How To Cover A New Tattoo For Work - Protecting Your Ink Safely

Written by: Pete

A new tattoo requires extensive aftercare and protection to ensure it is healing properly, and this also means it needs time to breathe. But sometimes our work requires that we cover a new tattoo. Whether it’s because of regulations and workplace codes, due to a dirty or contaminated environment, or a personal reason, we are here to guide you on how to cover your new tattoo safely.

Reasons Why You Have to Protect Your Tattoo at Work

There are numerous reasons why you might need to cover your new tattoo at work, and here are a few primary concerns of those searching for a solution to this issue.

Work Regulations and Personal Reasons

Though most public workspaces no longer have rules or regulations against tattoos, some private institutions may still require that you hide your tattoo. Or maybe you fear having your character judged based on your tattoos due to your career field, such as babysitting or education.

Whatever the personal or regulatory reason for covering your tattoos, it may be helpful, in this situation, to speak to your supervisor about the circumstances. Since your tattoo is new and requires a certain amount of time to heal openly, you could vouch, based on health circumstances, for some leeway for this issue.

Swelling, Irritation, or Infection

Perhaps you work in an environment that puts your open wound at risk of exposure to dirt, grime, further abrasions, or irritation, such as working in construction, the food and beverage industry, or as a personal trainer.

Many of these careers have health regulations against open wounds and even with the necessary care and precaution, you may put your new tattoo at risk of compromising and extending the healing process, ruining your art permanently, or worse, getting an infection. Speak to your supervisor as well as your tattoo artist to get the best advice for these conditions.


If you work in an industry where you are outside and exposed to UV rays, you put your tattoo at risk of fading. For a new tattoo, this sun exposure could also lead to a severe sunburn. Covering up your tattoo in order to slow the natural aging process is essential.

Medical Issues

Some people with poor immune systems or autoimmune disorders are more susceptible to infection due to the vulnerability of a new tattoo which is essentially an open wound. These kinds of situations may require more protection at work, where there is a greater threat for bacteria or illness.

Ways to Protect Your Tattoo While Working

Before we dive into the safe ways to cover your new tattoo when working, here are some things you should definitely avoid.

  • Don’t ever use cover up to cover your new tattoo, until it has been given at least three to four weeks to heal. This could be severely detrimental to the healing of your tattoo.
  • Do not put sunscreen on your new tattoo. Most sunscreens should not be applied to tattoos until after two to three weeks of healing, but you can check our Best Sunscreen For Tattoos: Top 6 Choices Reviewed article for an option that can be used after your tattoo stops weeping.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, use medical wound bandages or saran wrap to cover your tattoo for work.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure if possible.

Use Saniderm

While you should not rewrap your tattoo after the original wrapping from an artist has been removed, some circumstances such as unsanitary work conditions or protection from infection require a rewrap. In these situations, you should use Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage.

These are medical-grade wraps that are easy to apply and meant to allow you to continue to live a normal life as your tattoo heals. Remember to wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap, pat dry, place ointment on your tattoo, and then wrap it with Saniderm.

Saniderm should only be used during your work hours and, when removed, you should repeat the aftercare process. Before using Saniderm, ensure you have no allergies to medical grade bandages, and consult with your artist just to be safe.

Keep Your Tattoos Covered

The easiest way to cover your tattoos while at work is through conscious clothing choices. This is also the best option to ensure your tattoo heals as best as possible. You can protect your tattoo from sun exposure, external irritants, and further abrasion simply by choosing the right outfit.

The clothing you choose should be light fabric that is breathable which is oversized and doesn’t stick to your skin. You should not wear tattoo sun guards or tight-fitting clothing, as this could fuse to the wound and rip off valuable skin cells and scabs from your healing tattoo.

Moisturize Your Tattoos

After your tattoo has been given at least three to four days to fully weep out any excess plasma, blood, and ink, you are safe to add a layer of moisturizer.

Ointments, lotions, and creams add a layer of protection over your tattoo that act as a barrier to external and environmental irritants while simultaneously nourishing and hydrating your tattoo, so it can heal as best as possible. In addition, it soothes any itch or irritation that may occur, especially if you are busy at work and are prone to scratching unconsciously.

Have a look at our article When Should I Start Moisturizing My Tattoo? to learn more about the benefits of moisturization on a new tattoo.

Stay Hydrated

By avoiding caffeine and alcohol and grabbing a glass of water or decaf tea instead, you are providing your tattoo with the best protection of all: hydration.

Staying hydrated helps your tattoo and skin overall by:

  • Maintaining a healthy pH balance which optimizes healing
  • Preventing sagging or wrinkled skin
  • Preventing pimples and acne
  • Flushing out toxins from the body
  • Benefiting skin elasticity which is great for the aging of your tattoo
  • And moisturizing your skin from the inside-out

Our Final Thoughts

Sometimes a situation is out of our control and we simply need to cover a tattoo at work. Don’t forget about the vulnerable open wound you have, and make sure to follow basic safety precautions when covering your new tattoo. There are ways we can be adaptable for the workforce while simultaneously not compromising the healing of our new ink.

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The information contained on Tattify is intended for informational and educational purposes only. None of the statements made on this website are intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease, infection or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before using tattoo/skincare products that may interfere with medications or known conditions. This article is provided with the understanding that it does not constitute medical or professional advice or services. If you are looking for help with your condition, please seek out a qualified medical practitioner.

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