Why Tattoo Composition Matters
The process of designing a tattoo can be one of the most exciting parts of getting a new piece of body art. From choosing the subj ...
Some things about tattoo aftercare is common sense, like keeping it out of direct sunlight, but one thing you might not factor in is your exercise routine. When you work out, you sweat, and when you sweat, you get wet, which is not something that meshes well with brand new ink. Sweating can affect fresh healing tattoos, and on the other hand, tattoos can also affect the way you sweat. We looked into how sweat can impact a tattoo, how tattoos can affect how you sweat, and things you need to keep in mind with your workouts if you have new ink.
You probably already know that getting a fresh tattoo wet is not advised, but you might not be aware that this applies to sweat as well. A little bit of moisture here and there isn’t going to be detrimental to your healing ink, but saturating the area in wetness can lead to some undesirable effects. Mainly, sweating heavily in an area where you just got a tattoo can cause the ink to bleed out before it has a chance to settle. This leads to a disruption in healing, meaning that your tattoo could end up looking patchy and faded.
Aside from affecting the appearance of your tattoo, having a ton of sweat in and around the area can potentially lead to infection, as it invites a ton of bacteria into what is essentially a healing wound. Not only would this lead to discomfort, pain, swelling, and blisters, you could be looking at major complications to the healing process. It’s easy to prevent this though, simply don’t work out excessively if you have a new tattoo in an area that accumulates a lot of sweat until your ink is healed.
While it’s true that sweat can affect new tattoos, the flip side is that tattoos can also apparently affect the way you sweat. Recent research has shown that tattoos can have an impact how the way that you sweat. Tattoos don’t block the sweat glands in the area per se, but they do seem to condense the sweating that does happen. Studies found that on tattooed body parts, half the amount of sweat is collected than would be seen on untattooed skin, and of that sweat, the tattooed sample contained almost twice as much salt content. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad – you aren’t going to stop sweating and overheat just because you have a lot of tattoos. It’s just shows that tattoos can have some impact on sweat glands. Besides, your body will find other areas of the body to redirect that essential sweating to, so if you work out a lot and have a full body tattoo in your future, be mindful of where your perspiration might start coming from if not some of the more traditional areas like the underarms and neck.
Working out too intensely too soon after getting a tattoo can, believe it or not, delay the healing of that ink. It’s a tough process on your body to get a tattoo, especially if you get a large scale piece, and your body needs some downtime to rest and recuperate while your skin heals. If you hit the gym the day after getting a full back piece, for example, there’s a good chance your healing will take longer to heal than it would have if you’d waited a week to get back into your exercise routine.
In some cases, it’s certain actions that you need to worry about more than sweat itself. You want to avoid stretching the skin so certain exercises aren’t recommended while you’re healing. Things like bicep curls, leg extensions could cause unwanted stretching and irritation to new and healing ink. There are risks with associated with exercising when you have fresh ink, and not just the increased pain and soreness of your recently damaged skin. Keep in mind things like irritation and rubbing, not just from your clothes, but from exercise equipment and other body parts as well. The more irritated the area gets, the longer it will take to heal, and you could even do some damage to the piece itself in terms of disrupting settling ink. Exposing your newly tattooed skin to exercise equipment can also increase the danger of infection, because you’re putting what is essentially an open wound onto a publicly used piece of machinery that may or may not have been properly disinfected between users.
It’s not just the brand-spankin’-new pieces you want to protect either. When your tattoo is in the scabbing stage of healing, it’s crucial to the long term integrity of that piece that those scabs are kept intact until they fall off on their own. Pulling off a scab too early can pull out the ink before it gets a chance to fully settle, leaving you with uneven and faded patches once your tattoo fully heals. Keep this in mind when you’re hitting the gym, especially if you new ink is in an area where pulling and bending of the skin could interfere with scabbing.
There’s no reason to put off working out completely when you have a new tattoo, but you do want to be mindful of the exercises you’re doing. Sweating too much and pulling at the tattooed area can have detrimental effects on how your ink will turn out, and you want to ensure that your tattoo is going to look its best in the long term. Avoid sweating as much as possible if you have new ink in an area that’s prone to moisture, and try not to use exercise machines for a solid couple of weeks after your appointment.
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