- remove your plastic wrap bandage within 1-3 hours. OR “second skin” bandage: remove within 4-7 days.
- gently wash your tattoo with liquid antibacterial soap (any drugstore brand works just fine) and warm water.
- pat dry with a paper towel. do NOT use a regular cloth towel... they tend to harbor more bacteria.
- let your tattoo breathe naturally overnight — no moisturizers yet.
the morning after
- wash your tattoo with the antibacterial soap and warm water.
- pat dry with a paper towel.
- massage a THIN layer of aquaphor (available at any drugstore) into the skin. note: too much ointment will suffocate the skin and prevent proper healing.
- repeat steps 1-3 once or twice daily for three days. after these three days, switch to any store-brand fragrance-free lotion instead of aquaphor for the next three weeks.
DOs and DON'Ts of tattoo aftercare! for the first three weeks...
- DO listen to your body. if your skin feels uncomfortably dry or flaky, apply some more moisturizer. or vice versa! don't apply more moisturizer if you've already applied twice that day and your skin is still soft.
- DON'T hang in any pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, etc! chlorine pulls ink from the skin and irritates. soaking underwater (even in a natural body of water) over-moisturizes the skin and pulls out ink. however, DO shower. a new tattoo does not equal an excuse to be stinky.
- DON'T soak in the sun. UV light pulls out ink. limit initial sun exposure, and DO use sunscreen frequently after the first three weeks.
- DON'T use scented lotion. the alcohol in the fragrance pulls out ink.
- DO wear loose clothing over your tattoo, if possible.
- and, most importantly, DON'T pick at your scabs!! your tattoo will itch, flake, and scab. and, uh... some people (totally not including us) actually enjoy picking at scabs... trust us: your tattoo will look a thousand times better if you do NOT!!
- if all else fails, DO seek medical attention.
SECRET aftercare instructions
- want your tattoos to look as vibrant as possible? (duh! of course you do.)
- moisturize regularly, and
- consume large amounts of water daily. the healthier your skin looks, the healthier your tattoos will look, too.
- here's our favourite tattoo aftercare lotion on the market right now.
- and here's our favourite tattoo aftercare bandage on the market right now.
- if you have a large, heavily saturated piece (like a sleeve) that was wrapped in plastic wrap before leaving the tattoo shop, consider loosely rewrapping the tattoo in a fresh sheet of plastic wrap before heading to bed the first two nights of the healing process. this will:
- contain the plasma that leaks from a fresh tattoo
- prevent the tattoo from sticking to your bedsheets, too. suck it, swollen skin!
- watch your sun exposure, even long after your tattoos have gone through the initial healing process:
- opt for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- the more your tattoos are exposed to sunlight (especially sunburn), the faster they will fade.
- try not to lose any limbs. if a shark does end up biting off your arm (or whatever your excuse will be), you'll lose that precious, decorated skin... and we'll be pretty upset with you for getting rid of our hard work!