Following the aftercare given to you by your artist is an important factor in your healing process. Please feel free to contact your artist or the studio if you have any questions about healing your new tattoo.
Remove your bandage after a few hours. Many artists will recommend leaving your bandage on overnight to prevent sticking to clothing and sheets. Wash your tattoo with warm water and mild soap. Gently dry your tattoo. There is no need to rebandage.
Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free plain hand lotion like Lubriderm or Aquaphor 2-3 times a day. Lotions should be used very sparingly and should absorb within a few moments. If there is lotion sitting on your tattoo, you have applied too much and can gently blot to excess with a paper towel.
In 2-3 days, your tattoo will begin to flake or scab. Do not pick at your new tattoo. Do not submerge your tattoo in pools, baths, hot tubs, or other bodies of water.
Keep your new tattoo clean. Showering is okay and always wash your hands before touching.
Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight or tanning bed.
Overall, the healthier you are, the faster you will heal. Drink plenty of water!
Some of our artists will provide you with a Tegaderm (also known as Saniderm or Tattooderm) bandage. This method of healing is a little different, so it's important to follow these steps.
Tegaderm is a sterile, breathable, waterproof, germ-proof barrier to protect your new tattoo. Tegaderm will protect your tattoo from contamination and will also protect your clothes and sheets from excess ink, blood and fluid that are the normal by-products of healing a tattoo.You can shower normally while healing, but please still abstain from swimming or submerging your tattoo in bodies of water.
Your artist will bandage your new tattoo with Tegaderm.
*If the tattoo is bleeding, or pushing out a lot of fluids before you leave, your artist might provide you with a second bandage. To remove bandage:
We suggest you do this in the shower with warm water. Carefully lift the edges from the skin. Pull straight up slowly. Continue lifting until all edges are free from the skin. *If you need to remove bandage because of excess fluids (i.e. it’s causing the bandage to bubble.) Remove your bandage slowly and carefully the next morning. Discard this Tegaderm. Wash your tattoo with warm water and liquid soap. Gently dry your tattoo. Re-cover your tattoo with the second Tegaderm bandage. Leave this one for 3-4 days.
If this step is unnecessary just leave it on for 3-5 days. Your artist will advise.
When removing the bandage, clean thoroughly again with a liquid hand soap and warm water. You can use a fragrance free lotion on your tattoo for the next few days.
8 Mistakes that can damage a brand new tattoo
1 – Swimming or saunas – especially wild swimming in lakes, rivers, and the sea.
You shouldn’t go in any bodies of water for at least three weeks as there is a high risk of infection in a healing tattoo. Rivers, lakes and the sea may contain sewage that can get in your open tattoo. You also need to avoid swimming pools as the chlorine in the water can fade the fresh pigment. You also need to avoid saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms which can contain bacteria.
2 – Soaking in the bath
This can be tempting but it’s a big no. Soaking will soften the tattoo and make it more susceptible to damage and infection.
If you want to have a relaxing soak wait until your tattoo is healed.
3 – Sunbathing
Exposing a new tattoo to the sun will damage it as the freshly tattooed skin is healing and delicate. It will fade the colours quicker than if you kept it covered and out of the sun. Sun exposure is definitely to be avoided in the first few weeks.
Once the tattoo has healed use a high factor sun block on it to keep it looking good.
4 – Sleeping in a dirty bed
Your bedding should be clean as there is a chance of bacteria getting on the tattoo and causing an infection. Bed sheets, duvets, pillows, and towels should all be clean. Wear clean night clothes but be aware that the ink from the tattoo can seep out overnight onto your sheets and clothes, so don't use your finest linens.
5 – Letting people touch your tattoo
People are fascinated by new tattoos and always seem to want to touch them! It’s up to you to stop them. People’s hands are grubby and filled with all sorts of bacteria that could cause an infection in the tattoo. They may also accidentally rip off scabs or pull at the skin which will damage the tattoo.
6 – Overdoing cream or messing with it too much
Tattoos need to be kept moist but not over-moisturized. Too much cream can actually delay the healing process and extend tattoo healing time as it prevents oxygen from reaching the area and can make the tattoo softer and more susceptible to damage. Tattoos do heal on their own. Don’t get paranoid and mess with your tattoo too much, leave it alone as much as possible to heal!
7- Excessive sweating or exercising too soon after your appointment
Perspiration can entrap excess moisture in the area of a tattoo. This build-up of moisture will become a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms and promote bacterial growth. Sweat must be washed away as soon as possible to avoid a bacterial infection. Excessive sweating with a new tattoo can disintegrate the ink before the skin has had time to trap it. Vigorous movement can crack scabs, tear freshly bonding skin, cause swelling, irritation, discomfort and pain. Rubbing a fresh wound on unclean gym equipment will cause an infection. This type of damage will prolong the healing process and keep you out of the gym for much longer than necessary. In general, it’s best to hold off on exercise for at least two weeks. If you just can’t help yourself and must work out after the tattoo, find low-impact activities such as yoga and light workouts until it is fully healed. This way you can still work out while giving your new tattoo time to heal.
8- Wearing the wrong kind of clothes.
Only wear clean clothes over your fresh tattoo. Wear loose clothes that are not likely to rub on it until it’s fully healed. This can cause scabbing or increase your chances of infection. Smooth material like nylon or cotton are a good choice during the first two weeks after getting inked. Nothing with tiny fibers like fleece or wool that can stick to your tattoo and cause infection. You also want to avoid wearing any clothing that contains zippers or buttons.
What does an infected tattoo look like?
Incorrect aftercare is the most common reason for an infection. It’s important to know what to look out for if your new ink gets infected. That way you can get treatment straight away to prevent serious repercussions.
Signs of infection are:
Tattoo starting to go red a few days after your appointment
Starting to feel sore
Pain that hasn’t subsided a few days after the appointment
A feeling of warmth in the tattoo
Spots, blisters or blotches around the design
Any signs of pus in the tattoo
Swelling and inflammation
Weeping of fluid
A bad smell
Fever. This is serious. Get to a doctor NOW!
See your doctor if you think you need medical attention. They will be able to give you an antibiotic to stop the infection in its tracks. Don't delay going to a doctor if you are unsure. An infection can be extremely serious if left untreated.
Importantly, infections are rare. Most ink heals just fine.