Can I Fly After Getting a Tattoo?

Tattooing is a long and permanent procedure, it needs proper time and healing process to perfectly show. You have just gotten a tattoo or thinking of getting one but you have travel plans.

You may wonder- can I fly after getting a tattoo?

You should avoid flying after getting a tattoo because the first few days are very important for the healing procedure of your tattoo. If you do not let the tattoo heal, your tattooed skin might get damaged.

Keep reading this article to know why it’s not safe to fly after getting a tattoo, what complications you might face, what precautions you may take before flying, and more.

Can I Fly After Getting a Tattoo?

Can I Fly After Getting a Tattoo?

Well, you should not because there are risks of ink leaking and excessive bleeding. The tattooed area may turn into a wound, and also it may turn into an infection.

Traveling immediately after getting a tattoo means you are exposing the tattooed area in its most vulnerable state. The issues your tattooed area may face depend on other factors such as the tattoo area, size of the tattoo, etc.

It will be even harder for you to take good care of the tattoo if the placement is somewhere you cannot reach easily, for example back tattoos. The size of the tattoo also matters because the smaller the tattoo is, the easier it is to maintain. Bigger tattoos are going to be a problem for you if you travel immediately after getting a new one. You have to properly wash and wrap it up using a bandage, and if the tattoo is big it is going to be quite a hassle.

Is Flying or Traveling With Fresh Ink Risky?

Yes, flying or traveling with fresh tattoos is risky. To explain it more, here are the reasons why you should refrain yourself from traveling after getting a tattoo-

Exposure to germs and bacteria

After the first couple of days of getting a tattoo, the skin acts as an open wound. So, you must treat delicate skin with high care and maintenance.

You need to properly wash your tattoo area, rewrap the area properly and take good care so that the tattoo area doesn’t get affected. Imagine, while you’re on a plane, you’re surrounded by hundreds of other passengers, how will you ensure proper care of your tattoo?

Chances are the tattoo gets exposed to various toxins and germs regardless of how “clean” the plane is (we all know airlines are not very hygenic). It could be difficult for you to enter the restroom and wash your hands.

Chance of Being Uncomfort

Flying by plane isn’t the most comfortable ride. It is more uncomfortable when you have a new tattoo going on and need absolute care. Also, the location of your tattoo area determines whether it is more discomfort or not.

Whether you’re sitting or lying down, you should spend some time getting used to your new tattoo in a comfortable posture. This is particularly true for tattoos on the back, thighs, legs, stomach, gluteus region, and other tender areas.

The issue is that airplane chairs are unpleasant even without anything on your body, much less a tattoo.

So, you can picture the difficulty you’ll experience even simply by spending many hours on a plane while having a fresh, oozing, painful tattoo. This can make the healing of a tattoo more difficult at such a young period.

Skin Damage By Dry Air

The extremely dry air in airplanes causes parched skin, which may create problems in the healing procedure of your tattoo. Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but the air on airplanes is quite dry.

Maybe you’ve noticed that your skin feels dry, flaky, and dehydrated after a flight. With untreated skin, it normally isn’t a problem; all you have to do is apply some moisturizer and drink extra water to take care of the problem.

A new tattoo cannot, however, just be moisturized and adapt to the environment of an airplane. You should wait 24-48 hours to start applying moisturizer to a new tattoo.

Also, it’s crucial to follow a proper aftercare regime. The dry air might hinder the healing process and encourage drying and dehydration of tattoos.

TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

Due to the nature of their work, TSA personnel are naturally threatening. As a result, if you arrive at the airport with a bandage and wrapping, airport security personnel may become suspicious and ask you to take the bandage off. By doing this, you run the risk of exposing your tattoo to microorganisms that could infect it.

The police may want you to take off the bandage so they can verify that you do have a brand-new tattoo. This can expose the tattoo to impurities and germs, which might then result in an infection.

Unexpected Reactions

We all think that having a tattoo will go smoothly, but the truth is that there is no way to ensure that there won’t be an unanticipated reaction even if you take all the essential preparations.

For example, if you cannot take proper care of your tattooed area, there can be nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections. And infections can ruin your tattoo completely. Also when your tattooed area becomes a wound, you can be affected with lots of diseases.

It can take up to 48 hours for this reaction to manifest, which is something you most definitely don’t want to happen when you’re in the air.

What Effect Does Airplane Pressure Have on Tattoos?

The air inside airplanes is pressurized so much which results in a lot drier cabin than outside. This is why it’s important to stay hydrated when you are flying, and even more so if you have a tattoo. The dry air can dehydrate your skin, which can affect how quickly your tattoo heals.

How Long To Wait With a New Tattoo Before Flying?

It would be best if you can wait at least 7 days before flying with your new tattoo. Giving a week to your tattoo for the healing process will prevent any unwanted situations in the future. Also, you’ll be able to detect and solve issues like allergic reactions, swelling, leaking, or any kind of infection-related issues.

Also, when you have that much time, you’ll be able to contact a doctor asap if you find any issues. Other than this, waiting for more than a couple of days you are minimizing the risk of any issues occurring to your tattooed area. For this, try to wait for a few days; just until your tattoo starts to close up and dry out.

4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo When You Need to Fly

Location of the Tattoo

You should not get a tattoo on your back if you have a long flight soon. Because obviously, it would be very uncomfortable. If you want to go backpacking, the best is to follow this advice.

Size of the Tattoo

Small tattoo results in fewer problems or complications. Bigger tattoos are hard to do and also a complex procedure. Usually smaller tattoos are the safest.

Travel Destination

Sunlight can have a negative effect on your tattoo. It will be best if you can avoid sunlight so that your tattoos don’t start to fade. Overall, you should always wrap your tattoo with a bandage.

Regulations of TSA

It’s crucial to be aware of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) restrictions since you will need to clean your tattoo. The TSA prohibits travelers from bringing any liquids in carry-on bags in containers bigger than 3.4oz/100ml. You can also be asked by suspicious TSA personnel to remove the bandage covering your tattoo, which exposes your skin to pollutants and pathogens.

What To Do If You Need To Travel Right Away?

If you are going through an unexpected situation, where you need to travel by plane immediately after getting a tattoo, here are some suggestions for the aftercare of the tattoo area.

Keep yourself hydrated

As we previously discussed, the airplane’s dry air will cause your tattoo to fade. As you cannot moisturize fresh ink, make sure to hydrate your body by drinking adequate liquids. If at all possible, consume fruit, and stay away from salty foods because they can cause dehydration in the body.

Wear loose clothing

This is crucial whether you’re staying at home or going somewhere—when you have a fresh tattoo. Your tattoo will have more breathing room and won’t stick to loose clothing.

Don’t forget to clean the tattoo

Depending on how long the flight will be, you’ll need to do it at least once during the trip. You might only need to check on the tattoo if the flight is between one and three hours long.

If it persists longer, cleansing is necessary. Be careful to use warm water to wash the tattoo in the restroom. Bring your own antibacterial soap, don’t forget. Try to keep your belongings out of the bathroom and wash your hands before touching the tattoo.

Choose your demands carefully

A new tattoo is an open wound that requires a lot of energy to heal as rapidly as possible. Try to avoid munching on chips and chocolate throughout the flight and instead choose some nuts and fruits. Avoid consuming alcohol as well because it can thin your blood and lead to excessive tattoo bleeding.

Additional Read: What to eat after tattoo

Rearranging your trip schedule

If it’s possible, is the finest thing you can do. At the very least, try to delay the flight for a few days. If that is not possible, we advise you to talk about your travel plans with your tattoo artist.

They might be able to offer you some further advice on how to preserve your specific tattoo and guarantee a comfortable journey. If the tattoo is in a challenging location, you should discuss this with the tattoo artist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Shouldn’t You Do After Getting a Tattoo?

After getting a tattoo, there are a few things you shouldn’t do.

  • Use a moisturizer, sunscreen, or other creams to cover your tattoo.
  • Pick or scratch at your tattoo.
  • Dress tightly over your tattoo.
  • Put your tattoo in the direct sun.
  • You took off the bandage too soon
  • Cleaning your tattoo with water that is too hot
  • Rebandage your tattoo or conceal it.
  • excessive sweat

What clothing should you wear with a new tattoo?

However, if your new artwork is outdoors and exposed to the weather when you’re traveling somewhere very sunny (like Southeast Asia), it’s crucial to keep it out of the sun as much as you can. Wearing pants or long skirts, or having something to cover your arms and shoulders, can all significantly affect how quickly your tattoo heals.

However, tattoos also require space to breathe. Avoid wearing tight clothing over your tattoo. In the beginning, this will stop the ink from staining your clothes, but it will also allow your tattoo to breathe.


Did you find the answers you were looking for?

Flying immediately after getting a tattoo is never a good idea. If possible you should postpone the schedule, at least 7 days after getting the tattoo.

But if somehow you need to fly asap, you should take proper precautions. There are instances of people flying immediately after getting a tattoo, so you shouldn’t worry much if you need to travel after getting a tattoo. Good luck!

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