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Tattoo aftercare: 5 tips to take care of your new tattoo

General Skincare

To ensure that your fresh tattoo is something you can be proud of, it is important to take proper care during the healing process. Follow these steps to ensure your tattoo remains in perfect condition:

  1. It is essential to ensure that your artist covers your newly inked tattoo with a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage.
  2. After 24 hours, carefully remove the bandage and wash the fresh tattoo with an antimicrobial soap and water. Ensure to pat it dry afterwards.
  3. Apply a layer of antibacterial or Vaseline ointment twice daily and refrain from applying additional bandages.
  4. It is recommended to wash the area of the tattoo twice daily with soap and water, followed by a gentle patting dry with a clean paper towel before reapplying an antibacterial or Vaseline ointment.
  5. Once the area is dry and clean, you can now apply a moisturizer or ointment in order to maintain moisture levels.

It is recommended to repeat the process for a period of two to four weeks. Additionally, wearing clothes that may stick to the tattoo should be avoided as well as swimming and exposure to direct sunlight for at least two weeks. To preserve the ink, taking cool showers is encouraged, as scalding hot water can both cause pain and cause fading of the tattoo. It is recommended that during the daylight hours individuals use a sunscreen containing at least 7% zinc oxide. Individuals should also consider covering exposed areas with clothing or a bandage.

It is not uncommon for a tattoo to scab or form hard layers; however, it is important to refrain from picking, scratching, or peeling it. Doing so can lead to an infection and potentially cause the color to be removed. If there is concern regarding infection or abnormal healing, it is advisable to seek medical attention.


More Aftercare

Upon leaving the tattoo parlor, your ink will appear vibrant and lustrous. However, these effects are not permanent; the tattoo may begin to fade over time. To keep it looking its best, sunscreen with an SPF rating of 45 or higher must be applied whenever going outdoors, especially during the summer months.

It is recommended to moisturize daily, especially on areas of the body such as hands, which can lead to rapid fading.


Tattoo aftercare by day

The speed of healing for a fresh tattoo depends on the size and complexity of the design. Larger tattoos are likely to remain red and swollen for longer periods due to the greater trauma caused to the skin.

Day 1

Upon completion of the tattoo appointment, a bandage or plastic wrap will be applied to the area. After a few hours, the cover can be removed.

It is recommended that you consult your tattoo artist for specific guidance on how long to keep the tattoo covered. The amount of time may vary depending on the size and type of the tattoo. Some artists suggest keeping the tattoo covered for only 1-2 hours.

Upon removal of the bandage, one may observe fluid discharging from their newly acquired tattoo. This is an expected occurrence and typically consists of blood, plasma (the colorless portion of blood), and additional ink. Mild irritation and redness may be experienced in the area, as well as a slight increase in temperature when touched.

It is important to ensure that your hands are clean before washing the fresh tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. To aid in the healing process, it is recommended to apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer afterwards. The covering should be left off in order to properly facilitate healing.

Days 2 to 3

Once the healing process has started, your tattoo may appear to have a duller and cloudier look. As this occurs, scabs will begin to form on the area of the tattoo.

It is recommended that you wash your tattoo once or twice daily, and use a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer for optimal results.

When washing your hands, you may notice some ink residue entering the sink. This is likely an excess of ink from your skin.

Days 4 to 6

The redness should begin to diminish.

It is likely that you will observe light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs should be less dense than those typically obtained from lacerations, and they may protrude slightly. It is important to refrain from picking at scabs, as this can lead to scarring.

It is recommended to cleanse the tattooed area at least once or twice daily with a gentle, fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.

Days 6 to 14

The calluses have solidified and will begin to shed.

It is important to refrain from picking or attempting to remove tattoos. Doing so can lead to ink removal, resulting in potential scarring. Instead, allow the tattoo to naturally wear off over time.

Your skin may be feeling quite itchy at this point. To relieve the itch, we recommend gently applying a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer several times a day.

If your tattoo still appears inflamed and tender to the touch, it could be indicative of an infection. It is important to return to your tattoo artist or seek medical attention from a doctor in order to properly address the issue.

Days 15 to 30

At the end of the healing process, most large flakes should have disappeared, and scabs will begin to fade. There may still be some dead skin visible, however this should disappear over time.

The tattooed area may appear dry and dull. Moisturizing should be continued until the skin appears hydrated once more.

It is expected that the outer layers of skin should have healed after two to three weeks. However, the lower layers may need up to four months before they fully recover.

At the conclusion of your third month, it is expected that the tattoo will appear as vibrant and clear as the artist initially intended.


Why aftercare matters

A tattoo is more than simply a form of art and an expression of personal style. It also involves the medical procedure of using a needle to inject ink into the skin.

When the skin is open, there is a risk of developing scarring and infections.

Proper tattoo aftercare is essential to ensure that your tattoo heals properly and to avoid any potential complications. Both you and your chosen tattoo artist play important roles in this process; it is vital to select a licensed and reputable artist, as well as to follow their recommended tattoo aftercare routine at home.

It can be difficult to determine the proper care for your tattoo, as many states do not require tattoo artists to include aftercare instructions. Additionally, those states that do require instructions allow the artist to choose which information is provided.

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