New Tattoo aftercare.

I never get bored looking at tattoos, reading about new and old artists, and seeing the amazing changes in tattoo art. Someone could be walking past me and I zone in on their ink and ask If I can check it out. Sometimes my wife walks away while we’re shopping because she knows I’m going to get engaged in conversation.

I will share with you my greatest moment with tattoos: I was walking when I heard said to me, “Those are nice tattoos.” I turned and there she was; the woman of my dreams. We started talking and had so much In common. Through that one sentence about my Ink I’m married to the most amazing woman.

There seems to be a certain magic that is created through the art of inking. It really is a world of its own. Clients and artists are never running out of ideas the imagination never seems to run out.

In my last post I shared about getting your first piece of art done. Today I want to talk about the aftercare that is needed which is very Important to keeping your ink looking great.

This post is also good for clients who have multiple tattoos. We sometimes neglect steps when we think we’re vets and skip the protocol in taking care of it, only to have a ruined piece of work. As always, lets grab a cup of coffee or beverage of your choice and chat.

The Importance of Aftercare

I see it all the time, some amazing artwork that turned out terrible at no fault of the artist, but due to the neglectful aftercare from the client. It is to be understood that your new inking is an open wound and should be treated as such.

When getting inked needles are piercing your skin, and when you have an open wound what do you do to take care of it? Inking should be treated no different.

When your art is finished, it can take weeks to heal. These are crucial weeks in keeping your ink looking great. Like any other wound, if not properly taken care of, infection can happen. So let’s go over steps that should be taken to prevent a tattoo fail.

Leaving the Shop

When your art is finished, your artist will wrap either a bandage or plastic wrap around it and will instruct you to leave it on for two to three hours. As tempting as it is, do not remove the bandage to admire or show it off. There will be plenty of time for that.

After removing the bandage or wrap, you will need to GENTLY wash it with a hypoallergenic soap and warm water. Do not use a washcloth, but instead use your fingers or hand and let it air dry. Do not be alarmed if you see some oozing, as that is not uncommon. It is just some of the excessive ink flowing out. OK moving on.

The First Couple of DaysWoman-on-bench

In the first couple of days, you may notice some redness and it may feel warm to the touch. No worries, this is perfectly normal. You will want to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, as UV rays could cause swelling and blister your ink. Let’s face it, we need to take showers because no one wants to stink.

Baths should be avoided as you should not submerge your ink in bacteria. When showering, do not use a washcloth on your ink and do not let the shower water beat on it. Use the gentle wash and air dry procedure explained above. Avoid pools and beaches until it is healed. As a beach lover myself, I know this is hard.

The Scabbing and Itching Stage

Oh boy, this can be a tough part of the healing process. When scabbing begins, I see lots of people who want to pick at them. DON’T. The scabbing needs to take a natural process by letting it flake off on its own. Pulling them off before they’re ready will likely end up in pulling out ink and leaving bad spots in your tattoo.

With itching, comes the natural reaction to scratch. Again, DON’T. You will damage the ink. I have found that lightly patting the area will do the trick.

Ointments and Other Tips

During your healing process, you’re going to want to keep the area moist. There are many ointments made just for tattoos, but you should use what is recommended by your tattoo artist ONLY. Some artists recommend Aquaphor or Bacitracin, while others recommend using unscented lotions that are not greasy such as Lubriderm or Curel. Avoid Vaseline and petroleum jelly as they will not allow your ink to breath.

When applying, you want to apply a thin layer. Remember, you want it to breath. If too much is applied, blot with a paper towel.

Wear loose fitting clothing. You don’t want your clothes rubbing on it or preventing it from breathing. Exercise: For all you exercise buffs, use caution the first couple of days and avoid tight-fitting workout clothes.

How to Tell if Your Tattoo is Infected

Infection can happen due to improper care or by being allergic to pigments and inks. If you suspect you may be allergic, talk with your Doctor before you get inked. Here are some signs it may be infected:  swelling and prolonged redness, fever, oozing of yellow or white fluid, red raised bumps, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you may have an infection see your Doctor Immediately.

Don’t Let Your Art Become a Nightmaregirl- bush

Once you leave the shop it is your responsibility to take care of your ink. Follow the instructions of your artist, as they are the pros. You want to have a tattoo that’s going to look bright and alive for years to come. Sometimes touch-ups are needed after complete healing, and I haven’t met an artist who doesn’t mind touching up their work. Psst… don’t forget to tip them before you leave, that helps. In closing, take care of your ink and it will take care of you.

Keep Rocking the Ink,



32 Replies to “New Tattoo aftercare.”

  1. Another great article, David. I can see how the aftercare of a tattoo is extremely important. I can’t imagine spending good money on ink and then not taking care of it just to end up with a mess. That’s got to be the absolute worst!

    If someone does end up messing up their tattoo from lack of care, can they do anything to get it looking nice again?

    Kind Regards,

    1. Hello Yvette. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Tattoo aftercare is the most important part of the process.
      The only way is you would have to let it completely heal, and have the artist go back over it. Some tattoos can take up to a month or so to heal and artists won’t touch it till it’s healed. Thank you again for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

      1. David, thanks for that information. I didn’t realize it could take up to a month to heal! Wow! And then going back over it seems like it would hurt worse the second time around. Is that true?

        Have an awesome day,

  2. I’ve got 5 tattoos, myself. While I’m not big on getting them – I did it for a family member who wanted someone to work on… they did turn out great as I wanted to make sure that their work looked good for years to come and that what’s on my body looked good, all the same.

    I probably wouldn’t mind getting more but it hurts quite a bit, to me, unlike other people have experienced. I guess it will depend on the tattoo I want and the artist.

    You’ve got some great information here and just reading along took me right back down memory lane after having each of mine done.

    1. Hello Eric. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Wow 5 tattoos to help out a family member to practice on you. I’m happy they turned out great for you. Yes some people just don’t like the pain the needles may cause and just choose not to get them. I’m happy my article was able to take you down memory lane. Again thank you so much for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  3. Hi David,
    I have never had a tattoo before but I found your article very informative and I think everyone who had a tattoo should read this advice taking care of their ink. Thank you

    1. Hello Mark. Thank yo for taking the time to read my article on tattoo aftercare. Taking care of your ink after it is finished needs to be a top priority to keep it looking great and preventing infections. Again thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  4. Hello Irma. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I love hearing and seeing people follow the advice when it come to taking care of their ink. As for years it depends skin aging plays a big role and when it starts looking faded is the time to get it refreshed. Again thank you so much for visiting my website.
    Best wishes.

  5. I love my tattoos and have taken care of them according to the advise that I was given.

    They are starting to fade a bit. How many years do most people go before they need their tattoos to be touched up?

  6. Thanks for sharing David, I’m glad that most of what I did when I got my tattoos was listed in the this post. Do you have any advice for maintenance after you’ve had a tattoo for a few years? Thanks!

    1. Hello will. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. That’s a great question. To answer that skin ages and so will tattoos I would recommend moisturizing to help keep skin from drying out I hope this helps.
      Best Wishes

  7. Hello Lynne thank for taking the time to visit my website. To answer your question there seems to be debates on what fades a tattoo. ageing of the skin does play a role and uv rays can age skin I do recommend If your spending long periods of time in the sun that you use a sunscreen. Again thank you so much for visiting my website.
    Best wishes.

  8. Hi David, great article on basic care of new tattoos. I think I left out when I got my first tattoo. I don’t remember doing anything special to take care of it and luckily it came through okay. Once it’s all healed and your past that beginning stage is also important to keep sunscreen on it when you’re out?

  9. Hello Robert. Thank you so much for visiting my website. Yes there is so much Information today not like back when I started. Again thank you so much for taking the time to visit my website.
    Best Wishes.

  10. wow! What an interesting and informative site, wish information was available when i got my tattoos, i.m done getting tattoos but i will certainly pass this on to others, well done

  11. Hi David,
    I loved the post.
    I do not have any tattoos yet and not because I am opposed to that but I just finished breastfeeding and can now afford one 🙂
    Another thing is I am still in search of my perfect first tattoo. I know that it will be devoted to my daughter and want to find the design that will collaborate with her little personality.
    Another thing is that we live in a small city. I am pretty sure we should have a lot of talented masters, but I will need time to find one that would be able to understand my design and purpose.
    I am glad that you described in so much detail the healing process. My husband got his first tattoo this year and we went through all those stages. I will definitely refer to this article when I will finally get mine done 🙂

    1. Hello Anna. Thank you so much for reading my post Yes tattoos can be costly and you are doing all the right things on getting your first tattoo. Take your time when finding your artists when your ready. A good artist will feel your Idea and will put an amazing piece of art on you. Again thank you for visiting my website.
      Best Wishes

  12. I have a question for aftercare. I work in a shop there is metal dust, dirt/sand, and other debris being blown around by wind etc. should I cover the fresh tattoo with a bandage or something while at work or just leave it uncovered and wash it off when I get home?

    1. Hello Justin. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. In the type of environment you need to wash it more through out your day and have your moisturizer on hand to keep it moist. Thank you so much for visiting my website and hope this information has helped.
      Best Wishes.

  13. Getting a tattoo has been in the back of my mind for a while, now, and this information will definitely come in handy when I finally decide to go get it. It’s very informative and easy to understand.

    1. Hello Andrew. Thank you for visiting my website. Hopefully this helps in bringing the thought to the front of your mind and I’m so happy you found this post very Informative. Again thank you so much for taking the time to visit my Website.
      Best Wishes

  14. This is great! It’s absolutely everything you need to know to properly take care of your new ink. The itching stage is always the hardest for me!

    1. Hello Khiori. Thank you so much for visiting my website. Yes the itching stage is always the hardest for me as well but I think I have mastered getting through it. Again thank you for taking the time to read my post.
      Best Wishes.

  15. Very interesting article on tattoos and their aftercare, and also on the potential complications. I learned a lot in this article. I have a couple clients with tattoos so I’ll be bookmarking this article for future reference. Thank you David!

    1. Hello Holly. Thank you so much for reading my post and I’m very happy you found it very Informative. Again thank you so much for taking time to visit my website.
      Best Wishes.

  16. When I had my first tattoos done I was so nervous about the after-care, I read so much about looking after them. I used Bepanthen, a nappy rash cream in the UK, that worked a treat I never had that much scabbing either. When I had my next tattoos done out in Thailand, I again hunted down Bepanthen, UV exposure was my biggest worry out there, but again,I was very careful. Very nice article, aftercare is such an important aspect, it can’t be overlooked.

    1. Hello Rodney. Thank you for reading my post. Yes there is a lot of great creams out there that do a great job in the healing process and it sounds like you have one you like and helps with little scabbing. Again thank you so much for taking the time to read my post.
      Best Wishes.

  17. Great advice and article! I find it a bit daunting to find the right info for this topic but you’re very practical ‘follow the instructions of your artist’ is the best common sense advice I’ve heard. Thank you!

    1. Hello Donna. Thank you so much for reading my post. Yes the most Important thing to do is listen to your artists Instructions. Again thank you for taking the time to read my post.
      Best Wishes.

  18. Hi David,

    I’ve never had a tattoo and this is great information. When I’m in the market to get one I know where to go for information. However, my sister and daughter love to get them on everything… everywhere I tell you. Especially my sister she’s a tattoo nut. I’ll be sure to past your website and information to them.

    1. Hello Kelyee. Thank you for reading my post. Yes tattoos can be very addicting and it sounds like your daughter and sister have caught the bug. Again thank you so much for taking the time to visit my website.
      Best Wishes .

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