Tattoo Aftercare


Things to avoid during tattoo healing:

  1. Fragrance additives in lotions, soaps and ointments.
  2. Do not submerge your tattoo in water for any period of time.
  3. Keep your tattoo away from direct sunlight and heat.
  4. Avoid any material touching your new tattoo that is not clean, including hands, sheets, and clothing.
  5. Do not scratch a fresh or healing tattoo.  You risk damaging it permanently by scratching or picking at a new tattoo.  If you scab do not pick the scab!

Recommended Aftercare

The method below is what we have found is the easiest and fastest way to heal tattoos.

You will need:

  1. Aquaphor Healing Ointment (Avaialble at HOWL or most pharmacies)
  2. Plastic Wrap
  3. Tape to hold plastic on
  4. Basic soap (such as Ivory bar soap)
  5. Clean towel or single use paper towel

Day One:

After your tattoo session is completed, leave the bandage on for at least 2 hours or until you are at home.  Carefully remove the bandage from your tattoo and wash it with a basic bar soap like Ivory or withan antibacterial soap such as Dial.  Pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel and then allow to air dry.  Before going to bed cover the tattoo with a coat of Aquaphor Healing Ointment and the cover with plastic wrap.  You may need to tape your plastic wrap on or wear clothing to help secure it.  When you wake up, carefully remove the plastic wrap and wash with hot water (the hotter the better) and soap. Pat dry with a clean towel.  Do not apply ointment during the day. leave dry.  Normal showering is fine. Do not soak or submerge the tattoo. Avoid sunlight.

Next 2 days:

Wash the tattoo a few times per day as needed to keep it clean.  Keep the tattoo dry during the day.  At Night repeat the aquaphor and plastic wrap method above.

After 3 days:

Only keep the tattoo clean. Do not use ointment. If the tattoo becomes overly itchy you can use a basic fragrance-free moisturizer.  DO NOT over use lotion, allowing the tattoo to be dry and flaky is ok.  Many people have ruined tattoos and caused slow healing by over hydrating them.   The tattoo should peel like a sunburn and will begin to itch as the skin repairs itself.  If you experience severe itching you can use hydrocortisone 1% anti-itch cream (available at any drug store or supermarket) to help control the itch.

Long Term Care:

Always wear sunscreen when outdoors.  UV rays will fade and blur your tattoo over time.  Eventually all tattoos do need to be retouched to keep them sharp and bright.

Side Notes

Scabbing: If your tattoo scabs (it does happen) keep it as dry as possible, yet moisturized.  Do not allow the scab to get washed away in the shower/bath or crack from becoming to dry.  Do not pick at your scab.  Use a thin coat of fragrance free moisturizer on a scab to keep it healthy.  While not typical, scabbing can occur due to a variety of reasons, including lack of aftercare, artist's application of the tattoo, etc.   If you lose some of a scab you will most likely need to have the tattoo retouched.

Rashes:  Rashes are most often due to a reaction the open skin has to a lotion or ointment.  They usually appear red and bumpy, or as tiny red bumps around the tattoo.  If you develop a rash, wash the area with warm water and  mild soap only.  Discontinue all products that might be causing the rash.  A hot wash cloth can be applied to the area to help comfort and stimulate your body's natural healing process.  If the rash persists beyond a few days consult your tattoo artist or doctor.