Many tattoo artists have their own way of recommending aftercare which can lead to confusion. Because I offer my clients one free touch-up within the year of their tattoo, it is important they follow my aftercare, as improper care may void their free touch-up.
Bandages Some people’s skin may be sensitive/react to the bandage’s adhesive. This may look like a red line surrounding the outside perimeter of the bandage, or in severe cases welting. Most people don’t have any reaction. If you do find you are becoming sensitive to it, please carefully remove the bandage sooner than later. (Even if it is before the recommended minimum 24-hour mark.)
How long do I leave the bandage on? It is crucial to leave the bandage on for a minimum of 24 hours. Leave it on for up to 3-5 days. During this time, it is normal to see a small build-up of fluid under the bandage. This is a mix of plasma, and excess ink. Don’t worry it is not your tattoo coming off.
Bandage removal It is easiest to remove the bandage in the shower. Remove it slowly, and avoid a ripping motion, as it may remove forming scabs, or tear the skin. Next, use a clean dry towel, or disposable towel, pat dry (not rub) the area.
When to moisturize If you kept the bandage on for 3-5 days, moisturize once the bandage has been removed, the area is cleaned, and allowed to air dry for at least 5 minutes. *If you needed to take the bandage off sooner due to adhesive irritation, wait 2-3 days to allow the tattoo to dry before attempting to apply lotion.
Lotion Applying lotion once to twice daily. Below are some reasons to keep your tattoo moisturized.
Helps with tattoo itching · Prevent tattoo cracking · Prevent tattoo cracking · Assist with tattoo peeling issues · Keep the skin hydrated and healthy · Assist with tattoo flaking and scabbing · Prevent the area from becoming too dry Promoting new skin cells · Faster healing.
What to use for Lotion Use only non-abrasive, fragrance-free, water-based lotions. AVOID OIL-BASED LOTIONS, as they don’t allow the tattoo to breathe. Apply a small amount of moisturizer so the area is a bit shiny. Do not cake it on as it may clog the healing pores and not let the area breathe. There are many safe brands and options for lotions. The two commonly recommended moisturizers within the tattoo community are “Aveeno’s Active Naturals” (The green bottle with NO added shea butter.) and/or “Eucerin’s Aquaphor, Healing Ointment”.
Healing time! Tattoos take several months to fully heal with the first 3 weeks being the most important, and the first 24 hours being the most crucial. For the full three weeks of healing use non-scented soap once to twice a day on the tattooed area. The most important part of tattoo aftercare is keeping the area clean and dry. During the three-week time avoid -
Tanning beds · Excess sweating · Swimming/Hot Tubs · Pressure on the area · Steam rooms/Saunas · Wearing tight clothesBaths (Showering is fine) · Sun exposure (within reason) · Pets licking/interacting with the area.
Infection Infection is not super common, but something to be aware of as bacteria is all around us and there is no such thing as no risk. Taking care of your tattoo while is it healing is the best way to avoid possible infection. It is normal for your tattoo to be sore, and have some redness, scabbing, itching, bruising, and some ‘leakage’. (“Leakage” is clear, or light-yellow plasma.) As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me sooner rather than later.
REMEMBER Your tattoo is an open wound. Keep it clean, and moisturized, allow it to dry, and let it breathe. Do not itch, pick, rub, or scratch it. Your tattoo is an investment, take care of it!