Is It Safe To Wear A Bra With A New Tattoo?

Written by: Claudia
Last Updated:

If you have just gotten a new tattoo under your bra line, around your chest, ribs, neck, or back, you may be wondering if it’s safe to snap a bra back on while it heals. Like all tight clothing during the healing phase of a new tattoo, a bra can pose some risks to your fresh ink. Whether you’re thinking of returning to work or need a bra for health reasons, there are safe ways to navigate this requirement that won’t compromise your ink.

Related: Can You Wear Tight Clothing Over a New Tattoo?

How Can Bras Affect The Healing of A New Tattoo?

bra line tattoo

During the first two weeks of a new tattoo, your body is in a rapid regeneration process where it is creating new skin cells to repair the wound done to your skin. Your fresh ink is extremely vulnerable to further injury during this time, or you could easily disturb the healing process through irritation. There are ways that a bra can contribute negatively to what your skin needs to heal properly.

Tattoos Need Air

Tattoos need excessive oxygen to properly heal the trauma done to your skin. This is why it is unwrapped shortly after leaving the tattoo shop, left three or four open days to weep, and carefully washed and cared for, for at least a month.

Tight clothing disturbs the breathing process of skin, and bras can cause the same issue. This increases the chances of irritation or infection for your new tattoo.

Bras Can Ruin The Design

Your skin is hyper-sensitive during the first two weeks of healing, and when bras rub up against it, it can seriously disturb the healing process. This, in turn, may lead to scarring and blistering which could permanently distort your tattoo. In addition, within the first month of healing, a bra may pull off the scabs and pieces of skin that are essential to healing, taking ink along with it.

Bras Can Cause Irritation

Your skin will feel tender during the first two to three weeks, and may even sting. The pain can become almost unbearable at times, especially if there is a bra rubbing up against it and amplifying the irritation.

If You Have to Wear a Bra With a New Tattoo, Do These Things

If you absolutely must wear a bra following a new tattoo, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

Keep Everything Clean

Cleanliness is of the utmost importance when it comes to a new tattoo. This means that even the fabric of your bra that will touch your tattoo needs to be clean.

If you must wear a bra, ensure it is new or freshly washed. Don’t wear the same bra more than one day, as it may be contaminated by previous wear. Your bra may also become stained by the blood or ink that may ooze out of your tattoo.

Prior to putting on the bra and immediately after removing it, ensure you are thoroughly cleaning your tattoo. Follow our helpful article How Do I Clean My New Tattoo? - An Ink Aftercare Guide for more advice on cleaning your fresh ink.

Wear a Bra That Doesn’t Cover the Tattoo

With the numerous bra options on the market today, you’re sure to find one that doesn’t have any fabric, or has minimal fabric, actually touching your new tattoo. There are also so many styles to choose from, that you could go with a strapless, sport, stick-on, or wireless that keeps pressure off of your sensitive area.

While a tattoo on your rib area may be difficult to avoid when wearing a bra, there are options with thinner straps so there is less contact with your new tattoo, as well as stick-on options that have no straps at all. In addition, you can now buy bra extenders that help pull straps lower on the body for clothing like backless dresses, which may be helpful for larger upper back pieces.

There is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to find a bra particular for your specific tattoo placement, so shop around before you even dive into your session so you’re ready post-tattoo.

how long until i can wear a bra after a tattoo

Strapless bras are great for upper chest and upper back pieces. Stick-on bras are a great way to avoid damaging rib and full back tattoos. Bra strap extenders help pull down the straps off sensitive areas. (All images from Etam. com)

Use Tape

If you can’t find a bra that avoids contact with your tattoo placement, it doesn’t hurt to use a little tape. Use clothing tape to keep your bra off of your tattoo, but be careful not to apply the tape too closely to your sensitive, newly tattooed skin. This simple solution has the power to transform any bra into exactly what you need to heal safely.

Keep It Very Loose

This suggestion is self-explanatory but still is worth saying: it doesn’t hurt to snap your bra onto the furthest clasp or to buy a sports bra that is a few sizes too big in order to avoid having fabric rubbing up against your new tattoo.

Wear an Adhesive Wrap on Your Tattoo

Tattoo wraps are an extremely complicated thing, and unless you are rewrapping your tattoo in a sterile environment, you could put your new tattoo at risk for many complications. But if it is absolutely necessary that you wear a bra, you may want to consider rewrapping your tattoo with adhesive medical wrap like Saniderm prior to putting on your bra, to keep it safe from contact with fabric and further irritation.

You can read all about adhesive medical tattoo wraps in our article What Are Tattoo Wraps And How Long Should I Keep My Tattoo Wrapped?

Go Braless If Possible

Bralessness isn’t just for the French, anymore! It’s not taboo to take off your bra, and when it comes to the health of your tattoo, it’s worth the slight discomfort.

If you can avoid wearing a bra during the first few weeks of your tattoo, and then are able to wear one that doesn’t impact your scabbing or skin pieces, you should do it. If you wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing, you’ll feel less uncomfortable with the idea of going braless, while also giving your tattoo the best conditions for optimal healing.

How Long Until I Can Wear A Bra After A Tattoo?

It should be safe to wear a bra after 14 days of getting your tattoo. Always consult with your tattoo artist as every tattoo is different and can require different precautions.

Our Final Thoughts

Strapping on a bra to a new tattoo could be a risky choice. With so many other options available to you these days, from a large variety of bra styles to the option to go braless, it seems like an unnecessary idea that could complicate the healing of your new tattoo. If it’s simply unavoidable, be sure to rotate through clean bras, and keep it loose so it doesn’t impact any essential scarring or peeling skin on your fresh ink.

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