How long before I can workout or exercise after a tattoo?
A tattoo is a weeping open wound for 1-2 days after getting tattooed. This first few days is when its the most vulnerable and prone to problems, such as scabbing or infection. It's best to avoid heavy sweating or crowded gym environments the first several days after getting a tattoo. A gym is a place where all sorts of bacteria is spread around, not to mention that we don't want you secreting all over the place. Sweating heavily these first few days, like when jogging or just working hard, can cause a serious amount of color loss in a tattoo. It's really best to take a few days off to fully heal and recover before returning to your workout routine. Generally speaking, heavy stretching and strain on the area during the first week will slow the new-forming skin cells ability to develop.
While a small amount of flaking and peeling during a tattoo healing is completely normal, we are trying to avoid letting a scab form. This happens when your blood and plasma connect with the air after the skin has been broken, forming a thick shell that normally would protect the deeper layers of skin as they rebuild after an injury. With a tattoo, however, this scab can form around a good amount of tattoo pigment, removing that when it finally separates from the skin.
The very best way to prevent this is by washing your tattoo a couple times a day and applying a very thin and even layer of Aquaphor or a neutral A&D ointment. You should only use ointment during the first week of healing, then switch to a gentle lotion after washing for the next several weeks.
Washing your tattoo 4-5+ times a day will slow the healing process dramatically, so keep it simple. In the mornings after you get up and at night before you go to bed are normally fine. Be sure that you only apply ointment or product after you've thoroughly washed the area. Applying layer on layer of product will trap bacteria, as well as clog pores and follicles, leading to itchy, zitty outbreaks in and around the area. If you keep the area clean and the product fairly minimal, you will be on the right track. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.