Tattoo Care Basics
There are many opinions on what steps are best to take after your appointment, and directions may vary slightly depending on your artist. Your tattooer will be sure to chat with you about their aftercare preferences before sending you out the door, but in the meantime, here are some generalized guidelines you can use:
We recommend leaving your bandage on for 6-8 hours after your artist cleans and wraps your new tattoo. It is technically an open wound, and your goal is to help it begin healing as safely as possible. It may bleed and weep plasma for several hours after the session, so keeping it protected is key. When you are ready to take your bandage off, it’s time to wash up.
Use lukewarm, soapy water and your hands to cleanse the area. (No washcloths or abrasive scrubs!) Try to use basic soap without excessive perfumes -- Dial, unscented soft soap, plain Dove bars, etc. Gently lather the area and rinse thoroughly. Pat it dry (don't wipe) with either a clean towel or a paper towel.
The first 2-3 days, keep it simple and just wash it like this a few times a day, letting it breathe in between. You’ll start to notice the skin tightening and even starting to get a little itchy -- this is your body letting you know it’s time for some moisture.
THIN layers of moisture are important. You never want to oversaturate your tattoo, as this can cause ink to fall out. When choosing an aftercare moisturizer, just keep an eye on ingredients. Fragrance-free, alcohol- free, simple lotions are the best choice. Your artist can direct you further with aftercare suggestions at your appointment.
Through the healing process, your tattoo will itch and flake and perhaps scab a little. Do your best not to pick or scratch at it. Instead, allow it to slough off naturally as you continue to keep it clean and moisturized as needed.
Especially for the first two weeks, your goal is to keep your tattoo clean, well-moisturized, in the shade, and out of any soaking situations. (No baths, no saunas, no hot tubs. Showers are okay.) Be sure to plan for this healing time when you schedule your appointment. Getting a tattoo directly before a beach vacation would not be a wise choice, and will hurt the life of your tattoo. If you’re a person who likes vigorous exercise, be sure to take it easy during this initial time frame. Tattoos can take as long as 4-6 weeks to be totally healed, but after the two week mark, you’re usually okay to resume normal activities and outdoor time.
Sunscreen will forever be your tattoo’s best friend once initial healing is complete. (Nothing will fade a tattoo faster than consistent sun exposure without protection.) Lots of healthy skin hydration will also keep your tattoo happy for life.
We invite you to stay in touch with us if you have any questions about your healing process!