Can I Shave With A New Tattoo? Will Shaving Damage My New Ink?

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When you’ve sat down in the artist’s chair and are ready to begin your session, your artist will shave the area prior to it being tattooed. For personal reasons, maybe at some point in your healing journey you want to have another round of razor-to-skin. But is it safe to shave with a new tattoo?

How Long to Wait Before Shaving Over a New Tattoo?

A new tattoo is essentially an open wound, and shaving over an open wound not only disturbs the healing process, it could also introduce dirt, grime, or bacteria into the wound and cause infection. You also risk pulling off scabs or peeling skin that are essential to the healing process, and may take away ink with them, when pulled off.

The healing time of tattoos vary from person-to-person, influenced by a person’s immune system, aftercare process, as well as the skill of the artist, and the complexity of the design. In general, tattoos take around a full month to heal completely.

If it can be avoided, you shouldn’t shave directly on your tattoo for a month. If you absolutely must shave over your new tattoo, it is recommended that you wait until your new ink has had at least two weeks of healing. At this point, the wound should be done most of its scabbing, though it may still have a milky appearance that you need to be cautious with.

If a tattoo feels bumpy to the touch or has any noticeable scabs or peeling skin, you should wait before trying to shave it to avoid getting any cuts or grazing over your new tattoo.

Preparing to Shave After Getting a Tattoo

As with all tattoo aftercare, shaving over your new tattoo should also be a careful process. Ensure you have the time to dedicate to patiently shaving over your tattoo.

Step 1: Shaving Product

Most shaving products such as shaving cream contain chemicals or fragrances that could actually be severe irritants to new tattoos. These additives in the product could cause an allergic reaction, burn, or infection for your new tattoo.

When selecting a shaving product, use something natural, or simply use the same soap you use for washing your tattoo as a shaving lubricant. Check out our list of The 6 Best Antibacterial Soaps For Your New Tattoo.

Step 2: Take a Shower

Though it’s not necessary, a lukewarm shower does help open up your pores and simplifies the shaving process. It also ensures that your new tattoo remains clean while shaving.

Step 3: The Shaving Process

  1. When shaving within the first month of healing, always use a new blade over your new tattoo. This not only prevents contamination of your new tattoo due to the bacteria caught in old blades and potential rust, but it also creates a more precise shave that is less likely to irritate the sensitive area.
  2. When you are ready, ensure you are shaving in the direction of the hair growth and tread carefully. Do not rush the process, and be careful with areas that are still experiencing scabbing or peeling skin. If it feels uncomfortable, stop.
  3. When you are done, rinse the area with cold water as this will close the pores and keep your skin hydrated. Shaving can be a drying process, so be sure to follow up with a moisturizer.

Shaving Tip for Fast Hair Growth

If your tattoo is in an area that experiences excessive hair growth, this may actually cause extra irritation for your new tattoo, causing severe itchiness. If you experience this, check out our article The Tattoo Itch Guide: How To Stop And Prevent Tattoo Itching.

We still recommend that your first shave during healing happens after the two-week mark, to keep you and your tattoo safe. After a month of healing, you can shave as frequently as you wish as it won’t do any harm to your tattoo.

Should You Use Chemical Hair Removers?

You should absolutely not, under any circumstances, use chemical hair removers on a new tattoo. Not only will this compromise the healing of a new tattoo, but you also put your skin at risk of being seriously burned by the product being used on your wound.

In general, chemical hair removers are not good for skin and blood health, and shaving after one month of healing is far more beneficial for your tattoo.

Benefits of Shaving Over Your Tattoo

After your tattoo has fully healed, you can shave your skin as usual without any cause for concern. In fact, there are some benefits to shaving the skin over a tattoo!

  • By removing excess hair, you improve the appearance of your new tattoo.
  • Shaving removes dead skin cells, which can help your tattoo appear more bright. For other tips on combating dull tattoos, check out our article That Fresh Ink Look - A Guide On How To Keep Your Tattoos Looking New.
  • If you frequently shave an area and then suddenly stop, you can cause ingrown hairs which may form pimples or small pus-filled blisters on your tattoo. Maintaining your shaving schedule helps minimize ingrown hair issues which may distort your tattoo.

Our Final Thoughts

Using fresh blades, great products, and ensuring you don’t remove any essential scabs or skin from your healing tattoo will help you safely navigate hair removal with fresh ink. Though a little bit of patience, care, and consideration should go into shaving over a new tattoo, in one month you can begin to shave without any cause for concern.

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