Tattoo aftercare

(how to take care of your awesome new tattoo)

Why is tattoo aftercare so important? You want to protect your investment, right?

A fresh tattoo is basically a big open wound, so you need to protect it from germs, bacteria, and dirt so that it will heal properly. If you keep it clean and protected, your healed tattoo will look amazing.

TL;DR Version:

  1. Remove your wrapping after 2 days.
  2. Wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and mild fragrance-free soap.
  3. Apply non-petroleum ointment on your tattoo.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times a day until you’re done peeling

How to take care of your tattoo

  1. Listen to your artist. I just spent a lot of time and effort giving you that tattoo, and trust me – I want it to look good just as much as you do. I know it’s a bit of a pain in the butt to follow these aftercare instructions, but if you follow the steps, you’ll keep your new ink protected and looking bad ass.
  2. Leave the plastic wrapping on for 2 days. The plastic both protects your new tattoo and keeps your own body fluids at the site of the tattoo, which helps it to heal faster. Keep the plastic in place for two days, then remove on day three.
  3. Wash your tattoo gently with fragrance-free soap. You’ll have a nice layer of goop (that’s the professional term for the blood, plasma, and ink that’s leaked from your tattoo) to clean off once you remove the plastic. Get some fragrance-free anitbacetrial soap and wash your tattoo with lukewarm water. Don’t use a washcloth, sponge, or loofah – just use your hand and gently clean the tattoo.
  4. Pat dry with a soft towel. You don’t want to rub your tattoo with a towel, you might pull off skin and damage your new work of art. Use a soft towel and gently pat dry.
  5. Apply non-petroleum-based antibacterial ointment. You’ll want to keep your healing tattoo hydrated, so rub on a very thin layer of ointment. Don’t overdo it – if you slather on too much, you could actually suffocate your tattoo and cause problems.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 several times a day until you’re done peeling. It’s important to keep your tattoo clean and moisturized, so you’ll want so wash and apply ointment several times a day until the peeling has finished. Keep in mind, this might take up to 3 to 5 weeks, so it’s important not to slack off after the first few days.

What not to do:

  • Don’t scratch – As your tattoo heals, it’s going to itch. If you scratch that itch, you could pull off scabs and cause discoloration. More importantly, your fingernails are actually super dirty, so you’ll be rubbing bacteria and dirt into your open wound – which could actually lead to infection.
  • Don’t pick at the peeling skin or scabs – After a few days, your tattoo will start to scab over and peel. Let the scabs fall off on their own. The scabs are still connected to deeper skin tissue, so if you pick at the scab, it can pull out skin where the ink isn’t set, causing discoloration.
  • Don’t go swimming or take a bath – You don’t want to submerge your healing tattoo in any kind of water. Most water will have lots of germs, and remember – it’s an open wound. Avoid pools or baths for at least 3 weeks after getting tattooed.
  • Don’t expose your tattoo to sunlight – Sunlight is one of the worst things for your tattoo. Because your skin is raw and sensitive, sunlight will do more damage than normal. It can even cause swelling and blisters. Most importantly, sunlight will fade your ink, especially on a fresh tattoo.
  • Don’t let other people touch your tattoo – Hello! Open wound, remember? Would you let your friend stick their finger in a big cut? Keep ’em away from your new ink.
tattoo aftercare instructions

TL;DR Version:

  1. Remove your wrapping after 2 days.
  2. Wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and mild fragrance-free soap.
  3. Apply non-petroleum ointment on your tattoo.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times a day until you’re done peeling