Jiu-Jitsu and tattoos don’t seem to go together, but how long do you have to wait to recover after getting some ink before you can start rolling again?
I decided to find out
According to tattoo artists, you should wait a minimum of 2-3 weeks after getting a Tattoo before you do Jiu-Jitsu. A Tattoo is an open wound so it is prone to get infected by bacteria, and if you train before it’s healed you have a risk of ruining the tattoo or getting an infection which can lead to even more serious health complications.
Why spend so much money on art being inked on your body, if you’re going to ruin it by rolling too early? I will explain the reasons why you should wait to exercise after getting a tattoo.
Why You Should Not Do BJJ After Getting a Tattoo?
You might think of a tattoo as a permanent piece of body art made by puncturing your skin with needles and injecting ink, but think of it more as a man-made open wound that can easily be infected.
After getting a tattoo, your chances are higher than usual of bacteria getting into the wound and/or causing infections such as the very dangerous STAFF infection which is already very common in BJJ gyms!
It’s not just getting an infection that you have to worry about when you have a fresh wound like a tattoo, you have to think about your own plasma.
Open wounds leak clear liquid known as plasma which is caused by blood and plasma going to the tattoo to begin the skins healing and the creation of a scab.
What does this mean? Well, your open wound leaking plasma is a BIG contamination risk to other people in your gym.
If they have open wounds, cross-contamination is likely, especially in an environment like a BJJ gym where you will be in contact with tons of people and body fluid like blood and sweat!
Errr Disgusting right?
Exercising When A Tattoo Is Not Healed Can Ruin The Tattoo!
Whenever you workout, like in BJJ, your muscles will stretch and you will sweat. This pulls the skin, and excessively sweating in the area of your tattoo can interrupt the healing process and remove ink from the tattoo.
The very nature of BJJ causes a lot of friction. This constant rubbing of clothing like from a rash guard or a Gi against your tattoo area, will irritate the skin, rub off scabs and interfere with proper healing.
You might think, yes but Dillon, don’t we have rash guards and the Gi to prevent this skin chaffing? True, yes wearing a rashguard in no-gi or wearing a rashguard under your Gi is super important in BJJ but it becomes a necessity when training after a tattoo.
My recommendation for a rash guard is the Hayabusa long sleeve rash guard that you can get for a fantastic price on Amazon here. Not having a rash guard and training BJJ while your tattoo is healing is complete madness.
Now if your tattoo is ruined as you trained BJJ without waiting for it to heal, while you can touch up the tattoo you will probably have to pay for it as you likely went against your tattoo artist’s advice about tattoo recovery.
This may also depend on any possible tattoo aftercare insurance you purchased or the tattoo parlor’s policy
Can You Train After Getting A Tattoo?
If you’re doing any physical contact sports like BJJ or Muay Thai that involve a lot of physical contact with other people, you should wait between 2-3 weeks after getting the tattoo for it to completely heal. With lifting weights, around 1 week is okay but be wary of your wound not getting infected.
However, did you know there is a way to train straight after getting a tattoo! I know it sounds so hard to believe, but it is possible!
How To Train After Getting A Tattoo
The secret is using a tattoo aftercare skin product. This takes the guesswork out of healing and provides a barrier between your open wound (tattoo) and contamination from the outside. Some of these products can be waterproof and allow you to exercise after getting your tattoo.
I recommend the 100% Vegan Hustle Butter Deluxe for your tattoo aftercare solution. You can buy the cream for a superb price on Amazon here and see a review of the product in the video above.
Now if you’re rolling I still recommend waiting the 2-3 weeks before you start rolling just to be on the safe side.
If you’re using a product like the Hustle Butter, you could start drilling techniques a long time before the 2-3 week mark as it creates the well-needed barrier between your open wound and the dangerous outside world
Or if you want a detailed step by step guide on Tattoo aftercare by the Tattoo artist Romeo Lacoste, please watch the video below.
How Should You Workout Before And After Getting A Tattoo?
There are various stages before and after getting a tattoo. I will explain what you should and should not do.
Training Before You Get A Tattoo
Exercising before you get a tattoo is completely fine, whether you roll or lift weights or both. Ask yourself if you will become uncomfortable during the tattooing process because you will be recovering from a workout.
If you get score do not workout before your tattoo, as the standard tattoo session is 5 hours and it can last even more than that. That is a LONG time to be still while being uncomfortable!
Training The Day Of The Tattoo
The day of the tattoo, I would not recommend lifting weights or rolling, as this could cause you to bleed more during the tattoo appointment. This is because you will have more blood circulating in your system. See the video above for more details by Tattoo artist.
Worse still, is taking pre-workout the day of your tattoo session, as this will make it difficult for you to sit still because of the caffeine and other chemicals you have ingested.
Do your tattoo artist a favor and don’t take pre-workout or they may have a much harder time creating your tattoo that you’ve spent so much on!
Training After Having A Tattoo
Waiting roughly 2-3 weeks is still a good amount of time to wait before you start rolling once you get your tattoo, and after using the Hustle Butter or another product like it.
This will reduce the time you need before you can train as you are creating artificial barriers between the open wound and the outside world. The wound can heal faster and while you’re engaging in physical activity it will be protected.
How Long Is A Tattoo An Open Wound?
The outer layer of the skin which is the part you can see will take around 2 to 3 weeks to heal. Even if it looks and feels healed keep consistent with your tattoo aftercare routine as it can take as long as 6 months for the skin below a tattoo to truly heal!
Remember, these guidelines are for normal people not crazy people like us who love rolling with 4-6 different sweaty people, while trying their hardest to strangle each other!
For a BJJ practitioner like you or me, the 2-3 weeks healing time and having a good tattoo aftercare routine even months after the tattoo appointment is most essential.
We simply engage in too much cross-contact with other people so the risk of infecting the wound and getting a serious skin disease like STAFF is very high. We need to take every last precaution we can!
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