General Question

Drcpb's avatar

Will sweat affect my new tattoo?

Asked by Drcpb (149points) July 29th, 2010

I plan on getting a tattoo soon, and want to know if sweat will affect it. I sweat pretty profusely because of my job (I am outside about 8 hours a day, anytime between 10 AM and 9 PM). The job I have requires a lot of physical activity, so I’m afraid of skin stretching as well. I usually only get a day off every week. Is there anything I should know?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

knitfroggy's avatar

What area of your body are you getting the tattoo on? Your tattoo artist will be able to answer all these questions and inform you of the proper way to care for your new ink.

judochop's avatar

No, sweat will not harm or effect your tattoo though bending the skin where the new tattoo is at can cause what tattoo artists refer to as “blow-out.”

Afos22's avatar

I would say no. You sweat out of your pours, not through the rest of your skin where the ink is embedded. I hope this helps answer your question.

Randy's avatar

Yes, it can. That doesn’t mean it will but it is a good possibility. The first three days are the most crucial to healing the tattoo. The rest of the healing time, about two weeks, is spent keeping the skin from drying out and being overly wet. The sweat can cause some of your ink to actually wash out of your skin, especially within the first three days. The biggest problem with washing out ink is that you will, more than likely, need a touchup. It’s not a big deal but you’ll have to wait until the tattoo is healed before you can have it touched up.

@Afos22 and @judochop the ink enters and sits in the upper layers of the dermis whereas the sweat glands are found in the lower layers. Here is a diagram showing where the ink is injected compared to the rest of the anatomy of the skin. Now, the sweat does rise to the top so it’s not like the tattoo is going to flush out like a waterfall. If you lose ink, it’s just going to dull the colors and make lines look spotty. It can all be fixed with a quick touchup. Just be careful because a touchup needs time to heal just like the original tattoo does and some artists/shops will only do a few (usually one) free touchups.

Another problem with sweat is the ease of spreading infection. Bacteria is all the time landing on you and a warm, sweaty area is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and many other microbes that can cause plenty of problems for you and your tattoo. Those breeding microbes then get into the fresh wound and can wreak havoc on the new skin. If you have no choice but to sweat on it, make sure you are able to wash with ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP frequently throughout the day and reapply whatever ointment you decide to use. (I REALLY recommend Aquaphor. The link will lead you to a site where you can read about it if you’d like. It allows the skin to breath but keeps the area moist for a longer period of time and with all the different cremes and ointments I’ve tried, it’s been head and shoulders above all others. It’s safe and extremely effective)

Like @judochop said, stretching can cause more serious problems. The movement issues cause more of problem with different locations for the tattoo. For example, if you were to get something in the ditch of you’re arm, (the bend opposite of your elbow) it’s more likely to develop problems because of bending issues than something like the upper arm, (bicep/tricep area) for obvious reasons. Depending on the location of your tattoo, this may or may not be an issue.

I would really suggest waiting until you have at least a three day stretch off work before you get your tattoo just to be cautious and safe. Developing problems with tattoos can make horrid experiences for you, your artist and often, your physician. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you just can’t wait, then clean it more often than you actually need to. Always clean it before you reapply any ointment.

I hope this gave you somewhat of an idea of what to look for and what to expect. Your artist should be able to answer these and any more questions you can think of, as well as help you out in any way possible if a problem does develop. Good luck with your new ink!

judochop's avatar

I have about 85% of my body covered in Tattoos. I have been tattooed in 100 degree heat and then played soccer for several hours the following days.
I have been tattooed while on the road playing drums professionally, sweating my ass off every night.
Sweat does not hurt a tattoo. Keep the area clean and add a very tiny amount of udder cream or aquaphor and you will be fine.
Remember when you wash the sweat off to pat dry or air dry. Do not rub a towel over the area until after the scab has released from the skin.

Randy's avatar

@judochop That’s great that it all worked out for you. I’ve gotten by with a few of my own by taking precautions after doing something that could cause harm to a tattoo. Sometimes you do what you have to.

@Drcpb As long as you are committed to keeping the tattoo clean like I mentioned above, then an infection is less likely to occur. Over half of all medical problems involving tattoos are from sub par or poor hygiene.

All the information I listed are things that a good artist would tell a customer. A good artist will mention a problem before there is one so that the customer knows the consequences of not taking care of a tattoo like they should. A good artist will mention that in your sweat is bacteria and other toxins that can cause problems if you decide to keep your hygiene to a minimum. A good artist will also mention that sweat is a liquid that passes through the dermis and epidermis. The liquid can easily carry the ink molecules outside of the body resulting in fading or loss of color in a tattoo, especially within the first three days because those are the the most important in the healing process. It’s within those three days that the tattoo starts to scab over and begins the healing process.

As I mentioned, all of my information is what a good artist will tell you. And as I mentioned, you may experience no problems, especially if you take care in keeping the tattoo clean. I’m not going to post any but take a look at some infected tattoo pictures and read up on some stories. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. An infection can occur from even the best artists work.

InkyAnn's avatar

I dont know who I’m agreeing with here frankly because I just woke up and still half a sleep, I as well have most of my body covered and I have never had a problem with sweat except once ( I lived in Arizona for 10 years so I know heat and Connecticut and Florida for a few years so I know heat with humidity) the one time I had a problem with sweat was in AZ in the middle of the summer (about 125 degrees) and I got a thigh piece done, I fallowed all the “rules” of proper ink care, my boyfriend at the time was a tattoo artist and owner of his own shop… So there was NO case of neglect. And the sweat ended up washing out some of the ink… Be for I got it touched up it looked like a stained glass painting. There was no infection thanks to good care but somethings you just can’t prevent depending on location of the tattoo and the weather of where you live…. @judochop maybe you lucked out because your events were for only “short” periods of time, where as to mine were actual living conditions that lasted 24–7 and could not be prevented unless I locked myself away next to an AC for the first three days, point is just because it didn’t happen to one person doesn’t mean it won’t happen to another, oh and quality of the ink would be a big factor in this as well… There that’s my two cents.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have many tattoos and I do a lot of bikram yoga (100 degree heat exersize) – I’ve done yoga on days after my tattoos and it never mattered but I’m just one person.

Drcpb's avatar

Thanks, guys! I talked to an artist. Basically, she said that it just depended on the person. Conditions could be the same for two people, and one person could have a messed up tattoo, and one person’s could be completely fine.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther