9 Essential Tips to Tattoo Aftercare

You go through all the effort of picking the artist, design and endure the hours of pain when getting a tattoo; why wouldn’t you go the extra mile and take care of your tattoo after it’s all healed?

I want to make sure your latest ink addition and the one that has been covering your body for the past five years looks just as good as the day we placed it on your body 10 years from now.

Immediate Aftercare:

Your artist will most likely have tips that may vary, so listen to their advice first. They’re the artist who knows how to care for their particular tattooing techniques the best, but here are a few basics.

  1. Leave your bandage or tattoo covering on for one to three hours after your tattoo is finished. Your artist will instruct you on exactly how long to keep the bandage there. This process is collecting a lot of the goop, blood, and even ink from the fresh tattoo, so keep it on! You don’t want to ruin any new clothes or overly expose it at first.
  2. Make sure to wash your new tattoo several times a day with a soft, non-scented, antibacterial soap (Dial Soap Gold is a great brand to use) to keep it clean and avoid potential infection. Make sure to do this for two to three weeks or until the tattoo is more or less healed. Remember, never touch your tattoo unless you have just washed your hands!
  3. For the first few days (we suggest three days) after washing the tattoo make sure to apply an ointment to keep it hydrated. Great ointments to use that can be picked up at a drug store are A+D or Aquaphor. Use this sparingly! A thin layer is better than drowning the tattoo in goo and will help it heal faster.
  4. After the first few days of using ointment switch to a non-scented lotion after you wash your tattoo. Aveeno is a great brand available at drug stores and comes in both large bottles as well as convenient travel sizes, which are perfectly sized to fit in your pocket or purse.
  5. For the first two weeks avoid wearing tight clothing that might rub up against your tattoo as well as sleeping on your tattoo so you don’t agitate the healing process.
  6. While the tattoo is healing avoid going into large bodies of water (pool, ocean, hot tubs, etc.), the gym or activities that lead to excessive amounts of sweating, and exposure to the sun for the first two weeks. This could damage the tattoo in the healing process. Showers are fine as long as they are quick and not overly hot. You don’t want to burn your new ink!
  7. Continue this process until the tattoo is healed, and remember, don’t pick, peal or scratch any scabbing or hard layers. These hard layers are normal and picking them off could damage or remove color.

Long-Term Aftercare:

Long-term aftercare is just as important as short-term. The more you care about how you treat your skin, the longer your tattoo will uphold it’s sheen.

  1. Your tattoos will lighten up after they have fully healed. That’s normal as the layers of skin are growing back over the ink and accepting it within your skin. But to keep a solid coloring, always make sure to put on sunscreen when going outside, especially in the summer. SPF 45 or higher and sunscreen for children are always great at protecting your skin and several tattoo aftercare brands make sun blocks designed for tattoos.
  2. Always keep your tattoos moisturized, especially in areas prone to fading like hands, feet, elbows, etc. This will help keep the tattoo in tact longer and less prone to fading over the years.

There are many brands out there that offer tattoo aftercare products such as H2Ocean and Hustle Butter. So if you don’t want to go the drug store route, these brands are available for you and your ink! You pay a lot for a quality tattoo, so treat it like the fine piece of art that it is and make it last!