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Tattoo Aftercare Tips You Won’t Want to Skip

No matter how talented the tattoo artist is, the final appearance of your tattoo has a lot to do with your tattoo aftercare. In general, it takes about two weeks for your tattoo to heal, and it is paramount that you take the utmost care of your new work of art during that time. You should always check with your tattoo artist for their specific tattoo aftercare tips, but chances are they will tell you this basic tattoo aftercare advice.

How to Take Care of a New Tattoo on the Day You Get It

First and foremost, remember that a tattoo is an open wound, and you need to treat it as such. That means always washing your hands before applying anything to the tattoo, and making sure you don’t expose it to any unnecessary dirt and grime. With that being said, here are the specifics you should keep in mind for how to take care of a new tattoo for the first 24 hours:

  • Don’t Remove the Bandage for About Four Hours – When you leave the tattoo parlor, your new masterpiece will be bandaged in some way. Most tattoo artists will use a sterile absorbing pad with medical tape. You will want to resist all temptation to show off your tattoo and leave the bandage on for between two and four hours. That is how long the tattoo will seep bodily fluids and it is critical to keep the area protected.
  • When the Time Comes, Wash With Pure Soap –  After the four hours have passed, it is now time to remove the bandage and wash your tattoo with a gentle, non-scented soap. Remember, wash your hands first, and then use only your hand—not a washcloth or scrubber—to carefully wash away the dry fluids and remaining ointment.
  • Pat the Tattoo Dry – Carefully dry your tattoo by patting it dry with a towel, and then keep it exposed to the air for the rest of the day. But again, you are still dealing with an open would, so don’t let your tattoo come into contact with anything.
  • Apply a Pure Moisturizer – Now you will want to apply a small amount of lotion to assist in the healing process. Your tattoo artist may have one they recommend, or you can go with a basic Lubriderm or Aquaphor. Just make sure you are only applying a very thin coat of lotion so your skin can breathe.

Tattoo Aftercare Advice for the First Couple of Weeks

The first week or two after you get your tattoo can make or break how amazing your tattoo looks for the rest of life, so don’t take any chances. Here are some tattoo aftercare tips for you won’t want to ignore:

  • Sleep Carefully – First, never go to bed on expensive sheets the first few nights with a new tattoo. Sometimes you will wake up to an imprint of the tattoo on your sheets that will not come out, so get a spare set of cheap sheets for the first few nights. Additionally, let your tattoo breathe as you sleep. Keep it exposed if at all possible—so if it is on your back, sleep on your stomach,
  • Don’t Pick Scabs –  You surely know that picking scabs can lead to scars, and your tattoo is no exception. Let your scabs fall off on their own so you don’t cause permanent damage to your skin, and therefore, your tattoo.
  • Wear Loose Clothing –  Make sure air can get to your tattoo no matter what you are doing, which means keeping clothing loose and skipping shoes and socks, if applicable.
  • Stay Out of the Sun – If you expose your tattoo to the sun during the initial healing process, you risk fading, skin damage, uneven healing, and scars. If you have to go in the sun, wear loose clothing over your tattoo—or worst-case scenario, a sterile, non-stick bandage.
  • Skip Excessive Water – While a shower is fine, do not going swimming during the first few weeks. Natural bodies of water contain way too many bacteria that can lead to infections, and swimming pools have chlorine. Excessive sweating should also be avoided, such as heavy workouts, steam baths and saunas. 

Luckily, the above restrictions are only temporary. Once your tattoo is completely healed and there is absolutely no shine left to it, then you can relax. You paid a lot of money for your tattoo, and since you followed the proper tattoo aftercare advice, you will have a masterpiece to show off for the rest of your life.