With the easing of the COVID restriction and the resurgence of travel, we decided to tackle a rather important question for all people with fresh ink; can you really get on a plane and fly away after getting a new tattoo?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably thought about this potential downside to your travel plans. But, you have come to the right place for all the information. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss travel (especially air travel) and whether you should do it after getting inked. So, without further ado, let’s go!
Can You Fly After Getting a New Tattoo: Everything You Need to Know
Now, the consequences of a tattoo are usually quite tricky and tricky. The early days and critical to the healing process will generally determine the rest of the tattoo healing and set the tone for it.
What we mean by that is; if you mess up the healing of the tattoo in the first few days, the risk of the tattoo not healing properly increases dramatically. If the healing process is prolonged, infection may also occur.
So why are we mentioning this?
Well, when you get a tattoo and immediately go on a trip, you are exposing your tattoo in its most vulnerable state. This, of course, increases the risk of improper aftercare, leading to potential ink leakage, excessive bleeding and oozing, prolonged scarring, and possibly infection.
But, of course, that doesn’t have to be the expected result; there are cases where people have traveled with fresh ink and things have been fine. But this, of course, depends on many factors; the size and placement of tattoos as the most essential.
Why is flying or traveling with fresh ink risky?
To be more specific with our explanation, here are the exact reasons why traveling after getting a tattoo can be quite risky for the tattoo and your health as well;
- Exposure to contaminants and health issues
The first two or three days, the tattoo is basically an open wound. As such, it hurts and requires full-time care and commitment. You should wash the tattoo, in some cases even repackage it, and generally keep it clean and free from potential contaminants. So, for that, you need full access to a clean bathroom and an overall clean environment to rest.
However, when you’re on a plane, you’re surrounded by hundreds of other people, and no matter how “clean” the plane is (we all know planes are pretty dirty), your tattoo will be exposed to some contaminants and bacteria. You may not be able to get up to the bathroom to wash your hands, for example, every time you want to handle the tattoo.
When it comes to getting a new tattoo, you need to spend time in a comfortable position, whether you’re sitting or lying down. This particularly applies to tattooed places on the back, thighs, legs, stomach, buttocks and other touch-sensitive areas. The problem is, airplane seats are uncomfortable even when you have nothing to do, let alone a tattoo.
So, you can imagine the discomfort you’ll feel just by sitting on a plane for several hours with a sore, oozing new tattoo. This can further complicate the tattoo healing process so early in the healing phase.
You may not be familiar with this, but the air in airplanes is extremely dry. Perhaps you have noticed that after a flight your skin is quite dehydrated, dry and almost flaky. Now, this is usually not a problem for untreated skin; you just applied moisturizer, drank more fluids and you pretty much fixed the problem.
However, you can’t just moisturize a fresh tattoo. For the first few days, the tattoo is an open wound that needs time to heal and begin to seal. Until this happens, you cannot apply moisturizer or lotion. Thus, dry air can also complicate the healing process and promote drying and dehydration of the tattoo.
- Potential issue with the Transport Safety Authority
Now imagine coming into an airport with your tattoo covered in a bandage and wrapping. You would assume that security and customs officers would find such a sight a bit unusual and would want to check it out. Well, given that even the smallest things that trigger these agents to get you in trouble, an oozing bandage and tattoo will surely set off their alarms.
Officers may ask you to remove the bandage so they can check to see if you actually have a new tattoo. This can expose the tattoo to contaminants and bacteria, which can then lead to infection. To avoid this, be sure to take a photo of the tattoo and bring the tattoo receipt from the tattoo studio to show the TSA as proof. Also inform them of the health risks associated with dressing removal.
- Unexpected tattoo reaction
Things are usually uncertain with a new tattoo in the first few days. Everything might look good, then all of a sudden the tattoo starts to hurt, bleed, ooze, rash, swell, etc. Sometimes it can take between 24 and 48 hours for an allergic reaction or infection to manifest via the aforementioned symptoms. . It would therefore be unfortunate to experience something like this during a flight or vacation.
So how long should I wait before flying?
Ideally, you should wait at least a week until you fly with a new tattoo. Why is a week ideal? Well, during these 7 days, your tattoo will manage to close well and start healing properly. You will also have enough time to see if the tattoo heals without any issues such as allergic reaction, swelling, leaking, rash or infection.
Even if something like this happens, you will be able to see a doctor immediately or contact your tattoo artist directly. In addition, by waiting 7 days, you minimize the risk of exposure to contaminants and bacteria, which greatly reduces the risk of infection.
Now, if your travel plans are urgent for some reason, try to wait at least 2-3 days, until the tattoo stops oozing and starts to dry and close. Traveling directly after a tattoo will only complicate the healing process, as mentioned. You don’t want to deal with an infection while on vacation.
What if you need to travel right away?
In the event of a sudden and unexpected situation where you need to get on a plane ASAP, here are some tips you can use to track aftercare and keep the tattoo as protected as possible.
- Stay hydrated – as we mentioned, the air in the plane will dehydrate and dry out the tattoo. Since you can’t hydrate fresh ink, be sure to drink enough fluids to keep your body hydrated. Eat fruits if possible and avoid salty dishes, as they also dehydrate the body.
- Wear loose clothing – this is essential when getting a new tattoo, whether you’re staying home or traveling somewhere. Loose clothing will not stick to your tattoo and will give it room to breathe. Tighter clothing could stick to the tattoo and possibly introduce bacteria and contaminants.
- Don’t forget to clean the tattoo – during the flight, you will have to clean the tattoo at least once, depending on the duration of the flight, of course. If the flight is 1-3 hours, you may only need to check the tattoo. However, if it lasts longer, cleaning is a must. Be sure to clean the tattoo in the bathroom with lukewarm water. Don’t forget to bring your own antibacterial soap. Try not to leave your belongings in the bathroom and wash your hands before touching the tattoo.
- Choose what you need knowingly – because a fresh tattoo is an open wound, your body needs all the energy available to heal it as quickly as possible. So, during the flight, try snacking on nuts and fruit, instead of crisps and chocolate. Also, avoid drinking alcohol, as it can thin your blood and cause your tattoo to bleed excessively.
The best thing you can do is reschedule your travel plans if possible. Try to postpone the theft at least for a few days. If this is not possible, we recommend discussing the travel plan with your tattoo artist; perhaps they will provide you with additional information on how to protect your particular tattoo and also ensure a comfortable flight. You should definitely have this conversation with your tattoo artist if the tattoo is placed in an awkward spot.
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