the end.

These are the reasons why I advise people to stay away from swimming pools and the ocean for a while, till the tattoo fully heals. But if you must, you at least should use Tegaderm to be on the safe side. Let’s take a look at what that is and how it helps.

What is Tegaderm?

Tega means cover in Latin and derm means skin in Greek. As you can guess already, Tegaderm is the Holy Grail used for covering up new tattoos. It’s also known as Saniderm or Tattooderm.

Tegaderm is a transparent medical dressing that acts as a sterile, waterproof, and germ-proof barrier that protects your newly tattooed skin. Another advantage is that Tegaderm is fully breathable, so you don’t have to make any compromises with comfort either.

Since Tegaderm dressings are waterproof, you can bathe, shower, or swim as long as it’s completely sealed around the tattoo. So, if you want to swim without getting your tattoo infected, this is what you should use. Not to mention, it also protects your clothes and bedsheets from excess ink, fluid, and blood which are common during the healing process of tattoos.

That being said, there is a small chance of the water leaking into the tattoo wound if the Tegaderm wasn’t applied properly. Make sure to check the dressing for water trapped inside regularly and replace it immediately if you find any.

How do waterproof bandages like Tegaderm work?

How do waterproof bandages like Tegaderm work
Photo: How do waterproof bandages like Tegaderm work

Usually, when a wound has been formed, the body produces healing elements to get rid of the dead tissues and rebuild new ones. However, the problem is that they evaporate and the water vapor loss from the exposed tissue makes the healing process slow. As a result, the wound takes more time to heal, and the chances of scarring and scabbing occurring increase.

That’s exactly what waterproof dressings like Tegaderm prevents from happening.

Tegaderm comprises a polyurethane membrane that is coated with an adhesive layer. It makes sure the body’s inborn moisture and curative enzymes don’t escape the wound which supports the healing process in the most effective manner. It also works as a barrier to protect the tattoo from contamination, prevents scab formation, and overall makes sure the healing process takes place at an enhanced rate.

Last but not the least, Tegaderm also protects the tattoo wound from dust and microbe-pathogens and any extra discomforts that might harm the healing action.

Do tattoos heal faster with Tegaderm?

They do to some extent, yes. As we’ve already discussed, Tegaderm helps the body to heal the wound faster. But that’s not the best part about it.

The key highlight of Tegaderm is, it makes the healing process much easier for you. You don’t have to worry about your tattoo getting damaged while showering, nor do you need to be concerned about it getting stuck to your clothing or bed sheets in the weeping phase. What’s more, the reduction of scabbing can only be compared to a blessing from above.

Do you see what I’m getting at? With the help of Tegaderm, the healing process will feel even faster than it is due to the sheer convenience this particular waterproof dressing offers.

Can Tegaderm ruin your tattoo?

No, it can’t. As long as you’ve applied the Tegaderm properly on the tattoo wound, it’ll keep the skin area fully dry. There’s zero possibility that your tattoo would be damaged in any way, even if it’s a fresh tattoo wound.

Although you should be checking the dressing from time to time especially after swimming or workout sessions. If you were sweating at that time, the sweat can get trapped inside leaving the wound vulnerable to contamination. In such cases, Tegaderm may not be able to stop your tattoo from getting damaged.

But that’s pretty rare, to be frank. As long as you’re being careful, the tattoo should be A-OK.

Tegaderm Aftercare Instructions

If you use Tegaderm, it will make the tattoo aftercare process a breeze. All you have to do is to keep the following advice in mind and you’ll be fine.

  • Leave the Tegaderm on the tattoo for three to five days, depending on what your tattoo artist suggests.
  • If you see the Tegaderm is getting filled with black or brown colored plasma, don’t freak out. It’s normal.
  • Make sure to check your dressing regularly. If any foreign substance gets trapped underneath or the fluid starts leaking out of the bandage – remove the Tegaderm carefully, wash your tattoo wound well and carry on with your regular tattoo aftercare.
  • It’s best to avoid direct sunlight and dirty environments for a while.
  • Once it’s time to remove the Tegaderm, do it in the shower. Slowly peel it away from your skin, do not rip it off harshly like you would with a Band-Aid.
  • Clean the tattoo with a mild antibacterial soap. You might want to apply a light layer of unscented lotion afterward.
  • After the Tegaderm has been removed and the skin area has been cleaned, you should find the tattoo almost fully healed. The tattoo would begin to peel within the next few days, but don’t be tempted to pick or scratch the skin area.
  • Wash it once or twice a day and make sure to keep it well moisturized with a non-scented lotion until the tattoo is fully healed. A dedicated tattoo aftercare ointment may be used as well.

Maintaining a tattoo is a lifelong process, the aftercare doesn’t necessarily stop when it’s fully healed. Always use sunscreen every time you would be under direct sunlight to prevent the tattoo from fading.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Tegaderm Tattoo Swimming

Can you swim with a new tattoo if it’s covered?

Yes, you can.

As long as the tattoo wound is fully sealed, it’s protected from the harmful bacteria present in the water. There would be no risk of discoloration due to chlorine washing tattoo ink away from the tattoo either, even if you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool. Just make sure the tattoo dressing has been applied properly and doesn’t have any leakage.

What can I use to cover my tattoo while swimming?

Your best bet would be to go with waterproof bandages like Tegaderm.

Does Vaseline protect tattoos from water?

It does, but you should never use Vaseline on newly tattooed skin. If you do, the Vaseline would interact with the ink and most likely draw it out of the dermis.

As Vaseline prevents Oxygen from entering the tattoo wound, the wound wouldn’t be able to heal properly. What’s worse, it might even attract bacteria and germs that can get trapped in the skin causing an infection.

So when can you Vaseline on a tattoo?

When you’re taking a shower. A new tattoo should never be exposed to water, so Vaseline can be used to protect the skin in that case. Apply the lightest possible layer of Vaseline on the tattoo and don’t splash water on the wound directly. Once you’re done showering, use a wet wipe to remove the Vaseline carefully. Or you can wash the Vaseline off the skin with the help of some warm water and mild soap.

Never swim with a new tattoo thinking the Vaseline is going to protect it. It won’t.

Can you use Tegaderm on tattoos to swim?

Yes, you can. While I don’t encourage people to swim after getting a new tattoo, you can use Tegaderm if you absolutely have to.

Tegaderm protects your unhealed tattoo from external contamination and makes sure it doesn’t get damaged. For a more elaborate explanation of how it works, go back to the top of the article.

How long after getting a tattoo can you go swimming?

Depends. You can’t go swimming before the tattoo is fully healed, which is generally two to four weeks.

However, tattoo healing times may vary with the location and size of the body art. It’s not totally impossible for a tattoo to take even as long as six months to heal fully. Some other factors include your lifestyle and aftercare, which may affect the healing time as well.

Knowing when it’s fully healed can be a bit complex. Tattoos start looking and feeling healed within a couple of days on the surface, but they might still be raw underneath. If it’s no longer red, flaking, scabbing, or itchy, that might mean it’s finally healed completely. However, I would still recommend you to get your tattoo artist to take a look at it – they would know the best.

Or, you can simply use Tegaderm on your tattoo and go swimming right after getting the new tattoo without any issues.

The Bottom Line

We originally started with a simple question, if you can swim with a new tattoo. A mere “No, you can’t.” might have answered it with the bare minimum efforts, but that’s not what I do.

So we delved deep into the question. Together, we learned about the health hazards associated with swimming with a new tattoo. After that, I’ve presented you with the best solution to the problem, Tegaderm. Every aspect of Tegaderm was discussed including aftercare instructions – to make sure there’s nothing else you would need to know to get started. Lastly, if you had any more questions in your mind, the FAQ section has most probably answered them.

I hope you’ve found this article informative. Best of luck with your tattoo journey!