Sweating is how your body naturally regulates its temperature, and in some instances, it simply cannot be avoided. So the question is, can sweat ruin a tattoo? While sweating may not outright damage your new tattoo, it could lead to some problematic issues as well as some minor medical concerns. There are a few items that you should be aware of when it comes to sweat and the healing of a new tattoo.
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Related: Can I Work Out With A New Tattoo?
Perspiration On A New Tattoo Is Nothing to Sweat About
Don’t worry: in most cases, sweat is nothing that will compromise your new tattoo. It is a natural part of the body’s regulation process, and some medical studies have noted that it actually may be beneficial to a healing tattoo!
Studies from the American Journal of Pathology state that, “...data suggest that human eccrine sweat glands constitute an important reservoir of cells of high proliferative potential that can be quickly recruited on wounding.” In layman terms, this means that human sweat actually brings the necessary cells to the surface that help with the repair of skin wounds.
That being said, it is still recommended that you avoid heavy perspiration and stay away from excessive exercise during the first month of healing. We narrow down exactly why as we head into this article.
Will Sweating Affect My New Tattoo?
While some sweating may not affect a new tattoo as it heals, there are some factors related to perspiration that could negatively influence the healing of fresh ink. Likewise, tattoos, in general, may also have an impact on sweat long-term.
It Can Affect Exercise Performance
Medical studies have shown that due to where ink is deposited in the dermis and its proximity in-depth to sweat glands, someone who is heavily tattooed or tattooed in places that experience more perspiration may experience a lowered sweat rate. The studies concluded that tattooed skin generated less sweat than non-tattooed skin.
This could be a concern for a multitude of reasons. Sweating is how the body naturally regulates heat, and if you are an active or athletic individual, you are more prone to passive whole body heating, you may have an increase in sodium concentration in your bloodstream, and you may be more likely to experience extreme dehydration and overheating. This could impact your stamina and performance.
If you are already sensitive to heat or if exercising and sports are part of your daily life, be cautious of where you are getting tattooed. Avoid general high-sweat areas such as your lower back, armpit and elbow area, and your neck and chest.
Sweating Can Affect The Tattoo Healing Process
Just as you should not submerge a tattoo before a month of healing, allowing sweat to gather and remain stagnant on a healing tattoo could be problematic. The ideal healing conditions for new ink could be affected by your sweat being present. Microorganisms or dirt infiltrating your new tattoo through the sweat could also disturb the healing process and extend your healing time.
In addition, pushing your tattoo through excessive exercise which may be causing the sweat could severely disrupt the healing process. You should ease into your workout routine, and you can begin a full-body workout after one month of healing.
It Can (Indirectly) Cause Infections
While sweat does not carry bacteria, it could become a host to a multitude of problems. Sweat attracts dirt, grime, microorganisms, and particles to the area where it gathers. While your body is in overdrive to heal your open wound, it may not be able to combat what is brought over by the sweat. This could lead to infection which may pose serious health issues or cause permanent distortion to your new tattoo.
An infection could also be brought about by how or what you are doing that makes you sweat. If you are using exercise equipment that has not been cleaned or are participating in sports in an unsterile environment, you put your tattoo at great risk of being exposed to infection-causing bacteria.
You need to be sure to always have a thorough wash of your new tattoo with antibacterial soap after every instance where you may experience sweating. If you want to know the best ways to care for a new tattoo, have a look at our article, How Do I Clean My New Tattoo? - An Ink Aftercare Guide.
Our Final Thoughts
The very best way to avoid the dangers of sweat is to optimize the conditions that may be causing it. Sweating, in general, is not bad for the healing of a new tattoo, but pushing your tattoo to the extreme too early through exercise, participating in athletic activities in unsterile environments, and not cleaning your tattoo after sweating can be dangerous. It is also important to be cautious of your tattoo placement if you’re an athletic individual.
If you need some ideas on safe ways to work out with a new tattoo, have a look at our tattoo safety guide, Can I Work Out With A New Tattoo?