Is Chlorine Bad For Tattoos?

Enjoy walking around the pool on a hot day? Chances are your favorite swimming pool is treated with chlorine to keep the water as clean as possible. For most people, the presence of this chemical is not a very big issue – it may not be the best smell, but it is generally not problematic beyond that.

If you’ve got a fresh tattoo, however, that’s a different story. You want to make sure that everything floats for it during the healing process. To ensure that your tattoo is vibrant, beautiful and healthy, you need to keep it well away from chlorine until the aftercare phase is complete.

Chlorine and Tattoos: Facts

Yes, chlorine (and the things you can expect to find with it) can do Be harmful to your tattoo. Some important ways chlorine-rich environments can be bad news for your new ink (and for you):

Color fade

If you have spent a lot of time and money on your body art, whether it gets vivid colors or a simple, muted design, chances are you don’t want to fix after getting the colors.

If you go for a dip in the pool, though, that is exactly what can happen. Pool water containing chlorine can essentially remove the ink from your tattoo. Not only will your ink fade away, but it will not last as long as overall if you avoid exposure to chlorine. This chemical can dry out and irritate newly tattooed skin, causing further damage to an already injured area.

Do not think that you are safe by avoiding non-chlorinated water alone. Saltwater has the same effect. In other words, consider avoiding both the pool and the beach until it is time to completely fix your tattoo – about two to four weeks depending on your specific circumstances.


Faded ink may be the least of your concerns after a swim, though. Exposing your new tattoo to chlorinated water can bring on a whole host of infections – sometimes fatal.


The most likely infection you encounter is dermatitis. This infection brings with it symptoms such as rashes, itching, and even discharge from the tattoo site.

If you are doing this then you will want to see your doctor immediately. Dermatitis is not usually fatal, but should be taken lightly. This is especially true if you have any health conditions that place you at high risk of complications from infection.


It’s not just the chlorine that you should be concerned about: it’s everything that’s mixing with chlorine which is a problem. A particularly terrible effect is that if the case worsens without any medical care, sepsis can lead to death. This can occur as a result of meat-eating bacteria that infect the wound.

While this case happened in a saltwater environment, and when you are very unlikely to encounter Vibrio ValnikuIn your local swimming pool, this case underscores the importance of staying away from bodies of water that may be full of bacteria. That Does Include your local pool. (Think about it: Do you want some kid to pee in your tattoo? Probably not.)

A very red and swollen area that looks like an infected tattoo

now what do you do?

If you love swimming and tattooing, finding out about the risks of chlorine (and everything that comes with it) can be a downfall. The good news is that you don’t have to avoid chlorine forever! If you do the right thing, you’ll soon be able to jump back into the pool.

The most important thing you can do is to make sure that your tattoo is fully and adequately fixed for a swim. How long you have to wait depends on, among other things, the size of your tattoo. Smaller tattoos will usually require less time to heal than larger work.

That said, you want to wait at least two to three weeks to get things fixed, and don’t be surprised if it takes up to four. If things take longer than four weeks, or if you are experiencing unexpected symptoms as your tattoo is fixed, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Be sure to follow any and all aftercare protocols that your tattoo artist can give you as well. Ultimately, proper healing of your tattoo is necessary, regardless of your plans around chlorine.

in conclusion

All in all, chlorine can be harmful to your new tattoo in different ways. It is not just chlorine, either, that is what you find with chlorine that can cause major problems. If you want your colors to last or don’t want any gross discharge from your body art, then you want to clean chlorinated water.

Once your tattoo is fixed, however, the risks associated with chlorine are very low. As the tattooed skin heals, a new layer of protective skin will completely regenerate on the area, protecting the ink from exposure to chlorine.

When you finally get on with achieving your dream tattoo, it is imperative that you always closely follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice, and invest in a high quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery Make sure.

The best tattoo lotion that I have ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; Not only by keeping your tattoo well hydrated, but also by calming any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the beginning of the healing process, this lotion will help reduce the healing time of the tattoo, and will work towards eliminating any dull dryness and itching.