Can I Go Kayaking After Getting A Tattoo?

Getting a tattoo in the summer may sound like the perfect plan, as you will get to show your new ink off with short sleeve shirts or shorts. However, you may need to reconsider and reschedule your tattoo appointment if you’re going kayaking. Can you go kayaking after getting a tattoo?

Can I Go Kayaking After Getting A Tattoo?

If a tattoo is in the early healing stages, such as during the first week, it is not advised to go kayaking. Exposure to water can cause you to develop an infection, as a tattoo is an open wound, but direct contact with the sun could cause several complications in the healing process.

Whether or not you have already gotten your fresh ink, if you’re planning a kayak trip, you may need to reconsider. Let’s take a closer look at kayaking with a new tattoo, the risks, and what you can do to keep your tattoo and yourself safe!

The Risks Of Kayaking After Getting A Tattoo

Several things could happen if you go kayaking shortly after you get a new tattoo. Firstly, you need to understand that a tattoo is regarded as an open wound, which means it is very susceptible to infections during the first few days. 

When your tattoo comes into contact with water, you risk getting a skin infection due to the pathogens in natural water. In addition, your tattoo may also lose some of its ink if it doesn’t have enough time to set completely. 

Immediately after getting a tattoo, your skin will weep. Too much water exposure can cause the new tattoo to lose ink and heal with faded spots. 

You will also be in the sun if you go kayaking, which has the potential to damage your tattoo. Your tattoo will suffer from sunlight exposure as well.

Because a tattoo is inserted into the dermis layer of your skin, these cells will release large amounts of melanin, which could change your tattoo’s color. 

Not only will your tattoo become discolored, but some of the sun’s harmful UV rays can also reach the ink molecules of your tattoo and break them down, resulting in them being removed from your body by your liver. 

This is also what could cause your tattoo to become blurry and fade.

How Long To Wait Before Kayaking After Getting A Tattoo?

Because tattoos are open wounds, it only makes sense that your skin will need enough time to heal before your tattoo becomes fully protected against infections. 

While some tattoo artists advise you to wait at least several days before coming into contact with water, others will tell you to wait until your tattoo heals completely. 

However, in most cases, tattoo artists will offer you a list of aftercare instructions to ensure you know how to care for your new tattoo. 

This is where the artist should also inform and update you about the expected recovery period and guide you on the steps you can take to promote faster healing. 

Ideally, your tattoo artist should have advised you not to expose your skin area to water for a few days. 

According to the size and design of your tattoo, your healing period could be anywhere between two to three weeks. 

It would be in your best interest to let your tattoo artist know in advance if you plan to go kayaking in the near future. This will help them to accurately predict when your tattoo can get wet based on the information. 

However, it would be best to remember that every person’s body and healing times are different and that there is not a set amount of time when it becomes completely safe to go kayaking with your new tattoo. 

The healing time will ultimately depend significantly on your age, overall health, and the size and placement of the tattoo. 

On average, you should be safe to go kayaking after about three weeks of getting a tattoo. If you are in good health and experience no complications with your tattoo, you should be able to go on your kayaking trip within two to four weeks of getting a new tattoo. 

You should keep in mind that the best way to determine if you can go kayaking is to carefully observe your skin for signs that your tattoo is completely healed.

Safety Precautions For Kayaking With A Fresh Tattoo

You may have already planned your kayaking trip shortly after getting your tattoo. If this is the case, you may not be able to cancel your trip, and you may need to improvise!

Of course, the amount of water your tattoo is exposed to will depend on where you go kayaking. Whitewater kayaking or kayaking in rough waves could get you wetter compared to slowly paddling around a clear lake.

Although all forms of kayaking will cause you to get wet, there are some safety precautions you could take when kayaking with your new tattoo:

Apply A Waterproof Dressing To Your Tattoo

Waterproof dressings, such as Saniderm, can protect your fresh ink if you have to submerge it.

They are available in loads of different sizes, which means you will be able to make sure your tattoo is covered completely. 

Apply a bandage for extra protection before getting into your kayak, and remove it as soon as you get off the water. 

It’s crucial to note that keeping a tattoo covered during its healing stages could interfere with its healing, so the less you do it, the better it would be for your tattoo.

Immediately Clean Your Tattoo After Kayaking

Pat your tattoo dry before removing your bandage to keep the water from seeping in. Then, gently wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. 

You could also use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean any areas where the waterproof bandage may have lifted. Finally, apply a thin layer of unscented lotion or tattoo aftercare balm to keep your tattoo moisturized.

Final Word

If you have not planned a kayaking trip after getting your fresh ink, it may be better to hold off going kayaking for a few weeks. 

However, if you have already planned your trip in advance, there are ways you can protect your tattoo when there is a risk of getting into direct contact with water and the sun. But, again, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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