Can Tattoos Affect A Workout?

Tattoos have become commonplace in today’s society. Many of today’s athletes have tattoos as well as high powered CEOs. While they can be amazing works of art, how do they affect our workouts? A study done by Dr. Luetkemeier, a professor of integrative physiology and health science at Alma College, seeked to answer this question.

This study took two groups of people, one with and one without tattoos. The study set to see how tattooed skin reacts to working out, specifically how sweat glands react. The group with tattoos had sweat absorbent pads placed over their tattoos and those without had the pads placed in a similar place to the others with tattoos. The amount of sweat in the pad was compared after the bout of exercise.

The results showed that those with tattoos actually sweat less. It is hypothesized that the ink, when initially dissolved by the immune system, can clog the sweat glands in whatever area of the body the tattoo lays. Another theory is that the actual chemical makeup of that skin changes causing the skin to delay sweating. An interesting note is that the amount of sodium in the tattooed skin was twice as much as the untattoed skin.

In conclusion, tattoos can affect us more than just aesthetically. We don’t sweat as much from the tattooed area relative to untattooed areas. The subjects were all male so it would be interesting to see if women were affected the same way. Of course, small tattoos are fine and won’t affect performance.

Sean Willits






Sean graduated from Kutztown University in December 2015 with a degree in Sport Management and is a CPT through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He is a competitive powerlifter and record holder in the state of PA. Sean loves to share his knowledge with clients and helps to push them. He believes that everyone is capable of greatness and that as long as someone creates goals and stays committed to them, they can be achieved. He states that the reason he got involved with personal training is, “The fact that I’ve been able to achieve my own goals and see progress in my own life inspired me to be a personal trainer. Seeing my client’s lives change is what pushes me forward. I want to see my clients succeed. When they do, so do I.  I will do anything to help them out.”