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Wearing Clothes Over a New Tattoo: Can You Do It and How?

Admit it – you couldn’t wait to get a new tattoo to wear it with a cool outfit and show it off. However, one of the most common misconceptions about getting a new tattoo is that you can just carry on with your usual life until the tattoo heals, such as wearing your regular clothes. Well, things won’t go so well if you want the tattoo to heal properly and on time.

Wearing regular, tight-fitting clothes is one of the main issues people face in the first few weeks after getting a tattoo. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of them.

Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will talk about the issues of wearing clothes over a new tattoo, whether you can do it, and what type of clothes should you wear until the tattoo heals. So, without further ado, let’s go.

Clothing Vs. Tattoos

Why is it important to pay attention to what you wear after getting a tattoo?

During the first few days, your tattoo will likely be wrapped, unwrapped, and left to stop oozing and bleeding or begin the healing process. While the latter, the tattoo needs room to breathe and dry, but also, nothing should get in the way of that.

Clothing, especially tight-fitting ones, will prevent the tattoo from drying out and sealing properly, which in itself can lead to a number of issues. There are the issues of clothes constantly rubbing against the tattoo, clothes sticking to the tattoo, and of course clothes introducing contaminants and bacteria into a new tattoo. But, more on that in the following paragraphs.

What are the risks of tight clothing?

Here are some of the main risks of wearing tight-fitting clothes after getting a new tattoo.

  • The fabric will constantly rub against the tattoo – not only will this create a problem of constantly exposing a tattoo to contaminants and bacteria, but it will also constantly “re-open” as it acts like an open wound for the first few days. This means that the healing process will be prolonged and the tattoo will have difficulty sealing and drying out.
  • Clothing could stick to the tattoo – now it can create a lot of trouble for your tattoo. When the fabric sticks to a new tattoo, there is a possibility that the design will be messed up. Additionally, there is a high chance that the tattoo will be exposed to contaminants and bacteria, which increases the risk of infection. Not to mention that the very attempt to remove the adhered tissue can be quite painful and cause tattoo bleeding and oozing.
  • Clothing could introduce bacteria into the tattoo – Tight-fitting clothing increases the risk of introducing contaminants and bacteria into a new tattoo. As a result, the tattoo may begin to swell, rash, blister, burn, hurt more and more, or even develop a full-fledged infection. Such issues can damage the tattoo design, cause ink to leak, and overall damage your skin. In the event of an infection, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor and consult a professional.
  • Clothing can inhibit coagulation and crusting on the tattoo – to dry and close, the tattoo must stop bleeding and oozing. With tight clothes constantly rubbing against the tattoo, the fabric will inhibit the blood clotting process and well prevent the formation of a protective layer or scabs. Of course, it can also lead to inflammation and infection due to excess moisture in the tattooed area.
  • The bleeding and oozing tattoo will destroy your clothes – it may not be as dramatic as the previous risks, but we have to mention that the blood, plasma and ink from the tattoo will stain your clothes, for good. If you care about your clothes, you will avoid wearing tight-fitting pieces, as the stains are permanent.

So what kind of clothes should I wear over a new tattoo?

After getting your tattoo and during the healing process, which can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month in its initial and most important phase, you should wear loose clothing. This is of course if the tattoo is placed on your body apart from the neck, head and feet. For these areas you need to pay special attention, especially in the case of tattooing the feet (problems with wearing socks and shoes).

Loose clothing will cover the tattoo so much that it will remain protected. There is less chance of the fabric sticking to the tattoo and also introducing contaminants. There will be minimal tissue rubbing against the tattoo, which will greatly minimize any healing issues or risk of infection.

Note: After you get a new tattoo, it will be packed and protected well. You can wear loose clothes over the scarf and not really care. However, when removing the wrap, loose clothing is essential, as you simply cannot keep the tattoo wrapped forever.

It needs air to breathe and to dry out, coagulate and form scabs. So be sure to wear the loosest clothing possible and, if necessary, wrap the tattoo for the first few nights to prevent it from sticking or damaging your clothes and bedding.

What kind of clothes should I avoid after getting a tattoo?

For the ladies out there; if the tattoo is placed in the chest/breast area, women should avoid wearing a bra, at least at home. At work or outdoors, a looser bra can be worn to prevent moisture buildup and pressure on the tattoo.

Tight-fitting bras can make the area clammy, but also restrict airflow, which can trap moisture and lead to infections. If baggy bras don’t do the trick, we advise women to just go braless.

For both, ladies and gentlemen, avoid wearing jeans and pants (with tight belt), for tattoos placed on the hips, buttocks, thighs, intimate area, lower abdomen, lower or middle back. To avoid putting pressure and restricting airflow, avoid tight jeans and pants. The same goes for leggings and skinny jeans.. The best alternative is sweatpants, baggy pants, or baggy shorts.

In the case of a tattoo on the foot, it is essential to walk barefoot as long as possible. Socks are prohibited, as they are fitted, as well as boots, heels, strappy sandals and fitted shoes. If you must wear shoes, try wearing flip flops or flip flops to prevent the shoes or socks from rubbing against the tattoo.

It is also important to avoid tight-fitting sportswear, such as leggings, tops, yoga pants, gym clothes, etc. These garments don’t just fit, they also stretch. As such, it can spread over the tattoo and pull on the treated area. It can be quite painful and can increase the risk of infection.

What else can you do?

Here are some other tips you can use to make sure the tattoo heals properly without unnecessary complications.

  • On the outside, keep the tattoo covered while it heals – sun exposure can damage a tattoo that has just healed. Since you can’t apply sunscreen to the tattoo until it’s completely healed, you’ll need to keep it covered in loose clothing, even on hot summer days.
  • At bedtime, try to wrap the tattoo to protect it – although it is not advisable to re-wrap a new tattoo, the first few nights you can re-wrap it just to prevent it from sticking to clothes or sheets. It will also be useful to keep everything clean; repackaging will prevent the tattoo from bleeding onto your pajamas and sheets and ruining them both.
  • Do not sleep or sit on the tattoo – simply wearing loose clothing means you are done with the tattoo. Even with proper clothing, you cannot apply any pressure to the tattoo, sleeping or sitting on it (depending on placement). During the first week, try to adjust your sleeping or sitting position to avoid any complications.
  • Try not to exercise until the tattoo heals – your tattoo needs a dry environment to heal, so exercise will only compromise the healing process. You will also expose the tattoo to sweat, which is loaded with contaminants and can cause infection. Sweat also gets trapped in clothing, which if fitted properly can also cause infections and many other problems.
  • Don’t let animals sleep in the same bed as you – pets, especially dogs, can introduce bacteria into your sleeping area. By not allowing them to sleep in the same bed as you, you minimize the risk of infection. So, keep animals away from the bed and try to change your sheets frequently if animals tend to sleep on your bed.

Last takeaway

The first few weeks of getting a tattoo are critical to her healing process. Following a proper aftercare routine can help this process go as smoothly as possible. However, if you don’t wear proper clothing or avoid wearing certain irritating items or fabrics, you can experience serious problems, ranging from tattoo irritation to infection.

Hopefully our aforementioned tips and ideas will help you endure and go through the healing process smoothly. For more information, talk to your tattoo artists or people who have been there too. In case of unusual tattoo occurrences, such as swelling, rash, burning, or even fever, seek medical attention.

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