Tattoo Aftercare

John Dietrich

How to Take Care of Your Tattoo After Its Complete

So you’ve gotten your sweet piece of art from Custom Tattoo Design, booked an appointment at your local tattoo shop with a great artist and have finally gotten the ink you’ve always dreamed of. Now what?

Taking care of a tattoo once its complete is critical to preserving the ink and helping it heal properly. The most important thing to do above all else is to listen to your tattoo artist and follow their aftercare instructions first and foremost. We’ve also put together some additional aftercare suggestions for you to follow just in case you need some help along the way.

When your tattoo is complete, there shouldn’t be any pain around the tattoo but rather a warm sensation on the skin.  Your body will be in a bit of shock and the first thing you’ll need to do after getting your tattoo is replenish your body’s reserves with food and water. Having something with sugar in it, such as juice, will also be beneficial after your body has endured a long tattoo session.

Next, you’ll want to keep your tattoo well moisturized in order to prevent it from drying out, which could lead to a thick scab forming which will slow the recovery process. The best way to accomplish this is by applying a tattoo lotion or ointment to the tattooed area several times daily. A good trick is to apply it every time you eat a meal, this way you know you’re covered. Just make sure you wash your hands before eating!

If your tattoo shop didn’t give you any tattoo lotion, it’s important to have and worth buying. When buying a cream for tattoos, look for a natural one that is free of fragrances and/or dyes and has Vitamin E. A lotion with additives and fragrances will burn upon application and won’t be conducive with the healing process. Apply the lotion very sparingly so that it does not oversaturate the tattoo, otherwise it will prevent it from breathing and healing properly.

It’s also important to keep the tattoo clean in order to prevent infection. Wash your tattoo with a simple, fragrance-free soap and water. To avoid irritation and infection, wash the tattoo gently with your hands and be sure not to use a washcloth as they generally harbor lots of bacteria that can infect the tattoo. When bathing, avoid baths and soaking the tattoo in water and opt for showers instead. When drying, dab your tattoo gently with a paper towel until dry.

For the first few days after getting your tattoo, it’s important to avoid chlorine in swimming pools and excessive exposure to the sunlight as they will fade the tattoo during the healing process. If you enjoy tanning, we’d recommend investing in a tanning lotion that protects both the color and longevity of your tattoos. This is not just during the healing process but for the years to follow as well.

If you follow a good aftercare program such as this one, your tattoo should be fully healed within 7-10 days depending on your skin type and the size and complexity of the ink.
If you have any questions or concerns about your freshly inked tattoo, it’s important to talk to your tattoo artist, shop or a tattoo-friendly medical professional so they can help you. Happy healing and enjoy your new tattoo!