Home » Tattoo Aftercare – How To Take Care of a Tattoo

Tattoo Aftercare – How To Take Care of a Tattoo

Tattoo aftercare is the most important thing you can do to protect your killer new tattoo from infection, and make sure it heals up looking like it was intended!

The process is simple, here is everything you will need to know in order to take care of your new tattoo, all the way from leaving the shop to showing it off!

The Tattoo Aftercare Products We Recommend

  • A+D Ointment during the first few days – for disinfectant
  • Lubriderm for the first few weeks – as a moisturizer
  • Or Aquaphor for the first few weeks – as a moisturizer

The First Hours After Your Tattoo

The first hours after your tattoo are crucial in the healing process. You’re going to be tempted to take off your bandages early and show off your new ink to all of your friends and family–DON’T!

You’re going to want to keep your bandages on for a minimum of 2-4 hours. Be Careful not to exceed this time frame by too much as you want the healing process to begin, and your tattoo will need Oxygen to do that.

As soon as you remove the bandage, it’s time to wash your new tattoo. The cleaning process is simple:

  • Start off by washing your hands
  • Make sure the water is lukewarm – Hot water and steam will open up the pores potentially allowing the color seep out or become uneven
  • Then wash your tattoo with unscented antibacterial soap
  • Lightly rub using only your hands – No wash cloths!
  • If washing it in the shower, don’t let the water come down directly on the tattoo. Instead, aim the water to where the water will gently run down the tattoo, and only do this for a very short period of time!
  • Once clean rinse the tattoo with cold water to close up any pores that may have been opened during the cleaning process
  • Now that your new tattoo is cleaned, you need to dry it off. To do this lightly pat any water off with a paper towel or a soft, clean towel.
  • Rub A+D Ointment on the tattoo 3-5 times a day – You want to have the thinnest amount possible on the tattoo (No globs). You need to continue using A+D Ointment for 1-2 days then switch to a non-scented/non-medicated tattoo lotion like Lubriderm or Aquaphor.
  • Do not rebandage – now is the time to show off your new masterpiece, and it needs oxygen to begin the healing process.

How to Take Care of a Tattoo For The First Two Weeks

The first few days are even more crucial to the healing process–in case you haven’t caught on everything is crucial during the healing process!

It will actually take an upwards of 30+ days to completely lock in the ink, but after the first two weeks, it will appear on the surface to be fully healed. During this first couple of weeks these are things you need to be mindful of:

  • You need to wash your hands before touching or applying lotion to your new tattoo.
  • Apply non-scented/non-medicated lotion like Lubriderm or Aquaphor 3-5 times daily or as needed–if the tattoo is starting to dry out then apply lotion. Do this for a minimum of two weeks.
  • After the first few days, your skin might start to peel or lightly scab–this is normal–do not pick these. Instead, let them come off naturally. If the scabbing is excessive, you might want to consult a doctor.
  • Wear loose fit soft clothing – You want to avoid anything that would be constantly rubbing up against your tattoo.
  • Avoid the sun for the first few weeks – The sun can cause fading or uneven healing. After the first few weeks, it’s best to apply tattoo sunscreen over your tattoos anytime you’ll be exposed to the sun for long durations of time.
  • Avoid swimming or soaking in the bathtub until your tattoo is fully healed.
  • Avoid anything that might lead to excessive sweating – working out or saunas.
  • Keep an eye out for infection – Things you’ll want to look for: redness around the tattoo, excessive scabbing, swelling, oozing pus, or indentations in your skin where the tattoo is. If you experience any of these symptoms consult your doctor–not the tattoo artist!

Taking care of your tattoo is not very hard, but it well worth the little extra attention to detail. After all, the proper care of a tattoo during the healing process is the difference between an epic masterpiece and a tattoo you’re embarrassed to show your friends!

Read more: 45 Beautiful Peacock Tattoo Designs (with Meaning)

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!