Tattoo Aftercare Instructions. Your Guide For a Perfect Healing.
Getting a tattoo for the first time is an exciting experience, one that you have likely been looking forward to for the longest time.
However, people tend to forget about the grizzlier, more intimidating part of the process that comes following the tattooing session: the aftercare.
A tattoo is an open wound, and should be treated with the utmost care.
It’s not difficult to care for a tattoo, but if done incorrectly, it can go seriously wrong. You want to avoid infections, and any other issues that can cause discomfort and ill-health.
In this article, we have provided you all the information you need to keep your healing tattoo safe, comfortable, and healthy.
So, let’s get started.
A Timeline Of Tattoo Aftercare
The amount of time it takes for a tattoo to fully heal will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the piece, the location, and how well you take care of it during the healing process.
Below, we have listed a rough guideline of what to expect during the 6 months following getting a new tattoo.
Immediately After The Tattoo Session
Picture this: you’ve just sat up in your chair, and the tattoo artist is wiping over your fresh ink with a sterile cloth or paper towel. The pain is over, and the waiting time is complete.
You finally have your new tattoo.
Hopefully, you will have researched your chosen parlor thoroughly before booking your appointment, meaning that you are safe assured knowing that they follow health and safety procedures.
Regardless of this, you will still want to make sure that your tattoo artist has wrapped your fresh ink before you leave the shop, using moisturizer or sterile soap to clean it beforehand.
The tattoo should be wrapped securely, but not too tightly, with some cling film.
Your tattoo artist may recommend aftercare, and even give you an aftercare pack with moisturizer and instructions, but if not, don’t be afraid to ask questions before you leave.
Now, you are ready to go home.
1-2 Hours After The Tattoo Session
This is a rough guideline on how we would recommend you take care of your tattoo, but other tattoo artists may give different advice.
So, we would recommend that you leave your tattoo wrapped up for around 1-2 hours following the session.
Some may recommend that you wait a little longer, while others will say that you can remove the wrapping as soon as you get home.
This really depends on how large, or how small, your tattoo is. The smaller the tattoo, the sooner the healing process will begin.
Once you have removed the wrapping, carefully rinse the new tattoo with some warm, soapy water.
Avoid using any perfumed soap, as this may irritate the ink, and try to use antibacterial soap instead.
Additionally, only use your hands when washing the tattoo. Using a towel or cloth may damage and irritate the area.
The Night Following The Tattoo Session
When you go to sleep for the first night with your new tattoo, you will need to think about what position to sleep in.
If you have a large tattoo on your left leg, try sleeping on your right side, so you don’t risk bumping or rubbing against it in the night.
If it’s located on your right hip, try sleeping on your left side.
This will also make it less painful for you as you try to catch some shut-eye. There is nothing pleasant about being woken up by an aching/burning sensation in the middle of the night.
The First 2 Weeks Following The Tattoo Session
For the first 2 weeks, you will want to make sure you wash your tattoo 3-4 times per day, using your unperfumed, antibacterial soap and warm water.
Gently pat it dry with a clean towel, and then wear loose clothes over it. Tight clothes may cause irritation.
You will also notice small scabs starting to form over the area. This is normal, but you need to avoid removing the scabs under all circumstances.
You will also want to keep it moisturized. Don’t go overboard with lotion, as you could encourage bacteria to grow if the area is too moist. Use small, thin amounts throughout the day, just enough to cover the tattoo.
Also, avoid submerging the fresh tattoo in water. This means avoiding bathing and swimming altogether, and being very careful while showering.
The First 4 Weeks Following The Tattoo Session
It is generally believed that a tattoo will have fully healed by the 1-month mark… at least, on the outside. It’s important to remember that it will continue to heal under the skin for up to 6 months.
At this point, all the scabs should have fallen off. It should now be safe to submerge the tattoo in water, and (sparingly) use perfumed soap.
We recommend that you continue moisturizing the area, because, as we said, the tattoo is still technically healing, even if it looked like it has already fully healed.
The 6 Months Following The Tattoo Session
After 6 months, your tattoo should be completely healed. You can now shave, exfoliate, and go swimming without any fear.
You can also wear tight clothing again, and, most importantly, show off your new, fresh ink!
Things You Should Never do While Your Tattoo Heals
It’s not difficult to care for a new tattoo properly, yet there are mistakes you could easily make during the healing process.
While the majority of the activities you would typically do shortly after having a new tattoo are okay to do, there are several actions you should avoid altogether.
Follow these instructions until your tattoo has completely scabbed over, which takes about a month
Stay Out Of Direct Sunlight
As we briefly noted previously, exposing a new tattoo to direct sunshine can significantly diminish the intended aesthetic.
If the area is exposed to excessive amounts of sun for an extended period of time, the tattoo runs the danger of bleaching and deteriorating, as well as blistering.
Always remember to employ sunblock to your tattooed areas before heading outside in the sun, especially when the process of healing has progressed and all the crusties have fallen off.
Sunscreen prolongs the quality of your tattoo, and stops early fading.
Avoid Rewrapping The Tattoo
There is no requirement to rewrap your tattoo once you have removed the covering; it is now prepared to breathe.
If it’s your first tattoo, and you’re afraid about it becoming filthy, you might be inclined to rewrap it. Please believe us when we say that is a terrible idea.
You need your ink to be mostly dried at this stage.
By adding plastic to it, heat will be trapped and an excessive amount of moisture will be produced, which might encourage the spread of germs.
Avoid Picking The Scabs/Flaking Skin
The tattooed area will develop some minor scabbing as it heals.
Prepare to find minute black particles around for a few weeks when it shreds because the flaking skin parts will drop off by themselves.
This should go without saying, but you should never, ever pick away these scabs, under any circumstances.
Pulling them off will not in any way hasten the recovery process, and can even make it longer overall.
Avoid Shaving The Tattooed Area
If your new tattoo is on a part of your body that you would typically shave, like your leg, you will need to wait to start shaving until it has completely healed.
Shaving could remove those healing scabs you are developing prior to them being prepared to fall off, in addition to scouring over just a fresh cut.
Depending on the size and placement of the ink, you should be able to resume shaving once your scabs have naturally fallen off, and you’re three to four weeks into the healing process.
Avoid Scratching The Tattoo
Anyone who has got a tattoo before will be aware of how itchy healing tattoos can be. Sadly, you will have to fight the impulse to itch.
Scratching a healing tattoo is never a good idea, no matter how pleasant it might feel. You might prematurely remove your scabs, which would lower the overall caliber of the ink.
Not even to mention the possibility of bacteria on your hands, including under your fingernails, that might cause infections.
Avoid Wearing Tight Clothing
Your tattoo has to be able to breathe and get airflow during the process of healing; if it is suffocated by tight-fitting clothes, it cannot do this.
Regardless of the fabric you’re wearing, if the material is too tight, you face the risk of producing humidity through perspiration.
During the first few weeks after getting a brand-new tattoo, wear airy, baggy clothes to protect your new art.
Do Not Use Scented Or Perfumed Soaps/Moisturizers
It’s crucial not to use any perfumed soaps, lotions, or anything else on your brand-new tattoo.
Your new ink, which is effectively a fresh wound, is a tender spot that might become irritated by fragrance and perfumes.
For the initial few weeks, only ever use odorless, sterile soaps and moisturizers to the region.
While minor pieces should cease displaying acute healing effects considerably earlier than bigger ones, larger pieces will require you to wait a longer period of time before you can use perfumed products. This is because larger surface areas will take longer to heal.
The Best Lotions For Your New Tattoo
So, as we have mentioned hundreds of times throughout this article, you should avoid using any lotions or moisturizers that contain perfume, or any nasty chemicals that could irritate the healing tattoo.
You may be wondering what lotions you can use. Well, look no more! Below, we have listed 4 suitable lotions that are perfect for healing tattoos.
Hustle Butter Deluxe
In the tattooing community, Hustle Butter Deluxe, a triple-acting compound, is loved and renowned.
This lotion promotes rapid recovery and replenishment, while also providing a calming sensation over the injury site.
It provides a soothing effect that helps reduce itchiness while the tattoo is recovering.
Numerous tattoo artists recommend their clients to use this moisturizer both immediately following receiving a tattoo and on a regular basis afterwards, because it can try to prevent overly-flaky skin over the inked region.
The all-natural components in Hustle Butter Deluxe promote healthier skin and hasten the process of healing.
After Inked Moisturizer And Aftercare Lotion
The After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer is a thin lotion with significant hydrating power.
When you put it to your new tattoo, you’ll note that it doesn’t feel overly dense, and appears to absorb right away.
Additionally, it has undergone dermatologist and clinical testing, and its formulation is non-allergenic and non-irritating.
Furthermore, you’ll be happy to learn that After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer is a paraben-free, unscented moisturizer that’s not petroleum-based.
Many natural components, like Jojoba, Grape Seed, beeswax, and shea butter, can be found in the ingredients section.
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion
Never be hesitant to give a baby lotion a try when you need extremely gentle moisturizing alleviation and coverage for your fresh tattoo.
It is the combination of rich emollients and organic granular oatmeal in this Aveeno lotion renders it a great solution.
In addition to assisting with dehydration and flaking, it also lessens the severity of itching.
After application, you’ll keep your fresh ink moisturized for a whole 24 hours without having to deal with just about any unwelcome greasy residue.
It is hypoallergenic, non-perfumed, and it won’t clog your pores.
Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion
Lastly, we have the Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion. It gets to work hydrating, cleansing, and nourishing your skin after getting tattooed.
In addition to being supported by dermatological recommendations and medically proved benefits, it has alpha hydroxy and moisturizers that are extra-enhanced.
This lotion produces an intense hydration reaction and is very delicate and soothing.
The product absorbs immediately into the skin, which is the best part because it won’t block your pores. All in all, this is a product that you can trust.
As we said earlier, a tattoo should be treated as an open wound, as that is, essentially, what it is. You need to keep it clean, keep it moisturized (but not over-moisturized), and allow it to breathe.
We recommend grabbing a suitable lotion, and some antibacterial soap, before you even get the tattoo. This way, you will be readily prepared for aftercare right off the bat.
It’s not difficult to look after a healing tattoo, but it is so important that you treat it with care.
Once those couple of weeks are over, you can enjoy and show off your successful, amazing new piece of ink!
We hope you found this article helpful.
For more information, you can read the complete guide to tattoo aftercare.