Aftercare

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Aftercare Instructions & Tips

There's a lot of information out there about how to best care for your brand new tattoo. Some of it can be very confusing, and contradictory. I hope to clear up some of that with my own experience, and what I've been taught by my mentor.

Something to keep in mind, is that a tattoo is still a minor medical process. The artist uses a (sterile) needle to insert ink into your skin, making your skin vulnerable to scarring and infection. Proper aftercare can help to prevent complications and provide a greater probability that your tattoo will heal properly; other factors include the artist's skill, experience and technique.

I hope to provide a bit of clarity based on my experience, and that of other's I've learned from (mostly my mentor) that have proven to work for our clients.

Aftercare begins immediately when your tattoo is done.

With a bandage

I will gently wash the surface of your tattoo and the are around it to remove any excess soap, ink, and anything else that may interact with the bandage.

  • Once the bandage goes on, depending on the size of your tattoo you may receive a replacement to put on within the first 24 hours.
  • Within the first 24 hours of application of the first and the second bandage. If you experience redness and/or itchiness around the edges of the bandage, notify your artist; there's a good chance some soap got trapped under the bandage and is causing an allergic reaction. They will likely instruct you to remove the bandage and follow the instructions below for healing without a bandage.
  • If you have received a replacement, the day after your tattoo is done and before 24 hours have passed, you may begin to see plasma building up under your bandage. This is normal. Most of this will pass after 48 hours. Gently remove the bandage the artist place on your tattoo within 24 hours from when it was initially placed.
Examples of what a bandage with an ink sack (plasma build up)

  • To do so, pick a corner, and stretch the bandage away from the center of that bandage to loosen the adhesive and come free more readily. Some prefer to do this under warm water, allowing the bandage to soak to loosen the adhesive first.
  • NOTE: If your bandage leaks, your fresh tattoo is now exposed to bacteria and it would be best to remove the bandage and continue without a bandage if a replacement has not been provided. You can contact your artist to see if they can help.
  • Once the first bandage is removed, wash your tattoo gently with lukewarm water and fragrance-free soap, taking care that all soap is washed off and then pat dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Have another person help you apply the bandage if it is in a hard to reach area, otherwise, apply the bandage once the tattoo area is dry.
  • This second bandage should stay on the tattoo for 6 days. If you did not receive a replacement, keep the first bandage on for 7 days.
  • While the bandage is on, do not soak the bandage, do not do any activities that would promote sweating, do not sunbathe or expose the bandage to sun (keep it covered).
  • DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH THE TATTOO. If it becomes unbearably itchy (which will happen), you can slap the area gently to alleviate the itch. Scratching or anything that might loosen or remove the formed scabs will pull some of the ink your artist meticulously put in; resulting in faded or empty gabs in your new tattoo.
  • On the 7th day, you can remove the bandage following step 3.
  • Your tattoo will not scab heavily, as the bandage acts as the scab and aids in a faster healing process. There will be 1-2 weeks left of the final stages of peeling. DO NOT PICK OR PEEL AT YOUR SKIN DURING THIS PROCESS. The peeling will stop on its own.
  • moisturize lightly with fragrance-free moisturizer, just enough so that your skin and the tattoo isn't dry, and helps the peeling to stay on until it falls off on it's own.
  • By week 3, the surface of your tattoo should be healed enough to resume your normal skincare routine.

Some popular brands are:

  • Recovery Derm Shield
  • Saniderm
  • Second Skin
  • Hypafix
  • Tegaderm

Without a bandage

I will gently wash the surface of your tattoo and surrounding areas and wrap with either saran wrap, dental bib, or a non-adhesive covering to protect it during the process you will take from leaving the shop to your home.

  • After a few hours, wash your hands with water and fragrance-free soap. Then remove the covering.
  • Gently wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and fragrance-free soap, and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Once dried, apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer to the tattoo.
  • keep the covering off. (Your tattoo may weep, this is normal as your body will produce plasma to protect your new tattoo during the healing process. This may leak onto fabric including your bedding and clothes and stain. So keep this in mind.)
  • Moisturize your enough so that the skin is not dry, but don't drown it in moisturizer either. Keep in mind, just like with any minor cut, it needs to breathe in order to heal properly.
  • Wash your tattoo gently 2-3 times in the first two - three days, repeating steps 2 & 3.
  • From day 4 onward, continue to moisturize your tattoo 2-3 times daily to ensure that your scabbing does not crack and remains intact until it falls off by itself.
  • DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH THE TATTOO. If it becomes unbearably itchy (which will happen), you can slap the area gently to alleviate the itch. Scratching or anything that might loosen or remove the formed scabs will pull some of the ink your artist meticulously put in; resulting in faded or empty gabs in your new tattoo.
  • Your scabs will fall off by itself over time, and your skin may peel after that. Continue to moisturize your tattoo lightly with fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • After 4-5 weeks or when you are no longer peeling, and all scabs are gone, you can resume your normal skincare routine.