Step-by-Step Tattoo Aftercare Guide: Tips, Products, Q&A

The skill of the tattoo artist, but also the quality of care after tattooing affects the future of your tattoo: its brightness, permanence, consistency, richness and accuracy. Read here a guide to get the tattoo of your dreams by following some simple rules.

Healing stages

  1. The healing process has three stages and the first stage is where it's an open wound. It takes about 2-5 days.
  2. Then the second stage is when it's closing up it's starting to become tight and itchy. It gets dry so it's important to keep moisturizing it. The duration of this stage is up to 4 days.
  3. And at the third stage, the tattoo seems healed but it is still sitting below the skin. The thickening slowly disappears and the surface layer of the skin begins to peel off. The skin may be itchy, it is flaky, you should still take good care of it and do not affect it mechanically. The stage lasts from 5 to 10 days.

The healing time also depends on how the tattoo is designed and where it is applied. For example, thin and small tattoos, or designs that are applied to areas of skin with little subcutaneous fat, heal faster.

5 advices that applies for the whole tattoo aftercare process

  1. Always wash your hands. It's important to have clean hands when you touch your tattoo even if it's brand new or if it's during the healing process.
  2. When you wash the tattoo, always use lukewarm water. Cold or hot water can harm it.
  3. When you're drying your new tattoo after you wash it make sure to use a paper towel; no towels, no toilet paper.
  4. Use 1 cream for tattoo to prevent cross contamination.
  5. During the regeneration phase, the skin needs additional collagen support. Start taking collagen supplements about a week before your tattoo and while it’s healing. It will keep skin elastic, healthy, and physically speeds ups the healing process.

Right after tattooing

When you get tattooed you get home and the artist wraps you in some plastic foil or bandage.

So when you get home with that film you need to take that off at the latest in 2-4 hours or at least before you go to bed so that you know you can go to bed with a clean wrapping or film. To have that clean you need to clean it and by washing your hands using a soap.

Rinse the tattooed skin area with slightly warm soapy water. Thus the pores will open up and then you can clean it thoroughly. Then you can rinse it with a little chiller water – you will actually sort of close the pores a little bit. Don't dry it with anything, no towel, no paper either, you can just sort of shake it a little bit. Now the pores are entirely free from any excessive ink.

In some cases, the tattoo artist can apply a special film with a healing effect. Then the film can not be removed for several days. This film creates conditions that facilitate the natural regeneration of the skin after the tattooing is done. It closes the wound from external stimuli and starts the recovery process.

Caring for the first 2-3 days

The first few days are very important to take good care of the injured skin in order to speed up its recovery. Buy a good tattoo healer, such as Hustle Butter Deluxe, and apply it thinly after rinsing with warm water. Then cover again with cling film to avoid damaging the skin. Repeat the procedure every 6-8 hours for the next 2-3 days, or until the sweat stops oozing.

Moisturizing

About two days after the session a crust appears on the skin. Many people make the mistake of peeling it off, which should not be done. After the inflammation is gone and the ichors are no longer excreted, it is worth moving on to the moisturizing stage. No more need to make compresses. But continue to use a moisturizing tattoo care product every few hours, depending on the product's instructions. This will help prevent re-peeling and speed up the healing process. Also, the tattoo will itch less.

For another 3-7 days you need to moisturize the tattoo regularly and try to keep it out of the sunlight. Also for the first two weeks, until the tattoo heals, you should not take baths or very hot showers, so as not to steam the skin too much.

When the tattoo is completely healed, you will know: the skin will become the same structure, both on the tattooed and clean skin area.

Long Term Tattoo Aftercare

You have a new tattoo that is tilled up perfectly, it's gonna sit there forever and you might be wondering: “can I do anything to keep it looking good forever?"

Yes, you can.

You can use a tattoo lotion that protects it against the sun. If you play sports if you're very active, if you are in situations where you know that you're really irritating your skin and that you're leaving your skin under a lot of pressure protect it if you can wear a long sleeve and of course never on purpose do anything that might rip your tattoo open because the tattoo is in your second skin layer. If you rip it off, if you get a wound, it might affect your tattoo.

Regularly moisturize your skin, protect yourself from direct sunlight, and don't damage the tattoo mechanically. More tips can be found in our article. There is also our review about the best products for tattoo aftercare.

FAQ

What can't I smear on a tattoo?

Do not use alcohol-containing products, as well as any means that are not designed for tattoo healing: petroleum jelly, baby cream or hand cream.

Would it be possible to use the film for more than a week?

The film is only recommended for the early stages of the healing process. Therefore, you should not keep the film on for more than 3-4 days after the first 24 h change (total up to 5 days).

When can I swim again?

Swimming in chlorine or saltwater increases the risk of infection in the tattoo by a lot, due to bacteria in the water. We recommend that you get to the water around 6 weeks.

What happens if you don't take care of the tattoo?

What should you not do after a tattoo?

For the duration of the tattoo healing period is prohibited:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Scratching the tattoo
  • Playing sports
  • Peeling crusts
  • Going to the bath and swimming pool
  • Sunbathing Covering the tattoo with close fitting clothes.

If you follow these simple rules, you will be 100% happy with your tattoo. We do not advise you to ignore these tips, because not only your appearance, but also your health is at stake!

Happy tattooing!