Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: How to Properly Take Care of a New Tattoo

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Congrats on your new tattoo!

Now that you have your fresh ink, it’s essential to take care of it properly to ensure it heals correctly and looks great for years to come. Proper tattoo aftercare is crucial to maintain the quality of your tattoo, and we are here to guide you through the process.

After gathering data for days, our team of tattoo experts has compiled an easy-to-follow guide on properly caring for your new tattoo.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the TRADITIONAL HEALING method and the SECOND SKIN/TATTOO FILM method.

Let’s dive in and learn how to take care of your new tattoo:

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: TRADITIONAL METHOD

  • Remove the bandage wrapping after a few hours.
  • Wash your tattoo with mild, unscented soap and use lukewarm to warm water. Be sure to remove all plasma and excess ink.
  • Gently pat dry with a clean paper towel. NEVER rub dry a healing tattoo.
  • Apply a THIN layer of ointment.
  • Using a paper towel, blot off ALL excess ointment. Your new tattoo shouldn’t look wet with the ointment. For the next 10-15 minutes plasma will seep out of the tattoo. Continue to pat dry until the seeping stops.
  • For the first 3 nights (at night only) wash your tattoo and pat dry. Re-wrap in plastic wrap WITHOUT ointment. When you wake up, wash your tattoo again and follow the above instructions.
  • DO NOT continue to wrap your tattoo during the daytime, or after the first 3 nights.
  • Apply the ointment 2-3 times a day, with clean hands. Continue the ointment process until the tattoo has finished peeling.

Your tattoo should peel after one week and fully heal after two weeks if you follow these instructions.

Stop your tattoo aftercare routine and consult a medical professional if any signs or symptoms develop, such as redness, pain, swelling, warmth, fever, pus, green/yellow discharge with a bad smell, a rash, or a bad smell coming from the tattoo.

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: SECOND SKIN/TATTOO FILM METHOD

  • Remove the bandage wrapping after a few hours.
  • Wash your tattoo with a mild, unscented soap and use lukewarm to warm water to remove all plasma and excess ink.
  • After that, gently pat dry the tattooed area with a clean paper towel. NEVER rub dry a healing tattoo.
  • Make sure the area is completely dry before applying the film.
  • Cut the film to fit the tattoo, with a surrounding 1-2 inch margin.
  • Peel off the back of the film and apply gently to the skin, working from the center outwards. IMPORTANT: Avoid air bubbles beneath the film.
  • Replace the film after 24 hours, following the same procedure. It should stay on for 4-5 days.
  • NOTE: It is normal to have fluid buildup under the film. If there are leaks, patch them with a small piece of film or remove the film and replace it with a new one.
  • Do not wear the film for longer than 4-5 days.
  • After 4-5 days, gently peel the film from one corner, pulling parallel to the plane of your body. DO NOT pull the film upwards. Warm water can help remove strong adhesive bonds.
  • After removing the film, the tattoo may be very dry and could peel. Use ointment to keep it moisturized.
  • Apply a THIN layer of ointment 2-3 times a day, with clean hands. Continue the ointment process until the tattoo has finished peeling.
  • Some people may have a reaction to the adhesive. If this happens, remove the film and use the traditional healing method.

Your tattoo should peel after one week and fully heal after two weeks if you follow these instructions.

Stop your tattoo aftercare routine and consult a medical professional if any signs or symptoms develop, such as redness, pain, swelling, warmth, fever, pus, green/yellow discharge with a bad smell, a rash, or a bad smell coming from the tattoo.

Avoid This

  • Avoid alcohol the day before and the day of your appointment.
  • Don’t shave over a healing tattoo.
  • Do not be on antibiotics at least 1 full week before your appointment
  • Avoid picking, scratching, or peeling your new tattoo.
  • For at least the first month keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not apply sunscreen until tattoo has finished peeling fully.
  • Avoid soaking your tattoo for at least two weeks. No swimming or hot tubs.
  • Avoid clothing or jewelry that could rub against your tattoo.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise for the first 48 hours.
  • Clean gym equipment before using it to avoid the risk of infection.
  • ALWAYS wash your hands before touching your healing tattoo.
  • Wear loose clothing to avoid rubbing the tattooed area.
  • ALWAYS consult with your artist before using numbing cream.
  • Take a shower before your session.

PRO Tips

  • Moderate your caffeine intake on the morning of your appointment.
  • When washing your tattoo, use gentle circular motions and work from the center outwards.
  • ALWAYS pat your tattoo dry with a clean paper towel, and avoid rubbing.
  • Use only your hands to wash your new tattoo, and avoid using washcloths or loofahs.
  • Keep your showers brief to prevent over-exposure to water. For more details, see our article on showering after getting a new tattoo.

Expect This

  • Redness and irritation, as well as swelling, are common for the first few days after getting a tattoo.
  • Itching, peeling, and scabbing are normal, but it’s important not to pick at them to avoid damaging the tattoo.
  • The final stages of tattoo aftercare may involve dryness and flakiness in the tattooed area.
  • Your tattoo may be sensitive to touch during the healing process.
  • It’s possible for some ink to appear to come off when washing or moisturizing the area.
  • The tattoo may experience some discoloration or fading as it heals.

Bottom Line

The tattoo aftercare phase of your new tattoo is crucial for its healing process and long-term appearance. With the proper aftercare instructions, you can ensure that your tattoo heals correctly and looks great for years to come.

Whether you choose the traditional healing method or the film method, make sure to follow the steps carefully and avoid any activities that could irritate your new ink.

Remember to keep your tattoo clean, moisturized, and protected from the sun. And if you experience any signs of infection, consult a medical professional immediately.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your new tattoo with confidence and peace of mind.

FAQ

How long to do aftercare for a tattoo?

You’ll need to take care of your new tattoo for a few weeks to a month. The outer layers of skin heal in about 2-3 weeks, but the lower layers can take 3-4 months to heal completely. By the end of 3 months, your tattoo should look bright and vivid.

When should I start moisturizing my tattoo?

If you’re using the traditional method, you can start moisturizing within the first day after getting your tattoo. But if you’re using the second skin or tattoo film method, you should wait 4-5 days before applying any additional moisturizer or lotion.

Is it better to keep a tattoo moist or dry?

Research shows that it’s better to keep a new tattoo moisturized than letting it dry out. Moisturizing helps prevent scabbing, itching, and protects the tattoo from environmental factors that can interfere with healing. Dry skin can cause cracking and irritation, leading to infection and delaying the healing process. For more details on the topic, see our article on dry healing tattoos vs moist healing.

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