Tattoo Aftercare

Everything begins at the completion of your new tattoo! In order to ensure your tattoo stays beautiful for years to come—and for you to stay safe—it’s imperative you take care of your tattoo. I’ve put together a guide to help you with your new tattoo’s healing process. I offer free touch-ups to all clients within 3 months of their tattoo – provided aftercare is followed. So, read on to find out how to have a beautiful tattoo not just on the day of your tattoo, but for years to come…

Day 1

  • You will leave the studio with your tattoo covered up. If you have Dermalize on, you can leave this on for 24 hours and then follow this advice as normal.
  • When you get home (or after 24 hours if Dermalize has been applied), wash your hands with antibacterial soap and carefully remove the dressing from your tattoo. Do not peel or tear your dressing off of your tattoo – soak with warm water as you gently remove it if needed.
  • Wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and unscented antibacterial soap. Do not scrub or exfoliate your tattoo with anything.
  • Use your hands to gently rinse your tattoo – do not spray water directly onto your tattoo as it is at its most delicate stage.
  • Allow your tattoo to air-dry or pat gently with kitchen towel to dry. Towels can harbour bacteria and should not come into contact with your tattoo – your tattoo is an open wound at this stage so the utmost care must be taken!
  • Tattoos heal best when exposed to the air – oxygen helps the healing process. Your skin is fantastic at healing itself and you don’t need to much for it to do what it’s made for!
  • Do not re-wrap your tattoo with anything unless you have been specifically advised to do otherwise. You may be advised to re-wrap your tattoo if your job or hobbies could expose your tattoo to bacteria – if you are unsure, please ask.
  • Do not apply moisturiser just yet! Your tattoo doesn’t need anything to help it along the way at this stage in the healing process.
  • Put clean sheets onto the bed before you sleep in it with your fresh tattoo. If needed, sleep on a clean towel and change it as it becomes soiled.

Day 2

  • Wash your tattoo in the same way as day 1, 2-3 times a day.
  • Keep your tattoo away from all potential sources of infection and prevent it coming into contact with things – animals, other people, sofas, dirty bedsheets.
  • Do not re-bandage your tattoo.
  • If you can keep your tattoo uncovered, do so (different advice is given if your lifestyle means you need to keep it covered – enquire if unsure). Avoid clothing that will rub or chafe against your tattoo – loose fitting clothing is best.
  • Since your tattoo is still an open wound at this stage, there is no need to moisturise. Your tattoo will start to dry out and be less gooey – this is what we want.
  • If your clothing sticks to your tattoo, wet the area with lukewarm water and allow it to soak for a few minutes. It should slide off with ease – if not, repeat the process until it does slide off.

Day 3 Until Healed

  • Continue much the same as day 2, BUT you can now begin to moisturise your tattoo!
  • After each time you wash your tattoo, apply a thin layer of unscented moisturiser. I recommend “CeraVe Moisturising Lotion” – it’s inexpensive and effective. If you have a preference for a particular product, please let me know on the day of your appointment and I will look into whether or not your preferred product is appropriate.
  • Do not use antiseptic cream, Vaseline/petroleum jelly, or anything heavily fragranced on your tattoo. There are many products that are unsuitable to use on a fresh tattoo and I’m not able to list them all here – if you are unsure, just ask.
  • Continue to wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day, followed by moisturiser, until the scabs are gone from your tattoo. This is usually around the two week mark but can be longer for heavy blackwork. If scabs still remain after 2 weeks, get in touch.

Things to Remember

  • When sleeping, never share a bed with a pet and do not let animals (including humans) come into contact with your tattoo. This is absolutely vital until your tattoo has healed.
  • Do not have a bath, use saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, or go swimming for 4 weeks after your tattoo or until it has completely healed.
  • Stay hydrated – water is great to help your tattoo healed, and is good for your skin in general.
  • Stay out of the sun until your tattoo has completely healed.
  • Never scratch or pick your tattoo.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or sweating for the first two weeks after your tattoo – 4 weeks if chafing in the area of your tattoo is likely to occur.
  • Infections, while extremely rare, can occur in a tattoo. This is why aftercare is of the utmost importance. A tattoo that is not cared for properly can become infected. If you notice anything that you are unsure about, reach out. Redness and heat in a specific area, or small areas with sores that weep or have a white blob in them are signs of an untreated infection and need immediate medical attention – if you experience this, contact your medical provider on the same day or 111 if your medical provider is closed, and they will advise. Rest assured, infection is extremely rare and if you follow the aftercare instructions, you’ll be well on your way to having a fast healing and beautiful tattoo that stands the test of time!

Long-Term Tattoo Care

  • Use high SPV sun block after your tattoo has healed any time it is exposed to the sun to ensure the longevity of your tattoo (note: sun block needs to be applied more than once per day, check the instructions as this will differ from product to product). Thin clothing doesn’t protect your skin very well from UV rays, so err on the side of caution and apply sun cream under your clothes in this case.
  • Keep your tattoo moisturised to keep it looking fresh and your skin happy in the long term.