How To Care For A Tattoo


Congratulations! Your tattoo is now fully healed and you can now go back to living life normally (albeit with a few more precautions to preserve your tatt). So, here are some long-term aftercare tips to make your skin art last forever!

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions | Tattoo Care Day by Day

Over the years, the demand for tattoos has increased enormously, but general knowledge of correct Tattoo Aftercare & Tattoo Maintenance has lacked. This 2021 Tattoo Aftercare guide will help you understand everything there is to know about proper Tattoo Aftercare and Tattoo Maintenance from day one to day 30, no matter where on your body a new tattoo has been inked!

Before getting tattooed, it is important to consider some basic aspects of the tattoo process, such as understanding health concerns and, of course, making sure you get tattooed by an experienced professional tattoo artist. The tattoo artist should make sure that the needles used are sanitary to prevent infection. If you have health conditions, it is always wise to consult a doctor before getting tattooed.


A Detailed Understanding of The Tattoo Recovery Process

Now that you’ve been inked, you can’t wait to flaunt your new style. But, wait, your skin has encountered trauma and it’s important you give it the proper tattoo care day by day to recover. Learning the Tattoo Aftercare rules and understanding the healing process depends on the size of your tattoo and the intricate details of the tattoo design. Also, there is variation in recovery due to skin type, diet, hydration (how much water you drink), and previous skin damage from the sun or skin damage. Every person is different, so your tattoo artist is the best person to consult with for your skin type. Generally speaking, a large tattoo will remain swollen and red for an extended period. Premium quality Tattoo aftercare ointment should be applied to ensure that your skin has the nutrients it needs to recover faster. Follow the tattoo aftercare directions in this guide to avoid tattooed skin infection, you need to hydrate the tattooed area with high-quality tattoo aftercare products and follow professional guidelines. Learning how often to moisturize a tattoo is easy . The weather and temperature of where you’re located can also affect your tattooed skin.

Avoid any direct sunlight on the tattoo for at least one week. It’s important to note that d irect sunlight is never advised. Tattoos age if it is direct sunlight for the entire life of the tattoo. The more sun, the more it fades and the pigment will spread or fade with age. The key to a crisp and bright tattoo is hydration and daily moisturizer. However, after 2-3 weeks your tattoo can be exposed to sunlight, but be sure to apply a good tattoo sunscreen to help minimize sun damage that leads to tattoo fading . Generally, there are five broad stages of a typical tattoo recovery process. If you follow your tattoo artist’s daily guidelines and what we’ve listed below, the recovery process should be faster with minimal side effects.

Tattoo Aftercare

Day 1 after getting a Tattoo:

As soon as you get tattooed, the traditional process is to come home with plastic wrap covering the wound, however modern technology such as tagaderm or Ink Guard Spray on Bandage have found advanced ways to bio hack the recovery process to avoid some of the more painful and long healing time that the traditional method entails. We have a new article coming soon that goes into detail on these new tattoo recovery methods. However, for this article we’ll focus on the traditional plastic wrap process as it’s most common. In most cases, the plastic wrap comes off easily. Similar tattoo aftercare searches resemble:

  • Tattoo aftercare tape
  • Tattoo aftercare plastic wrap
  • Tattoo aftercare bandage
  • tattoo aftercare adhesive
  • tattoo aftercare patch

After removing the pack, you might see leaking liquids. Don’t be scared or grossed out by this, as this is normal and expected. The liquid is a mixture of plasma, blood, and the extra ink that is inadvertently in our skin. It is recommended that you wash the area of the tattooed skin first with warm water. Always use a high-quality Tattoo Aftercare Soap , and afterwards be sure to gently pat dry with a paper towel or cloth that absorbs water and moisture. After all of the moisture is absorbed, keep the area dry for 20 to 25 minutes. As soon as your skin is dry from the wash, you should apply a very small amount of professional Tattoo Aftercare Cream but be sure to let the area have have plenty of air and ventilation. This process is a well known tattoo aftercare routine, and can help your skin recover faster.

Day 2 and Day 3 after getting a Tattoo:

On your second day, you will see the color of your tattoo becoming dull. Don’t worry about the gloss. This looks dull because your skin is gradually recovering. Once the skin is fully healed, you will see that the tattoo with its normal color. in all its glory. However, you may also see scabs forming around the area of the tattooed skin. Washing in the morning and evening speeds up your recovery process. Remember to gently pat dry your skin thoroughly after washing, as this is essential. Apply Tattoo Aftercare Cream three to four times a day. Do not apply excessive cream as the scab will become thick, and you will suffocate the wound. This is why it’s especially important to use a specific tattoo aftercare oil or cream to help ensure you don’t clog your pores and create an overly moist area primed for infection. Apply your tattoo aftercare cream in a small amount three to four times a day. Make sure that you don’t over-moisturize your tattoo, but if you do, here are instructions on how to fix an over moisturized tattoo .

Day 4 – Day 6 after getting a Tattoo:

On your fourth day, you will see redness fade as the swollen area returns to normal. You may witness slight abrasions around your tattoo area, try your best not to pick your scab, which is very important! Picking a scab will also pull color out, expose the tattoo to infection and can result in permanent scars. Again, if there is any weird redness or swelling arising from the area, consult your tattoo artist. Gently apply the Tattoo aftercare ointment once or twice a day to speed up the recovery process.

Day 7 – Day 14 after getting a Tattoo:

While the sixth day is over, the scabs become hard and begin to peel off by themselves. Do not take the scab, as this can lead to exfoliation of the inked area and leave a permanent scar. While the skin itches, it’s safe to apply Tattoo Aftercare Products so it has the nutrients it needs to recover faster.

Day 15 – Day 30 after getting a Tattoo:

Now that you have reached the point where you see your tattooed area completely recovered from the outside, you should remember that the bottom layer of your skin still needs some recovery. Apply the Tattoo Aftercare Cream further and clean it with trusted Tattoo Soap to ensure that your skin condition returns to normal. By the end of the fourteenth day, almost all flakes will have disappeared and you will have an area of dead skin that you will need to clean from time to time. The skin can still look dry and you need to moisturize your skin with the Tattoo Aftercare Cream . In the second and third week, you will see the outer layer of your skin completely recovered, but it will be the end of the third week when you will see the color of the tattoo become vivid and bright.

Things To Avoid During The Tattoo Recovery Process

  • Avoid touching the tattooed skin area
  • Avoid wearing clothing that may cause excessive rubbing to the area during the recovery process
  • Avoid exposure to the sun,especiallyin the first month after getting a new tattoo
  • Avoid submerging the area of your tattooed skin in water for at least 2 weeks
  • Avoid touching the area of your skin, even if it is itchy, applying Tattoo aftercare ointment can help alleviate itchiness
  • Avoid removing the plastic for the first few hours

A detailed description of your tattoo care is mentioned above. However, when it comes to the tattoo recovery process, the rate of a tattoo recovery can vary depending on the condition of the skin and the specific area of your body where you have inked yourself. Each skin has a different degree of sensitivity, which contributes to the recovery process of a fresh tattoo. It is important to note that the recovery process also varies from person to person, as a person’s skin condition and type can be very different from one another. So don’t compare your recovery process to one of your tattooed friends.

Tattoos are painful. Before you get tattooed, understand that some areas are more painful and sensitive than others. Eat a nutritious meal before your get tattooed and avoid alcohol, controlled substances and coffee 24 hours leading up to your tattoo appointment. In the picture below, the various body parts are described with a pain indicator that describes how much pain you have to endure when getting tattooed in that spot. But don’t be scared of the pain factor, because the greatest pain you have to endure is negligible and some of people even find it tickling rather than painful. Tattooists sometimes use a tattoo numbing cream or tattoo numbing spray for some clients that are sensitive to the pain, although some tattoo enthusiasts believe pain is a ritual of passage and numbing products should not be used.

Tattoo Pain Chart

As you can see in the illustration, there are various body parts on which you can get inked. It is important to understand the process of tattooing after care and tattooing the specific body part in which you get tattooed.


  • Head Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: While you’re preparing to get a head tattoo, you need to know that the process of recovering a head tattoo is delicate. Head Tattoo Aftercare is important to take seriously as this is the area of your skin where hair follicles grow and this makes the process very different from any other tattooed body part. After the first few days of having your head tattooed, the cleansing process is fairly easy, but when the hair starts to grow, the area of the colored skin becomes prickly. This not only causes itching, but also pushes the ink upwards. Applying head tattoo aftercare products can also be difficult as hair begins to grow in the area. Keeping your head tat clean with Tattoo Soap and applying Tattoo aftercare ointment sparsely is essential, and must be done carefully. This helps the scabs come out and you may see exfoliation of dandruff-like colorful particles. Be gentle when washing, and this will assist the traumatized skin to recover easily.
    • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @antoniamackotodisco

    Head Tattoo Aftercare

    • Neck Tattoo Aftercare Instructions : Neck tattoos are the most visible forms of tattooing. Most of the designs are done in the nape of the neck, which is a very sensitive part of the muscle. It’s important to know that a neck tattoo hurts more than any other part of the body because the skin around the neck is very thin. The skin is very close to the bone and is padded by thin muscle layers, allowing the needles to reach closer to the bone. It is also important to note that the skin around the neck is constantly in motion, which makes the recovery process longer. By rubbing clothing constantly, the risk of itching can increase from the friction. Careful application of Neck Tattoo AftercareProducts will ensure that your tattoo can properly recover, and you’re less likely to have issues during the recovery process.
      • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @victor_chill

      Neck Tattoo Aftercare

      • Throat Tattoo Aftercare Instructions : To ensure optimum safety of your throat tattoo, it’s important to understand that just like the front area of your neck, the back of the neck is a very delicate area. The process of recovering will take time and if you have long hair, it’s always advisable to tie up your hair so it’s not constantly rubbing against your neck tattoo. When necessary, apply Tattoo Aftercare Cream to help ease the itchy sensation. These Tattoo Aftercare Creams will also help the skin stay moisturized and should help to fuel faster recovery. While going out of your home, try to avoid direct exposure to the sun. It’s not advisable to spend excess amounts of time in the sun, but if you do be sure to use a strong Tattoo Sunscreen . A good amount of care and application of premium quality Tattoo Ointments will help you get the shine and the color of the tattoo as intended by the artist.
        • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @dylanwebertattoos

        Back Of Neck Tattoo Aftercare

        • StomachTattoo Aftercare Instructions: A stomach tattoo is a very unique piece and there are certain precautions you need to take if you are to learn the right methods for stomach tattoo aftercare. Be sure to remain aware of your body and understand that the stomach area has loosely placed muscles and folds while you are sitting or bending. In the first few days after a stomach tattoo, continuous bending of your skin can cause damage. However, the damage is minimal and can be managed if precautions are taken. Always use high-quality Tattoo Ointments to moisturize the tattoo, which will support the recovery process and, if done correctly, leave no scars. As you finish getting tattooed and are on your way home, you need to prepare for the unpleasant but manageable discomfort you will encounter. Stomach tattoo’s brings a medium level of discomfort and will take some time for the area of your stomach to return to normal. Patience and caution are your best friend in this scenario. Like other areas of the skin, you need to carefully wash your colored area with delicate Tattoo Soap . Dry the area and let it gradually recover.
          • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @alanpadillaarte

          Stomach Tattoo Aftercare

          • Lip Tattoo PMU Aftercare Instructions: Once you have finished your lip tattoo, you can see the colored area of your lip darker and bolder, but eventually the color fades. You will have to wait a few weeks to get your true color back. The entire recovery process can take 2-4 weeks, and keeping your lips dry can be a challenge. In the first few days, you will see redness and swelling. Over time, the redness and swelling will disappear. On the first day, make sure that you do not touch your lips and if you need to touch your lips, make sure that your hands are washed. Dab your lips with Tattoo Ointment and do not ice your lips! The process of dabbing your lips should be done two to three times and you must (try) to make sure that your skin remains as dry as possible. If you want to drink, make sure that you use a straw for the first three to four days. During this time you have to stay away from spicy and salty food. Kissing is not advised until the scab fully heals.

          Lip Tattoo Aftercare

          • Finger TattooAftercare Instructions: When you get a tattoo on your finger or hand, you need to be very careful. Hand tattoos are very beautiful and visibility is very high, but at the same time tattoo maintenance is also an important factor to consider. It is recommended that you wash your hands with Tattoo Soap three to four times a day to prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses. You will need to apply a small amount of the Tattoo Aftercare Cream from time to time to ensure that your tattoo remains moisturized so that it can heal properly. It is important to note that your hand is mostly exposed to the sun and this increases UV radiation exposure. Extreme UV radiation exposure can lead to ink fading. Specially manufactured Tattoo Sunscreen can be used to help shield sunlight, although you should try to keep the fresh tattoo out of the sun for at least a week.
            • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @mayonaize

            Finger Tattoo Aftercare

            • Hand Tattoo Aftercare and Wrist Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: The aftercare for your hand & wrist tattoo is the same as for your fingers. It’s i mportant to note that Finger tattoos may fade or spread over time, especially if it is near the palm area. As the whole, hands need to be used frequently, so it is necessary to clean your hand from time to time with Tattoo Soap and apply the Tattoo Aftercare Cream . As your hand is almost always exposed to the sun, do your best to keep your fresh ink out of the sun for at least 1 week. Applying Tattoo Sunscreen is highly recommended if you must be in the sun with fresh ink. During the recovery days, be very careful and aware to protect your hand as best you can. The first few days swell and redness disappears within a week and the color of your tattoo normalizes. Ensure that you do not contaminate the area of your tattoo and dry the area after cleaning. You need to clean your hand at least three to four times a day to ensure a sanitary recovery experience.
              • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @jamesstrickland

              Hand Tattoo Aftercare

              • Butt Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: A butt tattoo can be difficult to manage. While you have the butt area of your skin inked, you need to make sure that every time you sit, you do it carefully. The butt area of your skin is more exposed to rubbing because it is covered continuously and every time you sit, it rubs on the surface of your clothing. The recovery process may take longer, but you need to make sure you apply aftercare products frequently. Tattoo Aftercare Products such as Tattoo Ointments must be applied three to four times a day and it is always recommended to wear loose pants for the first week to avoid extreme rubbing of the skin. As the muscles of your skin are weak and lose, you need to make sure you really give yourself adequate time to recover. Initially after having a butt tattoo the area may feel like sunburn, it will gradually recover in 1-2 weeks and you’ll feel more comfortable with it. Now, who gets the pleasure of seeing this masterpiece?
                • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @josephhaefstattooer

                Butt Tattoo Aftercare

                • Calf Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: The calf area of your leg will always be exposed to dirt when walking. If you have a calf tattoo, you must make sure that you cover the area of your colored skin to ensure that the area is not exposed to dirt. Avoid walking on wet surfaces for the first couple weeks until the peels finish. As you apply Tattoo Aftercare Products , make sure that your foot is at rest. Walking barefoot can attract germs and dust that might create scaring, be sure to keep your fresh calf tattoo away from any unsanitary environment.
                  • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @karibarba

                  Calf Tattoo Aftercare

                  • Foot Tattoo Instructions / Ankle Tattooing Instructions: Ankles and feet are equally susceptible to infection if proper care is not taken. Try not to wear tight shoes for at least two to three weeks. You must take special care of your foot and ankle after the tattoo. Don’t get your ankle or foot wet, and it’s advisable to get a tattoo on your foot or ankle during the dry season. Some people avoid getting tattoos during the rainy season, as walking through mud or wet surfaces makes the area of your skin susceptible to infection. Be sure to apply Tattoo aftercare ointment occasionally to help the area recover more quickly.
                    • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @danielrochatat2

                    Foot and Ankle Tattoo Aftercare

                    • Back of the Knee Tattoo Instructions: Skin around the back of the knee is relatively sensitive and this is one of the reasons why they take a long time to recover. Another important challenge that needs to be overcome when it comes to the back of the knee tattoo is that the knee has a joint that folds when we walk. So you need to make sure that the area where the tattoo is done is being thoroughly cleansed with Tattoo Soap and Tattoo Aftercare Cream is applied from time to time. This is the way through which the recovery process can be speeded up. The scabs and the flakes coming out of the area will itch, do your best to not itch! It is recommended that when the scabs start coming out you clean the area to remove the dead cells.
                      • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @jamieschene

                      Back of Knee Tattoo Aftercare

                      • Knee Tattooing Guide: A knee tattoo looks nice, but as with all good things, getting a new tattoo comes with certain challenges. The skin area around the knee is extremely sensitive, making it difficult to get a tattoo. If you bend your knees, the skin folds around your knee, making it difficult when it comes to the recovery process. However, with the use of Tattoo Aftercare Cream regularly, and proper care for the area so that your skin can recover at a normal pace. So if you get a knee tattoo, make sure you don’t bend the knee too much in the first few days. Read a book, relax and let your body heal!
                        • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @chueyquintanar

                        Knee Tattoo Aftercare

                        • Thigh Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: Because the area of your thigh is sensitive and the muscles are soft, you need to make sure that you follow Thigh Tattoo Aftercare Instructions carefully and allow sufficient time for the area to recover. Be very patient! In the first few days you can see that the recovery process is very slow, but within one to two months the area of your tattoo and skin will be completely recover if you take care of the thigh area and apply Tattoo Ointments from time to time. You need to make sure that the process of cleaning your tattooed skin is frequent and that it is hydrated when it dries is also an essential factor to consider. Here’s some tips on how often to moisturize a tattoo .
                          • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @josephhaefstattooer

                          Thigh Tattoo Aftercare

                          • Quad Tattoo Aftercare Instructions & Leg Tattoo Aftercare: Quad tattoos are some of the most elegantly designed tattoos because the large area can provide your leg with a panoramic view. In most cases, your quad tattoo can often cause stabbing pain when you walk. Most of the time the area of your quads are covered and this can lead to constant rubbing of the skin. Therefore, you need to apply a Tattoo Aftercare Cream when the area is dry to support the tattoo recovery and bring it back to the normal state of your skin.
                            • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @jimsylviatattoo

                            Quad Tattoo Aftercare

                            • Forearm Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: Usually, if you plan to get a tattoo on your forearm, it doesn’t hurt as much because of the strong muscles that remain under your forearms. Forearm tattoos are very common because they hurt less and offer a wide canvas for the artist to design. Instructions for forearm tattoo aftercare vary depending on the size of the tattoo. You may prefer a large tattoo, but you should keep in mind that the time needed for recovery will be longer. However, if you do a small tattoo on your forearm, the recovery process may be shorter. If the forearm tattoo extends over the entire sleeve, you must ensure that you wear sleeveless clothing for a few days so that the clothing does not rub against the skin that was inked. Always use lukewarm water and a reputable Tattoo Soap during the first three weeks when you wash your forearm tattoo. Apply Tattoo Aftercare Cream or Tattoo Ointments at least three to four times a day for the first three weeks.
                              • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @fred_tattoo

                              Forearm Tattoo Aftercare

                              • Back Tattoo Instructions: Before you decide to tattoo your back, you need to take certain precautions and prepare yourself to ensure that the recovery process can be as smooth as possible. The back of your body is prone to pain, especially in the area of your love handles. If you are willing to have your back tattooed, make sure that you are ready to endure some discomfort in the first 2 weeks. Be aware of your body and potential signs of infection. Make sure that after drying the tattoo in the lower back area, you are applying Tattoo Aftercare Cream and always keeping it moist but not excessively moisturizing! If you think you’ve over moisturized we’ve got you covered. Here’s some instruction on how to fix your over moisturized tattoo . You should also make sure that you stay away from the UV radiation from the sun until your back tattoo has completely recovered. Back tattoos might cause your sleeping positions to be temporarily changed. Sleeping on your back is fine, by if possible try sleeping on your side or stomach to avoid pressure and movement during your slumber.
                                • Inkeeze Owner & Artist @carlostorresart

                                Back Tattoo Aftercare

                                • Elbow Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: Getting an elbow tattoo can be a challenge because this is the area of your body that lacks air circulation. You need to make sure that when you get yourself inked in the elbow area you wear clothes that would allow the tattoo to breathe, but also not be in direct sunlight. Of course, be sure to apply a trusted Tattoo aftercare ointment to help the area of your skin recover faster by staying adequately moisturized.
                                  • Inkeeze Owner & Sponsored Artist @franco_vescovi

                                  Elbow Tattoo Aftercare

                                  • Outer Arms Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: The process of recovery for outer arm tattoos can take longer than normal. Like any part of your arm if you are wearing a full sleeve then the area of your arms will be covered and this will lead to rubbing of your cloth against the inked area of your skin. The friction created by rubbing your clothes can lead to an infection that needs to be avoided. Using a proper application of Tattoo Aftercare Products is recommended to keep the tattoo moisturized and healthy while in the tattoo recovery phase.
                                    • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @arlotattoos

                                    Outer Arm Tattoo Aftercare

                                    • Upper Shoulder/Shoulder Tattoo Aftercare Instructions : Shoulder tattoos stretch from the flat blades of your shoulder on your back to the collar bone in the front area. So shoulder tattoo can be subdivided into the upper shoulder tattoo and the front shoulder tattoo. The area of your shoulder can offer you a flat Canvas which is beneficial for the tattoo artist to design various patterns. The upper shoulder tattoo aftercare process is easy as compared to the other parts of the body. Wearing loose clothes is advised, and cleaning your shoulder tattoo with Tattoo Soap and applying Tattoo aftercare ointment will help your skin to recover faster.
                                      • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @alexisvaateteart

                                      Shoulder Tattoo Aftercare

                                      • Ribs Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: The area of your skin around your ribs are soft and are filled with blood vessels. You need to make sure that extra care is taken when it comes to inking the area of your ribs. The blood vessels in that area will lead to swelling and soreness that may take time to recover. Apply Tattoo Aftercare Cream at least 4 to 5 times a day to make sure that the tattoo stays moisturized, and therefore can properly recover.
                                        • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @victorportugal

                                        Ribs Tattoo Aftercare

                                        • Spine Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: A spine tattoo is rad, as the area of your back provides a wide canvas for design. However, you need to know that the area of your spine where you get yourself inked will be hard to reach. For this reason, the process of Spine Tattoo Aftercare may be difficult. It’s suggested to have someone help to apply Tattoo Aftercare Cream properly a few times per day. Like every part of your body, you must take good care of your back tattoo to make sure that it recovers properly. The spine area is covered almost all day. So the application of premium Tattoo Ointments is a necessity.
                                          • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @victorportugal

                                          Spine Tattoo Aftercare

                                          • Chest Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: A Chest tattoo rightly defines the fact that beauty comes with a cost. The wide canvas offers the chest area of the skin being splashed with colors can be beautiful if you are ready to endure pain. This also indicates the fact that the process of recovery will be slow. But don’t worry you have some of the best Tattoo Aftercare Products available in the market that will help you to recover faster.
                                            • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @alexisvaateteart

                                            Chest Tattoo Aftercare

                                            • Ear Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: The ear is the area of your skin that has no bones, but that doesn’t mean it’s not painful! The good news about getting an ear tattoo is that the process of recovering your ear tattoo is faster. That doesn’t mean that you avoid the aftercare part. You need to apply Tattoo Ointments from time to time to make sure that your tattoo stays moisturized, and healthy so it can live a happy (un-infected) life.

                                            Ear Tattoo Aftercare

                                            • Genitals Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: There is a common misconception that genital tattoos are tattoos that are designed in the actual area of your genitals. The area of genital tattoos can be designed in the pelvic area as well. However, this can be considered to be one the most delicate part of the muscles in your body. You need to be extremely careful in the process of tattooing and aftercare with regards to your genitals. The area is mostly covered, and often get sweaty. You need to make sure that the area is cleaned after every three to four hours and a trusted Tattoo Aftercare Cream is applied from time to time.
                                              • Inkeeze Sponsored Artist @josephhaefstattooer

                                              Genitals Tattoo Aftercare

                                              • Face Tattoo Aftercare Instructions, and surrounding areas: The Face is the area of your skin that is always espoused to air and light. However, after getting inked in the area of your face you must do your best to stay out of sunlight for at least 24 hours. It is very essential to wash your face with a gentle Tattoo Soap , and keep it moisturized with a Tattoo Aftercare Cream after the first few days.
                                                • Inkeeze Owner & Artist @carlostorres

                                                Face Tattoo Aftercare

                                                • Armpit Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: Armpits are moist and sweaty especially during the summers. The muscles folds and the skin in the area of your armpit rub to create an itchy feeling. Do your best to keep your fresh armpit tattoo dry, and of course (you guessed it) apply Tattoo Ointments every few hours to maintain nutrients and ‘good’ moisture.
                                                  • @inkeeze Brand Ambassador, @thehannahjensen showing off her armpit piece by @franco_vescovi

                                                  Armpit Tattoo Aftercare

                                                  Commonly Asked Tattoo Aftercare Questions

                                                  How often should I moisturize my tattoo?

                                                  The Process of recovering your tattoo may vary depending on the size of your tattoo, your skin type, your diet, and many other factors. Your tattoo artist will be your best advisor for your individual experience. The process of recovering your tattoo may also vary depending on the size of your tattoo. Generally, it takes a month to recover the upper layer of the tattoo and the underneath layer may take an even longer time. It is suggested that Tattoo Ointments are used 2 to 3 times a day to moisturize your tattoo. Read more about How often to moisturize my tattoo .

                                                  When is my tattoo fully healed?

                                                  Many factors decide the time that is needed for healing your tattoo. Usually, it takes three to four weeks to get the upper layer of your skin healed after you get your tattoo done. In this stage, the scabs start peeling off and you are in your process to recover the layer that is being traumatized the most. However, it is essential to be patient because the underneath layer is not yet healed. The layer underneath your skin will take a much longer time to heal and usually, it takes up to six months to be completely healed. Read more about When is a tattoo fully healed ?

                                                  Can you get a fake tan after getting a new tattoo?

                                                  Here’s the answer: Drop the idea of getting a fake tan after getting some fresh ink. Getting a fake tan may lead to infection of a new tattoo, which will make the process of your skin recovery more difficult. Tattoo aftercare products are specially designed to give your fresh ink nutrients and moisturized. Fake tans zap your skin dry.

                                                  How to protect your tattoo from the sun?

                                                  Learning how to protect your tattoo from the sun is essential for proper recovery of a new tattoo. A fresh tattoo being exposed to the sun will make your skin get dry, and as explained in this article it’s essential to keep a fresh tattoo fueled with nutrients and properly moisturized! Besides, the UV rays coming out of the sun will further damage the freshly tattooed area of your skin. It’s highly recommended to stay out of the sun for at least 1 week, but if you must be in the sun – One of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun is by applying Tattoo Sunscreen . This will protect the skin from UV rays and will also help you to keep your skin moisturized.

                                                  Why do you need to use a tattoo sunscreen?

                                                  It’s highly recommended to use a Tattoo Sunscreen that is designed by professionals who are in the tattoo industry. Inkeeze has created the best tattoo sunscreen on the market due to our love of tattoos and understanding of the tattoo recovery process. The main difference between a tattoo sunscreen and any other sunscreen is the texture of the cream, and nutrients in the sunscreen. Tattoo Sunscreen is light weighted, smells great and has quality that not only helps the cream to protect skin from the UV rays but also makes tattoos vibrant.

                                                  How to fix a bubbling tattoo?

                                                  Tattoo bubbling is a very common issue that is being faced by people. One of the main reasons for bubbling your tattoo is over-saturation. This is the reason why you need to make sure that you avoid exposure to water for the first six months to get your tattoo safe. By following the instructions properly the tattoo aftercare can be properly done which will keep away from the bubbling of your tattoo. However, if these Tattoo Aftercare Products are used then you will be able to keep away from the bubbling effect. It is also necessary to keep an eye on the tattoo. Though bubbling doesn’t necessarily mean infection if any irritation or swelling persists then it is suggested to consult a doctor. Here’s a guide on How To Fix a Bubbling Tattoo .

                                                  How Long Should I Wait To Work Out After Getting a New Tattoo?

                                                  If you recently got a new tattoo and wonder how long you need to wait after a new tattoo before going to the gym to work out, the answer is 48 hours – 72 hours. Working out and lifting weights after getting a new tattoo isn’t the best idea because you can sweat, leading to infection on a new tattoo. It doesn’t matter what part of the body your tattoo is on! If you are working out after a tattoo on the bicep or working out after getting a tattoo on your forearm, or leg, anywhere – wait it out to avoid potential infection!

                                                  Is Sweat Bad For a New Tattoo?

                                                  Yes, excessive sweating can be bad for a new tattoo. We recommended avoiding activities such as cross-fit or working out to expose your new tattoo to sweat because sweat can be bad for a new tattoo and interrupt the healing process.

                                                  Can I Shower After Getting a New Tattoo?

                                                  Yes of course, you can shower after getting a new tattoo! Although it’s advised to wait at least 24-48 hours before taking a shower after getting a new tattoo. Be sure to use a tattoo soap, and avoid hot water on the new tattoo. Here’s a quick guide on how to wash a new tattoo in the shower!

                                                  How To Sleep After Getting a New Tattoo?

                                                  If you’re curious how to sleep with a new tattoo, we’ve got you covered! Proper tattoo aftercare and sleeping with your new tattoo go hand in hand. You’ll want to keep the film on your tattoo for the first night and most likely sleep on a towel under the newly tattooed area not to harm your sheets. Make sure the towel is CLEAN, so no bacteria form. You’ll want to check out our Ink Guard Spray and Ink Guard Film, which tattoo artists typically highly recommend. When sleeping with a new tattoo, make sure you do your best to avoid applying pressure to the newly tattooed area. Sometimes this is impossible but do your best. We advise not sleeping with pets for the first few nights because stuff happens, and if hair finds its way into your new tattooed area, it can cause bacteria and infections. Most importantly, get some good rest and stay hydrated! If you practice proper tattoo aftercare for sleeping with a new tattoo, you’ll be happy with how your recovery process unfolds.

                                                  Is Vaseline or Neosporin Good For Tattoo Aftercare?

                                                  Vaseline isn’t good for tattoo aftercare, neither is Neosporin. Vaseline and Neosporin on a tattoo can be too harsh on the newly tattooed skin. It’s best to go with a professional tattoo aftercare product developed specifically for the skin of a new tattoo.

                                                  Use of Ice Pack After Getting a New Tattoo

                                                  Can you ice a fresh tattoo? Yes, using an ice pack after getting a new tattoo can help to reduce swelling and can help reduce the natural body secretions that come from the open wound of a new tattoo. But be cautious not to put ice directly on the new tattoo. Use an ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth and place it on the newly tattooed area. If your tattoo is very itchy, you can try using an ice pack on the itchy tattoo, of course, with a clean cloth in between the ice pack and the new tattoo.

                                                  How To Soothe Tattoo Pain After Getting a New Tattoo

                                                  If you’re looking to soothe pain after getting a new tattoo, you can always ice the area or use topical tattoo aftercare ointments.

                                                  Side Effects and Complications of New Tattoo Healing and How To Handle New Tattoo Complications

                                                  Some possible side effects of getting a new tattoo are skin infections, allergic reactions, skin scarring, and scabbing. You could potentially experience some elevated swelling of your skin if you need to have an MRI. Be sure to properly wash your tattoo, with good tattoo soap, and if you’re experiencing prolonged issues seek advice from your tattoo artist or a doctor

                                                  Signs That a New Tattoo Isn’t Healing Properly

                                                  Some common signs that your new tattoo isn’t healing properly are:

                                                  • You may experience a fever or get the chills
                                                  • It’s normal for your skin to be red, slightly swollen, and puffy, but the skin around the tattoo shouldn’t be. If the skin around your tattoo is swollen after 4-5 days, call your tattoo artist (or doctor) for some advice.
                                                  • Prolonged red, irritated skin
                                                  • If you see a scar-forming, it could be a sign that you need to be taking better care of the tattoo
                                                  • If your tattoo itches or you have bumps lasting 2+ weeks after getting a new tattoo
                                                  • If you are experiencing oozing liquids from the new tattoo after 7-8 days, it might be time to call a doctor

                                                  Signs a New Tattoo is Healing Properly

                                                  If you’re looking for signs of a tattoo healing properly, the tattooed area should be pink or slightly red, with slight itchiness that doesn’t last longer than 6-7 days, and its normal for the tattoo to peel off. Learn when is a tattoo is fully healed.

                                                  Tattoo Aftercare Myths and Facts

                                                  Some common myths and facts about new tattoo aftercare are:

                                                  • Common soap is good for you – NO! Make sure to use a tattoo aftercare soap and avoid bar soaps.
                                                  • Avoid chemical products, and avoid using Neosporin and Vaseline! Make sure you’re using proper tattoo aftercare products that are specifically designed to give your tattoo the moisture and nutrients needed to help your tattoo recover!
                                                  • “I can stop doing tattoo aftercare once my tattoo is healed” – FALSE! If you’d like your tattoo to stay vibrant for years to come, take care of it! Use a tattoo aftercare cream to keep the colors bright and keep it moisturized. If you have a good tattoo aftercare regimen, your tattoo will stay healthy and vibrant for years to come.

                                                  When To Visit a Doctor After Getting a New Tattoo

                                                  If you’re wondering when to see a doctor after getting a new tattoo because you’re experiencing some issues like fever, scabbing, or allergic reactions like bumps or hives. Those are all telltale signs that you should call your tattoo artist or speak with a doctor!

                                                  Using Coconut Oil on a New Tattoo

                                                  Using a professional tattoo aftercare cream is highly recommended, but coconut oil isn’t terrible for a new tattoo.

                                                  Long Term Tattoo Aftercare Tips

                                                  If you’d like your tattoo to last a long time, some basic long-term tattoo aftercare tips are to clean the tattoo after sweating, use tattoo aftercare creams to keep it moisturized, and avoid getting the new tattoo sunburnt!

                                                  About Inkeeze

                                                  Tattoo Aftercare Instructions

                                                  We’ve worked hard to make Inkeeze a well-known leader in the tattoo aftercare space. With the @inkeeze Instagram boasting over 170,000 loyal followers, and thousands of happy customers each month, we’ve been connecting with and inspiring tattoo enthusiasts for years. We understand the intricacies of tattoo designing and work hard to develop industry leading products that meet the tattooing standards of the best tattoo artists in the game. We’re humbled to be considered among the best tattoo lifestyle brands in the world and will always continue to create premium quality tattoo products. Since the inception of Inkeeze, we’ve been striving to create tattoo culture across the world and also help in providing a platform for tattoo professionals to collaborate. Over the years, our company has grown as one of the leaders in the industry setting benchmarks for the industry standards. The primary goal of Inkeeze is to make sure that our customers have all the knowledge they need, so the process of getting tattooed and recovering is made as painless and enjoyable as possible. Over the years tattooing has become one of the most demanded crafts and Inkeeze has made sure that the best quality tattoo aftercare products reach tattoo enthusiasts across the world. We love this world of ink, and thank you for riding it with us.

                                                  Tattoo Aftercare: What You Need to Know

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                                                  Proper tattoo aftercare can reduce your risk of scarring or infection. Discover how long to keep your tattoo covered, ways to keep it from fading or drying out, and why you may want to avoid petroleum jelly.

                                                  A tattoo is more than just a piece of art and a way to assert your personal style. It’s a medical procedure too, because the artist uses a needle to insert the ink underneath your skin.

                                                  Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections.

                                                  Caring for your tattoo can prevent those complications and ensure that the tattoo heals properly. Both you and your tattoo artist play equal roles in this process. Along with going to a licensed and reputable tattoo artist, you need to take care of your new tattoo at home.

                                                  Figuring out how to care for your tattoo can be tricky, though. Many states don’t require their tattoo artists to provide aftercare instructions. The states that do require aftercare instructions often let the artist decide which information to provide.

                                                  Keep reading for a day-by-day guide to help you care for your tattoo, tips on which products to use, and more.

                                                  Aftercare starts as soon as your tattoo is done.

                                                  Cover it up

                                                  The artist should apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over the tattoo and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap. This covering prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing onto your clothes and getting irritated.

                                                  Keep the dressing on for as long as your tattoo artist recommends, which may be just a few hours. It’ll help absorb any fluid or excess ink that leaks from the tattoo.

                                                  Gently wash the tattoo

                                                  After a few hours, you can remove the covering.

                                                  First wash your hands with water and soap. Then gently wash the tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free soap. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth.

                                                  Apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer to the tattoo. You can keep the covering off at this point to let your skin breathe.

                                                  DID YOU KNOW?

                                                  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows some fatty alcohols, such as cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol, to be used in cosmetic products that are labeled “alcohol-free.” Unlike ethanol, fatty alcohols don’t dry out the skin.

                                                  Wait for it to heal

                                                  While your tattoo heals, you should:

                                                  • wear sun-protective clothing whenever you go outside
                                                  • call your tattoo artist or doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection or other problems
                                                  • cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed
                                                  • scratch or pick at the tattoo
                                                  • wear tight clothing over the tattoo
                                                  • go swimming or immerse your body in water (showers are fine)

                                                  How quickly you heal depends on the size of your tattoo and how intricate it is. Bigger tattoos will stay red and swollen longer because they cause more trauma to your skin.

                                                  Day 1

                                                  You’ll come home from the tattoo studio with a bandage or plastic wrap over your tattoo. After a few hours, you can remove it.

                                                  You should ask your artist for specifics about how long to wait. Recommendations will vary and may be based on the type and size of your tattoo. Some tattoo artists suggest that you only keep your tattoo covered for 1 or 2 hours.

                                                  Once the covering comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink. It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch.

                                                  With clean hands, wash the tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer. Leave the covering off so the tattoo can heal.

                                                  Days 2 to 3

                                                  By now, your tattoo will have a duller, cloudier appearance. This happens as your skin heals. Scabs will start to form.

                                                  Wash your tattoo once or twice a day, and apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.

                                                  When you wash, you might notice some ink running into the sink. This is just excess ink that’s come up through your skin.

                                                  Days 4 to 6

                                                  The redness should start to fade.

                                                  You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs shouldn’t be as thick as the scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they’ll be raised. Don’t pick at the scabs — this can cause scarring.

                                                  Keep washing your tattoo once or twice a day. Apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.

                                                  Days 6 to 14

                                                  The scabs have hardened and will begin to flake off.

                                                  Don’t pick at them or try to pull them off. Let them come off naturally. Otherwise, you could pull out the ink and leave scars.

                                                  At this point, your skin may feel very itchy. Gently rub on a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer several times a day to relieve the itch.

                                                  If your tattoo is still red and swollen at this point, you might have an infection. Go back to your tattoo artist or see a doctor.

                                                  Days 15 to 30

                                                  In this last stage of healing, most of the big flakes will be gone and the scabs should be going away. You might still see some dead skin, but it should eventually clear up too.

                                                  The tattooed area might still look dry and dull. Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again.

                                                  By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should’ve healed. It may take 3 to 4 months for the lower layers to completely heal.

                                                  By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look as bright and vivid as the artist intended.

                                                  If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these bright and vivid diabetes tattoos.

                                                  Use a mild, fragrance-free soap or a specially formulated tattoo cleanser to clean the area. Your tattoo artist can recommend a tattoo-specific cleanser.

                                                  Soap options include the following products, which you can buy online:

                                                  • Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
                                                  • Liquid Neutrogena
                                                  • Dial Gold Antibacterial Deodorant Bar Soap (although this soap isn’t fragrance-free, tattoo artists often recommend it)

                                                  For the first day or two, use an ointment like A+D Original Ointment or Aquaphor Healing Ointment or the product recommended by your tattoo artist to help the tattoo heal.

                                                  It’s best to avoid products that are 100 percent petroleum-based, like Vaseline. The American Academy of Dermatology says that petroleum-based products can cause the ink to fade.

                                                  However, there’s one exception: Authority Tattoo says that Vaseline may be helpful while showering. Because Vaseline is nonporous (watertight), you can apply it to your tattoo before you step into the shower so that it can protect the area from getting sprayed with water.

                                                  It’s also been noted that Vaseline may be helpful on healed tattoos or the skin surrounding the tattoo if it’s exceptionally dry.

                                                  Just apply a thin layer. Putting on too thick of a layer won’t allow your skin to breathe.

                                                  After about 2 days, you can switch to a regular moisturizer. Some products that you can buy online include:

                                                  • Lubriderm Daily Moisture Fragrance-Free Lotion
                                                  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion for Dry Skin
                                                  • Curél Fragrance-Free Lotion
                                                  • Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion

                                                  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s fragrance-free and alcohol-free. Also make sure it doesn’t contain additives, such as colored dye, that could dry out your skin.

                                                  When properly cared for, your tattoo can be as brilliant as one of these inspiring breast cancer tattoos.

                                                  Polynesian people, such as Samoans, have long used coconut oil on their tattoos. They apply it after the tattoo is completed or when it heals. One supposed benefit is that it makes the design shine.

                                                  Some websites claim that coconut oil keeps the skin under your tattoo moist and protects against infection. Yet evidence is anecdotal, and there’s no scientific proof that it works.

                                                  Check with your doctor before putting coconut oil or any other unproven products on your tattoo.

                                                  Dry healing

                                                  In a method known as tattoo dry healing, you don’t use any moisturizer as part of your aftercare routine. However, you do follow the other steps, such as avoiding the sun.

                                                  Supporters of dry healing believe that one benefit of avoiding moisturizers (which may contain artificial ingredients) is that it helps to eliminate the possibility of skin irritation or allergic reaction. A counterargument is that the lack of moisture leaves you vulnerable to itching.

                                                  Ask your tattoo artist whether dry healing may be right for you.

                                                  For the first few days after you get your tattoo, your skin may be red, itchy, and sore. You may notice excess ink, along with blood and fluid, leaking from your skin. This is normal.

                                                  If you begin experiencing symptoms of any of the following complications, see your doctor:


                                                  A tattoo that isn’t properly cared for can get infected. Infected skin will be red, warm, and painful. It may also leak pus.

                                                  If the equipment or ink your artist used was contaminated, you could get a bloodborne infection, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus, or HIV.

                                                  There have also been reports of other infections, such as nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections, being transmitted through tattoos.

                                                  Allergic reaction

                                                  If you’re sensitive to the ink your artist used, you may develop a red, itchy skin reaction at the site. According to a 2019 study , red dyes are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction.

                                                  Research shows that red dyes, along with blue and black dyes, are also more likely to cause nonallergic skin reactions such as photosensitivity.


                                                  Damage from the needle or from picking at the tattoo can cause your body to produce scar tissue. Scars can be permanent.

                                                  Once your tattoo has healed, you move into maintenance mode. Though you don’t have to specifically care for it after 3 or 4 months, there are things you can do to prevent the ink from degrading.

                                                  Tips for long-term tattoo aftercare

                                                  • Keep it clean. Wash your skin daily with a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
                                                  • Stay hydrated.Drink plenty of water to keep your skin moisturized.
                                                  • Watch what you wear. Wear SPF clothing so the sun won’t fade your tattoo. Avoid scratchy fabrics, such as wool, which can damage the art.
                                                  • Avoid excess weight gain or loss. Changes in weight could stretch out or distort the tattoo.

                                                  Last medically reviewed on December 28, 2020

                                                  How we reviewed this article:

                                                  Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

                                                  • 10 tattoo aftercare tips to ensure your tattoo looks great. (2019).
                                                  • “Alcohol free.” (2020).
                                                  • Alefosio T, et al. (2018). On skin and bone: Samoan coconut oil in indigenous practice.
                                                  • Caring for tattooed skin. (n.d.).
                                                  • DeMello M. (2014). Inked: Tattoos and body art around the world. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
                                                  • Hunter D. (2020). 3 stages of the tattoo healing process.
                                                  • Hunter D. (2020). Coconut oil for tattoos.
                                                  • Hunter D. (2020). Dry healing a tattoo — Pros & cons.
                                                  • Hunter D. (2020). Should you put Vaseline or petroleum jelly on tattoos?
                                                  • Hutton Carlsen K, et al. (2014). Photosensitivity and photodynamic events in black, red and blue tattoos are common: A ‘beach study.’
                                                  • Liszewski W, et al. (2016). The need for greater regulation, guidelines, and a consensus statement for tattoo aftercare.
                                                  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Tattoos: Understand risks and precautions.
                                                  • Serup J, et al. (2019). Identification of pigments related to allergic tattoo reactions in 104 human skin biopsies.
                                                  • Tattoo-associated nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections — Multiple states, 2011-2012. (2012).
                                                  • Think before you ink: Are tattoos safe? (2017).

                                                  Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

                                                  Proper Tattoo Aftercare: Make Your Tattoo Look Good Forever!

                                                  Tattoo Moisturiser

                                                  It’s not just your looks that change as you age. That brand-new, vibrant, and perfect-looking tattoo you just got will also fade and look old as the years go by. But it doesn’t mean you should just sit back and wait for mother nature to take its toll on your tattoo. With proper tattoo aftercare and maintenance, you can actually make your tattoo look good for years – maybe even forever!

                                                  • Why should you take tattoo aftercare seriously?
                                                  • Your Tattoo Aftercare Calendar
                                                    • Days 1-2: The Most Crucial Stage Of The Healing Process
                                                      • New tattoo sleeping woes: how to sleep with a fresh tattoo?
                                                      • Taking a shower with a new tattoo

                                                      Why should you take tattoo aftercare seriously?

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      Your tattoo aftercare journey begins right this very moment (Photo by Angie Torres)

                                                      Tattoos involve not just money and time, but also blood, sweat and tears – literally! It’s a commitment that starts from the moment the needle (or group of needles) pricks your skin. And that commitment lasts throughout your lifetime; unless, of course, you regret your decision later and get it laser removed.

                                                      Technically, tattooing is a medical procedure, even though most tattooists have no medical training to speak of. The way tattooing works is that skin is pricked by needles to create small openings in the skin. Tattoo ink is then deposited in these tiny puncture wounds.

                                                      Without proper aftercare, your brand-new tattoo is at risk of becoming infected. You may experience redness, irritation and swelling around the area. For more severe tattoo infections, you’ll notice pus and a foul odour along with pain and high fever.

                                                      Serious infections can lead to a prolonged stay in hospital. In worst case scenarios, death is a likely possibility. So, for best results, follow your tattooist’s aftercare instructions. They care about you – you’re walking proof of their talent!

                                                      Your Tattoo Aftercare Calendar

                                                      This aftercare calendar is designed to help you figure out what you need to do for each stage of the healing process. However, we all heal at different rates, so this guide isn’t written in stone. Feel free to adapt according to your body’s healing rate.

                                                      But first, before we proceed, here’s an infographic summarising the tattoo aftercare process:

                                                      infographic for tattoo aftercare

                                                      Days 1-2: The Most Crucial Stage Of The Healing Process

                                                      In tattoo aftercare, the first 48 hours are crucial. So, right after your tattoo is done, your tattooist will clean and disinfect the area (they usually use green soap in the studio), before wrapping it up in clear plastic film. This is done to protect your tattoo as you make your way home from the studio.

                                                      Step 1: Remove bandage

                                                      Most tattooists will tell their clients to remove the bandage after a couple of hours. This is because, by this time, blood, plasma and ink will have formed a mess on your skin. Remove the bandage carefully and dispose of it properly.

                                                      Step 2: Wash your hands

                                                      Before touching your tattoo, make sure you wash your hands first. You don’t want dirt to get on your tattoo at this point.

                                                      Step 3: Wash your tattoo with your bare hands

                                                      It’s important to use your hands to wash your tattoo. Never use shower accessories like sponges, loofahs or washcloths as bacteria thrives in these things!

                                                      Use unscented, antibacterial soap and warm water to wash your tattoo. Avoid soap that has alcohol and artificial fragrance, as these can ‘burn’ and dry out the area. Check our list of the best tattoo soaps you can use to wash your new tattoo with.

                                                      Note: Some tattooists say using hot water (the max temperature you can withstand) is better for rinsing off the gooey mess on your skin. Others will tell you to use lukewarm water. Listen to what your tattooist tells you.

                                                      You will need to wash your tattoo every few hours to keep the wound clean. You don’t want too much plasma sticking to the skin as doing so can result in thick, unsightly scabs later on.

                                                      Step 4: Dry your skin

                                                      After washing, air dry your skin or pat it dry (don’t rub) with a few kitchen rolls. Towels are also not advisable (even fresh ones) as loose thread and fabric can stick to your wound and cause an infection.

                                                      Step 5: Apply healing ointment

                                                      Up next on your to-do list is to apply a very thin layer of healing ointment like Aquaphor or A+D. These ointments are both petroleum-based, but won’t block oxygen from entering your skin. It acts as a protective barrier and promotes healing underneath the skin at the same time.

                                                      Here’s an infographic of how an ointment like Aquaphor works:

                                                      how aquaphor ointment works on skin

                                                      As you can see in the image above, it’s important for the area to be dry and clean. Otherwise, water/moisture can get trapped underneath the ointment which can irritate and cause the skin to swell up.

                                                      Now, if you’re not a fan of petroleum-based products, a couple of good vegan alternatives you may want to consider are Hustle Butter Deluxe and Butter Up Rich Body Butter. These may be a bit pricey (most natural and vegan products are), but will work wonders for your skin!

                                                      Step 6: Repeat steps 2-5 three or four times a day

                                                      You’ll feel icky if you don’t. Your tattoo will continuously weep or ooze during the first 48 hours or so. You’ll need to clean it up, otherwise, you’re opening your new tatt to a world of infection.

                                                      First day tattoo care is not going to be fun at all. In fact, the first couple of days are going to be rough – you’ll experience redness, swelling, and some pain. But hang in there! There’s always light at the end of the proverbial tunnel – you’ll see yours soon enough!

                                                      New tattoo sleeping woes: how to sleep with a fresh tattoo?

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      Take extra precautions to protect your tattoo when you go to bed (Photo by Matheus Ferrero)

                                                      There’s no two ways about it – sleeping with a brand-new tattoo is going to be tough. Even if you only had a tiny one done, you’ll still feel some discomfort when you go to bed. It will be painful and sore, and you need to be very careful about not letting anything touch your tattoo! The healing ointment can only offer so much protection, after all.

                                                      That said, here are some tips to help make your first couple of nights more comfortable:

                                                      If you got your tattoo late at night and you’re just about ready to fall asleep when you get home, then it’s fine to sleep with the cling film from the shop (please consult with your tattooist first though).

                                                      But if you’ve had it done earlier in the day, then you may want to wrap your wound in a fresh roll of plastic film to protect it from the dust and germs in your bed. Of course, when you re-wrap, make sure NONE of what you’re trying to keep out actually gets trapped within the film (it defeats the purpose of re-wrapping)!

                                                      Some tattooists advise against re-wrapping tattoos during the night. They say it’s better to just sleep in a clean bed, so your skin can breathe whilst you sleep. The healing ointment should be good enough protection for your tattoo.

                                                      Since your wound will likely be ‘weeping’ all night long, it’s best to use some old but clean beddings. If you wake up in the morning and find the sheet sticking to your tattoo, proceed with caution.

                                                      Don’t pull the sheet away as doing so can also pull some ink out! Instead, bring the sheet with you to the shower or sink, and run some lukewarm water over it until the sheet separates from your skin.

                                                      This is common sense, but when you’re asleep, you likely won’t realise you’ve slept on your tattoo until you feel it in the morning. Sleeping on your tattoo can aggravate and irritate the wound, and possibly even start an infection.

                                                      To avoid accidents of this sort, find a sleeping spot where you don’t possibly end up lying on top of your still-very-much-bruised skin. Let your partner know as well, so they can watch out for you, too.

                                                      Taking a shower with a new tattoo

                                                      bathing in dirty water will surely cause an infected tattoo

                                                      Don’t soak your new tattoo! (Photo by Naomi August)

                                                      Taking a long leisurely bath may sound like a good idea, but not when your tattoo’s still very much unhealed. Dirt and grime get trapped in the tub. It’s the perfect place for bacteria and germs to come together and infiltrate your wound like invisible ink-destroying ninjas.

                                                      Take a quick shower instead (emphasis on ‘quick’). Just enough to feel clean and not soak the tattoo at the same time. If your fragranced soap or shampoo gets in the tattoo, just rinse it off.

                                                      After you shower, dry yourself as you normally would but take special care with the still-tender area. Don’t use your towel to dry up your tattoo. Instead, get a few sheets of kitchen roll and pat the area dry, then put on a fresh layer of Aquaphor… or whatever your favourite healing ointment is.

                                                      Days 3-4: Your tattoo is on the mend, but still very much sore

                                                      The soreness will depend on how big the tattoo is and where it’s located. But generally, most people start feeling a bit better now that the weeping has slowed down a bit. It’s highly likely you’ll still see bits and blobs of lymphatic fluid along with some ink – all completely normal!

                                                      At this point, the swelling and the pain should also have gone down a bit. You may even continue to see some light scabs starting to form on the area. If so, then that’s a good sign!

                                                      What you need to do:

                                                      Continue applying healing ointment or cream on the tattoo. Do this until your tattoo stops oozing.

                                                      Days 5-7: It’s the scabs time to shine!

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      Scabbing is normal, but don’t let it get it this thick! (Photo by Kim Laurenson)

                                                      If you followed our advice and cleaned up your tattoo really well, then your scabs should be crusting quite nicely now. It shouldn’t be too thick. Just thick enough to cover the tattoo and protect it from debris and bacteria, whilst the healing goes on underneath.

                                                      Don’t be scared if you think if your tattoo looks ugly, cloudy and dull right now. It’s all pretty normal. And just so you know, it may look even uglier once it starts peeling and flaking off.

                                                      If you experience heavy scabbing (think extra crusty, multi-layered, extra-large scabs) even if you carefully followed tattoo aftercare instructions, then you may have a problem. It’s either your tattooist was too heavy-handed and did tremendous damage to the skin, or you’ve developed an infection.

                                                      If it’s the former, there’s not much you can do, but to continue with the aftercare program. If it’s the latter and you’re experiencing other tattoo infection symptoms, please speak with your GP straight away.

                                                      Also, it’s important to mention that some tattoos don’t even scab at all. This usually happens with tiny, fine tattoos done by highly skilled tattooists. Or, even tattoos that use white ink. So, if you don’t go through this stage, then hurray for you!

                                                      What you need to do (and not do):

                                                      So, back to scabbing.

                                                      • Fornormal scabs, apply a very thin layer of moisturising lotion to your tattoo to keep the skin well-hydrated, so it can continue to heal properly. The key word here is ‘thin.’ A thick application will cause your scabs to get soggy and can slog off prematurely, pulling ink out in the process. Plus, it will delay the healing process as well.
                                                      • For giant, non-normal scabs, avoid putting on lotion on it. Instead, apply lotion to the area surrounding the scab. This way, the scab will dry up naturally and will eventually fall off on its own.
                                                      • The scabs will be an eyesore and will cover up your tattoo. But don’t get tempted to pick and pull it off prematurely! If you do, then you may see some ink getting pulled out along with the scabs!
                                                      • For scabs that look just about ready to fall off, leave them be as well. If there’s a possibility of that scab getting snagged on clothing, furniture or whatever, then cover up the scab with something to protect it.
                                                      • Avoid wearing tight clothing as the scabs can easily get caught and pulled off.

                                                      Week 2: Don’t go bitchin’ ‘bout the itchin’!

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      Resist the itch of a healing tattoo! (Photo by Анастасия Гепп)

                                                      Warning: Fun times ahead…. NOT! You probably got a taste last week when the scabs were forming, but now that they’re starting to fall off, you’ll experience a different level of ITCHING!

                                                      If you’ve ever been wounded before, you know it starts getting really itchy once it gets to this point! So, what happens at this stage is that your scabs mature and fall off on their own, which exposes the newly generated epidermis skin layer to the outside world. This essentially means the puncture wounds you got at your tattooist’s hands are all closed up now.

                                                      Unfortunately, the downside to all this skin renewal and wound healing is that your skin will end up being very dry. This leads to flaking and peeling, pretty much like a sunburn.


                                                      If you have an underlying skin condition like eczema or dermatitis, then your itch won’t just be on another level, it will be on another planet altogether! If you think your tattoo is itching like nobody’s business, and you’ve got rashes or skin bumps to go along with the itch, then a visit to the dermatologist may be needed.

                                                      What to do (and what to avoid):

                                                      No matter how bad your tattoo itches, Do. Not. Scratch. Please. If you do, your fingernails are going to catch some of that skin and pull it out prematurely. Chances are it’s going to take some of that precious ink with it and you’ll end up with a patchy tatt.

                                                      Dealing with the itch will take supreme self-awareness and discipline. If you’ve got loads of these, then good for you! However, for most regular folks, try out these tips and tricks. Some of these (hopefully all!) will work and save you from going crazy!

                                                      • Apply a thin layer of moisturising lotion

                                                      If you followed our aftercare advice for last week, i.e. after your tattoo stops oozing, you can just continue using the same kind of lotion to moisturise your skin. Aveeno, Lubriderm, Cetaphil and other similar brands sell moisturising lotions that work great on newly-healed tattoos.

                                                      Only follow this tip if you’re absolutely sure your skin’s top layer has healed. Otherwise, germs and bacteria from the compress can enter your skin and cause an infection. That said, cold compresses are great for providing near-instant itch relief. The cold will also restrict blood flow to the area, which helps reduce swelling.

                                                      Some people swear tapping or patting the itchy area works. Others tend to favour a bit more force and say slapping is more effective. Either way, the sting will take away some of the itch. In a brief instant, you’ll find some temporary relief.

                                                      Mantras work if you truly believe in what you’re saying. Say something like ‘I’m strong, I can resist the itch. The itch is nothing. Mind over matter.’ Or, something to that effect. Every time you feel like giving in, close your eyes and mutter your mantra out loud or privately in your head. You’ll feel better after, I promise.

                                                      Hobbies are nice, they’re distracting and entertaining at the same time – two things you need at this itchy stage of your life. So, if you haven’t got a hobby yet, now’s the time to get started.

                                                      Got a work deadline coming up? Well, you may still be sore from last week’s tattoo session. But don’t let that stop you from working on important tasks that will take your mind away from your itchy present!

                                                      If you’ve tried all of the above and the itch is still unbearable, then try applying a thin layer of hydrocortisone 1% anti-itch cream or ointment. But again, make sure your skin’s top layer is fully healed before putting this on. Fortunately, you can buy this at most chemists and supermarkets, so you should find sweet relief any minute now!

                                                      Weeks 3-4: The home stretch

                                                      machine made tattoo on a woman

                                                      This woman’s photos look pretty well-healed (Photo by Annie Spratt)

                                                      Just a couple more weeks and your tattoo will finally be healed. At the beginning of week 3, it’s just the skin surface that’s recovered, but underneath, it’s still a work in progress. Don’t worry though, it will all be healed up soon – some may take up to a couple of months though, especially for larger tattoos.

                                                      What to expect?

                                                      Of course, the ever-persistent itch will still be present, but with the coping techniques you’ve learned in the previous week, it should be more manageable now. Also, the swelling should have subsided at this point, and there should be no more raised or bumpy sections on your tattooed skin.

                                                      Washing and cleaning your tattoo need not be as often as it was in the early days. At this stage, you can wash your tatt when you take a shower. The needle puncture wounds may have healed, but it’s best to stay safe and just clean the tattoo periodically.

                                                      Your skin will still be dry with all the flaking and peeling going on. But, over time, this will eventually stop until a fresh layer of epidermis skin cells are all that’s left. You’ll still need to moisturise once or twice a day (depending on your lotion’s formulation). In fact, you’ll need to moisturise every single day – if you want your tattoo to look good for years!

                                                      Week 5 and beyond: Long-term tattoo maintenance tips

                                                      Congratulations! Your tattoo is now fully healed and you can now go back to living life normally (albeit with a few more precautions to preserve your tatt). So, here are some long-term aftercare tips to make your skin art last forever!

                                                      Tip #1: Hydrate and drink water

                                                      Your tattoo can only look as good as the skin it’s on. Dehydrated skin looks dry and dull. Make drinking water (not soda) a habit. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. You can download an app on your phone to help you track how much water you’re drinking per day.

                                                      Drink Water Reminder N Tracker is a good example. Here’s a screenshot:

                                                      A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

                                                      Tip #2: Eat healthy food

                                                      Junk food’s irresistible sometimes. And really, it’s okay to eat some every once in a while, just don’t make it a daily thing. Otherwise, your body – and your skin specifically – can suffer.

                                                      That said, if you want your skin to glow, eat foods rich in antioxidants. Here’s a list of superfoods that will not only give your skin a much-needed boost, but will also help improve your immune system:

                                                      • Grapes
                                                      • Blueberries
                                                      • Red berries like strawberries and raspberries
                                                      • Nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashew and pistachios
                                                      • Dark green veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, and lettuce
                                                      • Sweet potatoes
                                                      • Orange vegetables like carrots and squash
                                                      • Green tea
                                                      • Whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and pasta
                                                      • Beans like lentils, green soybeans, black-eyed peas and soy
                                                      • Fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring

                                                      Tip #3: Moisturise skin

                                                      Once you get a tattoo, you’ll need to moisturise it forever. It’s a lifelong commitment, otherwise, your tattoo can dry up. And before you know it, it’ll look old, faded and wrinkled. For long-term maintenance, any daily moisturising lotion should do the job.

                                                      Tip #4: Protect it from the sun

                                                      If you don’t want your tattoo to look weathered like an old sailor’s tattoo, then you best apply sunblock every single time you go out into the sun. You may think it’s extreme, but it’s necessary protection for your tattoo. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can still do damage to old tattoos. It will break down the ink trapped in the dermis, which will make your tattoo look faded.

                                                      We like Banana Boat’s SPF50+ sunscreen. It’s non-greasy and the spray bottle makes it very convenient to use. It’s water-resistant too, so even if you go swimming out in the heat, it will protect your tattoo – and your skin – from the harmful rays of the sun!

                                                      Another option would be to wear sun-protective clothing. Choose fabric that is woven or knit tightly as this prevents UV rays from reaching the skin. Wool, silk, denim, nylon and polyester are good examples. Also, keep in mind that darker fabrics absorb more UV rays than lighter ones.

                                                      A tattoo sleeve cover like you see below will work wonders for you if you’re the active kind and you like spending time in the sun.

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      You can buy Shinymod’s cooling sun sleeves on Amazon

                                                      Tip #5: Weight watch

                                                      Oh, yes, weight fluctuations will have an effect on tattoos. Weight gain will cause your skin to stretch out, thus making your tattoo appear stretched out as well. Weight loss, on the other hand, will make your skin wrinkled which will obviously distort your tattoo.

                                                      This is why pregnant women – or those who are attempting to become one – should hold off on getting a tattoo until much later. Perhaps until they’ve weaned their baby or they’ve lost the excess pregnancy weight.

                                                      Tip #6: Avoid getting cut in tattooed area

                                                      Tiny cuts and scrapes on the surface shouldn’t do anything to your tattoo. But if the injury occurs in the dermis layer, then the tattoo will be affected. In some cases, scar tissue may appear on your tattoo, which will distort its appearance. For cuts that go down into the dermis, treat it like you would a new tattoo so as not to cause further cosmetic damage.

                                                      New Tattoo Care FAQs

                                                      How To Care For A Tattoo

                                                      Don’t be afraid to ask questions (Photo by Jon Tyson)

                                                      Alright, so I’ve drawn up the answers to the most frequently asked questions about tattoo aftercare.

                                                      1. When can I go swimming?

                                                      Swimmers and surfers are going to hate this part, but you need to wait… possibly up to 2-4 weeks after getting the tattoo. Even if your tattoo’s already past the scabbing stage, it’s still best to wait and ensure the skin’s natural barrier has been fully restored. You can take quick showers, but that’s about it. Soaking your tatt in tubs, pools, lakes, and the ocean should be avoided for as long as necessary.

                                                      2. What about working? Can I go to work if my tattoo’s still fresh?

                                                      Preferably, you should get your tattoo on your rest day from work, or perhaps while you’re on holiday. You’ll be subjected to thousands of tiny needle pricks; you surely deserve rest afterwards.

                                                      But, in the unfortunate event you can’t get some time off work, protect your tattoo at all costs. Make sure you clean the area and apply ointment to protect it. If your work clothes will be rubbing against your tatt, put on some clean bandage (but ensure it doesn’t cut off oxygen from reaching your skin).

                                                      3. Is coconut oil okay for tattoos?

                                                      I’m a huge coconut oil fan. But even so, I won’t suggest rubbing some on a still-weeping tattoo. This is because coconut oil is said to have ‘pulling’ properties which may pull ink out of your skin.

                                                      It’s best to apply the aftercare lotion made with coconut oil once the tattoo is dry and no longer weeping. This usually happens 24-48 hours after getting inked (depends on your body’s healing rate).

                                                      4. Is it okay to get some exercise after getting tattooed?

                                                      Well, no, not right after. But unlike swimming, which will take weeks before your tattoo’s safe for submerging, you only need to wait 48 hours! So, that’s great news for gym bunnies who are addicted to working out!

                                                      Bad news is, if your tattoo is somewhere more private, you’ll need to hold off on the whole exercise thing until your tatt is fully healed (about 3-4 weeks or thereabouts).

                                                      5. How to take care of my colour tattoo?

                                                      Colour tattoo care instructions are basically the same as more traditional all-black tattoos. Scroll back up to know all about how to take care of a brand-new colour tattoo!

                                                      6. When can I shave again?

                                                      This is obviously one of the things you can’t do after getting a tattoo. But as soon as it’s fully healed, you can shave again. Hair that’s growing back is itchy, so you’ve got your job cut out for you with an itchy, healing tattoo as well.


                                                      Your tattoo’s aftercare journey starts from the moment you leave the tattooist’s shop. Follow your tattooist’s instructions on how to care for your fresh tattoo. The entire month after getting your tattoo is important to long-term success, but the first 48 hours are absolutely crucial. Take to heart the do’s and don’ts of post-tattoo care and your skin art will look good for years, possibly even forever!

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population []; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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