How lucky are you if you have both a new tattoo and a sauna to let out some steam. Saunas are a relaxing way to reap a variety of potential health benefits, but one thing is inevitable. You will sweat and that's the whole point. If you're wondering whether or not you can bask in the dry heat of the sauna with your new tattoo, read on.
What Is a Sauna?
Originating in Finland over two thousand years ago and often referred to as a bathhouse, saunas produce a dry heat that can be used for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. The Finnish believe saunas aid in their longevity, as they say there are many health benefits to a "sweat bath."
Most saunas are built from aromatic wood and reach temperatures of up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. While in the bathhouse, aromatic stones are splashed intermittently with water to produce steam meant to help increase circulation and metabolism.
On a personal level, many people experience a sense of relaxation and peace when frequenting a sauna. The Finnish believe anyone who leaves a sauna will exit with a worry-free mind.
If you are feeling under the weather or are suffering from a cold, a sauna might help to alleviate your physical symptoms, including a stuffy nose and body aches.
For your skin, a sauna will help by opening pores and increasing blood circulation to the skin, often resulting in a temporarily clearer, more glowing complexion.
Can I Go in a Sauna With a New Tattoo?
Just as you've hopefully been advised to keep your tattoo away from moisture, including swimming and immersion in water, you should stay away from saunas, as well. Your body and new tattoo need time to heal before you expose the skin to excessive sweat and moisture.
To try to help your tattoo heal faster, use a professional tattoo aftercare product (such as Wild Rose's Ink Balm, $10).
OK Fine, When Can I Go in a Sauna?
Once your tattoo is fully healed, you can throw some steam on the rocks and enter the sauna. In doing so, you'll want to follow all sauna rules and regulations—which likely include advising no more than ten minutes at a time in the bathhouse—and to avoid use entirely if you are pregnant or have a heart condition.
Never enter a sauna under the influence of drugs and or alcohol, or on a full stomach. You should also avoid taking prescription drugs until after your sauna session. While in the bathhouse, slowly increase your visiting sessions over time. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded or sick, exit the sauna immediately.
For a new tattoo, we would recommend waiting a full three weeks before going into a sauna. Your tattoo artist should provide all tattoo aftercare instructions at the end of your service. When in doubt, give your tattoo artist a follow-up call or visit their shop for feedback on your tattoo's individual healing progress.
You are always better off waiting, rather than risking the fading or peeling of your new tattoo. With proper aftercare, your tattoo will remain a beautiful piece of body art that you can wear proudly for a lifetime. Patience is a virtue.
Laukkanen JA, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK. Cardiovascular and other health benefits of sauna bathing: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93(8):1111-1121. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.04.008