Everything You Need to Know About Tattoo Aftercare

Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience, but it doesn’t stop when you leave the tattoo studio. Properly caring for your new ink is just as important as selecting the perfect design and artist – without proper aftercare, you won’t enjoy all those vibrant colours for long! To ensure that every step of your journey towards beautiful body art is enjoyable and successful, we provide everything you need about tattoo aftercare. From what products to use (and which ones not to!), how often you should be doing specific tasks, pain relief strategies, and more – buckle up and jump into this helpful guide!

What is the best aftercare for a tattoo?

After getting a tattoo, your skin will go through various stages of healing. It’s important to be aware of these stages and know what to expect in order to properly care for your new tattoo.
Immediate Tattoo Aftercare-
Right after getting inked, your tattoo artist will clean the area and apply ointment and a bandage to protect the tattoo from bacteria. It’s important to follow their instructions and leave the bandage on for the recommended time (usually a few hours). Once you remove the bandage, gently wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and mild soap to remove any excess ointment or blood.
Scabbing and Peeling-
After a few days, your tattoo will begin to scab. It’s important not to pick or scratch at these scabs, as they protect the healing skin underneath. The scabs may also start to peel off, revealing new, vibrant skin and possibly causing some itching. Do not scratch or pick at the peeling skin – instead, lightly moisturize with a fragrance-free and dye-free lotion to alleviate any discomfort.
Healing Process-
The healing process can take anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on the size and location of your tattoo. During this time, it’s important to keep your tattoo clean by gently washing it twice a day with mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid swimming or soaking in water for the first two weeks, as this can cause infections. Also, avoid wearing tight or abrasive clothing around the tattooed area to prevent irritation.
Touch-Ups-
After your tattoo has fully healed, you may notice some areas that need touch-ups. This is normal and usually happens due to the skin not taking ink evenly during the initial session. Consult with your tattoo artist about scheduling a touch-up appointment to ensure your tattoo looks its best.

Products to Use for Tattoo Aftercare

When it comes to products to use for aftercare, always consult with your tattoo artist first. They may have specific recommendations and instructions based on their preferred methods. However, some common products that are safe and effective for tattoo aftercare include:

  • Unscented and dye-free lotion or moisturizer
  • Antibacterial ointment, such as A&D or Aquaphor
  • Mild soap or cleanser
  • Sunscreen (after your tattoo is fully healed)

what not to do after a tattoo?

Here are some things you should avoid when taking care of your new ink:

Dry Healing a Tattoo:

Dry skin can cause itching, scabs, and even infections.

Moisturize using a suitable tattoo balm to avoid these issues.

Using Abrasive Items:

Avoid using rough items like loofahs that can harm your tattoo.

Gently clean with your hands and tattoo foam soap.

Avoiding Submergence:

Keep your new tattoo away from baths, pools, and hot tubs.

Lukewarm showers are safe; avoid direct water flow on the tattoo.

Using Excessive Ointment:

Apply a thin layer of moisturizer; too much traps bacteria.

Twice or thrice daily application is optimal.

Scratching the Tattoo:

Refrain from scratching, as it can cause scarring and infections.

Pat the area gently or apply more moisturizer to relieve itching.

Skipping Sunscreen:

Protect your tattoo from the sun with SPF 30 or higher.

Sun exposure can damage your tattoo’s color and cause pain.

Exercising Vigorously:

Intense workouts can irritate and prolong healing.

Rest a few days, especially for larger tattoos.

Wearing Open Sandals:

Shield your foot tattoos from dirt; avoid open sandals.

Opt for loose, close-toed shoes instead.

Shaving Over the Tattoo:

Avoid shaving over your new tattoo; it can cause infection.

Allow the tattoo to heal before shaving the area.

Touching the Tattoo:

Don’t pick at scabs or touch your new tattoo excessively.

Keep admirers at bay to prevent potential infections.

Remember, keeping your new tattoo clean and protected is crucial for a smooth healing process.

Products to Avoid for Tattoo Aftercare-

While there are many products that can help with tattoo aftercare, there are also some that should be avoided. These include:

  • Petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline
  • Fragranced or dyed lotions and moisturizers
  • Harsh soaps or cleansers with exfoliating ingredients
  • Chlorine, saltwater, and other harsh chemicals found in swimming pools or hot tubs

Pain Relief Strategies-

Getting a tattoo can be painful, but there are ways to alleviate the discomfort during and after the process. Some pain relief strategies include:

  • Taking breaks during the tattoo session
  • Using numbing cream or spray beforehand (consult with your artist first)
  • Applying a cold pack or ice pack to the area afterward
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, as directed by a doctor

Final Thoughts-

Taking care of your tattoo is crucial for maintaining its appearance and meaning over time. Following tattoo aftercare instructions from your tattoo artist and using safe products are essential steps in preserving your ink. Even after healing, consistent care is key: moisturize and shield it from the sun to keep it vibrant. Consulting your artist for concerns during healing is vital.

Your tattoo journey doesn’t end at healing; ongoing care matters. Regular moisturizing and sun protection maintain its vibrancy and safeguard against damage. Monitoring for issues like infections or fading is important. For tattoos in stretch-prone areas, extra care and touch-ups may be needed.

Tattoos are personal expressions, and aftercare should fit your needs. Consult your artist for tailored advice. Proper care ensures your tattoo remains a proud part of you. It’s not just about looks; aftercare prevents infections and ensures your tattoo stays meaningful for years.

This holistic approach to aftercare emphasizes ongoing maintenance and artist consultations for individualized care. Following these steps guarantees a beautiful, lasting tattoo. Enjoy the journey and embrace your new ink!