Essentially, a new tattoo is an open wound. That’s why you’re supposed to stay out of open water, hot tubs, and pools until it heals. As with any wound, you don’t want it to get infected by any potential bacteria in the water. Although it’s rare, there’s at least of a man with an existing liver disease dying after going in the Gulf of Mexico and getting his new tattoo infected.
That’s not likely to happen while swimming laps at your pool, but there’s always a danger of infection as long as the wound isn’t healed. An infection can both damage the new tattoo design and cause bigger health problems. Although the pool might be cleaner than many open water venues, there’s still some bacteria. Additionally, chlorine and other chemicals can be painful to an open wound and cause redness. A new tattoo needs to breathe and air dry in order to heal well. If it scabs and peels too much, you also risk taking with it some of the ink and detracting from the color.