Can You Play Basketball After Getting A Tattoo? Do’s & Dont’s


Your first tattoo, you’re excited but you didn’t think it through because you’re in the middle of a basketball season. Now what? How do I preserve the tattoo and not irritate the skin that has been tattooed? Let’s discuss the Dos & Dont’s after getting a tattoo.

Can you play basketball after getting a tattoo? You should allow a minimum of 48 hours before playing basketball or any sport to allow the skin to heal properly and avoid any irritation or physical contact to the area that has been inked. It takes up to 6 weeks for the skin and tattoo to heal completely. Sweating is not a bad thing for the tattoo but the skin needs to be clean and hydrated with a lotion and sweating will dry out the skin.

Although you may have not have been fully aware and did not think it through about the physical activity during the healing process before you got your tattoo it is quite alright. Let’s focus on what you can do right now to take care of your tattoo and skin.

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Playing Basketball And Exercise

The biggest dilemma when just getting a new tattoo is the risk of infection, remember your body treats the tattoo as an open wound, the wound is healing there is an obvious risk of infection. I have seen tattoos become infected and heal the worse possible way. It completely ruined the experience for this person, understand you can do everything right and there is always a possibility and risk of infection.

You also Don’t want to wear compression clothing as it might irritate and make the skin itch, DO wear comfortable loose clothing if your tattoo can be covered. DO Make sure your clothing is clean and not a couple of games old as there are lots of bacteria and sweat on the clothing. DO make sure that if you are going to play wrap the tattoo accordingly.

Tattoo Placement

So if you are thinking you want to play basketball but are unsure just ask your self is it worth it? Can you wait a few days more at least? If you are willing to risk it playing ball make sure to look further down in this article on instructions on how to cover the tattoo correctly.

Can Sweating Ruin A New Tattoo?

No, Sweat can not ruin a new tattoo. The issue is that if sweat stays on the skin bacteria can grow so of course, you will want to have a shower and make sure the area is clean. Again it is best to avoid basketball during the early stages.


Taking Care of your New Tattoo Dos & Dont’s

When the tattoo is complete you will have a bandage that will cover up the tattoo by the artist to help protect and heal the tattoo. DO keep The Bandage usually stays on for 24 hours. After removing the bandage apply the necessary moisturizer and Don’t take hot showers to preserve the brightness of the tattoo until it heals completely. Don’t apply hot water on the skin can fade the ink, re-think those hot tubs.

As you go through your day make sure you DO apply a cream/moisturizer a couple of times daily. Your skin will start to repair itself and heal. A scab may be apparent on the skin Don’t pick or scratch the tattoo, even if it’s itchy. Making sure to keep the tattoo as clean as possible.

Don’t sleep on top of your tattoo avoid rolling over on it during sleep. Depending on where you get your tattoo this is going to be very difficult to avoid, but keep in mind as long as you are trying to avoid sleeping on it you should be good. The reason is you need to allow the skin to breathe and heal.

Don’t make sure when you’re showing it off to friends that you make sure they do not touch your tattoo, any people are hands-on when they want to see something and they might do it by instinct and habit. So be conscious of that and avoid your friend’s dirty hands.

Do apply sunscreen to void fading to the tattoo over time, If you decide you want to go out in the sun witha fresh tattoo avoid sunscreen as it can irritate the skin if the tattoo has not healed. You want to apply sunscreen when it is healed.


Other Exercises To Avoid

Swimming, avoid it completely as long as you can in a body of water oceans pools lakes, hot tubs. Infested with bacteria and also can irritate the skin such as chlorine found in swimming pools.

Avoid playing basketball outside when it is sunny if the tattoo is exposed to the sun it possible that the tattoo can fade. Even though the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean UV rays are not present. I found this out after getting sunburned in a 3 on 3 tournaments and then the following day the sun was not out. I thought sweet nothing to worry about, man was I wrong. I felt it burning everywhere that I had sunburn on my body.

Weight Rooms are probably the dirtiest place to worry about especially when your tattoo is fresh and you want to look like a stud in the workout room. Plates benches you name it has lots of bacteria, avoid them until your tattoo is healed.


How Long Will My Tattoo Be Sore?

1  Leave the covering on for 2-3 hours. Once the tattoo is complete, your tattoo artist will clean the area, apply an antibacterial ointment, and cover the tattoo with a bandage or plastic. Once you have left the tattoo parlor, resist the temptation to open the bandage. The bandage is there to protect your tattoo from dirt and bacteria and should be left on for up to 3 hours before you remove it.

  • Since different tattoo artists have different methods of wrapping new tattoos, ask your tattoo artist when they recommend removing the bandage. Some artists may not wrap the tattoo at all, depending on the products and techniques they use.
  • If you leave the bandage on longer than the artist suggests, you are more prone to infection and the ink may bleed.

2  – Wash your hands before carefully removing the bandage. Washing your hands beforehand will help prevent your tattoo from getting infected when you go to touch it. To remove the bandage more easily, you can apply warm water to it to prevent the bandage from sticking to your skin. Pull the bandage off slowly and carefully so you don’t damage your new tattoo.

  • Throw away the used bandage.


3 Wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Instead of soaking your tattoo in water, cup your hands together and scoop lukewarm water over it. Use a mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap to rub the tattoo gently with your fingers, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. This will help to prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon.

  • Do not use a washcloth, loofah, or any sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbor bacteria. Do not resume use of the items until the tattoo has healed completely.
  • Avoid holding the tattoo directly under the water—the stream of water from the faucet may be too harsh on your new tattoo.

4 – Let the tattoo air dry or pat it dry with a clean paper towel. While it’s best to let your skin air dry after the tattoo has been cleaned, you can also use a clean, dry paper towel to gently blot the tattoo until it’s dry. Avoid rubbing the tattoo with the paper towel to avoid irritating your skin.

  • Regular towels can irritate your tattoo or cause little bits of fluff to get stuck in them, so it’s best to only use a paper towel for drying.


5 – Apply a non-scented antibacterial cream. Once your tattoo is fully dry, apply a little moisturizing ointment, preferably all-natural aftercare, to the tattoo. Make sure to apply only a very thin layer and pat it in gently until it’s absorbed by the skin. If you’re not sure what kind of ointment to use, ask your tattoo artist what they recommend for your skin.


  • Aquaphor is a good, recommended option for a moisturizer.
  • Don’t use petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline or Neosporin, as these are too heavy and may clog the pores.
  • Once your tattoo is clean and moisturized, avoid rewrapping it.


6 – Listen to your tattoo artist’s advice. Your tattoo artist will explain how you should care for your tattoo immediately after getting it, so try to follow their instructions. The way they bandage your tattoo may be different from other tattoo artists, so take the advice they give you seriously to ensure your tattoo heals correctly.
  • Write down the instructions they give you on a piece of paper or type them up on your phone so you don’t forget.

Helping Your Tattoo Heal

1 – Wash and moisturize your tattoo daily until the scabs are gone. You should continue to wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water until it’s fully healed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the size and location of the tattoo.
  • While moisturizing is important, be careful not to smother the tattoo in lotion or ointment—a thin layer is all you need.
  • Continue using an unscented mild soap when washing.

2 – Avoid scratching or picking at your tattoo. As it heals, your tattoo will start to scab over, which is normal. Let the scabs dry out and fall off by themselves, and don’t speed up the process by picking or scratching at the scabs. This can cause the scabs to fall off too soon, which can leave holes or light spots on the tattoo.

  • Dry, scabbing or peeling skin can become very itchy, but scratching at your tattoo may also cause scabs to fall off.
  • Keep using a moisturizing ointment to combat itchiness if it is a problem.
3 – Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight. The harsh rays of the sun may cause your skin to blister and bleach some of the colors from your tattoo. For this reason, it is best to keep your tattoo covered and away from the sun for at least 3 to 4 weeks until the initial healing is complete.
  • Once your tattoo is healed, you’ll want to wear sunscreen to prevent the tattoo from fading.


4 – Avoid soaking the tattoo in water. Until your tattoo is fully healed, don’t swim in a pool or the ocean. Avoid soaking in the bathtub as well. Exposing your tattoo to lots of water can pull the ink out of your skin and do damage to the tattoo’s appearance. The water may also be carrying dirt, bacteria, or other chemicals that can infect your tattoo.

  • It will be safe to resume these activities once your tattoo is healed, but for now, you should stick to rinsing your tattoo in the sink or shower.

5 – Wear clean, loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating your tattoo. Try not to wear tight or restrictive clothing on the area with your new tattoo, especially at first. As your tattoo heals, it will seep plasma and excess ink, which may cause the clothing to stick to the tattoo. The clothing will then be painful to remove and may rip off any freshly formed scabs.

  • If your clothing does stick to your tattoo, do not pull! First wet the area with water, which should loosen the clothing to where it can be removed without damaging your tattoo.
  • Tight clothing will prevent enough oxygen from getting to your tattoo, and oxygen is essential for the healing process.

6 – Wait for your tattoo to heal before doing strenuous workouts. If the tattoo covers a large surface area or is near your joints (such as elbows and knees), it may take longer to heal if the skin is forced to move around too much during physical activity. The movement will cause the skin to crack and become irritated, prolonging the healing process.

  • If you work in a job that involves physical activity, such as construction or dance, you may want to consider having your new tattoo done right before you have a day or 2 off so it has time to heal before you return to work.


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