Your go-to guide for tattoo aftercare.
Congratulations on your new tattoo! The easy part is now over (yes, we’re not joking.) After you leave the studio with your incredible new ink, the responsibility is now on you to ensure the new design heals safely and will continue to look amazing for years to come.
Aftercare can seem overwhelming, so we’ve compiled our day by day guide for you to follow.
Of course, we are always on hand to offer extra advice if needed and if you have concerns please get in touch. Remember, the healing process is the most crucial part of getting a tattoo and ensures it looks incredible for life.
NOTE: The below aftercare guide is for traditional healing methods without a second skin. If your artist has covered your tattoo with a ‘second skin’ covering, you should follow the guide they give you.
Tattoo aftercare by day
Day 1: Freshly inked
For the first three days your tattoo is effectively an open wound and needs to be treated as such to prevent infection, something to avoid at all costs.
- 1-3 hours after your tattoo session, gently remove the wrapping your artist has put on. Your new tattoo needs to breathe. Then wash the area with warm water and gentle soap. Pat dry with a paper towel only.
- On occasions, your artist will recommend you put new wrapping on after cleaning; if you cannot avoid being in a dirty environment or in a place on your body that is hard to avoid being touched by bedsheets.
- Tattoo ink can stain bedsheets and clothing! Please keep this in mind. We advise using clean sheets that you do not mind being marked.
Day 2: Keep it clean
Only use your hands to wash your healing tattoo, and follow the guides below.
- Keep the tattoo clean and dry. Do not submerge in water at any point.
- Wash the tattoo with gentle soap very lightly when you shower no more than twice a day.
- Never use hot water to clean your tattoo. Use cold or lukewarm water only.
Until your tattoo is healed, you will need to avoid baths, swimming pools, the sea and any other body of water that will submerge the area. It would be best to avoid exposing the site to direct sunlight and avoid touching the area as much as possible.
Day 3: Feel calm with balm
Now you can begin the moisturising process. Your hands must be clean before you wash your tattoo or apply balms.
- Each time you clean the tattoo, apply a thin layer of your artists recommended balm.
- Don’t use excessive amounts and avoid having clumped areas of balm on your skin.
- If you have multiple tattoos healing, use different balms to avoid contamination.
Everyone’s skin is different; some will heal faster than others. If your skin dries out rapidly, you can apply the balm more often. 2-3 times per day is average and again before you sleep.
Days 4-15: Rinse and repeat
Keep the same routine as day 3 by gently washing and applying the balm. Larger tattoos may need an extra week of aftercare. Your tattoo is essentially an open wound until it’s fully scabbed and peeled. Until then, germs and bacteria can get in. Do your best to follow this guide and keep the area clean and away from dirty environments.
Your tattoo may cause swelling, itching, peeling, and some oozing. These are common responses to your body’s natural response to trauma. Do not scratch or pick at the tattoo, as it can damage the design and lead to possible infection. If oozing occurs (blood, clear plasma, lymphatic fluid, or ink) it’s a sign your body is repairing the wound. Gently pat away oozing with a clean paper towel.
Finally, you may get the ‘tattoo flu’ (another common reaction) and feel unwell for a few days. You can ease the pain with over-the-counter pain relief and rest.
And remember, a couple of weeks of careful aftercare is well worth it for a lifelong work of art.
Let’s get inking!
Whether you’re searching for the perfect tattoo shop for your first tattoo or would like to add a custom piece to your body, our talented team is ready to help.Book your appointment