Running With a New Tattoo

Nick Davies

You have that fresh ink you have always wanted now you wanna get right back into your running / gym routine. As eager as you are waiting is very important as your body needs to heal yet. You may ask why does a new tattoo need to heal? If you are new to the process of tattoos, let me give you a breakdown of the process.

When you get a tattoo, the artist uses a needle to inject ink below your epidermis (outer layer of skin) into the second layer of skin (the dermis). The dermis is permanent and not regularly shed, the way your outer skin is, and the ink particles are too big to be disposed of by your body's defenses, like white blood cells. So the ink stays there, just below the surface, essentially forever. Of course over time, the ink can fade, stretch, or spread, causing the tattoo to become faded or blurry.

Skin Diagram - Layers

The tattooing process repeatedly punctures and damages your skin. Like any kind of wound or skin damage, the affected area needs time to heal properly, even though the individual punctures are very small.

According to Tattoo Authority, here is the basic healing process broken down:

  • Days 1-6: Oozing, swelling and redness that gets better gradually over each day. Scabbing begins to form over the area.
  • Days 7-14:  Itching and flaking begins, and this continues until all layers of dead skin and scabbing have fallen off.
  • Days 15-30: Tattoo looks fully healed but may look slightly cloudy for a few weeks. Deeper layers of skin are still repairing, so continue to look after your tattoo.

In most cases, the tattoo healing process is quick, painless, and free of complications. But the area can become irritated or infected if you suffer a setback or don't follow proper after care.

Healing Process

While the healing process happens naturally there are creams available to help with the irritated skin. As the healing process is in motion there are things you can do that will irritate the area more making healing more difficult. Here are some things you should avoid as you heal.

Tattoo Healing Process

  • Don’t Get Your Tattoo Wet - A little water and a pat down is okay but you do not want your tattooed area submerged in any kind of water. This is because by keeping the area moist this raises the chances of infection which can cause all sorts of complications. Sweating also applies to this rule.
  • Don’t Expose It To Lots Of Sunlight - Since the area is sensitive you want to be sure to keep it out of sunlight as it is very susceptible to UV rays. Sunlight can also cause the area to bleed, crack, fad, or blister which could cause serious damage. It is best to wear a generous amount of sunscreen on new and old tattoos to keep it looking its best.
  • Don’t Let Any Clothing Rub Vigorously Against It - This can cause serious irritation, if you can’t help it you should cover the tattoo with a bandage.
  • Don’t Stretch Out The Tattooed Area - This doesn’t apply to smaller tattoos as much but with larger ones specifically you don’t want to stretch the area much while it is healing. This can cause the ink to bleed and spread ruining the shape of your tattoo.

  • For something thing that is going to be permanent on your body you want to make sure that you are taking every precaution to make sure that is heals the best it can. So give yourself some time and schedule things out properly so you don’t end up needing to run a race with fresh ink. As long as you follow you artists caring instructions things should turn out fine. If you have any concerns reach out to your artist with any questions. Thanks for reading, cheers!

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